The first time I was in China, I lived one hour away from Hong Kong. Friends from home asked me why I didn’t spend more than one weekend there during four months. Well, to make a long story short, Hong Kong was everything I didn’t need. I was in love with China, I was in love with the crazy, rural areas, the ‘small’ (China-size-small) towns where people would touch my white skin, stare way too long at me or randomly ask for my number while waiting for the bus. Hong Kong was nothing like that.
Now, it’s time to revisit Hong Kong with another mind-setting. My first China-fascination has bleached a bit and I’m ready to rediscover what once was a British colony but is now supposed to be a part of Mainland China. So what is Hong Kong really about then?
Let’s look at the historical facts first, shall we?
Hong Kong was once a small fishing village in the southern part of China. Because it’s at the seaside, the British occupied this island during the first opium-war against the Chinese emperor to increase their world empire.
Hong Kong fast turned into a massive, westernized colony where people literally lived on top of each other while getting a piece of the fast-growing import/export-cake. While the Hong Kong people became more liberal during the years as a British colony, the Chinese went through the Mao-era and the differences between the two became more and more visible.
Because of the international port in Hong Kong and the continuously disastrous situation going on in China before and after 1949 (look here for more information), more skilled mainland Chinese fled to Hong Kong where they started small and medium-sized business and the economy grew steadily. Hong Kong fast turned into one of the leading Asian economies.
In 1997, Hong Kong became a part of China again when the United Kingdom let go of the old colony. The Chinese government is now controlling Hong Kong through the ‘one country, two systems’-politics which means that Hong Kong is still more liberal than the Mainland but that the Chinese government is still strictly watching every move of the Hong Kong government and its population.
Because of this system, many foreigners come to Hong Kong where it’s possible to use Facebook, Instagram and all the other foreign websites that most foreigners in China hate the government for blocking. It’s also easier for foreigners to live in Hong Kong because English is a common-used language.
Hong Kong is a great mix between old Chinese culture (New Year celebrations and other traditional festivals are celebrated in the streets of Hong Kong. Also, the traditional character system is still being used today) and international intervention. People here eat noodles one day and pizza another, read characters and letters and do speak both English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
Wow that was a lot of info, you’re still there? I hope so because I’m so ready to explore. Are you in? Then let’s go to Hong Kong together.
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