Hong Kong independence movement

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The Hong Kong colonial flag (with the junks in the coat of arms on the flag being yellow, instead of brown/maroon, being an erroneous depiction widely circulated on-line, like the one shown above) was partly seen as a symbol of the independence movement.
Hong Kong independence flag designed by activists based on the colonial coat of arms with the addition of the characters "香港" ("Hong Kong" in Chinese) on the shield.
Another Hong Kong independence flag. This one is based on the logo of the abolished Urban Council.

The Hong Kong independence movement (simplified Chinese: 香港独立运动; traditional Chinese: 香港獨立運動) is a movement that advocates Hong Kong becoming an independent sovereign state.[1] Following the handover of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China, many Hongkongers have expressed concern over the governance by the Communist Party of China over issues surrounding justice, freedom, democratic development, as well as well-developed economic environment after being a special administrative region. Some of them want the current SAR to become a sovereign city-state like Singapore, also a former crown colony of the British Empire. According to HKPOP's 2007 poll, 25% of Hong Kongers preferred an independent Hong Kong rather than an SAR ruled by PRC, an increase from 22% in 2005, while 64.7% of interviewees thought it should not be independent. 33% of interviewees said they would prefer independence if the Communist Party still rules PRC in 2047, when the Sino-British Joint Declaration expires, but stated that they would prefer to remain part of the country if and only if the Communist Party reforms into a full democracy with universal suffrage.[2]

This movement should not be confused with the Hong Kong Autonomy Movement, which rather than advocate independence from the PRC, demands that the PRC allow and implement the Hong Kong people a high degree of autonomy, as was promised at the Handover of 1997.


The territories of Hong Kong were not entirely ceded to Britain at one time. The cessions were divided into three periods. In 1842, Hong Kong Island was formally ceded in perpetuity to the United Kingdom under the Treaty of Nanking. In 1860, after China's defeat in the Second Opium War, the Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutter's Island were ceded in perpetuity to Britain under the Convention of Peking. In 1898, under the terms of the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory, Britain obtained a 99-year lease of Lantau Island and the adjacent northern lands, which became known as the New Territories.[3][4][5][6][7][8]

The ethnic majority of Hong Kong is Cantonese, including natives and immigrants from mainland China.[9] Most of them escaped to Hong Kong due to the unrest in mainland China, such as the Civil War, and the ruling of Cultural Revolution. A sense of Chinese ethnicity and Hong Kong citizenship is stronger than Chinese citizenship.[10][11]

In 16 December 1946, the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization assented colonies, such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau, to being independent. However, both Hong Kong and Macau were later removed from the list by request of the People's Republic of China,.[12] The PRC preferred to negotiate directly with the two colonial powers, the United Kingdom and Portugal, in order to avoid self-determination by the citizens in the two colonies. In 1960, UN Resolution 1514 was approved, which advocated that all colonies should be formally independent if they desire. In 1972, the permanent UN seat of the Republic of China was replaced by the People's Republic of China.

After the replacement, PRC proposed bilateral negotiation between China and Britain to resolve the Hong Kong sovereignty issue. Although China opposed Britain's attempts to push through last-minute democratic reform in Hong Kong on technical grounds,[13] it did not oppose representative democracy in Hong Kong in principle; it only objected to "the introduction of any independence movement".[14] When the negotiation had started, the mainland officials demanded that only the colonial powers were to negotiate the terms of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration directly with China, isolating public consultation from the political processes up to the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the transfer of sovereignty over Macau.[15]

Since the transfer of sovereignty in 1997, Hong Kong's press freedom has slowly deteriorated. The advocacy of Hong Kong or Taiwan independence has become illegal.[16]


Some main reasons that caused the movement are listed below:


Proposed state[edit]

Independence advocates hope to create a democratic "Republic of Hong Kong", independent from China. Some hope a contest should be hosted to vote for the future flag of Hong Kong. New passports should be created. In the meantime, Hong Kong independence advocates want recognition in the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.[24] There is also a possibility that such a state would join the Commonwealth of Nations as a former territory of the British Empire, or request status as a British Overseas Territory. Possible support for this was indicated by an online poll, but its representativeness and validity is suspect.[25]

Comments by Chinese government[edit]

According to Zhang Dinghuai, a political scientist at Shenzhen University, those people who call for Hong Kong's "independence" represent a small minority amid a larger Chinese population which is pained by "the painful memory of national disintegration".[26] Zhang pointed out that Beijing already grants Hong Kong a large level of autonomy, and that independentist complaints about the National People's Congress's power to interpret Court of Final Appeal decisions were unreasonable for a non-sovereign state.[26]

On 20 September 2012 Chen Zuo'er, former deputy director at the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said he was "heartbroken" by protestors who waved British colonial flags and demanded "Chinese scram back to China" during protests against cross-border traders in Sheung Shui.[27] On 1 October 2012 protesters again waved the Blue Ensign of Hong Kong and chanted "We are Hongkongers, not Chinese [nationals]" in front of the Central Government's Liaison office in Hong Kong.[28] In response on 12 October, Lu Ping, a former director and Chen's boss at the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, caused a minor controversy when he called the protesters "morons", asking "Do they know where the water they are daily drinking comes from?"[29][30] On 31 October, the Global Times advocated a cool response to independentists, explaining that separatist feelings in Hong Kong were a result of resentment at mainland China's economic development, which has robbed some Hongkongers of a "sense of superiority" over mainlanders.[31]

On 1 November, Lu challenged independence advocates to renounce their Chinese citizenship, saying "Our country, which has a population of 1.3 billion, would not be bothered losing this handful of people".[30] The convener of the Executive council, Lam Woon-kwong denied the emergence of an independence movement.[30] On 5 November, Alex Lo of the South China Morning Post (SCMP) asserted that "There is no sign the movement is anything but the asinine rumblings of a few malcontents and juveniles", cautioning that Lu's comments were "making [the protestors] feel important instead of ridiculous".[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 安平,"港独"暗流涌动网际 与各路分裂势力关系密切,中国新闻网,中新社香港,2005-02-06
  2. ^ [1]《香港大學民意網站》「香港、台灣、澳門、沖繩民眾文化與國家認同國際比較調查」2007
  3. ^ Courtauld, Caroline; Holdsworth, May; Vickers, Simon (1997). The Hong Kong Story. Oxford University Press. pp. 38–58. ISBN 978-0-19-590353-9. 
  4. ^ Hoe, Susanna; Roebuck, Derek (1999). The Taking of Hong Kong: Charles and Clara Elliot in China Waters. Routledge. p. 203. ISBN 978-0-7007-1145-1. 
  5. ^ Wiltshire, Trea (1997). Old Hong Kong. Volume II: 1901–1945 (5th ed.). FormAsia Books. p. 148. ISBN 962-7283-13-4. 
  6. ^ "History of Hong Kong". Global Times. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2010. 
  7. ^ Scott, Ian (1989). Political change and the crisis of legitimacy in Hong Kong. University of Hawaii Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-8248-1269-0. 
  8. ^ Byrne, Joseph Patrick (2008). Encyclopedia of Pestilence, Pandemics, and Plagues: A-M. ABC-CLIO. p. 499. ISBN 0-313-34102-8. 
  9. ^ 中国大陆迁入香港的人口研究 李若建 香港中文大學 中國研究大學服務中心 2008/08/30
  10. ^ 香港人的身份認同 香港觀察 譚衛兒 第一段:若別人問我們是不是中國人,我們不會否認。
  11. ^ http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/release/release937.html
  12. ^ Liu, Xiaomei; Bin, Han. "The Basic Laws of HK and Macao SARs aren’t Subnational Constitutions in China". Institute of Law, China. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Postiglione, Gerard; Tang, James (1997). Hong Kong's Reunion with China: The Global Dimensions. Hong Kong University Press. p. 96. 
  14. ^ Elliot, Elsie (2003). Colonial Hong Kong in the Eyes of Elsie Tu. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 135–136. 
  15. ^ Patten, Christopher (1999). East and West: China, Power, and the Future of Asia. Crown. p. 32. 
  16. ^ Lai, Carol (2007). Media in Hong Kong: Press Freedom and Political Change, 1967–2005. Taylor & Francis. p. 83. 
  17. ^ 誰能發動50萬人上街?兼談大遊行對香港政治傳播的衝擊,陳韜文教授、鍾庭耀博士,2003年7月25日
  18. ^ 反23與反董是7.1遊行的共同目標,陳韜文教授、鍾庭耀博士,2003年7月15日
  19. ^ 香港人權監察對居權證的意見
  20. ^ 湯家驊於中央政策組論壇發言稿
  21. ^ CCPR/C/SR.2351 英文版
  22. ^ 香港人權監察向人權委員員會說明香港1999年人權狀況
  23. ^ 香港民主黨向人權委員會說明香港1999年人權狀況
  24. ^ [2]
  25. ^ http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/hong-kong-03142013141313.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ a b Zhang, Dinghuai (2012-11-06). "'HK independence' an empty argument". Global Times. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  27. ^ Cheung, Gary; Chan, Thomas (2012-09-21). "Handover official Chen Zuo'er laments British flags at protests". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  28. ^ "Protests express freedom, not independence sentiment". South China Morning Post. 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  29. ^ Lu, Ping. "Letters to the Editor, October 12, 2012: HK can't do without mainland". South China Morning Post. 
  30. ^ a b c Cheung, Gary; Lau, Stuart (2012-11-01). "Love China or leave, Lu Ping tells Hong Kong's would-be secessionists". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  31. ^ "HK independence no more than an empty slogan". Global Times. 2012-10-31. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  32. ^ Lo, Alex (2012-11-05). "Flag-wavers have right to be ridiculous". South China Morning post. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 

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