Hong Kong youths are affected by bad media and have a skewed perspective of the mainland’s developments, says Rita Fan, former Legislative Council president. Fan was speaking in an interview with Xinhua published on Thursday.

Fan, now a National People’s Congress Standing Committee member, said that youths exaggerate the flaws and ignore the achievements of the mainland. They also do not know Chinese history well, she added.

Rita Fan. File photo: NowTV screenshot via Stand News.

“Fewer and fewer people are studying [history], meaning that their perspective of history is greatly affected,” said Fan.

She said that more opportunities should be provided for youths to understand China, and that “increasing exchanges to the mainland is a good method.”

Localists not really for ‘local’ values

Fan also said that it was saddening to see youths participate in the Mong Kok unrest without understanding what is right and what is wrong. The Mong Kok unrest broke out over the government’s attempt to clear street hawkers in the Mong Kok area on February 8.

Ray Wong facing the police at the Mong Kok protest. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

“They call themselves ‘localists’ but they are not really espousing localism,” said Fan. “I define ‘localism’ as preserving local traditional culture, trying their best to help improve the economy. Localism is not xenophobia, and moreover it cannot make use of violence. These people are not ‘localists,’” said Fan.

Speaking about Hong Kong society polarising, Fan said: “To be honest, I cannot see a chance of this rift recovering very quickly.” There is a group of people in Hong Kong that oppose the government for the sake of it,” she said.

Fan also said that Hong Kong should take advantage of the “One Belt One Road” initiative and use its background as a finance centre to help the project.

The “One Belt One Road” initiative was proposed by the Chinese government with the goal of connecting China with the rest of Asia, Africa and Europe via land and sea.


Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.