Hong Kong Identity

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The special historic and social-economic background of Hong Kong forms its own identity, which is different from other regions like mainland China, and makes it a specific imagined community, which is accord with Benedict Anderson’s theory of imagined community. Whereas, it is under discussion whether since the reunification in 1997, Hong Kong has been gradually transformed into a part of China in terms of culture and identity and, thus, will no longer be a separated imagined community in the future. This short essay will firstly illustrate why Hong Kong is an imagined community till nowadays and then discuss the future of this community. Hong Kong as a community is imagined because, as Anderson states, its members will never know most of…show more content…
There is no infinite community because the identity is made up of both inclusion and exclusion. Although Hong Kong as a international metropolis is known for its openness, it still has a clear intention to construct “self” and “others” (Ma & Fung 172). The “others” before 1997 used to be western countries exemplified by the United Kingdom, while in the post-colonization era China is regarded as “the most most significant ‘others’” (Ma & Fung…show more content…
Anderson refers to the Reformation, when the vernacular of each nation gradually took the place the exclusive Latin with the development of print capitalism, which was resulted in the fall of “the imagined community of Christendom” (46), meanwhile, the rise of the imagined community of nation-states. Cantonese acts just as those vernaculars to form Hong Kong as a separated community independent from mainland China, whose official and most popular language is Mandarin. Although there are also some regions speaking Cantonese, the role of dialect has been diluted since 1949 and Mandarin is used the most widely. It is agreed by most scholar that Hong Kong identity emerged in the 1960 when the Cantonese began to be used in various mass media especially the television and the use of Mandarin in those media declined (Cheung 1996). Mass media in this case act just as or even better than print capital in Anderson’s theory, enhancing the “calendrical coincidence” (37) and thus creating the imagined community. Admittedly, English is also an important and official language of Hong Kong, whereas its use in daily life is limited and the education in English has also been criticized and limited (Chan 247).

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