On August 31, I saw a newsflash from Xinhua: the election for the chief executive of Macau had concluded. The sole candidate, Fernando Chui, received 380 votes to win Macau’s fourth election for chief executive. In the afternoon of the same day, I saw more news from Xinhua: the National People’s Standing Committee had just adopted the “Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Issues Relating to the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.” After that came a cell phone alert: “Occupy Central will meet tonight from seven to nine.”
These news updates sunk me into a chaotic mood. I quickly began to feel sad, without really knowing why. I was sent to Hong Kong as an employee for a Chinese company, and I worked there until 1997. I’ve also spent about half of the past four years in Hong Kong. I guess you could say I’m a mainlander who is relatively familiar with Hong Kong. But more importantly, my understanding of Hongkongers has helped me to come to a deeper understanding of myself and Chinese mainlanders. Hongkongers’ education levels and their general character is among the finest in the world. Although Hong Kong has existed in a crack between China and Great Britain since 1840, it has earned a reputation as the world’s most mature free city, where the rule of law reins. I know from experience the difference between mainlanders and Hongkongers.