Interesting news from Hong Kong: Five pro-independence candidates recently won seats in the legislature, prompting China to issue official warnings to its own semi-autonomous territory.
If you're a little fuzzy on the relationship between China and Hong Kong, don't worry. It's an inherently fuzzy situation. Jules Suzdaltsev explains in today's Seeker Daily report.
First off, Hong Kong is indeed part of China. In fact, lest citizens forget, the territory is officially named the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. The main reason that Hong Kong gets special treatment is that, for many years, it was a British-occupied colony.
Hong Kong was among the spoils of war, really, from the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, following the First Opium War. But in 1997, after years of negotiations, Britain finally handed Hong Kong back to China. As part of the deal, Hong Kong would operate under a form of autonomy referred to as "One Country, Two Systems."
RELATED: Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Bans Shark Fin Cargo
So while the territory is now technically a part of China, Hong Kong is relatively autonomous. It has its own government, with independent executive, judicial, and legislative branches. It also runs its own law enforcement system and sets immigration policy. Hong Kong even has its own currency.
In return, Hong Kong cedes control to China in other matters, most importantly those that concern the military. In fact, China has its own specific military division devoted to the territory. This arrangement has left many Hong Kong residents with divided loyalties. A 2014 survey found that less than 10 percent of the population identify as strictly Chinese; around 25 percent identify as Hongkongers; and most feel a dual loyalty to both Hong Kong and China.
China is particularly worried about a growing youth movement -- fueled by student protests and social media -- that supports full independence for Hong Kong. A poll from 2016 found that roughly 17 percent of Hongkongers support independence by 2050, but among those aged 15-24, that number is up around 40 percent.
Clearly, Hong Kong and China have a complicated relationship -- and recent developments suggest things aren't likely to clear up anytime soon.
-- Glenn McDonald
The Guardian: China Warns New Hong Kong Politicians Not to Back Independence
CNN: Hong Kong to Chinese Shoppers: 'Go Home'
Britannica: Opium Wars