PODCAST: Generation HK and the Hong Kong Identity

PODCAST: Generation HK and the Hong Kong Identity
Credit: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

What you need to know

Check out the latest episode of The News Lens Radio.

There is this question of identity, which is really at the heart of a lot of what has happened. - Ben Bland

Over the past few years, Hong Kong has been redefined by its young people. In the 2014 Umbrella Movement, student leaders, including Joshua Wong, led hundreds of thousands in protest against the Chinese government.

Since then, the tension between the city’s pro-democratic young people and the establishment loyal to Beijing has remained palpable. At times it has boiled over with spurts of violence and civil disobedience.

All the while, there are signs that China will continue to intervene and erode the autonomy promised to the Hong Kong people under the “One Country, Two Systems” model.

Just this past week, young politicians and activists again faced off with pro-Beijing thugs and Hong Kong police as China’s President Xi Jinping made a rare three-day trip to the city to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1997 handover from the U.K. to China.

In this episode of The News Lens Radio, we talk to journalist and author Ben Bland about the development of the new Hong Kong identity and its implications for both Hong Kong and China.

Ben Bland is South China correspondent with the Financial Times. His first book, “Generation HK: Seeking Identity in China’s Shadow," has just been published. He introduces readers to the new generation of Hong Kongers. The book, however, is not limited to the political activists. There are also underground filmmakers, multi-millionaire super tutors, and even the children of the city’s business tycoons. These are people who have, for the most part, grown up after the 1997 handover and, as Ben argues, have formed a whole new identity — something that appears to be of major concern to Beijing.

“Generation HK” is published by Penguin as part of a special series on Hong Kong.

This podcast is available via the SoundCloud, Stitcher and iTunes apps.

Editor: Olivia Yang