Everyone in HK is a minority in China (part 1) : Language is the issue
Hong Kong (HK) is built on discrimination - mostly amongst Chinese people themselves. HK Chinese elites, a numerical minority who control the illegitimate Legislative Council (LegCo), do not want changes to their HK money making : HK is a Chinese feudal plutocracy where absolute power absolutely corrupts!
HK protesters who are the majority of HKers uphold the Joint Declaration and the rule OF law. Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) has illegally annexed HK on 1 July 2020 using its unconstitutional rule BY law and its 'national security law'. This means that CCP's China is in breach of UN international treaties, most importantly the Joint Declaration.
Having annexed HK CCP is busy trying to keep up appearances that the rule OF law still exists in HK because it needs money - but nobody is fooled!
The lack of a legal separation between HK's rule Of law and China's rule BY law is troubling to local and foreign citizens alike, to property owners, investors and business people. Today HK has no rule OF law because there is only 'one country, one system' - i.e. 'one country, two systems' is dead, making HK now just like any other mainland Chinese city.
The current lack of a physical border that can be closed between HK and China deeply concerns HK people who have always been affected by China's environment, their flus and viruses : e.g. 2002-2003 SARS and global pandemic 2019 Wuhan coronavirus COVID-19. Despite a 2020 strike by Union healthcare workers, HK Chief Executive Carrie Lam (CLam) refused to close the HK border with China at the start of COVID-19 pandemic. CLam is currently allowing 2 Officers from each HK public listed company unrestricted travel to HK without any COVID-19 testing, vaccination or quarantine - whilst HK people are still under strict social distancing regulations prohibiting gatherings of more than 4 people!
Meanwhile. there is no CCP nor HK government policy or law on the official Chinese dialect being Putonghua or Cantonese. Putonghua uses 'simplified' characters whilst Cantonese uses 'traditional' characters. CCP across China uses linguistic assimilation : HKers are sure that in time the official Chinese dialect will become Putonghua as HK is 'integrated' into CCP's China.
The mid-June 2021 closure of Apple Daily HK is seen as another strike against the use of Cantonese and English in the city.
However, HK native Cantonese Chinese speakers will surely resist Putonghua as their ultimate stand against CCP.
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The UN 'Declaration on Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious & Linguistic Minorities' is the UN required minimum standard for minorities integration : Of course HK does not comply with this!
Local Cantonese language and culture are heavily entwined and alive in HK. When CCP starts using Putonghua throughout HK, this will be the last 'nail in the coffin' for HK Chinese native Cantonese speakers.
Since there is no 'border', physical and legal, between HK and China, all HKers including the majority of HKers who are HK Chinese native Cantonese speakers, ethnic and linguistic minorities, religious groups, LGBTQ, disabled, etc can all now be seen as minority groups in China, and are likely to be treated as such by CCP.
HKers must act to protect everyone in HK, including the majority HK Chinese native Cantonese speakers, from linguistic and cultural discrimination by CCP, by strengthening all minorities' human rights in HK. This is about being inclusive, and recognising the interdependence of people living in the city and on the whole planet.
CCP please answer all of the following UN letters sent to you:
Mandates of the UN Special Rapporteur 28 June 2019 (On 12 June 2021 protest)
HK Children's mother tongue education
Priority for all parents is the human right for their children to learn and use their mother tongue language. All children have their right to their native language learning and use under UN international treaties ICCPR, 'Convention on the Rights of the Child' (CRC) and for minorities 'Declaration on Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious & Linguistic Minorities'.
HK Chinese elites like to differentiate themselves from the HK 'common' Chinese : e.g. despite being a numerical minority post-1997 British handover they continue to control the Legislative Council (LegCo) and with it Public Purse spending including in areas such as education for their children. Some children of HK senior civil servants residing in wealthy districts enroll in ESF schools using English Medium of Instruction (EMI) funded in part by the Public Purse. Meanwhile the HK common Chinese children attend local 'Chinese Medium of Instruction' (CMI) schools using the Cantonese dialect as Medium of Instruction.
In China, every Primary School child has their human right to learn and use their native mother tongue - be it a Chinese provincial dialect (e.g. Cantonese) or a minority language (e.g. Mongolian, Turkish, etc.) - but this human right is often violated. Officially the language of 'Unity' is Putonghua (Beijing dialect) which should be taught as a second language starting later in Primary School : Putonghua uses 'simplified' characters whilst Cantonese uses 'traditional' characters. In China the language for business is English, which is the last language children learn in Secondary School if they plan to study at University.
HK language policy for employment should be that everyone must be fluent in at least 1 of 2 languages - Chinese (Putonghua or Cantonese dialect) or English - and know some of the others. Currently everyone employed in HK is required to be fluent ONLY in Cantonese which, with only 100 million speakers worldwide, is too limiting for HK's success as 'Asia's World City'.
Since 1989 a change of local school Medium of Instruction from English to Chinese means that very few HK linguistic and ethnic minorities can achieve Cantonese fluency. This is because they are not being adequately schooled with the UN recommended high-quality Cantonese as a second language program - i.e. there is no meaningful social integration policy for ethnic and linguistic minorities in HK, only discrimination.
In October 2013 the UN Committee of the Rights of Child recommended that HK "Intensify its efforts to implement legislation and policies on bilingual education at all levels of education, ensuring high-quality education in Chinese as a second language." Bi-lingual refers to Chinese and English languages : i.e. HK's focus only on Chinese language is unacceptable.
It is the UN human right of the parents in HK to decide which language of Chinese (dialect Putonghua or Cantonese) or English that their child wishes to use as their Medium of Instruction : All students should learn as subjects Putonghua, Cantonese and English.
Since 1998 HK government has been practicing assimilation on ethnic and linguistic minorities' children : The tide is turning - now HK Chinese Cantonese native speaker children are facing assimilation from CCP's mainland Chinese Putonghua dialect.
According to Joint NGO submission to CERD May 2018, ethnic and linguistic minorities are linguistically discriminated against in HK local schools with many children learning no higher level of Cantonese fluency than the second year of Primary School of a HK Chinese native Cantonese speaking child! Putonghua has 4 tones and is widely Romanised : By comparison ethnic minorities children in China have much less difficulty learning Putonghua as a second language than minorities children in HK have learning Cantonese.
Ethnic and linguistic minorities children going to HK local public funded schools are denied their native language and English because all children in HK local schools are considered by HK government as being 'Chinese speakers.' These minorities children are taught Cantonese dialect as a subject and use Cantonese dialect 'Medium of Instruction' (CMI) for all subjects. Since 1998 there has been NO Cantonese second language program in HK for minorities children : i.e. this is a deliberate program of discrimination against minorities. Despite UN recommendations nothing has been done by the HK government!
Under current HK legislation minorities children are being "legally" assimilated by the HK Government funded local education system. These rights are prohibited in HK for minorities children under “Race Discrimination Ordinance” (RDO) Article 26.2.
HK ethnic minorities children may be much better off learning their mother tongue language, English, Putonghua and Cantonese as subjects : For Medium of Instruction (MOI) they could use any of these : This is a choice that ONLY parents can make!
It is unethical, illegal and unacceptable for CCP to replace HK Chinese children's current mother tongue Cantonese language Medium of Instruction (MOI) with Putonghua in HK public funded schools without the approval of parents. However, doing unethical things or acting without public consultation has become commonplace for the HK government, and it has discriminated against ethnic and linguistic minorities' children in HK since 1998!
Please read and share our blogs:
Education: Indoctrination and assimilation is increasing
RTHK 2 June 2021 'HK urged to consider simplified Chinese and Mandarin'
Linguistic and cultural minorities
Under UN obligations HK Chinese indigenous Hakka, Tanka and other Chinese minorities must be taught in HK school using their mother tongue - however in HK they are being taught only HK Cantonese dialect which is illegal assimilation!
Cantonese as a language is primarily a spoken language which in HK is alive, in constant flux and uses a lot of slang. Cantonese has 9 tones - making it one of the most difficult languages to learn as a second language. There is no widely used Romanisation of Cantonese: e.g. linguistic ethnic minorities children in HK have to devise their own method for pronunciation which results in 12 years of education in which they are equivalent in local language skills to 2 years education of a Cantonese native language speaker!
Cantonese art, culture and movies have moved from HK into China's Guangdong Province.
HK native Cantonese Chinese speakers will surely resist Putonghua as their ultimate stand against CCP.
Please read and share our blogs:
BLM and Hong Kong's new social contract
In Hong Kong the fox is in-charge of the chickens!
Pepe and Jeremiah B.
Please read other blogs in this series:
Everyone in HK is a minority in China (part 2): The real 'world city'
A picture says a thousand words - this cartoon says much more than 1,000 words of truths about CCP's China! As always WTPOHK thank the tireless Rebel Pepper for his timely and accurate insights.