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Impressions of developments in the society of Hong Kong


The complete set of blog posts, in Norwegian, is available from https://hongkongsettfranorge.org/

Mitigation plea series

The Hong Kong delegation’s visit

I was extremely fortunate to take part in meetings with a Hong Kong delegation who visited Oslo, Norway at the end of February 2020. I wrote three articles to sum up my impressions from days I’ll always remember.

Impressions from 2019 through a northern lense

My blog about Hong Kong in Norwegian started by writing a couple of articles about the perspectives and impressions I got from afar, following the protest movement in 2019. I have translated the first two articles to English.

Why Hong Kong?

From a historic perspective the time a nation can enjoy as a superpower is limited. The rise of a nation as a superpower can be recognized in terms of an economy that reaches far beyond its borders, supported by a dominating military power. Great Britain lost its century-long role as the world’s leading superpower after World War I, when the United States overtook this dominance from GB. However, the US is easily recognized as being born from the British empire, so this transition did not overturn world order. Presently we recognize China as an aspiring new superpower. China’s economy is already the world’s largest when measured in purchasing power parity. And even though China’s militarty power still falls a bit short of that of the US, thus not meeting the main criterion of a superpower, China is already a major military power in the world, with rising capabilities each year.

The rise of a superpower in the world today will potentially, if not inevitably, have a momentous global impact. It is in this context that I, as a citizen of a western democracy, follow the developments in Hong Kong at a distance, as a source of information relevant for the future of the west. Ideas and civil rights that permeate society in Hong Hong are similar to the way of life in the west: when Hong Kong was returned to the Peoples Republic of China in 1997 its citizens were promised 50 years of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and association, freedom to form and join trade unions (Basic Law, article 27), an independent judiciary (article 2), and an initially limited suffrage (which unfortunately has not evolved as set out in Basic Law articles 45 and 68). At the time of writing (October 2019) there are multiple reasons for grave concerns. Other topics like climate change will change our world, and that issue receives befitting attention. However, a change in the global power structures will definitely shape the future of the world in the coming decades. Nevertheless, in most (if not all) countries in the western hemisphere (including Norway), the near-inevitability of a China as a superpower is given a level of attention which falls far short of what is needed for us to prepare for our future.

My intention with this blog is to write a collection of short essays in which I aim to shed light on the present, changing, situation in Hong Kong (and to some degree the response around the world). My aim is to provide a source of information that can hopefully be useful for those who become more interested in the situation in Hong Kong, which is evolving dramatically nearly on a daily basis. My interest in this topic is substantial, yet I have never visited Hong Kong. When the Norwegian version of this introductory text was written, it was without personal contact with any Hong Kong nationals (though this changed soon thereafter). My sources are primarily online media such as Hong Kong Free Press, selected articles from the internet edition of the South China Morning Post newspaper, a number of twitter accounts out of Hong Kong, and other online sources (international press, and a favorite: Wikipedia).

I became a board member of the Hong Kong Committee in Norway in 2020, and has been the committee’s deputy leader since 2021.

The illustration on the top of all blog pages displays the Lennon wall flag which is created by the Chinese exiled artist Badiucao. Badiucao, who presently resides in Australia, has written about the inspiration and ideas for the flag here. Follow Badiucao on twitter: @badiucao.

The Norwegian version of this text was posted on Hongkong sett fra Norge on 9 October 2019.

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