Some young Hong Kong residents want to be part of Britain again
Residents in Hong Kong have started calling for the return of their former colonial rulers.
Britain left the Far East 20 years ago on July 1, but citizens in the administrative region are now calling for their return.
The flag used under the British has been waved at protests calling for a return to democracy.
China has an obligation to maintain democratic principals in the micro-state but many say they are not doing a good job.
Alice Lai has now set up the HK-UK Reunification Campaign group.
The 39-year-old said: ‘Hong Kong and the UK coexisted in a proven, well-functioning system for close to two centuries.’
The legacy – banks, rattling trams, street names and horse racing – are self-evident.
Since the handover, attended by Prince Charles, inequality has become more apparent and Chinese investors have sent house prices spiralling.‘China is simply unfit to be governing Hong Kong – it’s a different way of thinking, a different way of life,’ Lai adds.
‘During the past 20 years things have gradually changed. Living standards, people’s liberties – it’s a disaster,’ retired bank worker Sarah Ng explained.
Hong Kong was long seen as the shining example of the British Empire after first coming under UK influence in 1841.
Historian John Carroll said the colonial powers mostly shied away from the ‘kind of excesses’ seen elsewhere.
Riots in 1967 went hand-in-hand with widespread corruption and poverty.But those with memories beyond the last 20 years of British rule might recall something different.
The iconic Kowloon Walled City on the New Territories was run by gangs and saw 33,000 people in a 6.4 acre space.
‘I do think it ironic that some people are calling for a return to the UK, given that it deprived Hong Kong people of these rights for so long,’ Carroll added.
The past has not dented the affection clearly felt by some.
The regally titled Queen’s Pier was set for demolition when residents locked themselves to it.Post boxes two years ago were planned to lose their British insignia until Hong Kong residents erupted in outrage.
China has regularly seen mass protests against their treatment of the island.
The ‘Umbrella Revolution’ saw thousands on the streets of Central and Admiralty – the heart of the island – to demand democratic safeguards.
Colonial flags were spotted throughout the protest, despite organisers trying to discourage them from being flown.
During his time in the military he had to work harder than non-Chinese recruits.Yet Albert Lam MBE, who served in the British Army for 24 years, remembers things were not all perfect.
He said: ‘Hong Kong people don’t have any hard feelings against the British. But I wouldn’t particularly say the British were a lot better than the Chinese.’
The Chinese leadership, he points out, have allowed mass protests something never tolerated under Brits.
Now, 20 years on from the handover, the anniversary will give a chance to reflect on colonialism on the island.
Whether the nostalgia for the British is kept up until then is anyone’s guess.Yet it is also just 30 years until the agreement between Britain and China is dissolved and the new power takes full control of the island.