After 35 years of a national policy that was criticized for excessive state intervention and human rights violations, China has announced that couples will now be allowed to have more than one rascal in the house (BBC News, 2015). The policy has of course, been relaxed depending on province and gender of the child – if you have a girl, you could have another child. People who were an only child were also allowed to have more than one child. Now however, all couples can enjoy the luxury of having two children. It may be China’s intention to try and alleviate the problem of ageing population.
The implications of this policy towards Hong Kong are less obvious, but no less important than the usual “horror stories” we get about China in our local newspapers (check out the China section of the Metro free in MTR paid areas; almost half of those are always horrific tales of stabbings, mechanical failures or sexual exploitation). The importance lies in our reactions towards this new two-child policy. The Western world sees this as a relief for couples who have been denied their basic right to have as many children as they wish (as long as they can afford it). They paint a picture of sympathy, and concern for those who have had to endure this policy for so many years (BBC News, 2015). They focus on the joy many Mainland Chinese are likely to be experiencing upon hearing such news. They imply that the policy may alleviate of forced abortions, abandoning or murder of infants and other infant-related crimes. This is good, they are saying, essentially.
However, it seems that for Hong Kong locals, this news is more unwelcome. The potential increment in population thanks to this change in policy can lead to a higher influx of Mainland Chinese into Hong Kong. This means more people in the coming generations being brought up under the influence of Xi Jinping, who has been taking a considerably harder line on all political affairs to entrench CCP power in the PRC. Instead of empathizing with the Mainland Chinese, it seems that our animosity towards Mainland Chinese has overshadowed our basic human compassion. Although Hong Kong is experiencing complex issues concerning her identity and the possibility of “self-governance”, we must try not to sink beneath our anguish. Our city claims to embody multiculturalism. However, Hong Kong has been criticized for becoming increasingly intolerant. Our multiculturalism has not been extended to the Mainland Chinese; ethnic minorities still face major challenges of discrimination and prejudice.
Perhaps it is time for us to rethink our values concerning humanity and intercultural understanding. Are we really multicultural, or are we selectively favouring respect for certain cultures over others?
BBC News. (2015, October 29). China to end one-child policy and allow two. Retrieved November 2, 2015, from BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-34665539