Hong Kong had a history as a colony ruled by the British Empire for 155 years. As a Pearl of Asia, Hong Kong was reluctantly returned to China in 1997. Not like Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan have no sane reasons for pushing for Independence. The Independence push comes from foreign influence with sour grape mentality. The Chinese people worldwide, HK, Taiwan even in Singapore should understand the meaning of Independence and who wants to push for it!
No one would argue that the people in Hong Kong (HK), a vibrant metropolitan city with super majority being immigrants from China are Chinese. The HK dialect originated from South China is still prevalent today that signifies Chinese are conservative, traditional and believing in ancestry, culture and history. When the Qing Dynasty was weak and corrupt, she was no match to the British Empire's navy and guns. HK was ceded to Britain after China lost in the first Opium War (1841-1842), a war of disgrace. From Chinese citizens' nationalistic point of view the defeat brought the unequal Treaty of Nanking. Opium War was a disgrace to human civilization as well. The Chinese government had all the rights to protect her people from the British merchants forcing opium trade to China, but there was no international justice nor human rights but only gun boat power then. The Consequence of opium addiction is devastating, destruction of health, loss of will power and a merciless way of leading a person to kill him or herself or commit murder for a last smoke of opium.
Opium war also led other nations to invade China for territory and financial gains, including the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) resulting in China ceding Taiwan to Japan (Makwan Treaty, another disgraceful unequal treaty). Japan with her ambition to conquer China launched an all-out pre-meditated war in 1937. The Japanese Imperial Army committed the Nanking Massacre, a war crime more atrocious than holocaust. Nanking Massacre began in December 13, 1937, in six weeks the Japanese Imperial Army slaughtered 300,000 people, looted properties and burned the Nanking City. It is a sad history that the Chinese people wish to forget and never to happen again. But Japan till today still denies it ever happened. Some would say Japan was too ashamed to admit it and some would say the Japanese people were too scared of revenge to admit such cruelest war crime. But the sad hidden truth was that the Japanese simply wanted to keep the spirit of Japanese Imperialism alive. This angers the Chinese and worries all Asians, even some US citizens whose ancestors experienced the cruelty of the Japanese soldiers during WW II.
Since 1842, HK was ceded (Treaty of Nanking) to the British Empire which then ruled HK as a colony, treating HK people as inferior second class citizens. The governor of HK was appointed by the British Crown enjoying absolute authority answering only to the Crown. When the Chinese Revolution toppled Qing Dynasty and established Republic of China (ROC) in 1911, the United Kingdom held on HK with no intention of returning it to China. Japan tried to follow the British Colony model to rule Taiwan but found out that the Japanese could be easily absorbed by Chinese culture like many invaders in China in the past history. Japan started her own model, forcing Chinese to learn and use the Japanese language, change to Japanese names and wear Japanese clothes. Japan wanted to absorb the Chinese into Japanese culture but as a second class citizen. When Japan was defeated ending WW II; Japan returned Taiwan and all other occupied territories to China. The fifty years of Japanese rule in Taiwan left some tragic mark of Japanese cruelty, slaughtering the aborigines and many who did not fully cooperated in the 'Japanization' program. Some Japanese and their descendants stayed back in Taiwan after WW II ended.
The United Kingdom did not return HK to China taking advantage of China's internal power struggle between KuoMingTang (KMT) and Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In 1949, the CCP united the entire Mainland and established People's Republic of China (PRC) and the KMT retreated to Taiwan as Republic of China (ROC). Both PRC and ROC claim to be the official representative of the entire China with a vow to unite Mainland and Taiwan as well as to recover all territories lost by previous unequal treaties mentioned above. However, after WW II, HK remained under the control of the United Kingdom despite of hundreds of thousands more mainlanders moved to HK during the 1940's and 1950's. The HK government then treated the newcomers as unwelcome refugees giving little assistance. The Chinese in HK struggled and helped themselves; some eventually moved to Taiwan and some returned to Mainland China.
The Chinese are peace loving people. They long for law and order and opportunity for making a peaceful living. When HK or Taiwan was ceded to foreign power, the people's resistance was quickly put down by military force. They could only blame their weak mother land and wished for their return with strength. The British had practiced colonialism and skillfully maintained law and order in HK but granting no political freedom or rights to the HK people. Japan failed in her 'Japanization' program in Taiwan but Japanese genes seemed to have a 'never giving up a goal' trait. Today Japan is still pursuing ‘Japanizing Taiwan’ by supporting pro-Japan politicians in Taiwan to push for independence with a goal to absorb Taiwan as she is doing to Okinawa. When a Taiwan middle school celebrated its 68th anniversary, a bunch of alumni went back from the U.S. to celebrate their 50th graduation anniversary (the middle school is Fuzon recovered from Japan after WW II and renamed in 1947). So many Japanese 'alumni' in their 80’s came to attend the celebration (some only attended the middle school a year or two). The travel expenses of the Japanese “alumni’ were funded by some Japanese business organization, would you believe such generosity with no political motives?
HK was finally returned to China by U.K. In 1997 amusingly with a stipulation that HK would remain somewhat autonomous for 50 years, except leaving defense and foreign diplomacy to be the responsibility of the Chinese Central Government. China confidently agreed and kept her promise even strengthened her constitution to permit China to have multiple political systems to co-function in China – a reasonable foundation to support a united China of 56 races cultivated as Chinese people. HK now enjoys far more political freedom and rights than when she was a colony (1842-1997). The Chinese people living in HK tolerated the British rule and there were no political movement for Independence then. Why is there an independence movement today after 20 peaceful years after the returning to an improving and growing China, pushed by young people who had just grown up from babies to adults? Do they understand the meaning of independence comes with its responsibility of self-defense? Why would HK people want to give up her high per capita income to spend on military defense by being an enemy of her mother country? Why?
Singapore as a city country populated with Chinese in majority, Malay, Indians and Indonesians was forced to declare independence after being expelled by the Malay Federation. Singapore now has to maintain a significant defense and rely on a U.S. Alliance for security since she is surrounded by Muslim countries. Why does HK, a Chinese populated city, want to push for independence from China, her only neighbor? China not only did not discriminate against HK but enriched HK economic growth? HK people enjoys just as much if not more political freedom than Singaporeans do because Singapore has a political baggage due to her Malay and Indian constituents. So, who wants HK people to push for Independence to become an enemy of her mother country? A similar logical question can be asked about the Taiwan people. But the answer is the same: Not citizens but foreign countries really want HK and Taiwan to push for Independence, to create chaos, to weaken China and to destroy HK and Taiwan’s economy.
The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/21/hong-kong-china-authoritarian-democracy-one-country-two-systems) published a paper by Howard W French, Is it too late to save Hong Kong from Beijing’s authoritarian grasp? The article has a sour grape tone implying that the tremendous local pride when HK was returned to China in 1997 was so quickly disappeared in one generation. But the Guardian article’s title and the news items attributed to authoritarian grasp therein really supported the answer above. The Independence push comes from foreign influence but it will not succeed. The Chinese people worldwide, HK, Taiwan even in Singapore now should understand the meaning of Independence and who wants to push for it!