The Chinese New Year has started with violent clashes in Mong Kok. Televisions have been blasting images of injured policemen and bloodied civilians’ and the “riot” was the main subject of family gatherings.
It all started off over a fish ball stall.
Street food is common in Hong Kong, especially during Chinese New Year. It is a tradition; it is Hong Kong’s culture.
So when the police decided to remove the food stalls – at this time of the year- people lost it.
The issue here is deeper than it looks. As Bernice Chan from the SCMP reports it “Hongkongers feel this ‘fish ball revolution’ is not just about street food, it’s about losing their culture and, losing their culture is also about losing a part of their identity. And there’s not much of the culture left so they feel like they have to grapple onto whatever is left and hang onto it.”
The government has slowly been washing away the local culture…
In the past few years there have been protests about amends to Hong Kong’s education curriculum aiming at promoting a deeper identification with Mainland China, Old villages have been destroyed to make space for new properties, owners of a bookstore selling books banned by China have been “kidnapped” and the umbrella revolution is still fresh in everyone’s mind.
On the other hand, the Chinese government is overseeing a country made of 56 ethnic groups, 22 provinces and a handful of autonomous and special administrative regions. Keeping things unified and cohesive is a difficult task, yet a priority.