Writing in Foreign Policy, Peter Rutland argues that the protestors in Hong Kong are not just demanding democracy, “they’re also asserting their own identity in the face of increased efforts by Beijing to impose greater homogeneity on its far-flung territories.”
Mainland China is experiencing its own upsurge in nationalism, writes Rutland as he looks to 19th century Europe to explain how rapid industrialization and a boom in international trade lead to increased military spending and a rise in populist nationalism. This trend is echoed, in some ways, in Hong Kong, particularly in “the growing prominence of identity politics.”
Rutland writes: “Hong Kong’s impressive economic achievements have inspired great pride among the city’s residents — pride in a local identity increasingly defined in contrast to that of the mainland Chinese.”
Read the full essay here.
Rutland is The Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, tutor in the College of Social Studies.