Activists of a recently launched pro-independence party in Hong Kong are campaigning to return to British rule.
These people want independence by returning to colonial rule.
As ironic as the demand may sound, Billy Chiu, the leader of the Alliance to Resume British Sovereignty Over Hong Kong and Independence, says reverting to British rule would just be a phase.
"Independence is the ultimate goal, to return to British rule is just a transitional phase," Chiu told AFP.
After spending over 150 years under British rule, Hong Kong had prospered into an important center of international commerce and banking for most of the 20th century. Despite being under colonial rule, Hong Kong enjoyed considerable political freedom and democracy compared to the rest of China.
Later, in 1984, Britain and China signed a joint declaration, prompting Hong Kong's transfer to China in 1997.
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While initially, Hong Kong enjoyed a “one country, two system” form of governance, Beijing began tightening its control over the special rights of Hongkongers, which they had inherited from their British rulers, primarily democracy and freedom of speech.
The anti-China sentiment has picked up steam over the past couple of years, especially after a group of young Hong Kong pro-democracy activists in 2014 took to the streets for months, a series of protests better known as the Umbrella Movement.
The Alliance activists, on the other hand, have a different approach. They believe it’d be easier to gain independence from Britain than China.
"An independent nation is Hong Kong's only way out," Chiu added.
Returning to British rule is not only wishful thinking but also impossible considering the United Kingdom only recently voted to get itself out of the European Union. The resulting turmoil makes it impossible for Britain to do any empire building.
Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigners might be willing to work with Britain to get rid of China, however, the latter seems more eager to get rid of any economic or political alliance at the moment.