Chinese must be named the sole official language in Hong Kong, with English serving only as a supplementary language, a pro-Beijing activist says.
Chang Chak-yan, co-convenor of Silent Majority for Hong Kong, a group that had opposed the Occupy pro-democracy protests last year, said Hong Kong people should shed the mindset acquired during the years of British colonial rule, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.
No other language should come on top of the Chinese people’s own language, said Chang, a former head of the Department of Government and Public Administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
In an interview published in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily on Tuesday, Chang was critical of Hong Kong’s post-80s and post-90s generations for being attached to the colonial rule. It is only an illusion that the British government rule in Hong Kong was highly successful, he said.
Legislative Councilor Regina Ip from the New People’s Party said she disagreed with Chang’s view on the official language. Adopting both Chinese and English has been long-term policy in Hong Kong, helping the city retain its cosmopolitan nature, she said.
“Our education system has always emphasized the importance of having dual languages,” Apple Daily quoted Ip as saying.
If the English standards of Hong Kong’s young people continue to deteriorate, the city’s ability to bridge with the international community will only be weakened, she said.
“Our young people would find it difficult to land well-paid jobs with good prospects if they do not speak good English,” Ip warned.
Civic Party’s Claudia Mo said English is an international language, and that it shouldn’t be seen as a mere legacy of the colonial rulers. Hong Kong people have been living in an environment where both languages co-exist and thrive, Mo said.
“It is incorrect to suggest that the use of English equals obsession with colonial rule,” she said.
“Chang apparently has little understanding of the young people now. That’s why he could only make suggestions that will please the Beijing government.”