I have a selfish concern regarding my annual year-end trip back home to China. As per usual, we are flying into Hong Kong and then taking the train into Guangzhou. Normally there’d be no problem with this, and I’ve always enjoyed spending a bit of time in the city before heading for true home. This year, however, as you may all know, there’s massive protests going on in Hong Kong, and as it stands right now, I don’t see it abating any time soon.
So the selfish question is: am I going to have issues getting through Hong Kong? I mean, protestors did shutdown the airport a few weeks back; it’s difficult to predict if it will escalate back to that level again. I’ll be slightly annoyed if my well-prepared travel plans get altered due to the protests.
That is not to say I don’t sympathize with the people of Hong Kong in fighting for a no strings attached governance from mainland China. As a person who lives in the free West, I think democratic values and basic freedoms are worth fighting for, and if Hong Kong feels like this is the moment to die on the proverbial hill, then all the power to them. One can certainly disagree with the protestor’s tactics or their demands in general, but for those of us on the sidelines looking in, I think we have to remember that we don’t live in Hong Kong, the protestors do, and I trust they’d know best what they want for their future.
That is also not to say I’m antagonistic towards China. Guangzhou is my hometown, and I have many family members there; I am not going to state (or tweet) anything negative towards the communist government that can potentially get me banned from entering my home country, to be cut off from my extended family. That is my skin in the game, and the incentive is to preserve my entry and exit privileges. I simply want to make a trip home every year without fuss.
Because of the situation in Hong Kong, this year we are not heading into the city proper, and instead, taking the shuttle bus to Guangzhou right at the airport. It’s a shame because I absolutely adore Hong Kong, and would have loved to sightsee there for a few days.
Maybe next year.