立場新聞 Stand News

In a Cambridge student magazine...

2018/6/21 — 15:13

Empire

Empire

Have a grasp of a Cambridge member’s commentary, alongside an impactful photo. (above)

“We call ourselves civilised and them barbarians; here is what Civilisation has done to Barbarity.” – Victor Hugo

The Qing Dynasty’s Imperial Garden, a.k.a. Old Summer Palace, in Beijing was ruthlessly destructed and ruined by the British and French troops during the Second Opium War in 1860. Colonists’ flags flied on the oriental soil; underneath, there was the Garden that was burnt down. Countless and priceless calligraphies, sculptures and antiques were taken and “preserved” in the hands of museums in the West and private collectors. Warlords, mobsters and refugees further looted and deteriorated the place in the next century to come. In the 1970s, man-made famine, rampant persecution and cultural heritage destruction were nation-wide phenomena. Timber chopped as fuel, meadow inhabited by livestock. This is known as the Cultural Revolution, led by the Chinese Communist Party whose wrong-doings were later admitted. 

廣告

Ashes to ashes, they say; tangible to none is beyond.

Another consequence of the Second Opium War, and probably more familiar to the British readership, a part of Hong Kong was ceded “in perpetuity” to the United Kingdom. With the UK’s grandeur and the city’s character, Hong Kong had striven to become an internationally renowned metropolis. It was always the safe harbor whenever the place the Northerners once called home was in disaster, as aforementioned. In 1997, the sovereignty of Hong Kong was transferred to China.

廣告

This is a timely submission following the Chinese constitutional amendment, one that technically allows the president to rule for life. Today, the Manchu, the master of the Qing dynasty, are no longer in power. Their language, the native tongue of few. Perceiving maltreatment and threats, Hong Kong independence activists protest and face severe consequences. Both civilisation and barbarity continue. So does fragmentation, and so on.

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