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: Jun 2019
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A Father-Son Split on Hong Kong Protests Shows City’s Generational Divide

He met and married a woman from the city, and they had two children. He saved up enough to buy two apartments. For years, Mr. Wong was the envy of his siblings who had stayed in the mainland. He had more freedom and more money to buy higher-quality goods.
But about a decade ago, he noticed the dynamic changing. His siblings were starting to become wealthier. They bought bigger apartments. They had good government pensions. They were no longer so interested in visiting Hong Kong. Recently, when he asked them before the Mid-Autumn Festival if they wanted mooncakes from Hong Kong, he was stung when they said no.
“Now their lives are better than mine,” Mr. Wong said wistfully. “If I had known back then how developed China would become, I never would have left.”
Mr. Wong’s community of mainland escapees in Hong Kong remains closely connected. Many knew one another as children growing up back in Guangdong; others met later in Hong Kong, through friends or through work. Now in their 60s and 70s, most of them retired, they gather regularly for dim sum, Ping-Pong sessions and mah-jongg tournaments.
But the recent turmoil in Hong Kong has exposed a new fault line within this typically tight-knit community. Though most escapees initially fled to Hong Kong in search of economic freedom, many, like Wu Hay-wing, a retired truck driver, say they’ve come to wholeheartedly cherish the political freedoms they found once they arrived. Unlike Mr. Wong, the cellphone accessories seller, some in his group regularly join the protests.
“The essence of the Communist Party has never changed — it is a totalitarian regime,” said Mr. Wu, 68, who made it to Hong Kong in an improvised boat.
Mr. Wu said he feared that Hong Kong would soon become just another mainland city.
“If that happens, what did I escape here for then?” said Mr. Wu. “All my efforts would have been for nothing.”

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city’s, divide, father-son, generational, hong, kong, protests, shows, split

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