Hundreds of people queued outside the British Consulate in Hong Kong on Monday morning to present flowers and sign a book of condolence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II.
Hong Kong was a British colony for 156 years until 1997 when it was returned to Chinese rule, but now Beijing appears to have rejected this status, referring to the period as a “forced occupation” that should not be considered legitimate.
The Queen, who visited Hong Kong twice during her 70th reign, is remembered by many in the city as the “Madam Head” or “Madam in charge” in Cantonese.
Among those outside the consulate office on Monday was retired Sylvia Lee, who said she was saddened to hear of the Queen’s death on Friday, adding that she believed the Queen was a symbol of stability around the world.
“No one lives forever and we knew that this day would come one day. She was a respected figure, and the government during the colonial period made many contributions to the development of Hong Kong, especially in the 1970s and 1980s,” referring to the period when the Conservatives Those appointed in the city build public housing and transportation. Infrastructure.
Chapman Wu, 40, also brought his young daughter to pay tribute and present flowers to the Queen.
Wu said that without the British Empire, it would not have been possible to enjoy religious freedom in the city under Chinese rule. Christianity emerged in Hong Kong as early as 1841 when the city came under British rule after the First Opium War.
“I won’t comment politically, but without being a former British colony, Hong Kong may not have religious freedom,” he told CNN.
“Other than that, who knows if we’ll ever be able to practice any religion at all, especially with the religious suppression of Christians in China.”
Both Beijing loyalists and Hong Kong politicians protested British control during the colonial period, but in recent years a more positive view of the colonial government has emerged among pro-democracy groups, with many adopting the colonial flag as a radical sign of resistance to Chinese one-party rule during anti-government protests in 2019.
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