Professor wants Chinese as only official language

Professor wants Chinese as only official language

English can work in an assisting role, Chang Chak-yan says, but it can't be placed ahead of the language of the Chinese people

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Professor Chang Chak-yan says the success of British rule is an illusion.
Professor Chang Chak-yan says the success of British rule is an illusion.
Photo: Edward Wong

Professor Chang Chak-yan says "The [only] official language in Hong Kong should be Chinese". Chang is former head of the Department of Government and Public Administration at Chinese University, and is a convenor of the anti-Occupy group Silent Majority for Hong Kong.

English can work as an assisting language, but it can't be placed before the language of the Chinese people, Chang told People's Daily's overseas edition on Tuesday.

Kate Ng, a student at the University of Hong Kong, said Chang "has probably forgotten the fact that there is no direct relationship between official languages and patriotism even though he taught politics at CUHK".

South Island School student Tricia Teh, 16, argued that making Chinese the only official language "will deteriorate the speed and progress that our local businesses make". "Furthermore, a city's identity doesn't lie only with its origins. Being a British colony was a major part of Hong Kong's history … We have just been affected by the lifestyles and cultural ties that Britain left behind. In that way, English is just as much our own language as Chinese is," she added.

Chang pointed out that British colonial rule had its own problems. He added that subdivided rooms had existed long before the handover. There were even "ripped beds", when people took turns sleeping in the same bed.

Chang said it's an illusion for people to think that Hong Kong is a successful example of British rule.

"I wouldn't call Hong Kong's youth 'obsessed' with the old colonial Hong Kong because you don't see student leaders going on about how great Hong Kong was under British rule and why that needs to be kept," said Joy Pamnani, a student from PLK Ngan Po Ling College and Young Post's Junior Reporter of the Year. "I think Hong Kong youth are more concerned with what's in store for our city and their future with regard to upcoming elections in 2017."

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Professor wants just one official tongue

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