When you ask Hong Kongers where are they from, you will get a very typical answer of “I’m from Hong Kong”.
You barely hear them say “I’m a Chinese”. Even though Hong Kong has been returned to the sovereignty of China for almost 14 years, Hong Kong people still consider themselves separately from Chinese regarding language, culture and living standard.
Why don’t Hong Kongers think of themselves as Chinese? What’s wrong with being a Chinese for them?
Hong Kong people think Cantonese is a more exclusive and prestigious language and it creates some kind of language pride to Hong Kong-ese because they’re speaking their “own” language. Although Guangdong people also speak Cantonese.
Hong Kong is a capitalist economy while China is a (partially) socialist one.
The economic system had made Hong Kong economically more affluent than China in the old days. Hong Kong was doing well at making clothing, watches and jewellery in the 1960′s-1980′s, though the main economic sectors have been switched to retail, banking and real estate after because of the rising wages and rents in factories
Hong Kong people’s higher income and living standard created their mentality of being more high-status than “Chinese”.
In essence, Hong Kong people’s self-identity is based on the mutual benefits and influence between Hong Kong and China. When China is having good reputations, they don’t mind being a “Chinese”, otherwise they stick to their old “Hong Kong-ese” pride.