It is the end of August, and the summer holidays are drawing to a close. The last Monday of August is Hong Kong’s Liberation Day. In August 1945, Hong Kong officially ended its occupation by the Japanese after the Allied Powers defeated Japan in World War II. Hong Kong’s Liberation Day used to be a public holiday, but the government cancelled the holiday after the July 1 handover.
Liberation Day is a day that marks the liberation of a place from oppression and is usually a public holiday in that country. Liberation Day is also similar to Independence Day in that it usually celebrates the end of a colonial state or a foreign-controlled government and the achievement of independence. For example, on 15 February 1989, when the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan, it became Afghanistan’s Liberation Day, and on 28 October 1944, when Ukraine was freed from Nazi German control, it became Ukraine’s Liberation Day.
The short period of three years and eight months of Japanese occupation may be unfamiliar to young people nowadays. I have only come across the history of Hong Kong’s occupation by the Japanese army through historical materials, and this has given me a lot of reflections. Hong Kong has intricate relations with Japan, the United Kingdom and China. In particular, in the face of the increasing number of emigrants from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom, Japan has decided to discharge 7 800 tonnes of nuclear effluent into the Pacific Ocean.
After the handover of Hong Kong, it may be outdated to reintroduce the Hong Kong Liberation Day. However, one of the reasons for proposing the Liberation Day is to remind the people that they have been released from suppression, and that the freedom and peace that they now enjoy have been achieved through the blood and flesh of the previous generation. There are still many people in the world who are still living under suppression. As for the victory in the war against Japan, Hong Kong was only a passive player in the war, and it can be said that peace was fortunately gained.
In the war of defence of Hong Kong which started in 1941, the strong rule and fighting power of Japan shattered the myth of the superiority of the white man. White colonial rule around the world also declined, and calls for decolonisation grew louder and louder.
The three years and eight months of suppression by Japan was a watershed in Hong Kong’s history. The British Hong Kong Government became willing to invest more in benevolent policies to improve the living environment of the people of Hong Kong, and deliberately tried to win the approval of the people of Hong Kong.
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◢ Elva Lai enjoys creating art, reading, travelling, hiking and making a cup of coffee in the morning. She received her education in Singapore, the United States, Germany and Hong Kong.
Authorised for re-posting. Opinions are solely those of the author.
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