Postmaterialism takes hold among young in Taiwan and Hong Kong, according to journalist Tieh-chih Chang

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      On the eve of Hong Kong's election, a prominent Taiwanese journalist says more Taiwanese and Hong Kong young people are getting involved in their countries' political processes.

      Tieh-chih Chang, a columnist for the Financial Times Chinese website, told a Vancouver audience today that this is being driven by a "turn to postmaterialism".

      "They don't put economic prosperity or stability as their top priority," Chang said at the Orpheum Annex as part of TaiwanFest.

      He pointed out that in Taiwan, this postmaterialism is reflected in more young people supporting their country's independence and eagerly expressing their cultural identity.

      Chang noted that this mindset isn't universal. However, he stated that it is certainly on the rise and was clearly reflected in Taiwan's Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement.

      In the spring of 2014, Taiwanese youth occupied the legislative assembly demanding reforms. Later that year in Hong Kong, students staged Occupylike protests against the Chinese government restricting who could seek political office in the former British colony.

      Chang emphasized that these young people's postmaterialist values are also reflected in greater concern for the environment and local agriculture.

      "They can spend two months on the street for their political identity and political participation, to sacrifice their economic stability," he said. "I think this is one of the most important things to the younger generation, both in Taiwan and Hong Kong."

      Chang is former chief editor of City magazine, cofounder of The Reporter, and spearheaded the founding of the Chinese-language edition of Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

      TaiwanFest runs from Saturday (September 3) to Monday (September 5) on Granville Street and at various other venues downtown. For the full schedule, visit the TaiwanFest website.