Hong Kong election reinforces postmaterialism message delivered by Asian journalist at Vancouver's TaiwanFest

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      This year's TaiwanFest in Vancouver has embraced the core values and interests shared by Hong Kong and Taiwan.

      And it couldn't have come at a more auspicious time, taking place just as an election was occurring in the former British colony that was returned to China in 1997.

      This weekend, pro-democracy activists, including 23-year-old Umbrella Movement leader Nathan Law Kwun-chung, won seats on Hong Kong's Legislative Council.

      In 2014 the Umbrella Movement brought young Hong Kong residents into the streets to protest Beijing's decision to restrict who could run for seats on the 70-member council. The Umbrella Movement came on the heels of Taiwan's Sunflower Movement earlier that year, in which youth occupied the legislative assembly demanding reforms.

      Law's Demosistō party, which wants self-determination for Hong Kong, captured four seats. 

      "Through direct action, popular referenda, and non-violent means, we push for the city’s political and economic autonomy from the oppression of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and capitalist hegemony," the party states on its website.

      Demosistō is pushing for political and economic autonomy from China.

      The more militantly independent Youngspiration party won two seats.

      “Beijing must be shocked by the fact that localists were backed by nearly 20 percent of voters who cast ballots on Sunday,” political analyst Ivan Choy Chi-keung told the South China Morning Post. "Their vote share must touch a nerve with Beijing."

      Chinese president Xi Jinping and his cohorts vehemently oppose the idea of an independent Hong Kong. They also routinely refer to the independent nation of Taiwan as a "province".

      On Saturday (September 3) as part of TaiwanFest, Taiwanese journalist Tieh-chih Chang told a Vancouver audience that this Hong Kong election was particularly important. He made the comment as part of a broader presentation about the rise of "postmaterialism" among young people in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

      According to Chang, this postmaterialism is manifesting itself in greater nationalism, more willingness among young people to embrace their cultural identity, and a keen interest in environmental issues.

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