"Polls have steadily shown that larger and larger percentages of Hong Kong citizens identify as “Hong Konger” rather than “Chinese” even as the government seeks greater conformity.
To many in Hong Kong, then, “Chinese” may primarily mean a cultural, ethnic, or racial marker of identity rather than of political nationality. There are “Chinese” of various types who make up the majority population in Taiwan and Singapore, a significant percentage in Malaysia and Thailand, and large numbers around the world.
So when the demonstrators chant “Hong Kong People!” they are asserting that to be a citizen of Hong Kong is emphatically not the same as being Chinese. For the authorities in Beijing, this may send shivers down their spines. Because there is nothing they hate and fear more than the center not holding, torn apart by rough beasts. They are unable to see that it is China’s own political shortcomings that encourage this fundamental debate and resulting protest."