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The Boston Globe

World

Hong Kong clings to an identity distinct from mainland China

HONG KONG­ — Chen Zuoer, a Beijing official who helped negotiate Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule 15 years ago, said on a recent visit here that he was heartbroken to learn that Hong Kong protesters have taken to waving colonial-era flags emblazoned with Britain’s Union Jack.

‘‘Those flags should be sent to history museums, rather than being displayed in the streets,’’ Chen said.

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