• Tue
  • Dec 30, 2014
  • Updated: 12:47am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 February, 2014, 4:24am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 February, 2014, 5:17am

Hongkongers should see the bigger picture on mainland Chinese visitors

When you are narrow-minded, mean-spirited and ignorant, you end up being one of those 100 or so people rallying in Tsim Sha Tsui against mainland visitors.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I have heard all the arguments about how mainland visitors don't benefit the average Hongkonger, only those in property, retail and high-end services. They push up housing costs, pricing locals out of the property market.

On the last point, you see something similar in London, New York, Singapore, Vancouver among other major world cities; that is, foreign buyers going into the local property market driven by the tide of central-bank-induced liquidity and low borrowing costs during the financial crisis. That is the kind of foreign or outsiders' buying you would expect to see in such an economic environment. The government's anti-property- speculation measures, whether you agree with them or not, have cooled such buying.

But the main point is a moral one. If you believe in one China and that we are all Chinese citizens, then mainland visitors have every right to be here. It is also very hard to deny that, without the mainland, Hong Kong would have fared much worse during the Asian financial crisis, the Sars outbreak and the global financial crisis.

We don't know how lucky we have been when it comes to unification. Not only has the handover been bloodless and peaceful, it has become a pillar of our economic foundation. Most other peoples and countries have had to pay a far heavier price. By one estimate, German reunification has cost that nation two trillion euros over 20 years. Between two and three million Vietnamese died during the Vietnam war that led to the country's unification.

If and when North Korea collapses, is there any doubt the South will have to foot the bill, including integrating North Koreans into normal society?

But these are countries and so are not comparable to a city like Hong Kong, you say. Well, the size of our population and economy is bigger than many full states around the world.

Sure, we fret and complain about our streets and public facilities being crowded by visitors. But we could have a lot worse to whine about than Prada-wearing mainlanders.


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

An article with narrow perspective and does not take into account how general public feels towards mainland tourism. There are too many tourists coming to Hong Kong not for tourism, but just come here to buy daily necessities or smuggle. They have changed the ways local people are living and the influx is simply "too much". We should welcome China tourists as our economy needs them particularly those landlords. But the key question is whether HK has the capacity to cope with 50 million China tourists? If not at this moment, it is reasonable to ask the government to reduce the mainland tourist or else the growing discontent in the public is laying a time-bomb for the already weak CY administration.
Some of the posts here, no doubt, are from the group or their supporters. Because freedom of speech is practiced in this paper, their comments are still printed. Can we expect the same if they were in control? Would differing views be deleted/shouted down?
As for desalinating our water vs the current supply from China, those ingrates choose not to remember HK's costly experiment with desalination.
Of course, they missed the whole point about who they really are - a mixed-up bunch of bullies of Chinese descent waving the Union Jack humilating their own race and creed. The UK would not touch them with a barge pole...........
This gentleman is completely out of touch with the vast majority of Hong Hongers. And the shallowness of his analysis and arguments also suggests he doesn't put much thought into what he is writing about.
Alex: pls take a stroll around the Peak on any Sunday afternoon and tell us if you still feel the same way.
Government has it's head in the sand on this issue. Gregory So doesn't think 70 million visitors will be a problem whilst Paul Chan says we're at breaking point! The genuine concerns of the demonstrators have not been addressed at all - it's really unfortunate for all of us that they felt compelled to take to the streets of TST to express their frustrations. The abuse of Mainlanders was uncalled for - but the Administration needs a policy on the root problem of too many visitors.
"f you believe in one China and that we are all Chinese citizens, then mainland visitors have every right to be here."
ummm...that's not what the Basic Law says and that is not what was negotiated with the CCP government in China. Let's also not forget that many Hong Kong permanent resident are not Chinese nationals and thus buy into that mantra even less.
Where you are losing this argument is your failure to see Mainland tourists as a drug addiction. Besides raising rents and pushing out local shop owners in favor or luxury retailers, we know two things. 1.) The addiction to Mainland tourism prevents the government from making decisions about the sustainable economic direction of the SAR, how it will employ is talented people, what kinds of businesses will find Hong Kong a good place to do business, etc., and 2.) The Mainland tourist boom is mostly just shopping sprees; the costs of imported goods is going down every year in China as the Mainland government seeks to increase consumption and abide by its trade commitments. It does jot have to go down to 0% and be a duty free port like Hong Kong. Most electronics and luxury goods are less expensive in California, which has a 9% sales tax and some import duties. It's the "hidden tax" due to the increased overhead caused by sky high rents that makes Hong Kong not the great shopping place it used to be. What did Hong Kong do before the Mainland opened? There were many, many tourists from all over.
Trust Alex to take aim at the obvious and not see the real issue - the Hong Kong government at whom the fury should have been directed for running such a bad show.
For anyone who protested against the mainlanders it would be easy to just ask them what they would have done if they lived in a country where the milk powder is poisoned and luxury goods highly taxed. I believe even Ms. Lam would see the point before she can finishing saying "WTF".
The real issue here is why our government did such a bad job of minimising the mainlanders' disruption to our way of life, when it is so easy to predict what the mainlanders would do in Hong Kong, given what they are not allowed to do in China.
And the ministers have the nerve to criticise the protesters?
Time to point out who should really be held accountable, no? If they continue to get away with doing such a half-assed job, things have no chance of improving in Hong Kong. Sure enough, sooner or later, no mainlander would be interested to come here.
For a short moment just imagine, Mainland China would from now on just ignore HK, taking away all the support, stop tourist to come to HK and put their attention to Shenzhen, Qinghai, Zhuhai and of course Shanghai. Hong Kong is doomed and broken within 5 years and those 100 protesters will be the first one on a plane to the country of their second passport. (including those ignorants below who claims that HK will do well without Mainland support. lol).
I think Mr. Lo is confusing his logic. If "the main point is a moral one", then indeed you can argue on that basis that Chinese citizens should have freedom of movement within China. But the Asian/global financial crisis and SARS are not moral issues as it pertains to HK.
At the same time, there are still 2 systems. So the HK situation is unique, and cannot directly be compared to the rights of PRC citizens to go anywhere else in China. If you believe in 2 systems, then HK has the right to impose restrictions on mainlander travel that is not available to other Chinese cities.
1C/2S is a package deal. Mr. Lo can't choose to embrace one part, and ignore the other...as much as he'd seemingly like to do.
Of course some people are not thankful and do not grasp the fact that the mainland only needs to turn off its water supply - besides not lending a hand when crisis strike - to Hong Kong to punish us if they want to.
Do these demonstrators use water everyday? Where does it come from?
For that matter, who are their ancestors?




SCMP.com Account