• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 9:14pm
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.


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This article is now closed to comments

Boring read
I agree the way they express their frustration is inappropriate but I also hope the government does not just take side and blame the protesters and make a point to address the frustration behind. HK is overcrowded in every way, the government need to have more effective policy/measures in place, including the possibility of a daily quota, there's nothing political or exclusion but logistic management. let's be practical about what we do with a heart of embracing our fellow chinese at the same time.
The notion that HK rose and developed because of China's largesse is simply absurd. China's model of economic development is based on "western" methods - western only in the sense that it is the first successful experiment. Communism failed.
In the long run, Chinese economic development will depend on the development of democracy. Is it not blatantly obvious that all self sustaining developed countries share a common ingredient; democracy? The Beijing takeover of Hong Kong was a setback, not an advantage.
From recent news, one may conclude that certain Hongkongers are only capable of taking out their frustrations on domestic helpers and mainland tourists. How sickening it is, the self-proclaimed 'Asia's World City'...
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. The extraordinary shallowness of Mr. Lo's analysis and absurdity of his comparisons is what baffles me the most....
Ms Alpais Lam hurled abuse at a policeman in the Fa Lun Gong fracas near the Star Ferry terminal in TST not too long ago, right? People like her are full of hate for the establishment and whatever cause that gives them an opportunity to vent their pent-up hatred. They are serial troublemakers intent on destroying the peace in our city.
They did what they did because the mainlanders were of the same race, whom they regard as lower class than themselves. They would not dare try this on any other race. This atypical behavior of Hong Kongers is found among a small minority who glorify foreigners ( the Union Jack and colonial rule, Western style democracy, etc) but put down their own creed and race at every opportunity, citing democracy and freedom of speech to further their assault.
Many world-class cities - think Tokyo, New York, London, Rome, Barcelona - accomodate tens of millions of tourists a year and never considered imposing any curbs on tourism. Not only do tourists bring in significant economic benefits, they are a conduit for promoting a city's image. Sure, tourists often cause disturbances to the citizens' lives - be it loud noises, drunks, heavy traffic, increased real estate prices, but those citizens don't resort to despicable behaviours like hurling vitriols at people whose only crimes are trying to spend their hard-earned money and having a good time abroad.
Judging by the actions of those 100-odd bigots, Hong Kong is not worthy of the name "World-Class city". It was a sad day for Hong Kong.
According to government statistics there were 22.4 million tourists in the first seven months of 2013 of which 74.6% were mainlanders.

1. For a city as small as Hong Kong, 22.4 million tourists seems quite excessive. Sure New York, London, and Tokyo would host more tourists, but they are massive in comparison to Hong Kong.

2. Correct me if I am wrong, but it strains credulity that tourism by origin country to such cities as New York, London, and Tokyo would exceed over 70%. If anything, the high number of tourists from the mainland are crowding out tourists from other countries. Diversification and balance of incoming tourists is a good way to ensure sustainable levels of tourism, to afford a good experience for incoming tourists (of any origin country), and to maintain a high quality of life for people who live in Hong Kong.

3. As some commentators have noted, it is simply a matter of practicality. On many levels, Hong Kong's infrastructure is overloaded. It is nothing unusual for governments to enact remedial regulation, such as imposing a quota on the number of or a fee on incoming mainland tourists, to ensure that infrastructure is not overloaded and to ensure diversification of tourists.
Yes, and a symbiotic relationship like that, which exists between Singapore and Malaysia would have been much better. Singapore is keen to protect its own interests, economy and its people first, yet it does much trade with Malaysia, but on their own terms.
If you can read chinese, I sincerely ask you to read the following post.




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