• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 5:40pm
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

honger
"......is VERY dangerous and disingenuous and will back fire causing very real tension in the future.
So, are you threatening to extend your verbal insults and harassment to physical violence?
gracetodd
It's actually a workable idea! Really like it!
ramesses
"We don't know how lucky we have been when it comes to unification." Think twice next time you make this statement. I wonder what you would say if HK took up wholesale the political, legal and personal practices of our fellow mainland citizens. You might regret it but I know I have been very lucky to have been born under the Lion Rock.
Artie
Thanks Alex a good reminder of how lucky we are as compared to what could have happened
likingming
I would like to know how Macau, a city one-fifth the size of HK and one-tenth the population, to cope with the mainlander tourists.
lucifer
"Mainland China would from now on just ignore HK, taking away all the support, stop tourist to come to HK"
Are you stating that without Mainland tourists, HK would die? Are you forgetting we did that for the better part of 100 years? This would actually be the best case scenario. A competent HK government could then focus attention on real, sustainable, economic development and ditch this idea of a giant China shopping mall as a long-term plan.
Eddy_hey@yahoo.com
Who wants Disneyland. It was a joke, plus a shame of Hong Kong. Com'ON Camel, do you know how the contract was signed between Disney and HKgov.??
pslhk
All quiet in the democrazy front
LeeChanEuWongDaiMo
shadow cabinet self-styled with high moral standards
leaders of democrazy
show their true nature of silent lambs
before all and everything done under the skull and cross-bones banner
they’d promote and never criticize activities
that divide society and undermine 1C2S
321manu
As always, in order for a comparison to be legitimate, it has to be comparing things that are actually comparable. Some people still fail at the most basic things, it seems.
Taiwan is not comparable to HK in any way/shape/form. It's not a land crossing. It's not a day-trip destination for milk powder. Last I checked, it's slightly bigger than HK, so overcrowding is less of an issue. As an entity, it is also entirely self-governing, with no expiration date to same. Besides, i don't think most people would visit Taiwan expressly thinking that it's part of China. If "HK is part of China (as in officially it is), but not really (in that you can avail yourself to many things in HK that you can't in China)", then Taiwan is simply 'not really part of China'.
Did you just compare Hawaii with HK? LOL. Surf's up, buddy. Time to hang ten and get a clue.
There probably are HK tourists in Shanghai. Are they present in the same way that mainlanders are present in HK? Perhaps you forgot to incorporate scale into your comparisons.
You know what, West Berliners are probably pleased about the fall of the wall. West Germans, on the other hand, I would be less certain about. Note also that West Germany taking in East Germans is again of a slightly different scale than HK taking in mainlanders. Note also that it was the West German political system that prevailed, which, based on HK's difficulty in determining how to run its own election, will not be the case for HKers.
pslhk
People in Hainan and Taiwan
would find the arcane comment funny
if told that their popularity as tourist destinations
is because “it's part of China, but also not really”
Native Hawaiians may ask the same question:
“When the mainland tourists stop coming”(?),
that will mean (their islands have become totally mainlandized?
Are there Cantonese tourists in Shanghai?
I’d wonder if W Berliners ever yearn
“for the good ol' days of being overrun”
by politically curious tourists of the pre 89 era

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