• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 12:09am
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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Camel
Just imagine that families in Hk would actually found NO Disney Land and NO Ocean Park during the holidays as those two theme park went bankrupt long time ago because of lack of visitors. Ocean Park was on the brinck of closing down when it wasn't for the Mainlanders. Disney Land since the opening has been making loss and loss. They can only pay their bill because of the Mainland tourists.
lucifer
As it is, Disneyland HK can only scrape off $30 milling in profit, while Tokyo Disneyland makes hundreds of mill;ions of dollars annually. Now they are building one in Shanghai, so you can expect more people to take the easier trip there. There had better be a plan B to all of this, because when it subsides quickly, and there is not another plan, then we in HK will have a crisis to deal with. Focusing on a broader spectrum of tourists from around the world, who actually eat in nice restaurants and frequent entertainment venues is the more sustainable approach.
ohyeahar
I’m sure they would. But I’m not talking about cutting off the mainland tourists completely. Just for maybe 2 months in a year. And if they still go bankrupt, then so be it. Tear it all down and build more housing because that’s what HK needs.
lucifer
HK buys it and has always bought it. What if Hong Kong turned off the spigot of foreign invest, for which it is the largest contributor to in China for decades now?
321manu
The large number of tourists can be a bit of a double-edged sword. However, HK is popular because it's part of China, but also not really. When the mainland tourists stop coming, that will mean HK has become totally China (with all that that entails). If that day comes to pass, I wonder if Hker's will be yearning for the good ol' days of being overrun by mainland tourists.
Giwaffe
Sounds like a good challenge. Past history would suggest Hong Kong would prevail.
likingming
Both the Ocean Park and the Disney would go bankrupt when mainlanders don't come.
bolshoi
@keresearch
I think you should know that your comment was such an overstatement.
likingming
that was before 1979.

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