• Thu
  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 10:15pm
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

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?
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
whoaman
I personally don't think it comes down to the amount of mainlanders coming to HK. I just find their overall attitude is what frustrates many people here - they lack respect of others, oblivious to any one outside of their own little world, then do as they please with their behaviour.
I'm in line for a ride at Disneyland last year, and one mainland mother held out a tissue while her young daughter did a big p-o-o-p into it. Then she wrapped it up and threw it into the bushes next to the line. And what about all the other people in the line? They didn't seem to notice, since they were all mainlanders.
dharmakarma
Boring read
keresearch
I would have thought Hong Kong has been the pillar of China's economic success
bolshoi
@keresearch
I think you should know that your comment was such an overstatement.
likingming
that was before 1979.
snelderj
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.
Dao-Phooy
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.

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