Yaan earthquake

House prices and tourists behind Hong Kong's attitude to Sichuan donations

Letter posted on Weibo claims feelings have changed since 2008

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 April, 2013, 3:44pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 April, 2013, 6:17pm

Fear of funds being misused is not the only reason holding Hongkongers back from supporting a proposed HK$100 million donation to earthquake-stricken Sichuan.

A city dweller had made it clear to his “compatriots” on Sina Weibo that things have changed in the last five years when an even bigger 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck Wenchuan in 2008.

Gangpiaoquan, a popular weibo group comprised of mainland “drifters”, who live and work in Hong Kong, posted a letter on Sunday apparently sent in from a Hongkonger who once studied on the mainland.

The "letter" said higher housing prices, a disappointing economic performance and the encroachment of more mainland tourists into the city had fundamentally changed the way Hong Kong people felt about the mainland since 2008.

The gangpiaoquan weibo account posts helpful information for newcomers to Hong Kong. It has organised several charitable events in the past such as second-hand clothes donations for the poor.

Video: The Post takes to the streets to ask Hongkongers whether they think the government should donate money to the Sichuan aid effort

The anonymous person also called on the “drifters” to try to understand why Hong Kong people felt the way they did.

“Gangpiao, being the elite new immigrants [in Hong Kong], you should be representatives of the mainland here, a bridge connecting both sides,” it read.

More support should be provided by the drifters to help mainland tourists visiting Hong Kong such as setting up “consulting stations” in tourist areas and reminding tourists to “line up when waiting for transport in Hong Kong, not to be noisy, and not to spit on the floor,” it read.

A proposal to donate HK$100 million from government coffers for disaster relief in Sichuan failed to pass in Legco on Wednesday,

Just a day before, an poll asking readers whether Legco should approve the proposed donation went viral. Close to 92 per cent of the respondents, roughly 6,000, voted a resounding "no".  This is among the highest number of votes a poll on has ever received.