Hongkongers raise money for ad against 'mainlandisation of HK universities'
A year after Hongkongers produced an advertisement slamming mainland Chinese as “locusts” who swarm the city and drain its resources, a group of Hong Kong students are raising money to run a full-page advertisement opposing the “mainlandisation of HK universities”.
“Our page has been 'liked' 2109 times, and if every person who 'liked' us donates $HK30, we will have the money for the ad,” the organiser wrote on May 23 on Facebook, “Just make a little effort, and we will bring changes to our society.”
A total of HK$16, 218.5 has been collected as of May 27, said the organiser’s Facebook page. Some HK$60,000 is needed for the ad.
“They grab degrees, they grab jobs - do HongKongers deserve to be the lower class forever?,” reads the headline of the ad. “We oppose the mainlandisation of HK universities and demand the rights of education and jobs returned to HongKongers.”
“Seventy per cent of students at Hong Kong’s graduate schools are from the mainland,” it continued, “They are allowed to stay in Hong Kong for a year even without a work permit. And they can apply to stay longer once they get a job offer or start their own business!”
A number of requests were presented, including:
- Decrease the number of mainland [students] at all levels
- Restrict policies for mainland graduates to work in Hong Kong
- Sponsor more local students
- Nurture local scholars; promote local research
- Examine the recruiting method of self-sponsored graduate students
- Find out whethr the percentage of mainland teachers and staff is too high
The fundraiser triggered heated debate on Facebook and local forums where a mix of opinions were expressed.
“Let’s look at Hong Kong’s professors - eight out of 10 are from the mainland,” wrote a Facebook user named Anita Wang, “Let’s drive all of them away”.
“We were not even notified by the government before the mainland students were allowed to come,” wrote another one.
Even before it makes to the newspaper, the campaign has raised eyebrows among Hong Kong’s students and teachers alike.
"If mainland students come here by right methods, we can compete here. But there are some mainland students who fake their transcript to get here. They cheat in the exams and hurt Hong Kong's education reputation." said Dora Liu, a local student who is studying journalism at Hong Kong Baptist University.
"They should raise the enrollment standards if they want to reduce the number of mainland students," said a mainland student named Daphne Duan, "instead of denying all mainland students and accusing us of robbing jobs. I don't see the meaning of this campaign."
Leung Kai-chi, a teacher at CUHK, also commented on the issue in a recent letter addressed to his mainland students.
“Mainland students pay for their graduate studies and the universities make money,” he wrote. “It’s not an accurate accusation that they are abusing Hong Kong’s public resources.”
But Leung argued that even though people who opposed the influx of mainland students might have picked the wrong topic to fight, the worries and concerns driving them should not be underrated.
“Even though I do hope Hong Kong will grow more diversified, I don't’ want to be too harsh towards locals who worry about immigrants from the mainland,” he wrote.