• Wed
  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 11:29pm
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Scuffles break out as protesters hurl slurs, abuse at mainland Chinese tourists

Police intervene as 100 demonstrators shout slurs at mainland shoppers and confront pro-Beijing group

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 February, 2014, 4:54am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 February, 2014, 1:51pm
 

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17 Feb 2014
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Total number of votes recorded: 597

Scores of protesters marched through Tsim Sha Tsui yesterday in an "anti-locust" campaign demanding the government curb mainland visitors.

Protesters said a massive influx of mainland visitors - dubbed "locusts" by critics, who accuse them of overwhelming the city and hogging its resources - had hit the livelihoods of locals.

During the 90-minute protest about 100 people marched from the Star Ferry pier to Canton Road, a street lined with luxury goods stores popular with mainlanders. The march got off to a tense start when scuffles broke out between protesters and people opposed to the demonstration. Police had to intervene.

The protesters waved placards and chanted slogans such as "go back to China" and "reclaim Hong Kong" as they marched. Some carried colonial-era flags, a popular symbol for those who want autonomy or independence for Hong Kong.

Some booed and shouted abuse at Putonghua-speaking passers-by. The protesters also shouted abuse at mainland customers inside shops. Some shoppers took pictures while others ignored them. But some Canton Road jewellery shops closed.

Shanghai visitor Ma He said the protesters were disrespectful. "Are they not Chinese themselves? I heard that Hong Kong people were educated and civilised. It seems I was wrong."

A visitor from Shenzhen said: "We are here to shop. It helps the economy of Hong Kong. I do not understand why they do not welcome us."

Protest convenor Ronald Leung Kam-shing said he was pleased with the response after organising the campaign online.

"We do not need political parties. Just through the internet we can get so many people to come out," he said. "I think the government should listen to our voice seriously. It has to stop allowing Chinese tourists into Hong Kong … We do not want them."

Among the protesters but keeping a low profile was primary school teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze, who shot to fame for swearing at police officers over their handling of a Falun Gong protest.

A pro-Beijing group, Voice of Loving Hong Kong, staged a rival "Welcome to Hong Kong" campaign on Canton Road. About 10 members distributed leaflets wishing visitors a happy stay.

Tourism from the mainland has boomed as the nation's economy has grown and rules forcing visitors to join tour groups have been eased. Some 40.8 million mainland visitors came last year.

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This article is now closed to comments

oxymoron15
As much as we like to condemn these unruly protesters in the streets to distinguish us apart from the uncivils but deep down inside probably most of us are just as full of resentment toward the mainlanders. You don't like the word "resentment "? How about annoyance? You can sugarcoat with all the political correctness you want, but we are destined to share a common problem: claustrophobia compounded by the fact that we are surrounded by aliens that do not abide by our cultures.
-----
Here is a little polygraph test to see if whether you do have a big heart or if you are in denial or simply a hyopcrit: Has a thought even crept into your mind that you would want to avoid districts or places full of mainland tourists ? If the answer is yes, congrats you share the same agenda as those protestors. If no, congrats you are truly in a class of your own. Bravo!
whymak
Lest these self-hate Chinese forget, many Western democracies have statutes against hate speech. Derogatory slogans intended to arouse hateful sentiments toward any ethnic group -- not just Chinese -- and discriminatory denial of service within our one country two systems must be viewed and treated as barbaric behavior. Speech freedom has its limits. It's time to pass an ordinance to ban pure hate speech that serves no other purpose but potential triggers to violence.
These demonstrating scumbags have no useful or productive roles in our city, their birthright by accident notwithstanding.
By calling attention to such unseemly behavior, we hope to shame them -- provided that they still possess minimum human decency, a sense of shame. My message is not to be taken as suggested threats of incarceration or confiscation of their rights and freedoms.
TheComprador
Hong Kong people don't hate our fellow kin. We love China.
We're just sick and tired of how crowded/polluted our city has become, and we have so little say in our future. Our northern comrades should be able to sympathise with us. The "****s" are just a convenient scapegoat, an easy target to vent our frustration.
Waving colonial flags is unhelpful and misleading. We don't want the Brits back. We don't want to be subject to ANY colonial powers. We just want to run our own city, our way.
ognevodd
To the commenter below - you may forget that Western democracies have ample protests against immigrants and visitors, too. It's simply a deeply embedded natural instinct of us, animals, to resent outsiders. Our mind will then find all kinds of plausible reasons to justify this resentment.
cwlai23
I think someone should calculate the economic effect of ALL mainland tourists being banned from coming to Hongkong. And then those who support tourism as an integral part of the economy should come out to give their voice to be heard loud and clear. In 1996 I took my wife and three young daughters ages 3 - 12 to Australia. At the Gold Coast we were shouted upon "...go back...etc"...and I vowed then not to go back there for any holiday. I am quite sure that such demonstrations of uncivilized behavior will have long term ripple effects on the tourism industry in Hongkong. By all means go after your own leaders but please leave the tourists alone. It is never their fault...and mainland tourists are been welcome with open arms in most parts of Europe now...
Maria L. Yau
This seems to me like discrimination. This is not democracy.
Dai Muff
Most people don't want to ban all tourists. But they certainly do want to ban the smugglers and those who come over several times in one day. And not be overwhelmed themselves. Most tourist destinations have a say in how many people come in. Hong Kong does not. Mainland tourists are considered a very much mixed blessing in many part of Europe. For any tourist, politeness is a better policy than arrogance.
timeasia
What would Hong Kong people say if Japan, UK, US, Australia or Canada say no to Hong Kong tourist because they are just as obnoxious as the mainland Chinese?? Discrimination? Racist? Ignorant?
yellow_lynx_cat
Britians did not force us to love their country. My parents and grandparents flee to a British colony from China. The China we knew is already gone. This "China" is fake.
lucifer
First, Hong Kong gets more tourists from the Mainland that France gets from all over the world. Secondly, parallel smugglers come in as tourists, clear out shops, inflate prices, and congest the public transport. Too much of anything become unbearable. The government needs to start diversifying the economy, but its addition to tourism, that has driven up land prices makes that impossible. We need high tech industries here like Singapore, but where would they go? How can they make a profit? Our young people go to Chian or abroad after their University education to make a decent wage or apply their skills in a meaningful way.

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