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  • Sep 16, 2014
  • Updated: 10:18pm

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China's Vice-Premier Wang Yang in May 2013 acknowledged that "uncivilised behaviour" by its citizens abroad was harming the country's image. He cited "talking loudly in public places, jaywalking, spitting and wilfully carving characters on items in scenic zones". Destination countries have been easing visa restrictions to attract more tourists from China, but reports have emerged of complaints about etiquette.

NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Anti-mainlander protest urging curbs on visitor numbers tarnished city, say top officials

Chief secretary and ministers condemn march calling for curbs on visitors as ‘humiliating’ for mainlanders and a stain on Hong Kong’s image

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 February, 2014, 1:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 February, 2014, 7:55am
 

Poll

  • Mainland tourists: 14%
  • Big businesses: 16%
  • Small businesses: 6%
  • Average Hongkongers: 59%
  • Radical groups: 4%
18 Feb 2014
  • Mainland tourists
  • Big businesses
  • Small businesses
  • Average Hongkongers
  • Radical groups
Total number of votes recorded: 570

Four top government officials have attacked Sunday's "anti-locust" protest, saying it humiliated mainland visitors and tarnished the city's image.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor condemned the protesters for disrupting public order, "directly affecting" the relationship with the mainland and harming the tourist industry.

"We will absolutely not tolerate it if such events happen again," said Lam. "I believe such behaviour belongs to only a few extremists and definitely does not represent most citizens' opinions and their values."

Commerce minister Greg So Kam-leung and security minister Lai Tung-kwok also condemned the demonstration, while constitutional and mainland affairs minister Raymond Tam Chi-yuen said the "barbaric and uncivilised activities" ran against Hong Kong's values.

So said: "The harassment of the tourists on Canton Road is very regrettable. We strongly condemn this sort of action." About 100 protesters called on the government to curb the number of mainland visitors. They called tourists "locusts" for overwhelming the city and hogging its resources and were referred to as Shina, a derogatory term used by the Japanese against the Chinese after the first Sino-Japanese war ended in 1895.

The protesters marched from the Star Ferry pier to Canton Road, a street lined with luxury stores popular with mainland tourists. Police intervened after scuffles broke out between the demonstrators and passers-by opposed to the march.

So said: "The government understands that growth in the number of tourists has a certain level of impact on the lives of Hongkongers. But tourism has contributed a lot in creating job opportunities. It makes up 4.5 per cent of our economy."

Lai said the police would determine whether anyone should be prosecuted for disorderly behaviour. "Suitable action will be taken if [the police] have sufficient evidence," Lai added.

But protest convenor Ronald Leung Kam-shing, 37, said he would not be intimidated by the criticism. He said: "I will continue to organise such campaigns because the ministers' remarks today have shown they have ignored the public's demand for a curb on mainland tourists."

He admitted calling the mainland tourists "locusts", but said he did not refer to them as Shina. He did not think either term was discriminatory.

William Wong Wai-sheung, chief executive of the Lukfook jewellery chain, said its Tsim Sha Tsui store was forced to close for 10 minutes by the protest. He said tourists lost their desire to make purchases because of it, and estimated he suffered a loss of HK$500,000 in sales.

The Equal Opportunities Commission condemned the protesters' "contemptuous and vilifying remarks" and said they had raised social tensions.

But a spokeswoman said the "locusts" and Shina remarks fell outside the purview of the Race Discrimination Ordinance, as Hongkongers and mainlanders are of the same race.

Additional reporting by Shirley Zhao

 

 

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24

This article is now closed to comments

johndoe
Those "Senior Ministers" probably never use public transport, or need to line up for application form for schools, or have to go shopping in the New Territories.
pslhk
Copy of my posting of Feb 14th 2014 8:34pm
regarding a related issue
Quote
-
lexishk
-
Inexplicably our unfinished discussion has disappeared
It matters not not because I’ve a copy of it in my office
but because it’s a matter of ethics and honor
We await your justifications
for labelling Putonhua speakers lo cust
-
I’d wonder how you would feel
if the Canadian authority referred to mainlanders as lo cust
in their announcement about the change of its immigration policy?
if Putonhua speakers call people who speak your mother tongue cockroaches?
if Japanese call people of your ethnic group rodents?
-
Unquote
nicolas
mr. minister...HK is no longer consider as an international or world city anymore...influx of mainlander has cause a tremendous depletion in the numbers of foreign tourist in HK...foreigners are annoy by the bad habit and attitude of these mainlanders...they shout, spit in the public and even eat inside the MTR....they're really an eyesore and nuisance to HK society.... now they're trying to eat up or steal the benefit and resources from HK people such as baby milk powder, basic and daily necessities, free education, public hospital etc.....at one time, i was really shock to see shenzhen border security themselves shouting at the mainlander...simply because these moron are so unruly or unbehavior and crossing from one queue to another...just to evade being notice or search by the border security of what they brought back from HK.....really a bunch of purvert and uncivilized mainlander....
oxymoron15
@Nicolas
Blunt, forward and unpretentious, you are a person full of wisdom and not afraid to speak out. Unlike those tree huggers who are oblivious to the wildfire that is spreading and eating us up alive. I get panic attacks when being boxed in by people pulling Trollies. As we speak, I am planning to move back to Canada away from this city of walking dead. Good riddance.
Dai Muff
It is remarkable how these articles and comments fail to admit that most of the hostility was not between the protesters and tourists or "passersby" but between the protesters and the "Caring Hong Kong" goons.
Insulting innocent individual tourists is inappropriate. Insulting cross border traders and smugglers might be another matter.
Of course we should welcome bona fide tourists. The question is how many.
johndoe
It is exactly because of the uncontrolled amount of tourist immigration that people are upset.
lenali2003
The protestors' action is another warning sign of the social discontent against the massive influx of mainland visitors.
if the government still does not adopt timely measures like curbing the number of mainland tourists, the situation may soon get out of control.
lexishk
Proves which side our officials are on.
-
The words I would like to use would no doubt get me censored or banned.
sydmel
For 4.5%GDP ordinary HK people suffer so much. This SAR government serves not the Hong Kong public but mainland residents.
oxymoron15
It's rather late to have a rude awakening for all you bureaucrats and I'm sure they have to say something rhetorical before the motherland rains brimstones onto their heads. The equation is universal: you want their money you pay the price and social unrest is imminent. Maybe if the protesters numbered in the tens and thousands the response would be less invasive.
----
Oddly, when I read this article I had a brief flashback of the articles on Egypt, Syria & Myramar. No connections whatsoever, but an erie and uncanny omen of feelings dawning............*chuckle*

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