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  • Jul 23, 2014
  • Updated: 6:17am

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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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This article is now closed to comments

yellow_lynx_cat
Taiwan imposes an upper limit of 4000 mainland tourist per day. It is time for Hong Kong to impose such a upper limit. Furthermore the cost/burden to our society should be paid by them in the form of arrival tax proposed by People Power (and I think it should be at least HKD250 or around 200 RMB in order to curb the influx).
I lived at Northern District, commute daily on East Rail and often have to communte on Tung Chung line. The situation is horrendous. The mainlanders expect Hong Kong people everywhere to accomodate them. Many small shops are forced out of business because the demand for shops serving mainlanders drives up rental prices. The Government is turning a blind eye to the locals' frustration.
dynamco
chanaa got it right: Landlord Nirvana
41m Mainlanders coming here :
makes hotel owners richer
makes restaurant owners richer
makes jewellers richer
makes name brand stores richer
buys up 15 taxi licences at a time @ HKD 8m each
which means the 'free market' property vulture moguls then milk the above in whatever way possible
Meanwhile the unabated influx:
black money in the property market screws the locals who want to buy their own home or rent at a reasonable price w/o any Landlord Tenant protection laws since SARS
inconveniences the vast number of HK residents
adds at least 80m kgs of waste to our landfills per year
local families have to hunt for milk powder
allows instant in & out for Mainland thieves
lowly paid restaurant, bar, hotel staff do not benefit, in fact have far less problems w/ better behaved visitors who do not gob in the street, smoke everywhere & pee/ pooh on the MTR
puts up hotel rates for other visitors making HKG less attractive a stop
However Xenophobia is completely unacceptable behaviour as there are many well behaved Mainlanders who actually put local HKer rude behaviour to shame
Our so-called Govt is totally at fault for allowing this unabated influx to happen as TDNGAS & have no cojones showing the one country alleged two systems fiasco is dead n buried
chanaa
talk abt freedom of speech. I think i just got a post deleted by scmp !
chanaa
very interesting. There was an earlier post by pslhk aka yoda that was deleted as well. Not offensive at all.
Must be a sensitive topic this.......
wang.feng
Yes we would like to take this opportunity to inform you that the comment was deleted in accordance with our User Terms and Conditions because it contained offensive language. Please kindly refrain from posting such comments, or we will block you from visiting or commenting on SCMP.com, and all your subscriber privileges will be terminated. We thank you for your cooperation.
chuchu59
I, for one, had no chance to view the comment. As Board administrator you definitely have the authority to delete comments but couldn't you have simply deleted the offensive words/phrases instead of the whole post?
chanaa
in what way pls ? It contained no expletives ?
dharmakarma
But something needs to be done here, Hk isn't capable to hold that much inflow
chaz_hen
ASIA'S WORLD CITY!!
ejmciii
That was not very nice. Just because some folks coming from across the border from the North may cause some unpleasantness does not justify painting all of them in such a regard. These people should be ashamed of themselves.

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