• Tue
  • Jul 22, 2014
  • Updated: 5:41pm
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office joins backlash against 'locust' protest

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 February, 2014, 11:48am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 2:48am

The State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office has joined a growing chorus of condemnation against those who organised and took part in Sunday's "anti-locust" protest in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The China News Service quoted the office as saying it "sternly opposes" any behaviour that would affect Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, obstruct Hong Kong-mainland co-operation and harm the feelings of people in both places.

The office also said, according to the service, that Hong Kong's prosperity was inseparable from the nation's development and that the individual travel scheme had boosted the city's competitiveness, its economy and social development.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying also weighed into the debate yesterday, echoing sentiments expressed by four other top government officials on the protest, which called for a curb on tourists from the mainland.

Leung said: "Activities targeting tourists ... mainland or foreign … should be condemned. The government will follow up on this matter … if any illegality is found."

On Sunday about 100 protesters marched from the Star Ferry pier to Canton Road, a street lined with luxury stores popular with mainland tourists.

They called the tourists "locusts" for overwhelming the city and hogging its resources and referred to them as Shina, a derogatory term used by the Japanese against the Chinese after the first Sino-Japanese war ended in 1895.

Police intervened when scuffles broke out between the demonstrators and passers-by opposed to the march.

Protest organiser Ronald Leung Kam-shing, 37, yesterday apologised to the businesses and tourists - mainlanders and foreigners - affected by the "unexpected chaos".

"I apologise to the tourists. Some protesters went a bit radical. As the organiser … I should say sorry," he said. But he stressed he was not apologising for organising the protest, because everyone has freedom of assembly.

Meanwhile, police are investigating two alleged assault cases in which two men claimed they were slapped on Sunday. The two men, aged 23 and 32, are understood to have been among the protesters.

Additional reporting by Tanna Chong

 

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This article is now closed to comments

superdx
Economic benefits for who exactly? The point of economic prosperity is to benefit society as a whole. There is not a single shred of evidence that Hong Kong as a society has improved one bit as a result of flood of Mainland tourists. We are overcrowded, cost of living has rocketed to the Moon, and we can't even stroll down our own streets on the weekend. This is not progress. It's regression. If the gov't wants to turn HK into one big shopping arcade primary catered towards tourists, then there's no room for people to make a decent living here. Drivers, guides are all working by the hour. Shops are being squeezed by astronomical rents. Tourism is race to the bottom. There's no high-end to this market, and there's no upside. Why are we even promoting this industry when it cannot sustain itself?
likingming
Overcrowding is no excuse. See Macau.
Dai Muff
Have you been to Macau? Is that really your idea of a shining example?
onedistrict
All visitors are guests of Hong Kong and should be well received.
Tourists will learn how to behave when they are told politely, not when they are yelled at !!
There is a major difference between friendly advice and intention to offend !!
hk.sistercat
Visitors have to behave if they are to be well received. In Chinese there is a saying, before you enter another territory or region, inquire about their customs and taboos (do's and don'ts), and follow their custom when you are there. The mainlanders never thought the need to do that because they wrongly believe that Hong Kong is the same as any other mainland city.
If you tell them politely, they will reply, "I do the same at my home in China, why not here ? Hong Kong is a part of China!!!"
mercedes2233
Everybody in HK should have personal freedom and safety, and expect law and order. People who abuse this should be prosecuted for being a public nuisance and endangering others etc.
Dai Muff
"Everybody in HK should have personal freedom and safety, and expect law and order."
Would that include Falun Gong protesters?
hardhang
Why not ?
Giwaffe
According to government statistics there were 22.4 million tourists in the first seven months of 2013 of which 74.6% were mainlanders.

1. For a city as small as Hong Kong, 22.4 million tourists seems quite excessive. Sure New York, London, and Tokyo would host more tourists, but they are massive in comparison to Hong Kong.

2. Correct me if I am wrong, but it strains credulity that tourism by origin country to such cities as New York, London, and Tokyo would exceed over 70%. If anything, the high number of tourists from the mainland are crowding out tourists from other countries. Diversification and balance of incoming tourists is a good way to ensure sustainable levels of tourism, to afford a good experience for incoming tourists (of any origin country), and to maintain a high quality of life for people who live in Hong Kong.

3. As some commentators have noted, it is simply a matter of practicality. On many levels, Hong Kong's infrastructure is overloaded. It is nothing unusual for governments to enact remedial regulation, such as imposing a quota on the number of or a fee on incoming mainland tourists, to ensure that infrastructure is not overloaded and to ensure diversification of tourists.
Dai Muff
Any sane government does a cost-benefit analysis over its decisions. While tourism as a whole adds 4.5% to our economy, the mainland tourist section adds about 1%. What this government needs to do is decide if that 1% (the benefit) is worth the cost to its own citizens. But that would take prioritising its own citizens. Fat chance.

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