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  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 5:52pm
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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

Sugelanren
To say that the individual travel scheme had boosted the city's competitiveness, its economy and social development........is just plain foolish. The City was doing fine before and doesn't need day traders from Shenzhen or tourists to make it competitive or boost its economy!
keithkklau@gmail.com
Though this rude behavior has to be condemned, it brings public attention to an immediate problem Hong Kong is now facing. Unlimited influx of China tourists has been affecting local people in different walks to different extents. At this stage, the social cost incurred has been outweighing the economic benefits. If the government fails to think deeply on this case and do something, I am sure similar move will continue but surely with more and more demonstrators. Hong Kong is simply not having capacity to cope with the unlimited influx of China tourists particularly those from Shenzhen which are just buying daily necessities or earning a living through smuggling.
hk.sistercat
Toursists from the mainland is not the only problem. Our tertiary education, graduate schools are now so favoring mainland students that many undergraduate students cannot get to study master degree or PhD at all. Our universities' halls are all crowded with mainlanders and many local students spent time commuting from home to lessons. We want the number to go down, not turning them all away. The so called tourism industry is only offering very cheap wages jobs and not a good thing for an economy.
rolftsui
This kind of behaviour should be totally condemned and those responsible should be publicly humiliated in a national debate.
It is true, Hong Kongers and Mainland Chinese do not see eye to eye with everything, however this is no reason to behave in this manner.
China has protected HK all along, from the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis to the recent GFC fiasco. Billions of dollars into the economy to sustain the growth seen in HK today. This total lack of gratitude and myopic outburst is... An Embarrassment.
I am sure Michael Howard, the British Home Secretary during the dying days of the Colonial times feels quite vindicated for refusing to allow these so-called Hong Kongers the Right of Abode to Britain! What a mob of tyrants and uncivilized beasts.
"Protestors" - take a good look at yourselves. Open your heart and mind, turn your rage into opportunity and don't pretend to defend Hong Kong and it's people without seeking a mandate first. You don't represent me and your actions are an absolute stain! Shame on you!
ssslmcs01
The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office adding its opion where it is unwelcomed will only further provoke Hongkongers against mainlanders. Wouldn't it be more productive for them to heed the message of these protesters and Hong Kong people in general?
hk.sistercat
The tourism from mainlanders did not boost our city's competitveness or economy. Our economy is mainly financial services. The tourism spawns only postions requiring very low skills and this is NOT bringing or triggering talents to our city. They are not those high value high skill types. Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea's success is moving to high end products and services.
lucifer
I am grateful to the protestors for keeping this issue in the media and bringing to the attention of people who are apparently asleep at the wheel.
keithkklau@gmail.com
We welcome China tourists but simply Hong Kong is not having the capacity and infrastrucutre to cope with them. While such barbaric behavior has to be condemned, we can't deny there is increasing discontent against mainland tourists in all walks. Economic benefits (Money) are not everything; the social cost incurred can no longer be ignored. I condemn their behavior but I do support their urge to the government.
Camel
Protecting HK by destroying it. At the end they will be the first ones who flee the city if there is no jobs, no prospects and no money to earn anymore.
andypl
HKers who emigrate to other countries are often even more arrogant. When they come to the USA or Canada, they act even worse than the mainlanders. They buy their way into citizenship in North America or the UK, then act entitled even though their English is often horrible and they insist on "Chinglish" to communicate. However, we try to trreat them with equal respect and dignity in everyday dealings and when we meet them. In the end, each person is and individual and there are good apples and bad apples in each bunch. I would just remind HKers that they have also many many bad apples who have emigrated to where I live, and I have never ever wished they "go back" because I know they are trying to live a better life. Its time for HK to show they can walk the walk and act civilized, not just talk a good game as if they are the only civilized people in Asia.
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.
friday1004
seems it has nothing to do with the ascended who immigranted to hk in recently centuries, but to do with the real situation - our resources and policies are facing conflict by those mainlanders, even they contribute 1.3% GDP in total market only!
rolftsui
Discussion forums and online blogs are not substantiated evidence.
If the Government is serious, a referendum on the issue would be the best.
The Canadian and Australian emigration schemes circa 1990's was also a nice example that HK citizens themselves can be quite... Ingenious. For example, a migrant to Australia, acquired PR, took up an Australian University place and chose to defer payment until after graduation, then left Australia for HK. This was quite systematic, hence the Government in Australia had to make changes to the laws to restrict this generous scheme all because a select group people thought it was clever. In Vancouver, it was no secret, in the city of Richmond, they had retail signs only in Chinese, not the English and French as mandated in law. This was long before the rush of mainlander to these areas. People will be people, HK is just experiencing a phase like any other. Get over it.
meoii
Whites protest against Asians taking up university places, jobs and welfare. What does HK protest about? Tourists snatching up "hot selling" milk powder, tourist over crowding, queue jumping. Something is really wrong with Hong Kong people.
honger
"I am speaking out for Hongkongers. Why am I a traitor to Hong Kong or the country? We are not hurting Hong Kong’s interests. We are protecting Hong Kong’s interests,” he said."
So, Leung, you think you are a hero, don't you? Your arrogance is unbelievable. How dare you speak presumptously on our behalf, the silent majority!
You also seem to delight in your new found notoriety, maybe you enjoy being famous. Organisng a group with the intention to harass, insult and bully innocent strangers in broad daylight is not heroic. it is the act of a narrow minded bigot, a bully with a political agenda. You and your group reminds me of the terrible Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution.
Sorry? You are not sorry nor repentant at all, since this is not the first time you have hurled abuse or harassed mainlanders. Remember the advert in local papers about ****s and the giant signs you put up during a demo not too long ago?
It is time the authorities take action before you and yours drag all of us into the mud....
oxymoron15
Apologies not necessary because your group is merely foot soldiers that is acting out what majority of HK people feel about on the inside but afraid to speak out. You take the fall, but not in vain, because you have given us unimaginable guilty pleasures, now it's time to put our skeletons back in the closet. *smirk* *smirk*
rolftsui
You can't prove any of that, where is your proof that a "majority" of Hong Kong people are against the Mainlanders? You can talk the talk but can you walk the walk?
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?
ssslmcs01
Yeah, tourism contributed nearly 4.5% to the overall economy of Hong Kong, an increase of about 1% from before 2003 when the individual travel scheme was introduced. The 1% increase hasn't even come close to the increase in the number of visitors.
kcwp
Judging by my own eyes and ears where I live (Sheung Shui/Fanling), and where I usually go shopping (Kowloon, Mongkok, and TST) ..... hardly any are Hong Kongers. No matter what you are insinuating.
honger
Admission at all levels in universities are based on merit, not race. The foreign student population - including foreign academics - in our universities have made them not only more diversified, but leagues higher where academic standards and rankings are concerned.
As for not getting a place at the student hostel, this is an old problem before the quota for mainlanders and other foreign students were raised. Many local students cannot do PGs because they do not qualify per se. Stop blaming the mainlanders, again.
oxymoron15
@rolftsui
I don't condone such action from the protesters, but it raises a red flag that patience from the HK people is about to break and more apocalyptic acts will certainly follow. Your kind always loves to justify & repeat the same old rhetoric of Billion $ rescue package from the motherland, but lack the empathy and understanding of the mental abuses common Hongkongers face everyday from nuisance caused by the mainlanders.
-
True that we don't represent you, but neither do you represent us. My rebellion is a passive one and the likes of you who overrides the harmony of the common people over money is equally as repulsive than those that blatantly harass the tourists.
rolftsui
Thank you for your candid response. I am not surprised at all with the answers. There is this overwhelming, pervasive atmosphere of "you" vs. "them". Never about "us". I am not that pretentious to assume that I represent you or your visions in regards to this matter. In this matter, it looks like the "protestors" themselves needs to sort out their own backyard before going on the offensive. Violent, militaristic rhetoric will get you no where, except more division and resentment. Apparently, non mainlanders were also abused...
The bare facts should speak for itself. Hong Kong certainly is a rich, dynamic melting pot of different cultures, faiths and generally kind people. It is built on being an Entrepot, so certainly there will always be influx of different waves of people, depending on the economic cliimate. It is also one of the only few places in Asia to have a working, and reasonably fair and transparent system of government. It plays out to be quite the role model for many in the region, in particular, our police are highly regarded for their professionalism and integrity.
If you "rebels" are so intent on convincing the masses that you are so right, have the decency to discuss the facts, not emotional, subjective rhetoric. Otherwise, you're movement is condemned to the historical trash pile with the likes of Pauline Hanson.
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.
honger
Those protesters on Sunday obviously had never experienced discrimination overseas, otherwise they won't act so.
They are a lucky bunch to live in such thriving times in an adopted land. Of course they are only first or second generation here from the mainland.
kim.chen.16568
protecting hk?? r u serious?...hahahaha
sinohog
I have been planning a vacation to HK sometime this year. Quite frankly, I'm not sure what to make of all of this. It is clearly a complex issue. I think most of us prospective tourists just don't want to get caught in the middle. Yes, the HK government has a point. Regardless where you stand on the issue, the demonstrations have tarnished Hong Kong's image.
oxymoron15
@rolftsui
Neither can you disprove my assertion. Go surf around HK discussion forums and be more proactive in reaching out to your friends and neighbors above and beyond. It's translucent these tourists are causing social unrest. Whether people perceive them as an inconvenience or having total resentment the end game is the same. They are not wanted. So where do you fit in? I'm all ears
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 !!
andypl
HK is experiencing the pains of globalizxation just as every other city in the world is. Much of it is bad, pollution, crowds, etc. But its not just HK, its NY, LA, Vancouver, London, etc. the good old days are gone for everyone. So I understand the frustration, but its not just HK, its not just Mainlanders going to HK, its not just your problem. Its everywhere. Rich are getting richer and poor are just fighting each other. Please try to be kind to everyone even as you are frustrated in these events. As a foreigner, I cant say I fully understand your situation, but I can say that I have experienced similar frustration and globalization issues in my own hometowns and where I used to vacation. Its not just the same, but maybe we can try to find a new path forward even while the past is just a fond memory.
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.
honger
Yeah, look what happened after the financial crisis in 1997 and 2009, not to mention SARs. Tourism has always been a pillar of HK.
Of course you are in denial when you say tourism did not help Hong Kong. You obvioulsy were nto even born when SARs happened or have a short memory.
aplucky1
image of what? what are talking about
image of being the mainlands doormat for its peasants and unwashed
this is a unique finite territory or you have not figured that out yet
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!!!"
honger
I don't insinuate - I am saying there are locals amongst the traders. By locals, I mean those who hold permanent HKIDs. These include the NT old ladies and gentlemen, plus of course some resourceful new immigrants with connections on teh mainland.
It is natural for such trade to occur at the borders of countries offering differing goods and prices - look at the border towns in the world.
caractacus
This ignorant prejudice is an apt reflexion of bigoted Hong Kong attitudes, where most people are descended from mainland immigrants.
Dai Muff
"Everybody in HK should have personal freedom and safety, and expect law and order."
Would that include Falun Gong protesters?
mercedes2233
I am limiting my reply only to your reference of HK emigrants speaking Chinglish. While that may be true, that is heaps better than the western expats who spend decades in HK without learning our language and dialect. Even if they married Chinese women, they still speak English.
aplucky1
honger-so you think mainland universities have similar policies ?
did not think so
you are obviously some paid mainland stooge licking the boot of your ignorant boss-do not need you here
honger
Obviously, you are not aware of the growing number of Hongkongers and other "foreigners" studying in mainland and Taiwan unis.
For that matter, many Hongkongers take up places in some of the best foreign unis worldwide based on merit. What do you say to that?
Please be civil on this board, no need to resort to such language.
likingming
Overcrowding is no excuse. See Macau.
Dai Muff
Have you been to Macau? Is that really your idea of a shining example?
Dai Muff
They don't need to. They can experience discrimination here. When they are not their own government's first priority.
johnh
@honger, andypl
with all due respect, do either of you actually live in Hong Kong?
mercedes2233
I am sure that the shops they buy from make a profit of much more than 4.5%. When the rest of the world had a recession, HK did not. We should be grateful.
honger
How many percent of these day traders are Hong kongers, pray?
honger
see how you belittle and look down on the mainlanders - "peasants and unwashed."
What a superiority complex!
mercedes2233
I am sorry about that. The silent majority doesn't agree with this action. I think if you are not an Asian and cannot be mistaken for one, you would not encounter any problems. However it is very crowded, and that might put you off if nothing else does.
likingming
How about Macau, a much smaller city that has the capacity to cope with the mainlanders.
mercedes2233
You are misinformed about university education here. All candidates are judged on their academic merits. In the past, it was difficult to even recruit local students to do higher degrees because they preferred earning money, so that financial rewards had to be provided. I don't know about that situation now. The majority of undergraduate students choose to live at home rather than at the university colleges for reasons which include less cost to the parents.
hardhang
Why not ?
meoii
Without stating whether it's good or bad...many people are underestimating what the 4.5% it gives Hong Kong, the tourism adds what we see in Hong Kong's streets. It gives the low income earners more jobs, dish washers, waiters, bus drivers, etc. The 4.5% from tourism will feed more mouths than 4.5% from say...Mr Li Ka Shing.
mercedes2233
Only about 100 people out of a population of 7.2 million protested. Hardly the feelings of the 'majority'. Nobody has raised this, but how much does jealousy of China's wealthy tourists prompt this resentment, I wonder? Are any of the protestors 'wealthy'?
mercedes2233
I have not heard about your first sentence. In the UK and Australia at least, universities welcome overseas students with open arms, and an industry grew up providing lodgings for these students.

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