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  • Nov 29, 2014
  • Updated: 9:25am
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SOCIETY

'I've been called a mainland dog', reveals award-winning student battling discrimination

Li Wang has not let anti-mainlander sentiment get to him; instead the experience has helped turn him into an award-winning student

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 June, 2014, 3:03am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 June, 2014, 11:36am
 

Discrimination is something mainland student Li Wang has come to live with since arriving in Hong Kong two years ago.

The 20-year-old, who is studying accounting at City University, has been called a "thief" and a "dog" and his friends have received random tellings-off on the MTR - all because they are from the mainland.

But rather than let the tension get to him, Li decided to do something about it - he became involved in voluntary work with children - a role in which he excels in setting a good example.

Yesterday RTHK recognised his efforts - and those of five others - with an outstanding student award. The award recognises Chinese-speaking non-local university students who go the extra mile in their studies, conduct and service to society.

Outside of his studies, Li teaches interview skills at a workshop in a primary school and hosts a tutorial session at a special education school.

"Going once a week doesn't help much in their studies, but I can keep them company and bring them joy," he said.

It's not just his pupils that Li sets a good example to - since coming to Hong Kong he has been careful to remind his friends of the importance of proper behaviour, such as not eating or drinking on the MTR.

Despite his conscientious approach, he has often found himself in the middle of Hong Kong-mainland tensions, such as when he first arrived in Hong Kong in 2012 from Zhejiang .

A young woman approached him and his parents in a Mong Kok street, hurling insults at them and calling them "mainland dogs" and "mainland thieves".

Another time, a pregnant MTR passenger complained to Li's school about some of his friends, claiming they had not given their seats up - even though they had done so when she asked them.

Yet Li isn't bitter. "I came to Hong Kong and I love Hong Kong," he said after receiving his award. "My schoolmates are very nice. I go to church and people there are very nice too. Those against mainlanders do not represent the whole picture."

Another winner of the award, Ranie Wang Ran, 21, also from Zhejiang, came to Hong Kong to pursue her dream of studying communications, despite opposition from her parents.

Her father, a senior PLA officer, had wanted her to go to a military academy. But she resisted although the stress left her unable to eat or sleep. She lost 18kg. Eventually, her father gave in.

"I think it's a tragedy for a person to have no dreams, but my parents think it's normal," she said. Now in her third year at Baptist University film academy, she aims to become a screenwriter.

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This article is now closed to comments

SeiMaiSei
Don't feel bad, Mr Li, Hong Kong people do not discriminate in their discrimination; they consider themselves to be superior to everybody.
ninacheung
"A pregnant MTR passenger complained to Li's school about some of his friends, claiming they had not given their seats up - even though they had done so when she asked them." Well Mr. Li and your friends, if you want to be such a perfect example of a perfect mainlander you should know to offer your seat to a pregnant woman BEFORE she has to ask you to do so.
lucadep
Each society has small minorities who need to vent their anger and frustrations on "others", who are identified as the source of all their problems. Hong Kong is no different
auyeungy
I take a backseat to no one in my anti-**** sentiments. But I do think that the university students from China are a net plus in contribution to Hong Kong in general, provided that the schools do not loosen their admissions requirements for them.
ssslmcs01
If he is in Hong Kong on a student visa and taking up employment, paid or unpaid, he is breaching his condition of stay.
lxflyer
apart from caucasians. it's embarrassing the way some locals kiss white-a$$.
raglan
As an expat, I have to say that I prefer associating with Mainlanders over HKers these days....why? The comments below show the tip of the iceberg.....
draconianfederation
We Hong Kongers are not discriminating anybody, we are just sick and tired of mainland invasion and colonialisation of our land! We are trying to tell you mainlanders that you are not welcomed! We have a right to decide who we will or will not let into our own home!
hodfords
It is unfortunate that this is happening.
The problem is that so many of his countrymen especially the ones with new found wealth and government ministers have done so much damage to the image of mainland Chinese people that the blanket prejudice against all mainlanders has become an unfortunate consequence of such damage.
skywalker
"The award recognises Chinese-speaking non-local university students..."
This is a very interesting "classification. For example, are Indians or Africans who come to Hong Kong for studying and speak Chinese eligible to be nominated for this award in general?
And how can that pregnant MTR passenger complain to Li's school? She went to the principal of the school and could name him? How did this work?

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