Hongkongers who protested against a mainland family whose toddler urinated in a Mong Kok street were yesterday compared to "neo-Nazis" and "skinheads" in a scathing editorial carried by China's state-run Global Times.
The article came in response to a protest on Sunday, where some 30 Hongkongers mocked mainlaind tourists by squatting down and mimicking toddlers defecating, using fake faeces, at the Harbour City shopping centre in TST.
The piece is the latest in a spat that has drawn both widespread condemnation and support for the family both in Hong Kong and on the mainland, after pictures taken by passersby went viral of a toddler urinating by a roadside, leading to ugly scenes in the street.
Some netizens in the city believe the boy was actually defecating, claiming photos and videos showing the evidence.
"Humiliating mainlanders must be the only aim these protestors were trying to achieve. But it turns out that who they embarrassed and humiliated was nobody but themselves and all of Hong Kong society. Hong Kong's image was badly tarnished by them," read the editorial, posted on the paper's English language website.
"This handful of radicals in Hong Kong remind us of the rampant skinheads and neo-Nazis in Europe. Xenophobia is the cult of these groups. Their opinions have an effect on public opinion, but their actions will usually make trouble for mainstream society."
"These Hong Kong 'skinheads' shamed Hong Kong civilization, which has to take a much longer time and more efforts to eliminate the ill effects."
The article called on mainlanders to be open-minded and distinguish between Hong Kong mainstream society from "those contemptible wretches" who protested at Harbour City.
"All of Hong Kong shouldn't be blamed for these incidents, but they can serve as a gate for mainlanders to have a better understanding of Hong Kong society."
Originating in working class London in the 1960s, skinheads are known for their close-cropped or shaved heads and violence against ethnic minorities. The movement spread across the world.
The article said that while protesters had wanted to humiliate mainlanders, they had ended up humiliating themselves and Hong Kong society instead, letting people see “a low-quality, dirty and messy tip” of society.
Such “rogue and anti-civilisation behaviour” would affect mainlanders’ interest in visiting Hong Kong, the Global Times continued.
The article described Hong Kong as "still a young member in this big Chinese family" and said it was "unavoidable that some troublemakers will keep posing challenges to society".
"Patriotism demands this massive country should have a certain tolerance for frictions within different groups," it read.
"We need to fight back and overwhelm any forces that try to harm the integrity of the nation."