Rising tensions between mainland tourists and Hong Kong residents have triggered calls by some netizens for a boycott of the territory as a travel destination from June 1. But is such a move being instigated by some unseen hands in Beijing?
Some observers believe that such a call is meant to minimize the number of mainlanders coming to Hong Kong to attend the June 4 protest rally, Apple Daily reported Thursday. A massive rally is scheduled to be held on that date to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the pro-democracy student movement that ended in a bloody military crackdown on Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Several online posts are calling on mainland tourists to boycott Hong Kong following an incident in Mong Kok last Tuesday, when a mainland couple were arrested following a quarrel with local residents who chastised them for letting their child relieve himself in public.
The incident triggered furious online reactions on both sides of the border. In a post on Tianya Club, a popular internet forum, a netizen called on fellow mainlanders not to visit Hong Kong starting June 1.
The post reads: “When mainland Chinese decide not to visit Hong Kong at all for one month, two months or three months, we shall see how Hong Kong people will feel. We should act to express our frustration.”
Hong Kong-based China specialist Willy Lam does not rule out the possibility that Beijing may be behind the boycott call, especially with the recent establishment of a central network security task force headed by President Xi Jinping himself.
But Lam does not believe such an online call could bring about material results, the newspaper reported.
In an editorial, the state-backed newspaper Global Times called on the Hong Kong community to show more tolerance to mainland tourists, although it said local residents have the right to point out improper behavior by individual tourists.
Meanwhile, several Hong Kong netizens welcomed the proposed boycott, saying life will be better if there were less mainland tourists in the city.
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