18 July 2018

Life ‘getting tougher’ for China students in HK: People’s Daily

Life is “getting tougher” for mainland students and graduates living in Hong Kong due to tensions caused by the recent events in the city, People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party, said in an article published Monday. 

While there have been no reliable figures regarding the mainland students that have chosen to remain in Hong Kong, People’s Daily has put the number at an astonishing 150,000 (including those who are currently enrolled in local universities) – almost on par with the entire resident population in Wan Chai. 

Rather than go into details and facts to explain what caused the mounting distrust and ideological rift between Hongkongers and their mainland cousins, the report simply highlighted several individual cases in which mainlanders were allegedly “being treated unfairly as collateral targets”.

Among the various cases it cited was that of Eugenia Ye Lushan (葉璐珊), a sophomore at the University of Hong Kong who is running for a post in the students’ union but has faced a boycott due to her alleged Communist background.

The article also mentioned Stephanie Liu Han (劉涵), who scored top marks in college entrance exams in Yunnan province and was admitted to HKU but died in a tragic traffic accident in Hong Kong in October 2013 at the age of 25. It alleged that many locals, rather than mourn her death, had posted abusive comments on Facebook, showing their anger against mainland immigrants.

Another case mentioned in the report was that of Liao Weiyi (廖維懿), who acknowledged his Communist Party membership when he sought to contest for presidency of the student body at Lingnan University, but was still disqualified to join the race due to a student referendum.

Quoting a professor at the City University’s Department of Applied Social Studies, the report concludes that the root of widespread hostility among Hong Kong youth is their “deep sense of insecurity” as they fear being crowded out by mainland elites in academic performance and jobs.

Locals harbor some “unfounded prejudice against mainlanders and tend to rate themselves above newcomers”, said the article published in the overseas edition of People’s Daily.

Mainlanders may have to brace themselves for more ill-conceived interrogation of their political stance and questions about their mainland identity — their so-called “original sin”, it said.

The report says that most mainlanders, including those who take up government funded places or admitted to Hong Kong’s colleges on a self-financing basis, are generally among the top students in terms of exam score, enthusiasm and stamina.

Their hard-won university places and career development opportunities should not fall under “isolation and discrimination”, it said.

The paper called on mainlanders to stand up against the harsh attacks, rather than “continuing to remain passive and be silent” when they are at the “receiving end of such smearing and demonization”.

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