Date
24 March 2017
Most Hong Kong people are not hostile to parallel traders (left) and shoppers from the mainland but just want their normal lives back. Photos: HKEJ
Most Hong Kong people are not hostile to parallel traders (left) and shoppers from the mainland but just want their normal lives back. Photos: HKEJ

Where mainlanders get it wrong about Hongkongers

The typical mainlander has one, some or all of these views about Hong Kong people:

1) They’ve lost their sense of superiority because the Chinese economy is now the second biggest in the world.

2) Without mainland tourists, many will be unemployed.

3) Without water and electricity from China, Hong Kong will die within days.

4) Mainland graduates prompted investors to create jobs, not take them away from Hong Kong people.

The list could go on forever but the rest of it will be no less scornful.

Fair enough.

Where the mainlanders get it wrong is when they lump all Hongkongers into a one-size-fits-all description of an unwelcoming, if not hostile population.

Not all Hong Kong people dislike mainlanders, although many are put out by the behavior of certain visitors to our fair city.

The vast majority is in the camp of what the late Chinese intellectual Wang Xiabo called “the silent majority”.

These are people who just want to get on with daily life. They’re neither politicians, activists nor traders.

Most are probably in tourism and retail-related industries and they are more pragmatic than mainlanders give them credit for.

In fact, the vast majority of Hong Kong people are not hostile to mainlanders. You don’t ordinarily see them harassing or shouting down visitors from across the border.

Sure, there have been protests against parallel traders from the mainland. These are confined to border areas where parallel trading has exacerbated local conditions (rising rent, overcrowding, traffic congestion).

But it’s unfair to ascribe these mass actions by certain groups to the whole Hong Kong population as the Chinese media would have us believe.

That’s how Hongkongers are made out to be generally unwelcoming and hostile to mainlanders.

In a situation wherein Hong Kong newspapers, magazines and TV are not allowed in the mainland, people can easily get confused if they rely on censored news sources.

If mainlanders don’t want to come to Hong Kong, let it be for a real reason (I could think of many, as many as there are tourist destinations out there), not under some false impression.

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JP/RA 

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