Sunday, 5 February 2012

Hong Konger or Chinese?

Full article REUTERS

As Hong Kong's outgoing leader Donald Tsang looks ahead to retirement, grassroots resentment has boiled over towards the influx of mainland Chinese visitors on a number of fronts, including healthcare and housing, presenting a twilight challenge for Tsang and his government's legacy of symbiotic integration with China. Twenty-eight million mainland Chinese visited Hong Kong last year, around four times the population of the city, many flush with cash and on the hunt for everything from baby formula to hospital beds and luxury brands to high-end apartments. Cross-border marriages have proliferated and Beijing's leaders have bestowed countless economic sweeteners on the city to cement the mainland's embrace of Hong Kong.

Insults are being hurled across the border, with some Hong Kongers decrying the mainland Chinese as "locusts," while one Chinese professor called Hong Kong people "running dogs" of the British.


One of the most controversial issues has been that of mainland Chinese mothers flocking to Hong Kong hospitals to give birth, partly to circumvent China's one-child policy and also to gain the right of abode in one of China's most developed and wealthiest cities. A broad provision in Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, grants Hong Kong citizenship to any Chinese born here.

In 2010, of the 88,584 newborns in Hong Kong, around a third, or 32,653 were born to mainland women, up from 620 babies in 2001. The influx has spawned an entire industry of agents shuttling Chinese mothers en masse across the border, hiding them in illegal 'inns' before birth.

This week, a group of aggrieved Hong Kongers placed an incendiary front-page advertisement in the city's populist, mass circulation Apple Daily newspaper, denouncing Chinese women for crowding out Hong Kong's hospitals to the extent that maternity wards are booked solid until September.

"Hong Kong people have had enough!"
The ad proclaimed in large Chinese characters beside a picture of a giant locust on a hill overlooking Hong Kong's skyscrapers and iconic harbour. "Stop the invasion of mainland mothers" it added.

On the other side of the argument, there are signs that more and more mainland Chinese are becoming weary of Hong Kong's favoured status...

"If it wasn't the mainland Chinese treating you like a son, you would have died long ago," a retaliatory advertisement, widely circulated on mainland Chinese microblogging sites in response to the locust slurs.


A confluence of other incidents and issues has also stoked debate, protests and frustration. Many Hong Kongers blame wealthy mainland Chinese for driving property prices beyond the reach of local citizens. Mainland Chinese snapped up around a third of residential flats last year, according to Nomura research, and home prices have risen as much as 70 percent since 2009.

Last year, mainland mothers, spooked by China's toxic melamine milk powder scare, bought up massive stocks of tinned milk powder from Hong Kong stores, leaving bare shelves and anxious Hong Kong mothers scouring shops citywide for formula.

The gripes found another lightning rod last month when a heated argument between a Hong Kong man who castigated a mainland Chinese visitor and her daughter on the city's subway for eating a bowl of noodles, went viral on YouTube.

The feud spurred a Peking University professor, Kong Qingdong, to call Hong Kong people "dogs" for their cultural superiority. His comments incensed many in Hong Kong and triggered a media backlash as well as protests outside China's Hong Kong liaison office.

Results from one of Hong Kong's most respected public opinion surveys suggested growing resentment towards mainland China. A December poll on the extent to which Hong Kongers identified themselves as Chinese citizens first or as a Hong Konger first dropped to 17 percent, the lowest level in 12 years.

Excellent Blog covering the latest Hongkonger v Mainland issues


  1. Is it any wonder that a 'limb' that has been used to being independent for so long is reluctant to be part of it's 'bigger body'?

    HK should just gracefully accept that it will become another tier city of China rather than the economic giant that it was of the last few decades. What else can it do?

    As for the mainlanders that buy up all the powdered milk, and raise babies in HK without a strong political representation HK either has to organise rules against this, or again no choice but to stay quiet.

    It depends on where you were born on that time scale as to how you benefitted/didnt benefit, but historically, If not for opium wars and losing HK to the west, privelege or no privelege there would never be this kind of divide amongst Chinese. Maybe a different kind, but not like this.

    Interesting enough it does show how a western free capitalism system can divide and conquer a people at the cost of their own culture. Not dissimilar to our own British Chinese/Chinese in Britain/Chinese Britons/Little Britain community.

    At this rate if China cant even manage it's in-fighting( because thats what i consider it despite HK's two system rule), not sure how its going to be a solid world leader, or at the very least a respectable opponent to sneaky western globalists.

    Chinese should learn to stop bickering amongst each other and start looking at the bigger picture.

  2. That blog has some funny videos of people shitting in the street, by the way.

  3. haha, the blog is fantastic, but really badly organised and badly labelled, making it very difficult to find specific articles. Whats the link for the defecating FOB mainland videos?!

  4. HK

    San Francisco

  5. Also, from that same blog, look how London-based gossip rag 'The Economist' is sneakily bashing HK to attract a bigger mainland readership.

    Imperialists always stick their big nose into Chinese politics try to squeeze a penny from divide and conquer tactics. Even on this blog sticking their nose into BBC affairs.

    Shouldnt they just stick to printing more debt, Olympics tickets and instructing brick-heads to annoy us with their blue-flashing sirens ?

    Oh wait, they do.

    By the way, that same hk-expat on there claims he is ethnic Chinese.

    1. which hk-expat are you refering to?

      Incidently, we have similar issues in this country with mainland migration swamping the existing Cantonese speaking Chinese community, the difference though is that our community has always been a minority to whites etc, a community that is too weak and dispersed to care and besides mainlanders in the UK are predominantly from poor backgrounds not rich and provide cheap labour and profits for the established Cantonese established businesses, however I'm still surprised the Cantonese speakers in this country haven't reacted in the same the locals have in Hong Kong, although it has to be said, it took the Hong Kongers a bloody long time to react.

    2. Re: badcanto blog , hkforever claims he is HK Chinese - he replied to you.

      As you say,majority mainlanders are typically the hired hand - waiters, cooks, til operators etc. Apart from the mainlander owned medicine /herbal shops.

      But then surely reacting would have a negative effect on the workforce? After all we are in the UK, not HK.

      Potentially small internal conflicts , who knows.But Chinese nature being what it is, practicality comes first, politics second.

    3. Hang about guys, this is a chance to ensure mainlander (and other Chinese) who come to Britain do not "turn" white... as we know, most BBCs are quick to abandon and denigrate their roots, so the British Chinese are essentially white people with a bit of Chinese in them.... these mainlanders are fresh people who have yet to succumb to whitewashing. Another words, THEY are the future of the British Chinese community - when their kids teach them about being British Chinese without turning white... like it or not it's too late for our generation, but the next can be changed for the better.

      Also I don't buy the "too weak and dispersed" argument. South American and certain African communities are quite small in some areas, yet they manage to group together and present a solid, united presence to the majority. I fear this is a uniquely Chinese thing, partially done by white men intermarrying Chinese women and thus diluting Chinese unity; and partly by the Chinese in Britain in general who are more easily swayed by white opinions and references than other races. Maybe that's linked to us being comparative pushovers? We just don't have the "arrogance" factor as a race. In this case, arrogance means retaining one's roots.

    4. To me, the main factors that can create a solid BBC future generation based on mainland immigration:

      1. they remain westernised whilst retaining Chinese culture
      2. more organisation - look at us - 2nd wave largely commonwealth BBCS had all this time to get organised, regardless of the FOB upbringing and hapa media blindsiding and we still havent done jack. But maybe it was harder economic times back then for commonwealth ,hence takeaway culture that make most commonwealth BBCs want to escape and be free from.
      3. segreation and whitewashing seems to be a Chinese trait. Its possible there will still be white men Chinese women pairings but by then China superpower will be established. Gotta remember that when when HK immigrants, HK was british colony, this time its different. Its on even ground, if anything Uk is overshadowed.

      Finally noone can teach anyone about being british chinese. Culture is just somthing that evolves as long as its nurtured consistently. With the westernisation that China is already going through, it already matches with the west. That could be a good thing because Chinese would then have their own sense of modernisation without adapting to the western way. IE chinese culture is already modernised so no, adapting to western culture isnt a big thing anymore.

      Finally a lot boils down to personal discipline. From what ive seen of mainlander parents in the UK they are strong parents. Whether theyre children get whitewashed again depnds on their upbringing. But again I think times in general are different now. nothing is new anymore. I mean to label the culture of the perpetual foreigner that is the biggest superpower in the world is stupid. Ignorant whites can still do it, but its just futile IMO.

      Finally mainlanders are more even tempered than HK Chinese at least the ones i met in the UK. Even the ones i met on my trip. I dont know maybe its me. Old school Cantonese firey culture is great, but when it comes to people, mainlanders to me in general, are more even tempered, which could mean with all the above factors a more stable british chinese identity.Less exciting than HK culture maybe, but it is what it is.

      Also northerners tend to be more intellectual then southerners - which means more open to cultural development, and having got things the hard way, whilst HK'ers i think took their privelege for granted. Hence the whole locusts vs running dogs of the british debate.

      I mean look at the amount of HK actors and directors that went to hollywood. They made jackie chan look a monkey. Andy Lau was the only one who stayed in HK. Because of Hollywood sucking up HK talent, and western fans kept eagerly wanting him and Chow Yun fat to break through, but they never did, as a result...HK was drained of all its talent and coupled with the piracy, the industry died. Whose fault was that? Hollywoods? I suppose back then globalism was at an all time high so noone can be blamed...

      Finally, as to media representation - the biggie - that will depend on political representation. if the racist media by then is still intense demonising, then if bbcs dont create their own, nothing will have changed.

      All speculation, as usual.

  6. I actually think the China-HK-Taiwan "divide" is great for the long run... as long as it doesn't go to war or scupper each countries' trade or living conditions, obviously. It will show to the world that the Chinese aren't just... Chinese... much like when you go to Europe or America, they aren't considered just whites - but American, French, German etc... it's full of different nations with different cultures and history.

  7. Was just reading badcanto and read out the HK candidate is embroiled in an underground palace scandal.

    I feel bad for HKers. Theres enough adjustment to be made with change of becoming part of China again, but now with crooks like this representing you as the chief exec of Hong Kong, seriously...

    Politicians all round the world are crooked it seems

  8. Another interesting link on identity differences