What are your views on the recent controversies surrounding relations between Hong Kong and the mainland? What are the underlying causes? Is there any way to solve the problem? As this is a school forum, please keep your views civil.
The recent sparring has attracted international media attention: rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/one-country-two-systems-not-lately
The Dolce & Gabbana Fiasco
Things seemed to start off with public anger at Dolce & Gabbana, after a security guard at their Tsim Sha Tsui store prevented local residents from photographing the storefront (from the sidewalk outside the store), saying that only tourists from the Mainland and overseas were allowed to take photos) of the shop. This led to a protest outside the store on 8 January. (HK Standard Article, 9 January: Get the Picture)
The above article mentions an interesting reason why the store started banning photo-taking by locals: “A well-known mainlander, possibly a government official, was reportedly shopping in the store last month when he noticed people outside taking photographs. A complaint was made to D&G because the customer feared netizens would link the shopping spree to corruption. Then D&G instigated the ban.”
The MTR Noodle Incident
A video was posted on YouTube showing Hong Kong residents on the MTR angrily confronting a woman from the mainland because her daughter has spilled noodles on the floor while eating on the train (which is not allowed).
Personally, I think the accusations were too aggressive. Just the day before, I was sitting behind a local mother and her child on the bus who were both noisily slurping down cup noodles for almost the entire journey, with the daughter also accidentally spilling some broth on the floor when the bus slowed down. Why didn’t people on the bus jump up and criticize them?
The Controversial Survey
Meanwhile, the latest figures in a longitudinal survey (conducted bi-anually since 1997) were released: (hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/ethnic/eidentity/poll/datatables.html)
The survey simply charts how people in Hong Kong view their identity when asked how they would identify. The proportion of people identifying themselves as “Chinese” dropped to 16.6%, the lowest in the survey’s history. Mainland government officials immeidately the validity of the poll. It should be noted, however, that the other respondents didn’t say they “did not” identify themselves as being Chinese; they merely indicated that they thought of themselves first as Hong Kong citizens (37.7%), Chinese Hong Kong citizens (25.3%), Hong Kong Chinese citizens (17.8%) of others. First, Hong Kong is a part of China, so identifying oneself as a Hong Kong citizen only deemphasizes Chinese nationality (it doesn’t show necessarily show rejection of that nationality). Second, the proportion of people identifying themselves as either Chinese, Chinese Hong Kong citizens of Hong Kong Chinese citizens is quite high (59.7%). Therefore, the reaction of the survey’s critics seems misguided.
The Outrageous Peking University Professor
In response to the MTR incident and the opinion poll, a professor from Peking University. Kong Qingdong, gave a long online interview (shown at the top of this page) in which he repeatedly said that most Hong Kong people were dogs and thieves (as well as worse things). It appeared as though the purpose of the interview was to put uppity Hong Kong people in their place. Needless to say, that caused a lot of resentment in Hong Kong.
The Anti-locust Ad
In response, a group of Hong Kongers raised money to take out a full-page ad in the Apple Daily Newspaper on 1 February
(blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2012/02/01/about-that-hong-kong-locust-ad/). This ad plays on the local perception of mainlanders as locusts, descending on the city en masse and devouring precious resources (maternity beds in hospitals, baby milk powder, accomodation, etc.)
And this has in turn inflamed netizens on the mainland (AFP: Hong Kong ‘locust’ ad angers Chinese web users)