Hong Kong govt unites to slam protest

By Fang Yang Source:Global Times Published: 2014-2-20 0:38:01

Hong Kong's chief executive and top government officials have condemned the anti-mainland protest held on Sunday, with analysts believing that the incident reflected a change of mentality as many Hong Kong people lack a sense of national and cultural identity.

Over 200 people staged an anti-mainland protest in Tsim Sha Tsui on Sunday afternoon, shouting abuse at some Chinese mainland tourists and forcing several stores to temporarily shut down.

Chief Executive C Y Leung on Tuesday condemned the harassment and said the protest only represented a very small section of the Hong Kong community. On Monday, several senior Hong Kong officials slammed the protest as "barbaric and uncivilized" and blamed it for directly affecting the Hong Kong-mainland relationship and harming Hong Kong's tourist sector.

Leung Kim-shing, initiator of the protest, said on Tuesday that abusing tourists was "not part of the plan." He added that the protest was held to draw government attention to limiting the excessive number  of mainland tourists, according to the BBC.

A critique published on Wednesday by the Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao newspaper said that mainland visitors are only an excuse for extremists to take radical action.

"The real reason is that Hong Kong people's mentality has changed," the critique said. "The diligent and rational custom has changed, and many young people support radical action due to a lack of national and cultural identity."

The opinion was echoed by Chang Chak-yan, a political science professor from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who told the Global Times that the lack of a sense of national identity could be treated by introducing relevant education and promoting communication between the mainland and Hong Kong. 

However, some suggested that besides condemnation, the government should face up to the public's request and take measures to relieve the frictions between the mainland and Hong Kong.

"The protest rings the warning bell for more anti-mainland actions in the future," Michael Tien Puk-sun, National People's Congress (NPC) deputy from Hong Kong and deputy chair of Hong Kong's New People's Party, told the Global Times.

Tien called for the government to face people's resentment and said the increasing influx of mainland visitors has affected local people's lives.

Tien on Friday called for a cap on permits issued to mainland individual tourists to Hong Kong and suggested the central government keep the rate of increase within a reasonable level of 3 percent to 5 percent per year.

Zhang Dinghuai, a scholar at Shenzhen University, said local people should choose a reasonable way to express their requests. He added that locals have deliberately turned frictions into political issues.

Posted in: China Watch

blog comments powered by Disqus