Hongkongers, mainlanders and the tale of the 'abducted baby'

By A Wei Source:Global Times Published: 2013-12-10 19:43:01

A 31-year-old single mom in Hong Kong left her 6-year-old daughter unattended for a violin class. When she returned, the child was dead. She then dumped the child's body in a trash can and told the police her daughter had disappeared, accusing an imaginary middle-aged woman with a Guangdong accent of abducting her child.

The woman's allegation against a non-existent mainlander led to a new torrent of invective at mainlanders from Hong Kong people. This is the latest incident to show the hatred some Hongkongers have for their mainland cousins.

About a month ago, people from the mainland were shocked at the rant over the death of a girl who had gone to Hong Kong for study and worked there since graduation.

Usually, you'd expect sympathy and consolation for the tragic loss of a young life in a traffic incident, but what we saw were "some of the city's ferocious online trolls venting their anger against mainland immigrants," as one local newspaper described it.

It's clear that there's a stereotype toward mainlanders in Hong Kong, as indicated in this criminal case where the young mother fabricated the story of a mainlander abducting her baby.

She did so because it is a story she could sell easily to the police as well as to the general public.

Having said that, people have to understand that there's a real concern among Hongkongers about the huge number of mainlanders flooding into their city.

For example, it's alleged that rich mainlanders purchase 30 percent of all luxury houses in Hong Kong, causing property prices to spike.

And the influx of expectant mothers from the mainland into Hong Kong, with an eye on local residency, free education and quality welfare for their babies, also angers local people who, as a result, have to compete for a bed in hospitals.  

But Hong Kong people could take a moment to think about their relationship with their brethren as well.

The arrival of mainlanders may create pressure on their lives, but it's also because of them that Hong Kong's businesses have continued to grow healthily despite the global financial crisis since 2008.

And back in 1997, it was the central government's strong support that enabled Hong Kong to weather the financial storm.

The tension between Hong Kong residents and those from the mainland is, on the one hand, similar to the situation in which immigrants are not welcomed.

But on the other hand, the relationship between us is unique in the sense that we are brothers and sisters.

When Hong Kong people grew enraged at the slow response from the Philippines to the deaths of eight tourists in a hostage crisis in 2010, people in the mainland demonstrated solidarity by urging the Philippines to issue an official apology and offer compensation.

This bond of blood between those in Hong Kong and the mainland should be allowed to overcome their differences and prevent the spread of antagonism.

A Wei, a journalist based in Beijing

Posted in: Letters

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