Dispute over new immigrants from the mainland, Hong Kong is unhappy?

| May 18th, 2011

From Southern Weekly:

An internet group organized by people against the new mainland immigrants to get equal benefits has won 80,000 Hongkongese’ s support; a song describing mainland Chinese as locusts has become popular in Hong Kong. Regarding those new immigrants from the mainland, people at different levels in Hong Kong have started to express their views and arguments.

It’s been fourteen years since Hong Kong’s return; mainland China is playing an increasingly important role in driving Hong Kong’s development. The exchange and convergence of mainland Chinese and Hong Kong are deepening. However, this dispute that began over immigrants has expanded to include residence from mainland China. What are Hongkongese worried about?

20110518-hk-unhappy-01

Regarding the anti-immigration storm, new immigrants are fighting for their rights with the assistance of select social groups: This is an appeal about mainland women coming to Hong Kong to give birth.

In the beginning of March, a third year university student named Lawrence, studying at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, joined a Facebook group “香港本土力量” (means “Hong Kong Local Power”). Not long before this, the Hong Kong government decided to give every permanent resident 6000 HKD. (Permanent resident status is achieved when a person has been in Hong Kong for seven or more years.)Some organizations are calling for equal right for new immigrants who have been living in Hong Kong under seven years. The principle of “Hong Kong Local Power” is very simple: they are opposed to giving benefits to new immigrants.

Out of Lawrence’s expectation, this group’s organization triggered a storm. Within two days after the group’s establishment, the number of group members had reached 400. The confrontation was escalating sharply.

A woman who is a new immigrant from mainland called RTHK hotline and poured out her own bitterness. The recording was cut and uploaded to YouTube, then Facebook, the hits quickly exceeded 120,000.

On March 6, during the first parade of “Against Shortsighted Budget”, physical confrontations took place between protesters and new immigrants. On March 8, another group in support of the status quo was established on Facebook and it put forward, “New immigrants have no right to get 6000 HKD, it is permanent residents’ exclusive benefit; we will get 100,000 supporters.” Membership exceeded 800,000 in less than a week!

Opponents appeared immediately. The former chairman of the Student Union at City University of Hong Kong reported that this group is suspected of being racist. Netizens who claimed that they are protecting Hong Kong dismissed the former chairman as a “traitor,” and promptly began an extensive investigation into the former chairman.

On Apr. 10, along with over 200 netizens, Lawrence paraded on the street with a slogan “Against the fund given to new immigrants”. At that time, their anger on new immigrants had already expanded to mainland Chinese.

In the parade, some people carried protest signs objecting to the milk shortage in Hong Kong due to the melamine contaminated milk from mainland China. They are also dissatisfied with the mainland Chinese women that come to Hong Kong to give birth. They support the policy that Hong Kong government tightens the birth policy and stops public hospitals from accepting appointments from mainland pregnant women.

Then, an internet song named “蝗虫天下” (means locust world) described mainland Chinese as the following: “They shout in restaurants, hotels, stores…”; “They like to invade and occupy other’s territory.”; “They grab others’ ID cards.”; “They sell fake products.”; “They are parasitic locusts.”… This song has been widely re-posted and spread on YouTube, Facebook and some local Hong Kong forums.

Those locusts, with strong aggressivity, has replaced “A Can”, “Biao Shu”, “Biao Jie”, what Hongkongnese call mainland people 20 or 30 years ago. The latters are rustic, poor, timid and funny, but at least they pose no threats to Hongkongese.

Hong Kong has returned to China for nearly 14 years. During those years, mainland China has been playing an increasingly important role in helping and leading Hong Kong’s economy. The exchange and convergence of mainland Chinese and Hong Kong are deepening. However, a great disturbance caused by 6000 HKD issue, and a group of “new immigrants” whom most mainland Chinese know little about, make mainland Chinese realize this: their image in Hongkongese’s eyes does not increase with the development of economy.

Every one wants to know, why?

New immigrants’ new issues

These days, “同根社” (means “same-rooted league”), a social group organized by women who are newcomers in Hong Kong, has received numerous calls. Shock and fear are spreading over the phones. The targets of this public disturbance are those women— new immigrants.

Statistic shows that in the last 20 years, marriages (composed of mainland Chinese and Hongkongese) increased to 22339 in 2009 from 16451 in 1986. More than 80% of them are mainland women married to Hong Kong men.

In the first 7 years of living in Hong Kong, those brides only have one-way permit, not HK Permanent ID Card; they do not have the right to apply for public housing and comprehensive social security assistance; they also have no voting rights.

They are the mainstream of “New immigrants”. Statistics tell us those immigrants with one-way permit to get to Hong Kong reached 310,000. Among them, 73.7% are women—so called mainland brides.

Shum Shui Po is one of the gathering areas of new immigrant families; other areas include Mong Kok, Kwun Tong, Sha Tin, etc. Only in those areas, there are a lot of cheap splint houses, or 200-300 square feet room for rent.

Yang Mei, secretary general of “同根社”, is an example of new immigrants. She already has a three-star (HK Permanent ID Card). Her family of five people moved to Hoi Lai Estate in Nanchang road. Her oldest daughter is studying in Hong Kong Open University. This university is so so, but among 150 Chinese & Hong Kong families that Yang Mea knows, there are only 3 children go to university since now.

This group has lagged behind and been put into the bottom of society since Hong Kong’s transformation. “Living on social security assistance” has been their label for a long time.

“同根社” is in an office in Mong Kok. New women immigrants will seek help from this league— Settling the problems is part of Yang Mei’s daily work. “All kinds of problems; some problems you can imagine and some problems you can not imagine.” She said “Divorce, missing, having difficulty in finding a job, being despised by husband’s family; children have character disorder…”

According to the statistics from a Hong Kong Women Rights League, there were 512 cases of domestic violence in 2010, while 80% are reported by mainland brides. Recent calls are focused on this: “Can we get 6000 HKD?”

20110518-hk-unhappy-02

New immigrant’s narrow and crowded house; those mainland brides belong to the bottom of society. (Photo by Southern Weekend reporter)

Mr. Trouble

Apparently, poverty is not the reason why new immigrants make Hongkongese angry. During the storm of illegal entry into Hong Kong, those “New immigrants” escaped to Hong Kong without cash in their pocket.

When that experience is mentioned, He Xiulan (HK Legislative Council Member) teared several times. At that time, British government in Hong Kong sent British army to patrol border. Hong Kong local policemen would give offenders a way out; people who successfully entered Hong Kong would get help from Hongkongese: a meal, a bus ticket to go to the city, or a call to their family.

More and more people were escaping to Hong Kong. In 1980, British government in Hong Kong announced that the Touch Base Policy was abolished (If escapers can get to Hong Kong and get together with their HK relatives, then they can live here legally. If they get arrested on the border, they will be sent back); people can get on the last bus if they successfully get to Wan Chai Sports Ground by 12:00 pm.

“When it is approaching 12:00 pm, almost all Hongkongese were watching the TV live broadcast. On-site policemen were helping to pull the segregating rope and cheering for escapers, and even run to them to drag them to the other side of segregating rope.” He Xiulan said in memory.

(For more reading in Chinese, please visit Southern Weekly )

One day in March, Lawrence found a group named “香港本土力量” on Facebook and joined it. He volunteered to take the responsibility of contacting overseas publicity.

Before joining the group, he paused and then used a new username and account number to join the group, since he does not want his mainland classmates and friends to know that. He said that he may go to mainland China to develop his career after graduation. Generally he is a gentle person.

45 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. Gary says:

    Who can blame Hong Kong residents for wanting to keep out mainland residents? Hong Kong residents board the subway in an orderly fashion, drive their cars according to the rules, and do not throw trash on the sidewalk. Their city is orderly and clean. Compare it to any city in mainland China and who would want a flood of people with bad habits to ruin the place?

    • SwiftAzure says:

      Seriously? Have you even lived there? I went from the states to study abroad there for a month and it was the shittiest city ever. So crowded, so depressing, people bump into you on the street and in the MTR like its their job. No one gives a shit about anything but rushing to whatever they are doing. Driving their cars to the rules? YEA…..how about NO. There’s not really much road to drive on in the first place. Let’s see. Central, one lane roads like 60% of the island other than the highways around the island. Mong kok, Kowloon, TST, mostly one lane roads with a *few* two lane roads. Come weekday 7-10, cars are stuck on the road for 1-2 hrs AT LEAST. I’ve been there, it sucks. So about the driving their cars according to the rules, it’s not because they want to, it’s because they don’t really have choice. It’s not any better than the mainland. HKers aren’t as rude as mainland people? Since when? They are JUST as rude if not more so than mainlanders. Unless they are shop owners trying to get your business, they have no regard for being pleasant. They are just not pleasant.

    • fireworks says:

      You are joking right? Have you been to HK? Go to any housing estate and you see trash everywhere. Taxi drivers and shop owners can be rude if you don’t buy anything. Go and ask local people in western countries what they think about HK students over there. This xenophobic attitude is all too common with some people who think they are better than everyone else. Go and take hike sunshine.

    • Curry says:

      I fully agreed with you, I dislike them too.

  2. HK_Resident says:

    The real immigration problem is not working class people but the rich immigrants who buy up HK property and private and semi-private spaces in hospitals. THEY are the ones who jack up property and maternity prices, and who mess up the standard of living. This article is misinformed or poorly focused. .

  3. Meth says:

    The message is clear, the Hong Kong people (majority) don’t want Mainland people in their territory. It can be a problem when Mainland people would work for cheaper pay, no benefits, no strings attached. They will rob the citizens of their jobs, the whole Hong Kong lifestyle would plummet to below standard. Everything would go back to dirt cheap fake goods because Mainlands are classless society.

  4. chGO says:

    another problem is many of these new immigrants dun have jobs or it’s hard for them to find one. They are eligible to receive help from the government (public housing, $$) etc and who pays for that? The HK residents. And they can’t call H0ngkies racists either coz we are the same race….

  5. Chinese kid says:

    This is an interesting article because it highlights inter-Chinese prejudices and stereotypes. The differences in the attitudes and beliefs of HK and Mainland Chinese is something that is never clearly defined because people make so many assumptions that only focus on the similarities between the two groups.

  6. jc.yin says:

    Idiotic squabbling hong kongers YOU FOOL!! The PRC is your big daddy. How dare you forbid citizens of the PRC from coming to this island of yours. We’re gonna block ALL Apple products from ever landing on your shores. No iPhones or iPads anymore FOOLS! How you like that eh.

    • B-real says:

      Sorry but PRC has another 36 years before they can do anything like that. If they did that they would have to deal with the burden of compensating for the loss of income being as though they are made in China. They can always go to Macao or Shenzhen. Big daddy can’t PRC can’t really block anything but tweets and roads.

    • Meth says:

      highly doubt it. Without Hong Kong, there will be no genuine stuff in China anymore.

  7. Huzhang says:

    So what, HKers are richer and therefore look down on our northern brethren
    Happens everywhere, even within mainlanders themselves
    Not to mention all the stereotypes about them being rude, shameless retards are often true
    Maybe in a few decades when China develops they’ll act more like 1st worlders, for now HK will remain HK and they have plenty of land up there to move to anyway

    • Oscar says:

      thats not true, theres nothing to do with money. if u come to hong kong and respect our cultural, our language and contribute while u r enjoying the welfare and advantages, we definitely welcome all mainlanders, within our capapcity. but the truth is, we dun have excess resources to provide u. hong kong is not that rich. we cant afford the huge medical demand for the mainlanders, thats the main point. and now, hong kong’s own history and culture seem to be erased under the influence of mainland china, more and more people are shouting in madarin chinese on the street, historical architectures and landmarks with british traditional elements are demolished, signs are written in simplified chinese.

    • LOL says:

      Have you seen the difference in the standards of living within China? The corruption within China itself is massive. All the mainland authorities have the money.. what happened to their values of communism and where ‘everyone is equal’ anyway?

  8. AnAmerican says:

    That Korean guy has obviously never been to HK… He’s probably a 50 cent-club member.

    Mainland Chinese for the most part are rude, racists and completely ignorant. They spit on the bus, in my elevator and on the carpet in the casinos of Macau. They run into you and give YOU a dirty look. They bash each others brains in by the scores everyday over some childish loss of face — the list of bad qualities of ML Chinese are nearly as endless as their rudeness.

    HK is totally different. Clean, well cared for city, friendly people, cleaner air, etc.

    HK should fight until it’s last dying breath to keep the hoards of ML pigs out. For sure it will be it’s downfall if it doesn’t.

    • voiceofhome says:

      The whiteys and Injuns are taking over Hong Kong.

      Pushing the fucking dumb Chinese into moving to Tibet and Taiwan.

  9. Voice of China says:

    This post is hilarious.

    Idiots from Hong Kong claiming that gook_guy is Wu Mao.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

  10. Hoeness says:

    Like in every society: as soon as people fear of losing their wealth/standard of living, blame it on someone else. You see that in every country in the world (for the Korean freak here: just look over to Japan: now, that Japan’s wealth is declining, they blame it – inter alia – on the Koreans..).

    Since HK SAR cannot really blame it on Western foreigners, since they earn good money over there, some small minded poor soulds blame it on Mainlanders, forgetting it’s the Mainlanders, who not only come to get some medical treatment and state money, but it’s also them, who come in masses and still buying the LV-bag, the dior-shirt and the gucci-glasses, which HKers cannot afford anymore.

    Sad, but that’s life.

  11. vic2u says:

    Hong Kong idiots can’t see the whiteys and blacks from the mainlanders.

    Hello the non-Chinese are taking over in Hong Kong.

    • hah says:

      The MAJORITY of people moving into Hong Kong are mainlanders.. and that’s what they’re complaining about.

  12. KillKimChiDog says:

    What the fuck is a Korean kimchi dog doing here? Eat Chinese shit or we will stuff it down your throat before kill your whole family.

    • Peaceful HKer says:

      Do not argue or respond to Korea_Guy’s comments. Just allow him to preach and express his prejudice and racist views. Do not fight a racist with racist remarks. Doing so will only bring us down to his level.

      Allow ourselves to use our comments to have a constructive dialogue so people may understand the social tension between people from the mainland and HK.

      Do not call the Korean_guy any racist name or insult his heritage. We are better than that.

  13. Mailnd says:

    Korean Ass.
    go back to your village, low class!!

  14. nice girl says:

    Eww, don’t confuse hong kong with the mainland please. That’s grossly misleading. Hong kong, as far as i know has law and order. People are disciplined and have standards of behaviour that is good to any well developed city. When i put my foot in the mainland, my senses take a big dove of insecurity and also, lack of hygiene with public transportation. People quality is way off, in terms of loud speaking and arroagance. A totally different matter all together. I ‘ve lived in Hong kong for many years, i can’t say its the most pleasant city, but i won’t hesitate to say it might be one of the most efficiently run and fastest, that is, if you like good service and you like efficiency and convience for food and shopping. No where else can match. Hong kong has a reason to be proud, and of course, we are a civiised and orderly city with rules and regulations. Hong kong people are disciplined and aware of keeping public places clean and tidy as well. Food is great and so is shopping. Happy to be living here, I am a Hong kongee.

  15. Peaceful HKer says:

    All,

    Do not argue or respond to Korea_Guy’s comments. Just allow him to preach and express his prejudice and racist views. Do not fight a racist with racist remarks. Doing so will only bring us down to his level.

    Allow ourselves to use our comments to have a constructive dialogue so people may understand the social tension between people from the mainland and HK.

    Thanks to all!

  16. American-born Chinese says:

    Hong Kongers are a bunch of rude, greedy, fraudulent people. I hope a huge exodus of mainlanders immigrate to Hong Kong, and exploit the locals their. Hong Kongers need a dose of their own behaviour.

  17. Peter says:

    Hongkongese deserve it. WHY?
    Because they asked for it.
    Chinese government didn’t want to allow people migrant to Hongkong easily, while Hongkongnese thought it is not something with “freedom”, they did protest for it, so funny. STUPID HONGKONGESE

    resource: http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E8%8E%8A%E8%B1%90%E6%BA%90%E6%A1%88
    http://legalref.judiciary.gov.hk/lrs/common/ju/ju_body.jsp?DIS=22558

    STUPID RACIST HONGKONGNESE, WORLD DUMBEST GROUP

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