POLITICS – Offensive or Hilarious? Hong Kong’s Most Confusing Anti-Mainlander Protest 10

Over 100 Hong Kongers marched through Mongkok’s pedestrianised shopping thoroughfare this afternoon wielding Little Red Books, Mao paintings, Chinese flags and dunce caps.

The ironic ‘parody protest’ was organised on Facebook and attracted almost as many reporters and police officers as participants.

“We encourage [mainlanders] to go back to their country to buy goods. This tourism is too much for Hong Kong people – if they really love their country, they should not come to Hong Kong and buy things not produced by China… We can set up an immigration tax. Secondly, we can set up a quota for incoming tourists” said Benton Yip, who denied the rally was xenophobic. “We love our country too!”

As protesters moved down Sai Yeung Choi Street South, singing patriotic songs in Cantonese, they were ‘kettled’ by police into smaller groups. Participants complained that the police action lessened their impact.

An onlooker from mainland China said she had sympathy for Hong Kongers but didn’t like seeing the Chinese flag on Hong Kong soil. Other onlookers were confused and genuinely believed the protest to be a pro-China rally.

“We want to show we love our country. We Hong Kongers really love China. But we see a lot of Chinese people from the mainland come here and buy foreign things – that is capitalism, which is not a good thing for China. We love the party, we love communists.” – said blogger and rally participant White Shadow, who remained in character when approached by Hong Wrong and reminded us that he was being sarcastic.

Demonstrators chanted ‘Love China, buy Chinese products!’

Whilst there is a legitimate debate to be had about the capacity of Hong Kong to accommodate the booming number of day-tripping tourists from the mainland, many have criticised the ‘anti-locust’ movement for targeting individual shoppers and for being xenophobic.

At the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing this week, high level officials admitted the problem “had been taken note of.”

Earlier this month, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung predicted that visitor numbers to Hong Kong would jump from 54.5 million last year to 70 million in three years time.

It is expected that tourism figures will rise to 100 million by 2020.

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