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Hong Kong’s Discrimination Against Mainland Chinese

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  1. #1

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    Hong Kong’s Discrimination Against Mainland Chinese

    I have been living in Hong Kong for almost five years, and with each passing day, I watch with disgust Hong Konger’s discrimination of mainland Chinese. True, Chinese from the mainland often do not observe the best manners, but to an outsider like myself, there’s no difference from Chinese from Hong Kong and Chinese from mainland – the only exception is that these Hong Kong Chinese moved south a little earlier than their mainland counterparts.

    One example is the anger being directed at mainland mothers giving birth in Hong Kong, where over 1,000 Hong Kongers protested openly against mainland mothers. Some go as far as to say that taxpayers money are used on foreigners. Let’s be clear, a majority of Hong Kong household don’t pay taxes and I suspect a majority of taxes are paid by foreign expats and foreign companies, including many mainland Chinese companies in Hong Kong.

    Another fact is that Hong Kong has an aging population with a median age of 40.7 years (compared to 44.8 years in Japan and 36.9 years in the US) and less than 50,000 births per year (excluding those from mainland mothers) from the territory’s 7 million population. As the Japanese have learned the hard way, an aging population cut back on spending and puts tremendous strain on the public healthcare system. So why is Hong Kong different? In my estimation, China has a lot to do with that.

    Hong Kong derives a lot of benefit from being a part of mainland China, just to point out a few:

    • Retail and tourist dollars from Chinese tourists
    • Demand from mainland in Hong Kong real estate has propped up the wealth of many Hong Kong residents in recent years (despite the fact that the real estate market is approaching bubble levels)
    • Free military protection – this is compared to US$8-10 billion that Singapore and Taiwan has to spend on military expenditure every year (to set the record straight, Hong Kong is not a sovereign state, it is a territory of the People’s Republic of China, and all its so called citizens are Chinese citizens)
    • Cheap water supply – 70% of the territory’s water supply is from mainland at US$0.25 per cubic metre, which is 50% cheaper than desalination
    • Migration of older, less productive population to Guangzhou for retirement (way to get rid of your social problems)
    • Support from the Chinese government for listing of highly profitable, state-owned companies and banks, making Hong Kong Stock Exchange one of the most vibrant exchanges in the world; and support from the Chinese government for the territory becoming the RMB offshore centre in the region
    • Other favorable trade treatments, such as CEPA


    Yet, for all the benefits that Hong Kong has derived from China, what I hear everyday is complains about mainland Chinese giving birth in Hong Kong, depriving the local populous with adequate medical care. To be honest, if the medical industry is dependent on the local population (who also demand cheap healthcare) for business, the quality of healthcare would decline precipitously. Instead of seeing it as an opportunity to boost healthcare investment and bring about a thriving industry, Hong Kongers complain. Chief Executive candidate CY Leung even go as far as to say the territory should restrict children of mainland parents (note that these children are Hong Kong residents by law) from attending school in Hong Kong. This is a short-sighted and dangerous approach – without children to fill schools, schools will close (that was what happened before the influx of mainland babies) and the education sector will suffer.

    What I simply cannot comprehend is why is Hong Kong blaming others for its woes? For all its economic achievements, Hong Kong’s complains about influx of mainland Chinese doesn’t make any economic sense. What infuriated me the most is the Youtube video (over 500,000 hits and 10,000 likes – a disgrace) that describes (in Cantonese) mainland Chinese mothers as locusts invading Hong Kong – it’s like the pot calling the kettle black.

    I am wonder if it is just me? What do others think objectively?
    Romeolo888, dermotp and barleycorn like this.

  2. #2

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    It always strikes me as weird. I know someone whose parents are from the Mainland and she herself moved here from the Mainland when she was a young child. You should hear her go on about Mainlanders though!

    dear giant likes this.

  3. #3

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    School assignment?
    I agree with most of what you say, and I like your fact based (although reference lacking) presentation.
    However, discrimination is a big thing not just in Hong Kong, but all across Asia.


  4. #4

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    Local HK people don't seem to like anyone who are not local HK people.





    Now I'm going to put my flame resistant suit on.

    dear giant likes this.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by vtorch:
    I am wonder if it is just me? What do others think objectively?
    It's just you. You really think anybody, including you, has an objective view?
    Rob2020 and gmi like this.

  6. #6

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    The issue of mainland mothers having babies in HK is an issue of queue jumping. No one likes queue jumpers and you can't expect them to. It is people getting their kids and possibly themselves into HK without putting any effort into it or giving anything back to HK. You would get the same reaction from people anywhere if their country allowed it en mass.


  7. #7

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    it is simple - fear.


  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by shenwen:
    it is simple - fear.
    Fear of the Communists!!!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by vtorch:

    Yet, for all the benefits that Hong Kong has derived from China, what I hear everyday is complains about mainland Chinese giving birth in Hong Kong, depriving the local populous with adequate medical care. To be honest, if the medical industry is dependent on the local population (who also demand cheap healthcare) for business, the quality of healthcare would decline precipitously.... – without children to fill schools, schools will close (that was what happened before the influx of mainland babies) and the education sector will suffer.
    I don't hear these complaints every day, and it doesn't come up all that often, but I have heard them... Many times in shops it is actually the other way around - local residents and expats get ignored or put to the back of the line in front of bigger spending mainland tourists - so in at least some cases they get better treatment. I also think your generalization is a bit much. I work with both locals and mainlanders and they get on just fine. There is also some truth to the complaints and mainlanders could perhaps learn to be a little more culturally aware of places that they visit.

    RE: Mainland mothers giving birth in HK - they DO get preferential treatment and somehow manage to get beds in private hospitals depriving many of those of us who live here of the ability to have our child in a private hospital setting. I tried to book a hospital room at several private hospitals when was merely 5 weeks pregnant and was waitlisted at each of them as they were already overbooked, primarily by mainlanders. Will leave aside most comments on said mainlanders behavior in the hospital, except to note that it was less than acceptable in many circumstances (demainding that I be moved from my room because they decided that they want my room with the better view (this conversation happened IN my hospital room between a mainland father and ward nurse and I had to call security as he refused to leave) and also included another mainland family taking my newborn out of the nursery (obviously without permission) to take snapshots of my baby next to theirs - insane and NOT acceptable by any standard. Not the kind of stress someone who has the legal right to live here needs - having to either go through the public system (which while medically sound, deprives mothers of many choices including who their doctors ultimately will be).

    RE: School spots - there is a HUGE problem with international schools being oversubscribed, which is becoming a bigger and bigger problem for expat parents (especially those newer to HK) as there is NOWHERE we can send kids to school. Not saying this is a mainlander problem primarily, but please, if you are going to 'objectively' rant, get your facts straight.

    Expat Parents in Hong Kong Feel School Squeeze - WSJ.com

    RE: Mainlanders cultural "differences" - last week I was at Disneyland with my little child. I was shoved out of line while carrying said toddler at least three times - each time by a mainlander. I also had to see a maindlander whip the trousers off her kid and let him take a cr*p on a garbage bin. Disgusting. My little one is also repeatedly 'mobbed' for lack of a better word on weekends near the beach in front of our home, at Ocean Park or anywhere else that I take the child by, again, mainlanders wanting to touch, hold and take her picture, etc., even when it is clear that she is distressed by all the attention. While I am sensitive to the fact that they don't 'get' that they are doing something wrong, it often overwhelms my little one and puts a dent in our day and it gets old. I don't really have a problem with mainlanders as such, but a little cultural sensitivity and politeness on their part would go a long way to change at least HK expats perception of them in my book.

  10. #10

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    HK is a city of 7 million and you could say is already struggling to deal with overcrowding, property prices, transport, pollution, income inequality, provision of essential services (medical, food safety). If you open the border and allow - conservatively - tens of millions more people to freely travel here and utilise the "scarce public resources in HK" then of course the existing 7m inhabitants will not be happy as they are the ones that will suffer the degraded services and diminished quality of life.

    There is no need to seek out a "discrimination" angle on this - it can simply be described as a problem of resource allocation to so many (new) people. Hell, even China does the same thing domestically through their "hukou" permit system - they try to keep all the non-locals out of the big cities because the cities simply cannot handle the rapid population growth. In China its not a discrimination thing, its a population management thing.

    I think HK'ers are well within their rights to stand up for their quality of life here.

    Last edited by albahk; 30-12-2011 at 11:03 AM. Reason: discrimination, not racism.

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