Hong Kong has increasingly seen an influx of pregnant mainland Chinese women giving birth in the territory to gain residency rights. This influx has made it difficult for pregnant Hong Kong women to receive maternity assistance and has raised tensions between Hong Kongers and mainlanders.
These tensions have triggered other incidents, such as arguments about mainland Chinese tourists eating on the subway, claims that shopping sprees by mainland Chinese tourists have set off inflation in the territory, luxury boutiques discriminating against Hong Kongers and pandering to mainlanders, as well as mainland Chinese academics teaching at Hong Kong universities fabricating opinion polls for political purposes.
The situation took a turn for the worse when Peking University professor Kong Qingdong (孔慶東) likened Hong Kongers to dogs. This raised the level of the argument from the people on the street, to the social elite at some of the highest institutions of learning. At the same time, the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong and party mouthpieces named and criticized Hong Kong academics that have not done as they were told. They also branded people who thought of themselves more as “Hong Kongers” rather than “Chinese” — based on a recent opinion poll — as “subversive,” raising the argument to the political sphere.
Young Hong Kongers have hit the streets in protest, calling mainland tourists “locusts” — leading to a standoff between “Hong Kong dogs” and “mainland locusts.” In Chinese culture, dogs have little or no value, while in Western cultures, they are treated as pets and man’s best friend. Locusts, however, are viewed as harmful pests.
On Jan. 30, Taiwan’s Chinese-language United Daily News ran a ridiculous editorial. It said that one of the things the Kong incident showed was that “maybe the restrictions on expression in China are not as strict as observers think.” In the writer’s view, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) actually tolerated “a professor spreading coarse ethnic and regional hatred, and stirring up hostilities between people in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.”
While criticizing Kong, the editorial did not forget to praise the CCP, which led to the whole incident being misconstrued.
Compare Kong’s situation with what happened to Jiao Guobiao (焦國標), a former professor of journalism at Peking University. In late 2003, Jiao wrote an article about challenging the CCP’s Publicity Department and was kicked out of the university as a result. So, why is it that Kong can sow seeds of ethnic and regional hatred and be tolerated? The answer is simple: He has the support of the CCP.
“Mixing in sand” is a major strategy used by the CCP to undermine its opponents. As Hong Kong’s Basic Law allows non-resident pregnant women into the territory to give birth, the number of pregnant mainlanders has already surpassed that of pregnant Hong Kongers. And by obtaining residency through their newborns, they have become an instrument for effecting a change in the population structure of Hong Kong.
China allows these women to enjoy all the benefits of Hong Kong residents in order to encourage more people to follow suit. That is the reason Beijing ignores the public uproar and the Hong Kong government has not dared take any decisive action on its own.