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Don’t exaggerate scope of Hong Kong quarrels with mainlanders [Global Times] #RisingChina #HongKong


Global Times Op-Ed on the need for acknowledging changing relative positions between Hong Kong and China.

One urgent priority for us is to quickly adapt to our new relative positions. Hong Kong is no longer an almsgiver and Chinese mainlanders are no longer poor and weak. China’s rise is the outcome of decades of efforts, but the achievements haven’t been so obvious until recent years. Not only foreigners, but also Chinese have to adjust our mentality.

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Don’t exaggerate scope of Hong Kong quarrels with mainlanders
Op-Ed by Shu Meng
Source – Global Times, published April 21, 2013

A video showing a quarrel between the staff of a ferry in Hong Kong and a man from the Chinese mainland has been forwarded by many people recently on social media.

In the video, a man from the Chinese mainland insisted on putting a baby carriage on a sidelined aisle on the ferry because a Hong Kong staff member on that ferry told him it’s all right. However, after a while, another staff member told the mainlander he should move the baby carriage to another place.

The mainlander refused, and a quarrel started. In the fight, the mainlander shouted “Don’t think mainlanders can be easily bullied!” Some Hongkongers yelled back “You mainlanders get out of Hong Kong!”

Please click here to read the full article at its source.

In fact, similar quarrels take place in tourist spots all over the world. Nowadays, many Chinese mainlanders have the chance to go outside for business or travel. Because of the cultural gap, coupled with the crude or disrespectful actions by some, there are many cases of disputes between mainland travelers and locals. Most of the disputes and quarrels can be quickly handled.

However, in Hong Kong, disputes between mainlanders and Hongkongers are easily aggravated. Similar disputes between Hongkongers and mainlanders, such as mainlanders’ snapping up milk powder in Hong Kong, also triggered online recrimination, and were even connected with fundamental political difference. In the 16 years since Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997, differences and quarrels have only grown.

Most Hongkongers have a superiority complex in their blood because of the huge wealth, culture, and education gap between Hong Kong and the mainland. However, with mainlanders becoming increasingly richer, Hongkongers’ feelings are shifting.

On the one hand, they are proud of China’s strength when facing foreigners. But on the other hand, they also have a sense of unpleasantness because mainlanders are gradually catching up, although Hongkongers are still four times as rich as mainlanders on average.

This ambivalence is compounded by their dissatisfaction with some mainlanders’ inappropriate actions, which make Hongkongers easily irritated when it comes to mainlanders.

From Chinese mainlanders’ perspective, Hong Kong seems like a willful and spoiled child. In their view, the central government’s efforts in supporting Hong Kong keep rising while Hongkongers are never satisfied.

Hongkongers were previously seen as wealthy by the mainlanders. Even if a minority of mainlanders now share Hong Kong’s wealth, they still lack self-esteem when facing Hongkongers and are sensitive and irritable about criticism even they have really done something incorrect.

That’s why a small quarrel can spark a big war of words and escalate into political problems.

In fact, there’s no deep-rooted political confrontation between Hongkongers and mainlanders. China’s rapid economic development has not left enough time for the two sides to adapt to changes of their relative status.

However, the continuous accumulation of the prejudices will undermine communication and exchanges between Hong Kong and the mainland in the long run. If quarrels escalate into political issues at every turn, people from both sides will cast doubt on the policy of “one country, two systems.”

One urgent priority for us is to quickly adapt to our new relative positions. Hong Kong is no longer an almsgiver and Chinese mainlanders are no longer poor and weak. China’s rise is the outcome of decades of efforts, but the achievements haven’t been so obvious until recent years. Not only foreigners, but also Chinese have to adjust our mentality.

After all, putting changes in relative positions aside, both Chinese mainlanders and Hongkongers have been beneficiaries of China’s development.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. shumeng@globaltimes.com.cn

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, global times, Government & Policy, History, Hong Kong, Ideology, Internet, Mapping Feelings, Media, Peaceful Development, People, Public Diplomacy, Social, The Chinese Identity, ,

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