BEIJING Its come down to old-fashioned name-calling. A spat between Mainland China and Hong Kong has turned decidedly ugly after a Chinese professor called the Hongkongese: poodles of the British crown, a reference to the decades of colonial rule. One public response from some in Hong Kong was to call Chinese locusts.
The clash started last month when a visiting Chinese girl ate a cup of instant noodles in a Hong Kong metro car. When told off by a Hong Kong resident, other Chinese tourists supported the little girl by ridiculing the Hongkongeses non-standard Mandarin. (Hong Kong natives speak mostly Cantonese, another Chinese dialect)
Kong Qingdong, a Beijing University professor and famously controversial figure, responded to the incident by saying that those from Hong Kong havent lost their colonial thinking and are obviously willing poodles of the British because they dont speak Mandarin and do not consider themselves as Chinese, even 15 years after sovereignty was officially turned over to Beijing.
The accusation immediately provoked outrage in the former British colony, which was heightened a few days later when store guards outside of a Dolce & Gabbana store in Hong Kong prohibited locals from taking pictures, though Chinese tourists were apparently allowed to snap away.
But even beyond these two incidents, other factors had already raised China-Hong Kong tensions. In Hong Kong, there is some bitterness that those from the mainland, once considered rustic and less civilized are now the nouveaux riches with impressive purchasing power that dominates Hong Kongs trendy commerce. Complaints about the Chinese tourists being noisy, dirty and ignorant of rules are often heard.
Even more extreme is the growing tendency for pregnant Chinese women to go to Hong Kong to give birth to and thus get a Hong Kong resident identity for the child. There are even agencies that specialize in facilitating such trips. Hong Kong is still a much more cosmopolitan city than Shanghai and Beijing, and offers better education and job opportunities. For those who cant make it to the United States in the first place, Hong Kong is certainly a good alternative.
And now, all the accumulated discontent of the Hongkongese towards the Chinese has finally exploded. Five days ago, some Hong Kong civic groups sponsored a full-page newspaper advertisement calling openly on the Hong Kong authorities to stop the massive, refugee-style invasion by pregnant Chinese women, and stop allowing babies born of doubly non-Hongkongese parents.
It was in this ad that the Chinese were referred to as locusts. That was followed by a long YouTube spot of redubbed pop music proclaiming the anti-locust battle.
Read the original article in Chinese
Photo - sprklg
*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations