Ongoing tension between Hong Kong and mainland citizens erupted into open flames on February 1 when a Hong Kong group raised more than HKD 100,000 to publish a full-page anti-China advertisement in the Apple Daily comparing mainlanders to parasitic locusts and calling for curtailment of benefits enjoyed by Chinese visitors to the Special Administrative Region. The ad was the latest move in an increasingly acrimonious spat that shows no sign of letting up.

Joining Kaiser Kuo this week are Sinica co-host Jeremy Goldkorn, Mary Kay Magistad of Public Radio International, and the ever-stalwart Gady Epstein. We're also pleased to have Evan Osnos for joining in for discussion of how China has figured into the U.S. presidential race, a surprise appearance that leads to the sort of award-winning podcasting that can only happen when you put the China correspondents for the New Yorker (Evan) and Economist (Gady) together in the same room.

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 said on
February 6, 2012
Excellent podcast,

though I have to disagree with Jeremy’s comment comparing the Hong Kong question to Arizona in the USA. Sure there are obvious parallels – perceived abuse of public services, perceived job competition, fear of becoming a minority / losing identity, a view of the immigrants as uneducated, uncivilized, what not… yes, some of this seems pragmatic, some of it is overblown and irrational.

But it pretty much ends there. We haven’t had state-sponsored media outlets in Mexico City castigating Arizonans for not being “Mexican” enough. The Mexican government does not get to essentially appoint the Governor of Arizona, and have influence over school curriculum - (and on and on... anti-sedition act, etc). I might also say that compared to the CCP, the existing Mexican government has less of a bad rep when it comes to actively smashing local identities and forcing them into a unified, nationalistic system.

Much of this is touched on in the podcast but I want to place my emphasis: the irritation over visiting/immigrating Mainlanders is a piece (and a proxy) of the larger concern of Beijing’s influence and the question of Hong Kong’s future. I feel this is something unique to the Chinese SAR and has little in common with the US Border States, or anywhere else in the world.

I would add as a side note – Mexican immigration into Border States has arguably helped lower the cost of services in the US, making life a little easier for many. Here in Hong Kong there is a strong feeling that mainlanders are driving up all kinds of costs, making buying anything from a flat to baby formula, or just getting your kid into a good school, that much more difficult.

Might also help explain why, say, any given favorite local noodle shop has just been replaced by yet another D&G outlet. Just a thought.

 said on
February 6, 2012
My HK wife gave birth to a little girl in a HK public hospital almost 4 months ago. It has been interesting to see the issue of the mainland "double nots" really hit the HK public conscience just as we were going through the pregnancy and seeing some of the strain on the system first-hand.

Say what you will about whole immigration and HK vs Chinese identity debates, but the impact on public services is real. We came out of it with a few (sort of funny) stories...
 said on
February 6, 2012
明er nails it, and I'm wondering what Kaiser is smoking. It hardly seems irrational for Hong Kong residents to be upset at the influx of mainlanders who want the option of free education and healthcare yet plan to spend most of their lives in the mainland.

This is not an issue of culture clash. The core problem is that Beijing is perceived as undermining Hong Kong's democracy and its quality of life, and people are taking their frustrations out at the obvious beneficiaries: mainlanders who are now treating the island like a private top-tier hospital/kitchen/whatever. The solution is for China to clean its own act up so that mainland residents also have good healthcare, education and a decent quality of life.

I love Hong Kong and am happy to see people making a fuss about this. It's an amazing diverse and inclusive city, and painting this as ethnic tension misses the point completely.
 said on
February 8, 2012
  原作者Minna Ho自己的回帖:

  寫完篇文,才發覺不少反蝗人士,連甚麼是雙非嬰都未搞清,見到個「非」字,就以為係非法!

  sorry吖,去年三萬多雙非嬰當中,九成七都係真金白銀付錢給香港的醫院,合法來港產子;只有一千多一點個,是由沒有預約任何公私營醫院分娩床位的內地孕婦產下。請留意,沒有醫院預約信,不代表違法,只代表入境處有權在海關拒絕她們入境。但一旦海關睇漏眼,她們入境後在未逾期居留前產子,仍然無違法。退一萬步,即使那些逾期居留產子的孕婦,生下的嬰兒,根據莊豐源案例,都有合法居留權。

  否則的話,人民力量為何昨日建議修例,將留港產子列為違反逗留條件?正是因為現在沒有違法,才要修例!
 said on
February 8, 2012
被傳媒大力渲染的雙非闖急症室,導致本地孕婦深受影響的報道,他就有一個冷靜的觀察,說每年有約九萬嬰兒出生,當中有四成是經預約的內地人嬰兒,無預約闖急症室只佔他們當中的3%。

「據報導2011年有1656個雙非衝閘(急症室)個案。但其實,據政府報告*指出,其中更有約3成並非無預約的雙非孕婦,而是”已預約在公立醫院分娩的個案, 但未能及前往已預約的醫院分娩。” (另,報告有點語意不明到說25%是單非個案,但不清楚是否在那3成之中,因單/雙非暫時一同處理)
 said on
February 8, 2012
你當然會問:不,一直以來的問題不是那3萬多個雙非嬰兒(灰記按︰四成)嗎?……釋法/修法不就是衝着他們而來嗎?

但要搞清楚,他們從來不是堵截的對象。因為實情是,那3萬多個,佔96%的雙非個案,全部都是有政府認可的預約。即是,他們都是經政府人口/商業政策許可之下入境的,In the name of “發展醫療產業”。(灰記按,非本地孕婦公立醫院每個收費3萬9千,私立醫院則不論是否本地人,都要上十萬。)
 said on
February 8, 2012
Chau的文章提出一個視點,有效對應被鼓吹右翼民粹者忽略及有意扭曲的,就是香港政府及利益團體並非毫無計劃,被迫回應,或根本沒能力解決一些迫切的社會問題。雙非孕婦問題是沒有宣諸於口的人口政策及產業利益輸送的一環,其核心「精神」是有錢人的後代才能來港定居,因為四萬到十多萬的分娩費及來港的其他開銷,並非一般人負擔得起。小部分付不起錢要冒險闖急症室者,只是這個龐大的「優生學」人口政策及醫療買賣操作的不方便洩密者。

灰記在此只想提醒那些把資源被分薄、租金昂貴、樓價飆升、物價高漲、都市面貌變遷,總之任何「負面」東西都歸咎於內地蝗蟲的人,這些他們形容的「侵略」是有著特區政府和本地不同既得利益集團的積極籌劃、參與,當中亦有不少香港人自願參與及得益,是否要把這些在中港日常互動中得益的僱員和小老闆也一概打為為「侵略者」服務的「港奸」呢?正如有同行facebook網誌寫道︰

「但請各位,冤有頭債有主,內地人來港消費(雖然我都見到眼冤),是你香港的旅發局日日在內地大賣廣告,吸引內地人來香港這個購物天堂花錢的;內地孕婦來港生育(不計小部份非法入境衝急症室走數的個案),是你香港的私家醫院和私家醫生倒履相迎、奉為上賓,港府合法批准入境產子的。出了問題,怎能怪在他們身上?當然,行為不文明,可以當面指正,遇上部份人不聽勸告,還惡言相向,可以揭露批評,但不等於要一竹篙打一船人。
 said on
February 8, 2012
楼上的诸位要是看得懂中文还是去读读香港新纳粹学者陳雲的极端排外言论吧,跟你们欧美的白人至上主义者如出一辙!孔教授的言语跟陈教授的比起来真是小巫见大巫!
 said on
February 8, 2012
老K,请你的那些朋友下次高谈阔论之前做点基本的功课,别人云即云!
 said on
February 8, 2012
Orbital - agreed.

Giving a second listen on the bus this morning I am actually surprised by how superficially both Kaiser and Jeremy are treating the issue - as though Chinese identity really has something to do with people standing in line for the bus. Mary Kay and Gady hit on the picture when they bring up the anti sedition act and the gap in public health services, but then the conversation kept going back to that stupid Apple Daily ad and the so-called "professor."

To bring this to the "popular level" as Kaiser put it - I am sure if you asked 100 different HK Chinese about this issue you would get 100 different answers. Some will say it is about Politics, some economics, the “double nots”, or tell a story about the many frustrations of doing business in China. Others will say this is completely about that kid eating on the MTR or say they have no problems at all. I think we have to look at the sum of all these– from the Cultural Revolution down to last month’s events – to understand why people here might say “yep, we definitely have different values.”

The kid on the MTR and the professor simply offer one of those examples when everyone can point and in unison and say “AHA! SEEEE???!”
 said on
February 12, 2012
明er & Orbital - agreed.

The dicussion fails to engage with the issues that actually matter to people in HK. It's easy to see how Kaiser could be so easily turned by the Apple Daily ad when he sees the whole situation through the prism of a bellicose, knee-jerk 'ethnic conflict'. What's becoming clear here is how HK and the mainland are seperated not only by different values, but indeed different interests. The immediate interests of the HK people are fundementally opposed to those of the people rushing in from across the border, and yet we are governed not by an unresponsive regime that legislates not for our interests, ultimately, but for those of a seperated population from whom we feel increasingly distinct.

I was also made uneasy by the ad, but it hardly negates the issues, concerns and arguments involved. HKers feel themselves backed into a corner, with their identity and idependence under threat from a force that can't be resisted, and are rendered powerless by limp, perputually embryonic semi-democracy to set the agenda for a government that should be our guardian. People who feel themselves backed into a corner with no other recoruse naturally lash out and in this context the 蝗虫 phenomenon is understandable, not matter how contemptable. As 2047 looms nearer, people are seeing that the future does not look bright for all that HK is and represents.

I've spent a lot of time since I started uni telling people that loads of my fellow HKers are completely up themselves and that I frankly prefer being in the mainland. This still holds true, but I've found this flare-up of the HK v Mainland dichotonomy send me instinctively to the side of my birthplace. However you feel about HK or HKers, their grievances are real and need to be addressed. Forgeting the media imbroglios of the past month would do nothing to erase them.
 said on
June 5, 2013
This podcast started well then fell off a cliff.

Kaiser and Jeremy were certainly too dismissive of Hong Kong's issues. Spending any time in HK one can see a very real difference between the culture of HK and mainland China. Hong Kongers concerns, fear and anger are justified in many ways. That doesn't excuse the ad but one shouldn't be so dismissive of the issues at hand for HK and mainland relations.

On another note, Sinica needs to fact check better before making claims. The "attack ad" against Jon Huntsman was produced by none other than Jon Huntsman! But seriously, why was so much time devoted to the American primary election? China was brought up negatively, but certainly this is hardly worth so much discussion about current affairs in China; isn't this podcast supposed to be about China?

Gady mentioned in this broadcast and a previous one about Kim Jong Il dying, that seems far more significant to discuss as relating to China than the American election!

I think some of the best podcasts have been the ones where they discuss China's relations with it's neighbors. Since China shares a border with the most countries than anywhere else in the world bilateral and multilateral relations should be featured more in this podcast. More of that would be appreciated as doing so reveals as much about China as it does the other country in question and issues in Asia in general.

Kaiser and Jeremy, you guys can do much better!

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