Photo via @沈大飛.
While the Chinese have been busy protesting against the Japanese this week, Hong Kongers have been busy protesting the Chinese. Hong Kong blogger Bad Canto points us to a massive protest that took place over the weekend at Sheung Shui MTR station, just one station away from the immigration checkpoints at Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau leading to Shenzhen.
Sheung Shui is an important point in the smuggling trade between Hong Kong and the mainland, and tons of goods are moved from here into Shenzhen in a piecemeal fashion by independent couriers from the mainland who go up and down the border so traders can save on import taxes. In the day, there would be so many of these couriers sorting out goods outside the station that it has been completely inundated (see videos below), so residents decided enough was enough. If the government wasn’t going to do anything about the smugglers, they would take things into their own hands and let the smugglers know they weren’t welcome.
The scene at the two-day protest on Sept 15-16 was not a pretty one. See, for instance, this video of protestors shouting “Dead locusts!” at all the passengers boarding trains headed for Shenzhen. The term “locusts” has been used in Hong Kong to refer to the mainlanders that residents here feel have been robbing the city without giving anything back.
And here’s an extremely ugly exchange between a protestor and a smugger:
The crowds went berserk when an elderly gentleman jumped on a protestor, and grabbed the British Hong Kong flag that he was waving. As security officers took him away, the crowds shouted, “Arrest him!” and “Return to China!”
“Beat him to death!” shout the mainland couriers incensed at the sight of the British Hong Kong flag.
[Why are Hong Kongers waving the British Hong Kong flag, you ask? Our take is that it’s a powerful symbol that protestors are using to express dissatisfaction with the current Hong Kong government, and more importantly, to reject a People’s Republic of China headed by the Chinese Communist Party. There are striking parallels to be drawn between the reappearance of the British Hong Kong flag and the resurgence of Mao portraits on the mainland, which have been widely used as safe, veiled criticisms of the current government. More on this another day.]
One protestor held up a sign saying, “Chinese people, go back to China!”
And here’s what happened when police wanted to take the sign away:
And finally, before you pass judgement on the Sheung Shui protestors, check out what they’ve had to put up with in their neighbourhood.