“Who owns Hong Kong?” Social media view from the mainland

Tuesday 30th September, 2014 16:00 HKT
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This translation is simply to show the view of mainland sentiment on the Hong Kong situation, that you won’t find reported in Western media. It’s designed to give foreign readers a feel for some of the views that are held by many in the mainland, and focuses on the economic arguments only.

This translation is by no means an endorsement, and opinions are those of the author alone. The article spread quickly in Weibo and Wechat over the past few days, but since Monday evening, posts have been deleted (even in Wechat), and can no longer be found through search engines. One overseas posting, outside the GFW, can be found here. This translation covers only the first section, which focuses on the economic arguments.

Part One – Let’s take a look at what the mother country has done for Hong Kong:-

1. With respect to politics, China has strictly implemented the ‘one country, two systems’ policy, and resolutely stuck to it. Also China has not implemented any of its national law in Hong Kong, meaning Hong Kong has enjoyed high autonomy, an independent judiciary system and the right to self-govern.

2. With regards to public finance, Hong Kong does not need to pay any taxes to the central government. Although a part of China, Hong Kong has never paid one cent in tax. Hong Kong people are free to spend the money they earn, and use it for Hong Kong’s own development. Poorer provinces suffering hardship in the motherland don’t look to it for financial assistance, much to the envy of high tax paying provinces such as neighbouring Guangdong.

3. Safeguarding Hong Kong’s development. The central government has helped protect Hong Kong’s historic superiority in international finance by suppressing development of its mainland competition including Shanghai’s deep port, free-trade zone, financial centre and even a Disney park.

4. Duty-free trade. The mainland market is open to Hong Kong goods, for example there are 273 important product categories which are exempt from import duties. This sort of favourable treatment is definitely the envy of surrounding countries.

5. In terms of tourism, the whole nation provides support. The central government always encourages mainlanders to travel to Hong Kong, and the main activity is shopping. Usually mainlanders are loathe to part with their cash, but in Hong Kong they spend loads, which helps Hong Kong’s economic development.

6. Economic support from behind the scenes. As China grows into an economic power, many economic systems are now dependent on it, Hong Kong being no exception. Hong Kong enjoys special investment privileges in the mainland, so it can be said that the mainland has been a key supporter for Hong Kong in times of economic crisis.

7. People’s livelihood. Hong Kong is a small mountainous area with little in the way of land suitable for farming. As such, Hong Kong is dependent on the mainland for food and water. Everyday the mainland’s freshest and highest quality meat, vegetables, eggs and milk are delivered to Hong Kong. The mainland has always been generous in ensuring supplies of water, electricity, and gas to Hong Kong, a situation which has never been in doubt.

8. Respect on the international stage. Internationally Hong Kong’s local government is given a high degree of respect and special privileges. Hong Kong is allowed to represent itself in global affairs such as economic alliances and global sports events, participating alongside the central government.

It’s no surprise that rightly or wrongly, many in the mainland would sympathise with the above points. In essence the feeling being, why should Hong Kong enjoy all these special privileges, when many areas in China are still poor? From an economics perspective it’s undeniable that Hong Kong has both helped China’s economic development, and been the first to benefit from it.

See this chiecon post on Hong Kong’s slide down China’s economic order, and this post on why Hong Kong is losing its allure to mainlanders

(Article not to be republished without permission or citation).

Chiecon originally first and only site to translate & publish this story in English on the internet. Mainstream media, after reading this translation, copied / tweaked contents to produce same story on their websites:-

Foreign Policy

1st Oct 2014: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/10/09/hong_kong_what_does_china_owe_you_protests

9th Oct 2014: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/10/01/in_chinese_mainland_shrugs_and_sneers_for_hong_kong_protesters

Offbeat China

1st Oct 2014: http://offbeatchina.com/who-owns-hong-kong

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