Why Are Protesters Targeting Mainland Shopping Habits in Hong Kong?

A YouTube still image of part of the anti-mainland shopping protests in Yuen Long, Hong Kong on Sunday.
A YouTube still image of part of the anti-mainland shopping protests in Yuen Long, Hong Kong on Sunday.

Things got a bit out of control at a shopping protest in Hong Kong on Sunday but what’s the big fuss about? Shopping? Not exactly.

Over 200 protesters – many people in their 20s and 30s – turned up at a retail street in Yuen Long to show their opposition to the growing numbers of bargain hunting mainlanders that come to buy products.

It’s been the third such protest this year.

The protestors say the influx of mainlanders drives up local prices and distorts the economy.

Many of the shoppers are repeatedly involved in parallel trading where they resell the goods across the border to make a profit. Adding to it all, the mainlanders have a bad reputation in Hong Kong because of their rude and offensive behavior.

Last year, 47.3 million mainlanders visited Hong Kong.

On top of that, there’s also a fair chunk of anti-Beijing felling, i.e. last year’s street protests, the Umbrella Movement.

Anyway back to Sunday when the young protesters chanted: “Mainlanders go back to drink your own baby formula. Down with the Chinese Communist Party!”

In response a largely older pro-Beijing group and some local residents tried their best to counter the protestors’ chants.

Leung Kim-shing, a spokesman for the main protest group – North District Parallel Imports Concern Group – said that they had been rallying peacefully but things turned ugly when several members of a pro-Beijing group joined the march and began insulting protesters reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

“They pointed fingers and hurled insults at us,” he told RTHK. “They accused us of causing trouble when we had been rallying on an agreed route peacefully.”

A spokesman from the pro-Beijing group told the SCMP that it was the protestors who caused the trouble.

Either way things got out of hand, and the police got involved and arrested 38 people, aged 13 to 74 reported SCMP.

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