No ten­sion ‘tol­er­ated’ as main­land lim­its HK vis­its

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

Ten­sions be­tween Hong Kong res­i­dents and vis­i­tors from main­land China will not be tol­er­ated, the city’s leader said Mon­day as he con­firmed a limit on the num­ber of vis­its which main­lan­ders can make.

An in­flux of mil­lions of Chi­nese vis­i­tors to Hong Kong has prompted ral­lies by res­i­dents an­gered by con­gested public trans­port and shop shelves emp­tied of daily ne­ces­si­ties that are resold over the bor­der.

Crit­ics in the semi-au­ton­o­mous Chi­nese city say main­land vis­i­tors also push up prices, in­crease de­lays at bor­der cross­ings and be­have badly.

Main­land au­thor­i­ties have now stopped al­low­ing res­i­dents from the bor­der city of Shen­zhen to make un­lim­ited vis­its to Hong Kong, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Le­ung Chun-ying said, re­strict­ing them to one visit per week.

“Any­thing that in­creases ten­sion be­tween Hong Kong and main­land so­ci­ety is not tol­er­ated,” Le­ung said.

Anx­i­ety over China’s in­creased in­flu­ence re­mains high in the for­mer Bri­tish colony, months af­ter mass protests de­mand­ing greater democ­racy from Bei­jing ended in De­cem­ber with no con­ces­sions.

The de­ci­sion to re­strict main­lan­ders’ en­try was aimed at curb­ing the prac­tice of “par­al­lel trad­ing” in which vis­i­tors buy up prized goods such as baby for­mula in Hong Kong and re­sell them in China’s bor­der towns to avoid tar­iffs.

Le­ung said the new re­stric­tions were sug­gested by the Hong Kong gov­ern­ment and ad- opted by Bei­jing.

He said the pol­icy would af­fect about 4.6 mil­lion trav­el­ers, or nearly 10 per­cent of the an­nual 47 mil­lion main­land vis­i­tors.

China’s state-run Xin­hua news agency said Mon­day the pol­icy arose from con­cerns over “grow­ing pres­sure” on the city’s bor­der due to a surg­ing num­ber of trav­el­ers.

Le­ung ad­mit­ted the move would not com­pletely end par­al­lel trad­ing, adding the gov­ern­ment would con­tinue to crack down on il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties.

Hong Kong has a sep­a­rate cus­toms ju­ris­dic­tion from main­land China, which im­poses tar­iffs on for­eign im­ports.

Con­cern over how re­tail­ers may be af­fected dragged some share prices down Mon­day.

Shares in cos­met­ics re­tailer Sa Sa In­ter­na­tional dropped 6.24 per­cent to HK$4.06 (US$0.52) while Chow Tai Fook, which sells jew­elry, fell 2.93 per­cent to HK$8.95.

Le­ung warned against fur­ther protests tar­get­ing main­land vis­i­tors, de­scrib­ing them as “un­ruly” and “counter-pro­duc­tive.”

Some re­cent ral­lies have led to clashes with po­lice and sev­eral ar­rests.

Some main­land ne­ti­zens ex­pressed dis­may at the pol­icy, brand­ing it un­fair.

“One coun­try two sys­tems. Hong Kong peo­ple re­turn­ing to China should have weekly lim­its to meet the re­quire­ments of equal sta­tus,” a ne­ti­zen wrote.

An­other wrote: “Hong Kong ( peo­ple) re­ally are hyp­ocrites (want­ing wealth while not want­ing tourists).”

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