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Hong Kong held to ransom by China’s visa policy

posted 19 Apr 2015, 18:04 by HKIP News   [ updated 25 Apr 2015, 17:01]

A week ago, Beijing announced that it would stop issuing unlimited entry visas for Chinese nationals travelling to Hong Kong in an attempt to assuage the growing anger of Hongkongers against Chinese visitors.  In recent years, Hongkongers have seen their quality of life seriously affected by the mass influx of visitors and migrants from China; many of them pay scant respect to local customs and practices, resulting in plenty of conflict and bad feelings. Smuggling activities run rife among Chinese visitors, who descend upon Hong Kong in huge numbers on a daily basis, snapping up milk powder, toiletries and other daily essentials for onward sale in China. Hongkongers have repeatedly called for the scrapping of the multiple entry visas, but the incompetent Hong Kong Government has done nothing to alleviate the crisis.  Back in January this year, a group of Hongkongers decided to take matters into their own hands and staged street protests at various locations hit by smuggling activities.  It was only after such high-profile protests that Beijing finally gave way and agreed to review its visa policy.  We salute those Hongkongers who braved the truncheons and pepper spray of the Hong Kong police, and abuse from pro-China assailants, to bring about this change of heart from Beijing.

Despite being promised a high degree of autonomy in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, Hong Kong has never really been able to exercise control over its borders with China.   The sad truth is, it is up to China to release as many, or as few, of its people into Hong Kong as they see fit.  It is obvious that its 1.4 billion population is a powerful weapon that Beijing has at its disposal, often used to great effect to dilute the indigenous culture of a region that it seeks to conquer.