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Hong Kong, China: Cross-border Self-drive Tour Instigates Fear and Anger

Tension between Hong Kong and mainland China has mushroomed in recent months. While small conflicts, such as a train scuffle, have ignited fury, the recent introduction of a cross-border self-drive tour scheme, signed by the Hong Kong and Guangdong governments without public consultation, has instigated a new round of social panic and anger among Hong Kong people. Some netizens even compare the situation of Hong Kong to Tibet and Xinjiang, where ethnic conflicts have developed into separatism and repression.

The image below, which has been shared more than 130 times via Facebook, is a re-creation of a photo taken recently in Tibet. The slogan on the military vehicle was originally “Han Chinese and Tibetan are one family” (漢藏一家親. It has been widely circulate via micro-blogs to mock the central government's policy in Tibet that the “family” is united by military force. The Hong Kong version of the photo was produced a famous blogger, Kay Lam & Fokguy remix team. The background of the photo is the busiest commercial district in Hong Kong, Causeway Bay and the slogan on the military vehicle has changed into “China and Hong Kong are one family” (中港一家親).

The photo's subtitle states [zh]:

2015 年 SOGO 門口.自駕遊 X 中港一家親幻想圖(來自 2012 年駐西藏的解放軍車)

Taken in font of SOGO in 2015. An imaginary photo of ‘cross-border self-drive tour’ and ‘China and Hong Kong being one family’.

The image is a mockery of the newly announced “Self-Drive Tour” scheme, which allows private cars from mainland China to enter Hong Kong without having a local license. User, Bay area, posts [zh] an article at inmediahk explaining the background of the scheme:

近日驚見到沒有港人看的左報新聞,原來林瑞麟及鄭汝樺已在毫無諮詢的情況下私自與大陸簽訂了「私家車自由行」的條款,未來三月內地私家車就可直入市區,橫衝直撞每個角落,意象可怖。我們可以預視到,深圳廣州現時的交通文化,將會嚴重衝擊全港的交通系統:我們香港第一個小悅悅亦將會很快誕生。

Recently Hong Kong people are surprised by the pro-Beijing's newspaper's news that Stephen Lam [Chief Secretary of Hong Kong government] and Eva Cheng [Head of the Transportation and Housing Bureau] had signed an agreement with mainland Chinese government on “Private vehicle visit scheme”. Within three months, private vehicles from mainland China can ride into the city, reaching every corner at full speed. Imaginating such scenes is horrifying. We can predict that the driving culture from Shenzhen and Guangzhou would crush our transportation system: Xiao Yue Yue [a baby girl killed by hit and run driver in Guangzhou] will soon appear in Hong Kong.

Dictionary of Politically Incorrect Hong Kong Cantonese has translated some discussions among Facebook users:

Chan: Individual visit scheme isn’t enough and there will even be self-drive tour… Don’t fool me! Mainlander drivers don’t follow rules. When I was in China, I dared not to cross roads. Their driving skill and unfamiliarity with the roads of Hong Kong, I really afraid that the no. of traffic accidents are going to surge.

Cest la Vie: Population density, usage of road, parking, driving attitude, environmental problem, law enforcement problem, life risking problem…There are so many problems. Why do self-drive tour have to be implemented? Crazy?

Everybody should protect the remaining freedom of Hong Kong. Left handed drive and right handed drive will harm many innocent citizens. Besides, reckless Mainland Chinese drivers really make people shivering. Hong Kong citizen have to object that. Put everybody’s safety to the first priority. Please!

Apart from road safety, air pollution and traffic jams, people are angry about the under-table arrangement of cross-border policy. As by Land Justice League, a civic group advocating social justice and democracy, pointed out :

中港跨境政策一直是本地政治團體和社會運動鞭長莫及的「黑洞」,整套操作完全排斥市民﹝其實是兩地人民﹞,甚至是立法會的參與。由議題設定、研究、制訂政策,市民全不知情,無從過問,每次都是見到曾蔭權或唐英年或林瑞麟與國內官員排排企簽約,市民才透過愈來愈麻木的主流記者得悉,「阿爺又俾著數啦/中央又挺港啦」。

Cross-border policy is like a “black hole” and local political parties and civil societies do not have any say in the process. The negotiation has excluded all citizens, both Hong Kong and mainland Chinese citizens. Even the Legislative Council cannot participate in the discussion. There is no way for us to know about their agenda and considerations. Only when mainstream media reports about Donald Tsang of Stephen Lam signing the agreement with mainland officials, do we know that “grandpa [meaning central government] is offering policy favors to Hong Kong again”.

我們每次都是看人家在簽我們的條約,我們從來沒有一次屬於香港人的、可以引以自豪的「簽約儀式」。香港這個不斷「被簽約」的命運共同體要自主,第一步是要離開、違背、拒絕、撕毀綑綁着我們的條約、協議和遊戲規則…

They are signing all these agreements for us, but the agreements do not belong to Hong Kong people. There is nothing to be proud of. Hong Kong needs to be independent from all these “unequal treaties”, the first step is to walk away, reject and tear apart from all these agreements, treaties and political games that trap us in unequal relations…
  • Justin

    Funny how these past couple months have shown that Hongkongers are fighting back about Mainlandization, whereas Global Voices appears to be condoning more Mainlandization. By the way, is this policy of writing “Hong Kong, China” on Global Voices in 2012 whenever a Hong Kong issue brought up a new regulation by the Chinese Politburo? If Global Voices wants to be consistent, why don’t Global Voices headlines have other dependencies identified in a similar manner, like “Puerto Rico, US”? Notice how annoying that would be for Puerto Ricans (or anyone else) to read?

    Bring back just simple “Hong Kong” in the headlines please. You can keep the “Hong Kong (China)” header if you want.

  • http://www.solanasaurus.com/ Solana Larsen

    This story is about both Hong Kong and China which is why both are mentioned in the headline. Right beneath the article, you can see links to other stories where only Hong Kong is mentioned. As far as consistency, Puerto Rico does in fact have (US) following it in the category title on Global Voices. We can only agree that some people would find this annoying — it’s difficult to diplomatically represent disputed territories in simple terms.

  • http://oiwan.wordpress.com/ Oiwan Lam

    if the topic involves two countries or two autonomous areas we put the two in the headline. this post is about cross border self drive tour, of course it would appear as “Hong Kong, China”. We also have other post headline: China, U.S.A and i believe “Puerto Rico, U.S.A” can also do as they appear in different country tag of our system. i don’t see the problem of mainlandization. unless you want to say talking about china and u.s relation is a mainlandization of u.s. Too much ideological thinking would really blind one’s eyes. take care.

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