Xenophobia and Hong Kong independence

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Andy Chan Ho-tin 陈浩天, founder of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, gave a speech yesterday at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club despite objections from China’s foreign ministry and Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam, and street protests outside the venue. Wei Du 杜唯, North Asia correspondent for Channel News Asia, posted a Twitter thread that begins with this question:

“I asked Andy Chan yesterday [at the FCC event] why he singles out mainland migrants on a one-way permit, which is essentially a family reunion visa. It comes across as xenophobic/discriminatory. He didn’t have very good answers, so I want to discuss it further here.”

Wei Du concludes that “the poor mainland migrants end up being the bogeyman for the resentment” that ordinary Hong Kongers feel for the rich and powerful elite of the territory.

Scapegoating mainlanders “is not justified,” she says, but, unfortunately, discriminatory attitudes to mainlanders are not new, and are likely to remain a feature of local politics. In 2012, for example, a bunch of Hong Kongers pooled together enough money to publish a full-page newspaper ad calling mainlanders “locusts” (蝗虫 huángchóng) who, left uncontrolled, will overrun Hong Kong.