In the past year Hong Kong has seen a large of influx of immigrants and tourists from mainland China. These travelers often spend generously on luxury goods and services invigorating Hong Kong’s economy. However, for the average Hong Kong resident this “invasion” of mainland Chinese sheds a far less positive light.
One point of tension arrives in the form of demand and supply. Ever since the Sanlu milk scandal, many mainlanders have begun to purchase baby milk formula in Hong Kong. This has led to drastic decreases in supplies. In a similar context, rising land prices are being attributed to the increase of mainland merchants. The most heated of these shortage issues however have to do with hospital capacity. Expectant mainland mothers are flooding into Hong Kong and overwhelming local hospitals. The number of non-local emergency room deliveries doubled from 2010 to 2011. Residency rights and the invalidation of the one-child policy are strong magnets for these parents. The result is a rise in hospital fees and a perceived, if not real, decrease in quality of maternity care for both local and mainland patients.
The second part of the problem is more difficult to pinpoint but no less significant. Those unfamiliar with relations between Hong Kong residents and the mainland Chinese may be perplexed to find that a subtle culture clash has always existed between the two. After all both mainlanders and Hong Kong citizens are Chinese people and share the same customs and traditions. Although not untrue on a broad scope, this belief should not be applied to the more delicate aspects of culture such as lifestyle, values, and daily habits. A look at Hong Kong’s colonist history may help to understand the heart of this difference.