The Nanfang / Blog

Fed-up Hong Kongers Are Moving to Taiwan In Bigger Numbers

Posted: 01/20/2015 10:00 am

cafe taiwanHong Kong people, under siege from sky-high property prices and the growing “Mainlandization” of their city, are moving to Taiwan in ever bigger numbers.

Data released by the Interior Ministry of Taiwan say that 4,624 Hong Kong and Macau residents received permission to stay or settle in Taiwan in 2013, up from 2,908 in 2012 and 2,995 in 2011.

A Taiwanese official with the National Immigration Agency acknowledged the trend. “We have definitely seen an increasing trend in the past few years. We had a historic high last year in the number of Hong Kongers applying for residency in Taiwan. The amount of applications for permanent residence also hit a new high last year since China took over Hong Kong [in 1997].”

Hong Kong residents have been looking to Taiwan as an ideal solution to their discontent with the local government, high real estate prices, falling wages, a deteriorating social welfare system, and increasing pollution. The trend is encapsulated by a popular Facebook campaign called “Evacuation to Taiwan” that urges Hong Kong residents to make the move. Many see it as a more affordable alternative that still retains a similar language and culture, with the island’s democracy as a main selling point.

“Taiwan is the only place where the Chinese community enjoys its own system of democracy,” said US-educated businessman Tim Wong, who moved to Taiwan in 2012. “That democracy is not dominated by any ideology. I came to Taiwan to live my life in a place of mutual benefit and mutual contribution.”

However, Hong Kong residents that have made the switch are cautioning others to carefully reconsider. Those interested in relocating to the nearby island are being told jobs are hard to find, salaries are not competitive with the former British colony, and assimilation into its society to be difficult.

Photo: EJ Insight 


Stunning Documentary Video of the Clearance of Mong Kok During Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement

Posted: 01/19/2015 11:49 am

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement, which occupied several of the city’s major arteries for more than two months, was cleared by police in December. The clearance was particularly tense in the city’s dense Mong Kok neighbourhood, where tensions continually ran high between protesters, anti-Occupy forces, and police.

Nathan Mauger, a freelance videographer, was on hand for much of the Mong Kok protests and has compiled a powerful video called “Clearing Mong Kok” to document what happened on November 26, when Mong Kok became the first of the protest camps to be cleared.

Mauger’s video is actually the third in a trilogy. The first one is “20 Meters in Mong Kok” and the second is “The Battle for Mong Kok“, both of which are highly recommended.




Poll: 70% of Hong Kongers Say Homophobic Attitudes are Okay

Posted: 01/12/2015 11:41 am
hong kong gay pride

Sign: “God loves gays too”

A new poll suggests seven out of ten Hong Kong residents are absolutely fine if people hold homophobic attitudes.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents to the survey said schools should not be forced to teach students that homosexuality and heterosexuality are both “beautiful”. Furthermore, fewer than half of those polled were in favor of extending work benefits to partners of LGBT workers, while 28 percent were in favor.

However, attitudes towards same-sex relationships have evolved when it comes to hiring practices. Sixty percent of respondents said that not hiring someone based upon their sexual preferences was discriminatory.

Just over 600 adults were surveyed in the poll carried out by Hong Kong Polytechnic University last November.

The survey was commissioned by the Family School Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance Concern Group. The group’s leader Roger Wong said, “Residents hope that society will tolerate different opinions, including anti-gay opinions, and the authorities should not forcefully push legislation that will deprive freedom of speech.”

Photo: SZ Online


Mainlanders Rounded Up in Pre-Christmas Prostitution Sting in Hong Kong

Posted: 01/5/2015 10:00 am

mainland prostitutes in Hong KongA total of 58 mainland women were arrested in Hong Kong in a pre-Christmas prostitution sting carried out by local police and border officials. Code-named “Fire Beacon” and “Whitewater”, the police operation took place in the Kowloon areas of Yau Ma Tei, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Mong Kok on December 23.

The operation targeted Temple Street, Reclamation Street, Woosung Street, Canton Road, and Portland Street, areas known for their vice industries. One hotel yielded 16 suspects during a raid.

All of the suspects had exceeded the duration of their travel permits to Hong Kong, and ranged in age from 18 to 65.

mainland prostitutes in Hong Kongmainland prostitutes in Hong KongPhotos: Xinhua, Sohu


Hong Kong’s MTR to Expand for First Time in Years

Posted: 12/12/2014 11:40 am

hong kong subwayIt’s not quite all the way to Lamma Island, but it’s a start.

Hong Kong’s newest subway extension may not be very long, but connects a vital and historic neighbourhood with the rest of Hong Kong island.

The MTR Corporation announced that the West Island Line will open on December 28. It will extend train service westward from Sheung Wan Station to the western end of Hong Kong Island and will make stops at Hong Kong University (HKU) Station and Kennedy Town Station.

The construction of a third station, Sai Ying Pun, is behind schedule but expected to be operational by February 15.

Train service from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town is expected to take five minutes for the three kilometer journey.

HKU Station is expected to serve as a transfer station to a future expansion called the South Island Line. This expansion will be separated into two separate but interconnected lines that will start at HKU and ring through the island to connect with the Island Line at Admiralty.

This weekend, the MTR will open HKU Station and Kennedy Town station for public tours. Tickets can be obtained from Central and Western district council.

Here are two reference maps that show how the West Island Line will fit in with the future Island Line.

future hong kong subwayfuture hong kong subwayTo take a glimpse at what the entire future Hong Kong subway system may look like, click here.

Photos: Wikipedia (2), sznews


Mainland Buyers Have Left Hong Kong Dangerously Short of Baby Formula

Posted: 12/2/2014 9:30 am

According to the Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau, Hong Kong is running out of stock on popular brands of baby formula.

After surveying five Hong Kong districts from June to November, the results showed various brands of baby formula running dangerously low. Brands manufactured by Friso were hit hardest, with total stock depleted by as much as 68% below normal levels.

As Christmas approaches, the threat of shortage remains high, a spokesperson for the Bureau warned. The shortage has largely been blamed on traders from mainland China, who buy baby formula in Hong Kong and resell it on the mainland to avoid taxes and duties. Hong Kong retailers were warned to stock up on baby formula to ensure there remains a sufficient supply to accommodate local infants.

Last year, Hong Kong passed a law restricting the amount of baby formula permitted to cross the Hong Kong/China border to two cans per person. Despite the restriction, there have been no shortage of Chinese citizens caught attempting to smuggle much more.

Photos: Badcanto; Reuters 


“Western Banker” Writes Hilarious, Self-Important Letter to Occupy Students

Posted: 11/9/2014 1:09 pm

Welcome to the debut post from The China Curmudgeon.

Dear students,

After occupying large parts of central Hong Kong, you have made your voice heard and made your point. Now it is time to go home, so that the Central Government and wealthy people like myself can go back to ignoring you and the problems you are drawing attention to.

I walked through the Admiralty protest zone yesterday on the way to a lunch meeting. I did not do this to take a selfie, like many tourists do. I did it so that when I talk about Occupy at dinner parties with other members of the elite, I can say that I’ve visited the protests. I feel it adds weight to my argument. And it only took about 15 minutes to do because I didn’t stop to actually engage with any protesters or try to understand their motivations.

So students, I hope you will take my advice, as someone who has been to the protest area and lived in Hong Kong for years. It is really time to tear down the blockades in Admiralty and Mong Kok. There are other more effective ways you can work to influence the direction of Hong Kong. I don’t know what they are, but when I say “other more effective ways” I’m really just hoping to leave it at that.

Is blocking people from coming and going to work democracy? No, it is not. True democracy is the freedom for me to make money, and for you to not elect your leaders.

Many Hong Kong people oppose Occupy Central. The ongoing protests and blockades are affecting countless lives in Hong Kong. Never mind that even the government says that Hong Kong’s economy has not been negatively impacted, and tourism has increased over the same period last year. The whole thing has impacted my life and my rights, and the lives and rights of many others, for two basic reasons:

1. Sometimes it takes me longer to commute.

2. Sometimes it forces me to think about issues I don’t want to think about.

Let’s talk about the second reason. As a Western businessman living in Hong Kong, I do not care if the people of Hong Kong can elect their leaders or not. If the Mainland destroys Hong Kong’s unique identity, I don’t really care either. If the Central Government ends freedom of the press, censors the Internet, and makes Hong Kong start to resemble the polluted hellscape that is Mainland China, then I will just leave. I know that millions of Hong Kong citizens can’t just leave, but that’s life. (Your life, not mine.)

It’s time to recognize that democracies around the world all function differently. Hong Kong is no different. In selecting the Chief Executive, real elections will be held. Students are hoping for direct elections, but the Central Government has announced there will instead be bullshit elections. This might not be the kind of democracy the people of Hong Kong want, but it is still democracy if you consider democracy to be just a word with no meaning. For the record, Hong Kong is democratic. But as in every democratic society, this comes with unique characteristics. What’s special about Hong Kong’s democracy is that a violently repressive government holds veto power over it.

You might consider me insensitive, or even an asshole. But such name-calling misses the point. The point is that you should go home because it’s taking me longer to commute, and I don’t like to think about the issues your actions are making me think about.

Thank you.


Pro-Beijing HK Newspaper: “None of Hong Kong’s Business Groups Support Occupy Central”

Posted: 11/5/2014 10:00 am

A Chow Tai Fook jewellery shop on Nathan Road in Mongkok

Although Hong Kong tycoons are reluctant to voice their opinions about the ongoing Occupy Central that erupted in the city more than a month ago, according to an opinion poll conducted by the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Business Daily, and reported by Xinhua,  close to 600 business groups in the city oppose the protests. 

Among the 600 questionnaires distributed to the city’s major business groups, 57.81 percent of the 563 respondents said they “strongly oppose” the protests, while 40.53 percent said they “oppose” the protests.  The remaining 1.6 percent responded “neutral”, with not one respondent expressing support.

Not surprisingly, more than 95 percent of the business groups polled said the protests are disorderly, while almost 98 percent said the protests are disrupting Hong Kong’s economy.

The results are a stark contrast to the recent poll conducted by Hong Kong University’s Public Opinion Programme, which revealed the Hong Kong Federation of Students, a leading force behind Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, has become more popular than any of the city’s 12 major political parties, sporting a support rating of 47.1 percent, the SCMP reported.

The Liberal Party’s popularity also increased after its former leader, James Tien Pun-chun, was stripped of his seat on the nation’s top advisory body, the CPPCC, last month for criticising CY Leung.

In an interview with three international newspapers, Leung said universal suffrage would give the city’s poor more say in Hong Kong’s policies, a group comprising a significant percentage of the city’s population.

Photos: CHRIS STOWERS — McClatchy


To Hong Kong’s Occupy Protesters: Here’s How to Win a Civil Nomination Option

Posted: 11/1/2014 2:58 pm

The following is an open letter to Occupy Central organizer Benny Tai. It was submitted to The Nanfang by an executive at a listed company in Hong Kong. We publish it here with his permission, though he has asked to remain anonymous.

Dear Benny,

Your movement has successfully communicated the position that democracy is a laudable aim – you can now claim you have occupied the ideological high ground. What your movement has not yet achieved is winning the hearts and minds of the people – the moral high ground. Too much of your movement is seen as causing conflict and chaos without coming up with a solution to the problems that society faces, other than “democracy”.

Your concept of civil nomination is a tactic to get around the perceived bias of the nominating committee and enable the public to choose a chief executive which is not “selected by Beijing”. To win a war, you need to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your enemy and hit him where it hurts.

You can achieve your aim by effectively stripping the nominating committee of its legitimacy. Here’s how:

1. In 2.5 years time, the People’s Candidate needs to get the support of the majority of the people of Hong Kong. The people need to believe that he or she is the right person to solve Hong Kong’s problems and give them a better life. Therefore, your camp (let’s call it the yellow camp) needs to start to select that candidate.

2. The yellow camp launches a civil nomination process for any registered voter in Hong Kong to choose their candidates. If you get a million eligible voters to endorse your candidate, you can claim your process is legitimate.

3. In the process of this civil nomination, the candidates will need to articulate the policies that they will implement when they are chosen as the chief executive, such as housing, social, economic and political policies. Most voters in Hong Kong are wise enough to understand that we are part of China and that opposition to China, the Chinese Communist Party or the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” is not credible.

4. The successful candidate voted by the people can declare himself Shadow Chief Executive.

5. By having a shadow chief executive and a team articulating the yellow camp’s policies, it would force the blue camp to also put forward candidates, or the yellow camp will have a clear run.

6. By this process the yellow camp could win the hearts and minds of the people with policies designed to strike a balance between all sectors of society. Mass rallies supporting the shadow chief executive, television, radio and social media can raise his or her profile. Surveys can show he or she has support of 70 percent of the population compared to 30 percent for the blue candidate.

7. With such overwhelming public support for the yellow candidate, the nominating committee will have no choice but to include him or her in the chief executive election as long as the candidate is not seen as “anti-China. The nominating committee is composed of Hong Kong people and they will have no choice in the face of overwhelming public support for a moderate candidate. If they do not chose him or her, then the whole electoral process will be seen as illegitimate and not credible. Until you try to win, you cannot occupy the moral high ground.

So, you can have a civil nomination, but only if you start it yourself now to elect your own candidate. You can use democratic processes to make an undemocratic system give you the result you want. Once in power, you have an influential position to try and make the next election more democratic.

All this can be achieved without confronting China; without being seen as a bunch of revolutionaries and misguided students.

You can win the hearts and minds of the people if you embark on a winning strategy. Glorious or inglorious defeat should not be your aim. Hong Kong people do not want chaos and ideological conflict, they want someone who will make their actual life better.

Carpe diem.


Lots of Crying and Complaining: How Occupy Protests are Covered in China

Posted: 10/23/2014 9:00 am
hk occupy central talks

The student leaders are seen to the left. There should be five of them if you count.

The Occupy protests in Hong Kong have been well-covered by Mainland media, although the coverage is obviously been selective. That means people Mainland still aren’t clear about who is protesting, or why.

One way to know would have been be to watch the televised discussion two nights ago that featured the movement’s student leaders and the Hong Kong government. As it were, and as expected, mainland news media covered the talks but didn’t quote the students a single time, or even give their names.

hk occupy central talks

But the Occupy movement does have a face on the mainland news: an unhappy and disgruntled one. Stories regularly highlight how the “average Hong Kong resident” is upset with the protests and want them to end. Mainland TV coverage has focused upon the people impacted by the demonstrations — people who tend to speak in Putonghua, a language not normally used in Hong Kong (at least not well).

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralIn one video (below), Miss Zhang said the Occupy protesters had destabilized the city:

We need to work and live
Children need to go to school
You’ve made it so that children can’t even go to school
Working is not convenient
There are even some places where stores have closed
Having closed, many workers aren’t able to go to work
If they can’t work, they can’t make a salary
What do you say? (Does Occupy Central) have a big impact?

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralMrs Yu complains that her rights have been infringed upon:

The situation for my daughter have become like this
When my daughter goes to school, there aren’t any teachers there to teach her
She is the only one sitting in the classroom
When she returns (home), she is very, very sad
This has stripped us of our rights

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralAnd then we have Eric, a long-time resident of Hong Kong who represents the laowai:

Most of the people I know in Hong Kong do not like what is going on
They want a peaceful Hong Kong, with gradual progress like we have been having, stability, harmony… that’s what we want

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralEric then reads from a book:

Hold(ing) HK hostage is not peaceful
Block(ing the) streets is not democracy
obstruction is violence (in law, in fact)
Blame(ing) police for their violence is hypocracy, because they are the ones causing the problem.

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralThis woman is one of the few Hong Kong residents caught on camera speaking in Cantonese. Here she is arguing with a person who is not seen or heard:

Nothing you do has any use
Is this for the benefit of Hong Kong residents? No!
It’s just become more chaotic
making more problems
And made this society less harmonious

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy central

But if there is one face that represents the Occupy protests on mainland television, it would be this woman. Here, she’s seen crying when speaking of the chaos that has inflicted the city:

It’s a contradicting and tearing apart of the (Hong Kong people)
and it’s getting bigger
I think that it’s getting bigger
and has made our Hong Kong into a chaotic place
I am terribly saddened by this
Honestly, very saddened
I have lived in Hong Kong for ten years
I feel that the peace we had before was so much better
It’s that they’ve been infiltrated by foreign powers
and caused disorder
I’ve lived in Mongkok for a long time now
Reporter: You live in Mongkok?

It’s so loud there every night
How can I sleep?

The woman went on to clarify what she meant about “foreign powers”:

I think that it must be foreign powers
who are making moves in the background, turning Hong Kong into this (mess)
Reporter: Why?
I honestly think this
because I have a friend who took their money
so that he would participate in Occupy Central
I asked him (where the money came from)
He said he boss received their money
and then his boss told him to go to “Occupy Central”
He said that if he didn’t go
He would lose his job as a result
For standing two days, he was awarded 2,500 yuan

The videos are seen below:

Photo: Sohu, Xinhua, screencaps from Ku6, iFeng

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