The Executive Committee of Hong Kong Christian Council
Statement on anti-parallel-goods incidents
Since Hong Kong is a small place in terms of geographic area, it is understandable that the city cannot receive an unlimited number of people coming from different regions for all kinds of purposes in terms of capacity.
In recent years, there has been a drastic increase in the number of visitors from mainland China. Up to 2014, more than 40 million visits from mainland Chinese were recorded which accounts for 75% of the total number of visitors. The conflicts between visitors from the mainland and Hong Kong residents also has intensified and has recently been manifested as anti-parallel goods protests. If this trend continues, it will inevitably undermine the well-being of Hong Kong in the future.
According to the Basic Law, the HK government has the authority to regulate the number of visitor arrivals through policy making, so as to prevent further negative impacts on the livelihood of Hong Kong people or aggravating the conflict between Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese.
The anti-parallel goods protests reflect the dissatisfactions of Hong Kong people towards mainland China and may be attributed to different reasons. But if both the Chinese Central Government and the Hong Kong government respect and embrace the principles of the Basic Law, the cross-border conflict may be reduced.
HKCC hopes that Hong Kong government will formulate appropriate policy to address the situation, review its measures from time to time, implement proper procedures, and prescribe the correct remedies to resolve the cross-border conflict.
If we examine the data relating to the number of mainland China visitors and the length of their visits, in fact the people engaged in parallel trading account for a very small portion only. Restriction or abolition of multi-entry permits or even stricter measures to combat this parallel trading will not get to the root of the problem and the cross-border conflicts will persist. Thus what these anti-parallel goods protests advocate only provides an outlet for Hong Kong people to pour out negative sentiment towards the mainland China counterparts. These acts will surely damage Hong Kong’s social environment in return.
Hong Kong is a civilized society and residents are proud of our respect for the rule of law and human rights. We traditionally receive visitors with an open heart. The Hong Kong Christian Council does not agree to any provoking of anti-parallel protests and violent acts. All these will undermine the core values of Hong Kong and its reputation for hospitality. Besides, hospitality is also a key practice of the Christian faith. From the Hebrews in the Old Testament to Jesus Christ’s followers in the New Testament, many suffered from isolation and even suppression and were forced to settle somewhere away from their homeland. This experience produces a deeper understanding about hospitality and mutual acceptance. A majority of Hong Kong people or earlier generations have a similar experience and empathize with foreigners. Therefore Hong Kong people should understand the importance of welcoming those who come from outside as so many of our own citizens were immigrants from other places. The Bible teaches us, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)
We hope that people from all sectors in Hong Kong will show courtesy to our visitors from all over the world, demonstrate respect and mutual acceptance despite the differences, and try our best to resolve the conflicts and cease from all violent actions.
March 23, 2015