Mainland Chinese in Hong Kong: Issues of Inclusion
Everyone in Hong Kong should have heard of the mainland parallel-goods traders who discriminated by the local citizens. The MTR Corporation’s new policy setting limit to the weight of the luggage and the demonstration against the traders held by the local citizens are some of the evidences showing the discrimination against the mainland Chinese in Hong Kong (Lee & Lo, 2012). Actually, the mainland Chinese settling in Hong Kong faces lots of barriers in different aspects. According to the United Nation, the living standard of a people will be degraded by the social, political, environmental, cultural and economic barriers (The United Nation, 1976). This essay will discuss the barriers occurred, the response by different stakeholders and the Hong Kong government’s role in this issue.
The reason why the mainland Chinese migrates to Hong Kong may help understand the issue. In 1962, the Hong Kong government adopted the Touch Base Policy, which allowed the mainland Chinese arriving the city area to settle in Hong Kong. Since there was starvation in China at that time, thousands of people who were strong and young migrated to Hong Kong by swimming and climbing the hill. They devoted themselves to work for the factories and increased the productivity of light industry (The Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding, 2001). Due to the booming economy of Hong Kong and the introduction of the Basic Law in 1997, many mainland Chinese came and gave birth to their children to enjoy the right of abode in Hong Kong (Ming Pao, 2011). Therefore, the two main purposes for the mainland Chinese to settle in Hong Kong are working and enjoying the welfare.
The social barriers faced by people are defined by the lack of help from the society, the exclusion from the welfare and the disconnection from the social network (The United Nation, 1976). As mentioned above, the mainland Chinese settle in Hong Kong to enjoy the benefit provided by the government. However, the one who does not have the right of abode cannot enjoy the welfare. The most familiar case is the difference in the fee of medical service. The charge of the service of accident and emergency for the local citizen is $100 per attendance while that of people with no right of abode charges $570 per attendance which is five times to the local one (Hospital Authority, 2007). This shows that the mainland Chinese staying in Hong Kong less than 7 years cannot enjoy the medical services at the lowest cost. Even the mainland Chinese with the right of abode cannot fully enjoy the welfare of the society. Consider the free education provided to the children with the right of abode, it is obvious that the mainland children in Hong Kong may have difficulties in learning using English and Cantonese which are not their mother tongue (Caritas Hong Kong- Tsuen Wan Community Centre, 1998). There is no extra resource to help the migrated children to adapt to the learning environment which is different from that of mainland China.
Beyond the social barriers are the economic barriers, which are known as the lack of participation in production, trading and consumption (The United Nation, 1976). Another purpose of settling in Hong Kong is to get the employment opportunity as stated above. However, it is difficult for the mainland Chinese to find a job in Hong Kong. According to the report conducted by the Hong Kong government, the employment rate of the mainland Chinese in Hong Kong was 45.7%, lower than the overall employment rate in Hong Kong (60.3%) in 2006 (Hong Kong Government, 2007). This can be caused by their small social network and low education level of the migrated mainland Chinese. Moreover, there are not many types of work they can choose. 82% of the mainland Chinese in Hong Kong was having works with low-technique in 2006 (Hong Kong Government, 2007). As the mainland Chinese are of low education level with few techniques for work,...
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