HK tourism workers stage protest to call on social stability
Jeck Deocampo • September 11, 2019 • 303
Tourism workers in China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) staged a protest on Tuesday by driving buses slowly, calling on social stability and economic recovery.
Over 60 tour buses gathered at Shing Kai Road in Kowloon on Tuesday morning and the protest began at around 10:30.
The tourism industry in Hong Kong is experiencing a chilly winter with sluggish business, as the city is losing inland tourist arrivals due to weeks of violence.
“My drivers have gained nothing for three consecutive months,” said Chou Chih-hsiung, a bus operator.
“I hope things could be quenched as soon as possible so as to restore peace in Hong Kong. Then our tourism industry could resume business operation as soon as possible. We should promote Hong Kong and recover it as before, so that people would feel that Hong Kong is the safest city and the best destination of tourism,” said Wen Kuan-ch’eng, a tourism worker.
According to the data released by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, inbound tourists to Hong Kong dropped by about 40 percent in August year on year. Recently, Hong Kong’s tour bus drivers, tour guides and other tourism workers have earned less and even experienced laid-offs.Hong Kong tourism practitioners are eager to see the society returns to peace as soon as possible.
“This industry is indeed hit heavily. All of us. Even mine is a medium-sized travel agency, it still has few tour groups to handle,” said Chuang Hui, a tourism worker.
“The most important thing is that this is not our will. We don’t like these riots to destroy the society. We hope the things are quenched as soon as possible, and then we will do some work to rekindle tourists’ confidence to come to Hong Kong,” said Dicky Yip, chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Practitioners’ Union.
Now “ending the chaos and restoring order” has become the broadest consensus and strongest desire of all walks of life in Hong Kong. Timothy Chui Ting-pong, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Association, pointed out that as long as the social order could be restored, Hong Kong still could see a long-term development in tourism.
“We have confidence in our tourism industry. We hope that through the adjustment this time, our Hong Kong’s tourism industry could work more for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area,” he said. (REUTERS)
Hong Kong is facing a crisis of the rule of law and the most pressing task is to bring an end to the violence and restore social order in the city, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
Hua Chunying, the spokeswoman, made the comment at a regular press briefing while responding to a reporter’s question about a Hong Kong lawmaker’s remarks at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.
Hua refuted the lawmaker’s statement that Hong Kong is on the “verge of a humanitarian crisis”.
“I think Hong Kong is indeed at the brink of a crisis now, but not a ‘humanitarian crisis’ as she alleged, but a crisis of the rule of law. Over the past two months or so, we have clearly seen how the situation in Hong Kong developed. I noted that journalists with CNN recently also turned their camera lens to those violent radicals who hurt ordinary people and passers-by. They waged crazy, heinous attacks and caused severe harms to the rule of law and security of the whole society,” said Hua.
Hua said that the most pressing and overriding task at the moment is to stop violence, end the chaos and restore the rule of law and order.
“What really needs to be investigated are those violent radicals and their criminal behaviors and the backstage manipulators, all of which have contributed to the seriously damaging, extreme violence in Hong Kong,” she said. (REUTERS)
A Hong Kong resident recalled the moments he took upon himself to unmask an unruly rioter and got beaten up by other protesters on Saturday.
Mr. Wan, who lives in Kowloon, went to the Amoy Plaza to take part in an activity of singing the Chinese national anthem after lunch. However, he became indignant when he saw a rioter in black cursing the participants.
“I saw a man covered from head to toe in black. His whole body was covered. He was so arrogant and was cursing at us for singing the national anthem. In the heat of the moment, I didn’t think much and was just enraged that he was acting that way just because he was masked,” said Wan.
Letting his emotion get the better of him, Wan crossed the street, headed towards the masked man and pulled out his mask to unveil his face to the public.
“I couldn’t bear him anymore. So I crossed the street to take off his mask. Once he was unmasked, the same arrogant guy who was denigrating and calling us names a second before became so frightened that he immediately fled the scene,” he said.
While some of the people at the scene filmed the moment Wan tore down the “fig leaf” of the rioter, some of the rioters attacked and beat him.
“There were five or six people hitting me, on my head and my body and were kicking me. I tried my best to protect myself from the attack before a number of national song singers came out to my rescue and pushed the rioters away. As their identities were exposed, they slip away for fear of being shot by camera,” Wan said.
Although Wan said that he was perhaps a little reckless at the time, the idea of uncovering the countenances of the so-called “protesters” drove him to such action.
“I have endured them for months. Their logic is that as long as they are masked, no one can recognize them, and they won’t be held of any responsibility no matter what they do. I think they should be responsible for whatever they do. We are all adults. There’s a very simple solution – just to take off their masks. It is well-accepted that one can express himself, but only in accordance with the laws. If there are no laws, how can we protect our families and govern our country,” he added.
Wan’s action has nearly granted him hero status among many of his acquaintances and online.
“My friends, my old classmates all say I did the right thing. They say ‘you got the guts’. I could take this responsibility. I could take this pain — it’s just some bleeding. I did what I’m supposed to do, what a Hong Kong resident is supposed to do, which is to defend Hong Kong, defend our country. We have to do this because if you stay silent, it’s like you are aiding them. I want to take their masks off. I want to hold them accountable for their actions,” said Wan.
Many people contacted Wan and provided him with cell phone footages of his interaction with the rioter and being ganged up by others, which inspired Wan to call the police.
Wan said it was a pity that the result of his action led him to miss the activity, but he is looking forward to the next opportunity to show his affection for the motherland.
“I ended up not being able to take part in the activity to sing the national song that day. But I hope to join the next one. I want more people to hear our voice with our singing of the national song and our support to ‘one country, two systems,'” he said. (REUTERS)
Pro-Beijing supporters gathered at an upscale Hong Kong shopping mall to display the Chinese flag and chant slogans supporting the Hong Kong police on Thursday (September 12), before being heckled by pro-democracy protesters.
Demonstrators supporting Beijing sang the Chinese national anthem and “Ode to The Motherland” in a flashmob-style protest at the IFC mall in the morning. Video also showed them waving China’s national flags.
Pro-democracy protesters soon arrived and chanted “return to the mainland”.
Hong Kong residents had been gathering to sing a popular protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong” at malls, football stadiums and on the streets in the past week. More peaceful pro-democracy protests are scheduled over the next few days alongside the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. (REUTERS)
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