On the past Tuesday, a mainland tourist died one day after allegedly beaten unconscious by four men when he tried to mediate in a dispute between his colleague and tour guide. The first-ever incident has caught huge attention throughout the whole country and lifted the tension between mainlanders and Hong Kong people to climax, after conflicts on birth and parallel trade in recent years.
The state newspaper, Global Times, writes that this tragedy would “further damage Hong Kong’s image in mainlanders’ minds”. It seems that the state wants to drag down Hong Kong tourism so issues a warning that Hong Kong should take responsibility and remediate the conflicts with mainlanders. Other news and comments yet misunderstand the incident and blame Hong Kong people for the sole responsibility.
In fact, any incident related to mainland tourists may affect Hong Kong tourism industry which heavily relies on the Chinese market. According to statistics, mainland China is Hong Kong biggest market which occupies about 80% in tourists’ number and their expenditure is relatively higher than other countries.
However, the negative criticism would only irritate people’s emotions and worsen the disparity between both sides. At this critical state, suggestions on building a harmonious relationship are more important than blaming whose fault.
The incident has also revealed the loopholes of Hong Kong and mainland travel agencies and raised concerns on the “forced shopping” tours. The Hong Kong government and tourism board indeed need stricter monitoring system to protect tourists’ safety and Hong Kong tours’ quality and image. On the other hand, Xinhua editorial urges people to stop joining overly cheap tour. It seems that the Chinese government tries to say through its official channel that mainlanders should bear some responsibility on “forced shopping” tours.
After all, despite its seriousness, death can burst out lots of different connotations. An ought-to-be happy trip is unfortunately turned into a deadly tragedy. No matter where and who, any related incident should be avoided.
Editorial team: Crystal Tse, Jackson Ho, Joanna Wong