Hong Kong Residents Shout 'Dead Locusts' At Mainland Smugglers

While most China-watchers were focused on mainland China over the past week, with anti-Japanese violence and the return of Xi Jinping, this protest in Hong Kong went under the radar.

According to Shanghaiist, the video below shows Hong Kong residents shouting at “smugglers” from the mainland at a subway station on September 15 and 16. As you can see, they are shouting “dead locusts” at them.


Shanghaiist also points to a couple of other videos that show the ferocious nature of the protest and the response from the mainlanders.

So what’s going on?

Hong Kong-based blogger Bad Canto has a good explanation. The subway station at which the protests took place is Sheung Shui, the last stop before immigration points to mainland China.

The mainlanders have been buying goods in Hong Kong to sell in China — a practice that has occured for years due to fears about food safety and quality control in items made in mainland China. Recently, due to the yuan increasing in value against the Hong Kong dollar (which is pegged to the US dollar), the practice appears to have increased. By taking the goods over the border themselves the smugglers are able to avoid import taxes. The slang “locusts” appeared in the Hong Kong-newspaper Apple Daily almost two years ago, hence the chant.

It may seem like an unusual thing for Hong Kong-residents to be so angry about, but it has to be taken into the context of Hong Kong’s relationship with China since 1997 (when the transfer of sovereignty from United Kingdom to the PRC occured). Changes to make the education system — notably a course that would have emphasised a shared identity with the Chinese mainland — resulted in enormous protests in the city earlier this month.

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