Minitrue: Tamp Down Hong Kong-Mainland Tension

The following instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.

Report cautiously on recent tensions between and the mainland. Do not hype related content. Immediately delete NetEase’s “Hong Kongers Do Not Live off Mainland ‘Charity.'” (February 27, 2015)

谨慎报道近期有关香港内地两地矛盾议题,有关内容不炒作。网易《香港人不靠内地“恩赐”过活》要立即删除。 [Chinese]

The 2012 NetEase article on Hong Kong's reliance on the mainland for much of its water supply. (Source: CDT Chinese)

The 2012 NetEase article on Hong Kong’s reliance on the mainland for much of its water supply. (Source: CDT Chinese)

Pervasive resentment towards mainlanders lead to a protest at a Hong Kong mall earlier this month. Some Hong Kong residents disparage mainland visitors as “locusts” who buy up property and goods in their city, squeezing locals. Mainland Chinese, in turn, are indignant that their compatriots would treat them this way. As Shannon Tiezzi explains in The Diplomat, “Many mainlanders argue that China is in fact the source of Hong Kong’s prosperity and compared Hongkongers to ungrateful children.

The NetEase report targeted by the directive is a September 11, 2012 story about the partnership between Hong Kong and neighboring to supply the former colony with water and the mainland province with power. A Baidu search [Chinese] shows that NetEase republished “Hong Kongers Do Not Live off Mainland ‘Charity'” on January 29, 2015. The article is still available on third-party websites such as xcar.com.cn and 21ccom.net.

 

Baidu search results for “Hong Kongers Do Not Live off Mainland ‘Charity.'” Screenshot taken on February 27, 2015 at 1 p.m. PST.

Baidu search results for “Hong Kongers Do Not Live off Mainland ‘Charity.’” Screenshot taken on February 27, 2015 at 1 p.m. PST.

Hong Kong has limited freshwater sources, and often dealt with drought before the institution of the Dongjiang-Shenzhen (Dongshen) Water Supply Scheme in 1960. Under the scheme Hong Kong is required to import a minimum amount of water every year, even when its own reservoirs can supply the city with adequate water. According to NetEase, over HKD 30 billion worth of water from Guangdong was dumped into the sea between 1998 and 2003. At least 70% of Hong Kong’s water is supplied through the Dongshen scheme.

NetEase also discusses the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant. Hong Kong’s CLP Holdings Ltd. owns a 25% stake in the plant and is under contract to purchase 70% of its power.

“Don’t say that Hong Kongers are ungrateful,” warns NetEase. “Gratefulness is not as splendid as you think.”

According the BBC, the NetEase article’s title was changed soon after its publication in 2012, and the article itself blocked soon after. Before the article went black, many readers complained that NetEase was “provoking conflict between the mainland and Hong Kong” [Chinese].

The full text of the NetEase article is available from Google’s cache and at CDT Chinese.

Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.