World

In some of Hong Kong’s neighborhoods, Chinese nationals are not welcome anymore

The demonstrations in Hong Kong are increasingly flaring in its residential neighborhoods, miles from the harborside business districts where the pro-autonomy rallies began in the spring. The clashes are now on the doorsteps of nearly every resident in Hong Kong, aggravating already-tense relationships between Hong Kong’s citizens and mainland Chinese visitors and residents.

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Mainland Chinese and foreign visitors, as well as Hong Kong Chinese, walk across a bridge at the Lo Wu border crossing between mainland China and Hong Kong.

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A woman holding a Chinese flag poses with two Hong Kong police officers at a pro-police rally in Hong Kong.

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A “dancing auntie” — as they are locally known — performs while another is cornered by a local man in Tuen Mun Park. Dancing aunties are generally middle-aged women from mainland China.

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These tensions in the neighborhoods are also spilling over to the mainland Chinese who come to Hong Kong every day to buy goods. Those who enter Hong Kong for a day, making use of multiple-entry visas that allow them to easily cross over into the territory, are called “parallel traders.” They buy goods such as baby formula, dried foods, cosmetics and electronics to bring back to the mainland to resell. Unlike tourists, they are mainly after household goods, and residents say their presence has caused shortages of daily necessities such as toothpaste and milk.

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Mainland Chinese visitors are guided, with their purchase, out of the Gucci store by a shopkeeper in the luxury goods area of Tsim She Tsui.

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Boxes of diapers are piled at a pharmacy in Sheung Shui. For many years, the neighborhood has been a hub for parallel traders who buy goods in Hong Kong to resell in China.

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Mainland Chinese visitors sit on the sidewalk in Sheung Shui, close to the border with mainland China.

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Shopkeepers sell Buddhist iconography in the Yau Ma Tei neighborhood.

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Men play cards in a shop selling dried foods on Shanghai Street in Hong Kong. Many old stores like this are being bought up by property developers, erasing a part of Hong Kong's history.

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Parallel traders from mainland China sort and repack goods they bought in the Sheung Shui neighborhood of Hong Kong.

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Men play mahjong in a shop in the Prince Edward neighborhood of Hong Kong.

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But now the day-trippers to Hong Kong are facing increasing anger. They are seen by some protesters as symbols of the mainland’s reach into the former British territory. In July, a rally in the Hong Kong district of Sheung Shui denounced the parallel traders. In August, protesters shouted “Take back Hong Kong” at a bus carrying shoppers into the territory.

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A woman waits for passengers of the high-speed rail train at the West Kowloon station in Hong Kong. The railway links Hong Kong with dozens of Chinese cities and has been praised for bringing Hong Kong closer to the mainland.

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Visitors ride the Peak Tram from the Central business district.

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People walk to work in the Central district in Hong Kong.

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People are reflected in mirrors with the Hong Kong skyline in the background at the Peak Sky Terrace.

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Mainland Chinese women enter a meeting hall — in what appeared to be a society gathering — in Tsim Sha Tsui.

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A family takes a break from the heat in a cafe designed to look like an old Hong Kong teahouse at the Peak.

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Retailers now report a sharp drop in the number of Chinese coming over the mainland. International tourism also has plummeted. Hong Kong officials say the number of visitors dropped by 50 percent in mid-August after protesters staged earlier sit-ins at Hong Kong International Airport. Hotels have been forced to slash room rates.

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Passengers wait for a tram in the Tin Shui Wai area of northwest Hong Kong. Tin Shui Wai is densely populated by residents living in public housing estates.

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A man hangs clothes out to dry on a rooftop in the Yau Tsim Mong district in Hong Kong.

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A woman walks past a construction site with blocks of public housing in the background in the Tin Shui Wai area of Hong Kong.

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Police fire tear gas at protesters after another night of standoffs in the Sham Shui Po neighborhood.

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A woman covers her face after inhaling tear gas on the streets of Sham Shui Po.

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The protests have sharpened the dividing lines over identity. Few people in Hong Kong believe they can fully break away from Beijing’s control. But there is an increasing embrace of Hong Kong as a place apart. Many locals call themselves Hong Kongers rather than Chinese — and believe that the culture and identity of Hong Kong must be preserved.

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Women pose for photos holding the flags of China and Hong Kong at a pro-China, pro-police rally in Tamar Park.

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Protesters walk past graffiti spray-painted on a wall during an anti-extradition rally in the To Kwa Wan area of Hong Kong.

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