The escalating feud between Hong Kong residents and Chinese from the mainland reached a new level on Wednesday, when Hong Kong internet users who pulled together nearly $13,000 published a full-page newspaper ad comparing Chinese from the mainland to locusts threatening to overrun the territory.
The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reports that the inflammatory ad, published in today's Apple Daily, was paid for by a group of Hong Kong natives upset, among other things, over the growing number of Chinese mothers who travel to Hong Kong to give birth. Chinese mothers have strained Hong Kong's hospitals in recent years with a new wave of birth tourism to the island.
But the tensions go far beyond just anger over medical services. Cultural differences and resentment over wealth seem to be at the core of the battle, which cuts both ways.
Most recently, a Beijing professor discussing a viral video that showed a subway fight between Hong Kong and mainland residents referred to Hong Kongers as "running dogs" of the British empire and "bastards."
More from GlobalPost: Outrage in Hong Kong over "dog" comments
Hong Kong, which returned to China from British control in 1997, still retains a certain degree of autonomy and with that, a higher standard of living that cities within China proper, from world-class shopping to medical care. As China's wealth has grown and its rich become hungry consumers, Chinese citizens have flocked to Hong Kong. The locals' resentment toward impolite guests from the mainland has risen accordingly over the years.
"[Mainlanders] have already crossed our bottom line," a user of the internet forum that funded the locust ad told the SCMP. "Why are mainland mothers flooding in to take up resources in public hospitals, getting our benefits and social welfare? Why do mainlanders ... refuse to follow our rules and order? We can't accept that."