Hong Kong and the mainland have now fully resumed cross-border personnel exchanges. All ports are reopened for travel and business activities now. With a large number of mainland tourists coming to Hong Kong, local people noticed that the number of different kinds of beggars seen on the streets had also increased. However, one mainland woman caught everyone’s attention.
There was a mainland woman spotted on the street in Mongkok with a hand-written sign next to her saying, “selling myself to bury my father” for the price of HK$300,000 (US$38,242). The news triggered a hot debate on the Internet.
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“One post comments that the Chinese Communist Party boasts daily that it is a strong and big country, but its people still have to come to Hong Kong to beg. What a slap in the face!”
On February 6, China reopened the border with Hong Kong and Macao. Locals posted on the Internet that they could see the increased number of people begging in various districts of Hong Kong. They were seen outside the subway stations and busy commercial areas. Some did stunts, and some disabled ones begged for money.
A mainland woman selling herself
On the afternoon of February 6, 2023, a mainland woman was seen sitting on Argyle Street in Mongkok, asking for $300,000 to sell herself to bury her father. She aroused the attention of passers-by. Dozens of people surrounded her to ask questions or to take pictures.
The video showed the mainland woman wearing a white jacket and a floral dress. She was sitting on a self-brought foldable chair. Next to her on the ground was a photo of a man and a sign with the words “selling myself to bury my father” in simplified Chinese characters. Some Hong Kong media searched and found that the man in the photo was a mainland director Xu Jizhou. His recent works include a CCTV drama series, The Knockout.
During the course, a reporter from Sing Tao Daily went up to inquire whether she needed assistance. The mainland woman made the get-money gesture and replied in Mandarin, “You have no money! How come you come over to talk to me? Take out the money!”
The reporter asked her. “How much did she need, and what does she want the money for?”
The mainland woman claimed: “$300,000! I want $300,000!”
When the reporter asked her where she was from, she got emotional and shouted: “My mother said she wanted $300,000. Why do you have to come over and ask me? My mother said she wanted $300,000, not me!”
More and more people gathered around after that. Finally, some claimed to call the police to deal with the case. Hearing that, the mainland woman immediately left and was out of sight.
A businessman selling cell phones on the street nearby said that the mainland woman had already been selling herself to bury her father in Causeway Bay before the epidemic. Now she reappeared in Mongkok to do the same three years later.
The incident sparked a heated debate on the Hong Kong discussion forums. A netizen said he saw the “selling myself to bury my father” sign that reminded him of the Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China period, but he never thought it happened in Hong Kong in 2023.
Another netizen suggested that the mainland woman should get serious about getting a job and that if she was hardworking and frugal, she could save $300,000 by working in Hong Kong for two to three years.
Then one after another, netizens kept breaking news — the woman from Sichuan was spotted in Yau Ma Tei playing the theme song of the movie A Moment of Romance for pedestrians to enjoy.
Some netizens lamented that such things happened only on the very first day of the full border reopening:
“I can’t imagine how it will be afterward. Thanks to the Chinese Communist Party, Hong Kong has become such a mess! The Chinese Communist Party boasts daily that it is a strong and big country, but its people must come to Hong Kong to beg. What a slap in the face!”
Translated by Cecilia