Starting from March 1, Hong Kong implements its “Revised 2013 Export and Import Regulations.” According to the regulations, People leaving Hong Kong cannot take out more than 1.8 kilograms (around 4 pounds) of infant milk formula.  Those who violate this rule will be prosecuted; the harshest sentence being a 500,000 RMB fine and two years imprisonment. In the past two days, 19 mainlanders have already been arrested. Such news makes our hearts sink. The famous blogger Xue Manzi heaved an online sigh of sorrow and noted, “As an old man who has lived for 60 years, I have seen plenty get caught over transporting heroin, but this is the first time I’ve seen someone arrested for taking milk powder.”

[h4]It Makes Us Blush to See Those who Take Milk Powder Arrested[/h4]

Starting from March 1, Hong Kong implements its “Revised 2013 Export and Import Regulations.” According to the regulations, People leaving Hong Kong cannot take out more than 1.8 kilograms (around 4 pounds) of infant milk formula.  Those who violate this rule will be prosecuted; the harshest sentence being a 500,000 RMB fine and two years imprisonment. In the past two days, 19 mainlanders have already been arrested. Such news makes our hearts sink. The famous blogger Xue Manzi heaved an online sigh of sorrow and noted, “As an old man who has lived for 60 years, I have seen plenty get caught over transporting heroin, but this is the first time I’ve seen someone arrested for taking milk powder.”

Hong Kong’s intention to protect local infants by providing safe milk formula, and cracking down on smugglers who exploit the current context is understandable. But many netizens have criticized Hong Kong’s methods, saying that the approach goes against Hong Kong’s liberal legacy, and it’s not a nice way to treat Mainlanders, who have always been generous to Hong Kong. Real estate developer Pan Shiyi suggested that Hong Kong’s legislative council revise this “evil-spirited law.” Many people are remorsefully reflecting on the sad state where dairy products can lead to societal chaos. It is an embarrassment for the times, and it reflects the Chinese saying that “if you want to forge ironware you must harden yourself” (i.e. you have to be strong enough to take actions). In response to this, dairy sales giants and organizations have been taciturn.

Before Deng implemented the ‘reform and opening up’ process, Guangdong had many residents who would sneak into Hong Kong. Guangdong’s political leader Xi Zhongxun realized that relying exclusively and obstinately on limiting immigration cannot deter illegal immigration. This realization was the basis for taking on the bold idea of having Shenzhen special economic zone. In the days after the special economic zone regulations were announced, untold numbers of those who were hiding in the mountains, ready to sneak into Hong Kong, suddenly disappeared. Many of those who had already snuck into Hong Kong heard about the relaxing of policies and decided to return to the Mainland.

Xi Zhongxun sadly pointed out, “Talking all day is useless—rising up people’s living standards is the only [effective] method. Otherwise people are going to vote with their feet.” The big “military force” going into Hong Kong today to “sweep out the goods”—could it be that they are also responding to public governance by voting with their feet? Netizen “Moonlight vs Ship”   ridiculed such an idea, “Hong Kongers are using an alternate measure [to achieve their aims]; they are proposing plans to the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference to supervise the government and make sure they solve the food safety problem.”

China is already the world’s second largest economy, our Shenzhou rocket has reached the skies, our Jiaolong submarine has dived into the deep sea, and we are increasing our power and prestige in the global arena. Whether the government can offer the people some safe milk formula, and whether they can have their people no longer live in smog—for the Congress these requests are not very challenging ones. “If the Congress cannot solve such issues well,” netizen “Lingyun Zhi Feng” asked, “ how can we face our children and teach them about ‘living in the new China and growing under the red flag’?”

When the head of China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce, Zhou Bohua, talked about Mainlanders not having confidence in a jar of milk powder, he almost shed some tears. He said, “From the large-scale livestock companies, to the dairy industry, to government departments, they all have a responsibility.” But the government department that has the responsibility to oversee milk production certainly has the most responsibility. At the People’s Congress two years ago, when deliberating with  the Shandong delegation,  Vice PremierWang Qishan offered this response, “It’s really a shame…we have just gotten to the point where we are eating to fullness, and now there are food safety issues. I am so sorry, this matter really makes us ashamed.” His remarks showed the public a CCP member who is very clear about his responsibility to the people.

The Chinese government established a high-standard food safety committee in the State Council early on. Netizen Fangquan  has sincerely suggested that in order to build a prosperous China, the government should start with responding to issues like poisoned milk and the smog and pollution. It was announced at the 18th Party Congress that “as for the contradictions and problems still persisting within the party, we cannot turn a blind eye to them, we cannot run away, we cannot gloss over our errors. We must put all our energy into solving such problems.”

Public servant He Yongqiang assessed the situation like this: If Hong Kong introduced the restriction on milk formula purchase, would it put pressure on the 8 million rural inhabitants and low income individuals? [The individuals that don’t have the money to go to Hong Kong and buy milk powder there anyway]  However, it does impair the interests of the big-wigs, and those who have reached middle income status. Indeed, many ordinary Mainlanders act indifferently towards the regulations. They are just looking on the “getting rich first” group resenting the regulations. As worried about the questionable milk as the “getting rich first” group are these ordinary people who aren’t even able to say NO to questionable milk [as they don’t have the money to buy safe milk from Hong Kong or overseas, questionable milk is their only choice]. I hope that the twittering of netizens and those who make up the powerless groups of the society will crescendo into a resonant sound, and that everyone could work together, so that consumers can have the right to speak to the “livestock companies, the dairy industry, and government departments” to promote food safety.

[h4]带奶粉被抓让我们汗颜[/h4]

从3月1日起,香港实施《2013年进出口(一般)(修订)规例》,要求离港人士不得携带总净重逾1.8公斤的婴儿奶粉(2罐),违例者一经定罪,最高可罚款50万元及监禁两年。实施前两天已拘捕19名内地人。这个消息让我们心情沉重。知名网友薛蛮子感慨:“我老汉活了一甲子,带白粉被抓见过不少,但是带奶粉被抓还真没见识过。”

香港保护本地婴儿吃奶粉、打击“水客”贩运牟利的初衷可以理解,但不少网友批评香港的做法有违自由港原则,对于向来慷慨支援香港的内地人民显得不太厚道。房地产商人潘石屹建议立法会修改此“恶法”。更多的人沉痛反思内地的乳制品行业乱象,始有今日之蒙羞,“打铁还得自身硬”啊。对此,内地乳制品行业的巨头们,集体表现出可耻的沉默。

改革开放前,广东曾出现居民“逃港”。当时主政广东的习仲勋意识到:光靠严防死守不可能有效地遏制偷渡,于是有了在深圳开辟经济特区的大胆设想。在特区条例公布后的几天,成千上万藏在梧桐山的岩石后、树林中准备逃港的人突然消失了,许多已经逃到香港的居民听说政策放宽后又回来了。

习仲勋同志沉痛地指出:“千言万语说得再多,都是没用的,把人民生活水平搞上去,才是唯一的办法。不然,人民只会用脚投票。”今天内地到香港的“扫货”大军,何尝不是对我们的公共治理又一次“用脚投票”?网友“月亮v船”调侃:“香港人是用另一种方式,对两会的提案,督促政府解决食品安全问题。”

中国已是GDP世界第二的大国,“神舟”上天“蛟龙”入海,扬威于世界。政府能否让老百姓喝上“放心奶”,就跟如何让居民不再生活在有毒雾霾中,实在是两个算不上很高的要求。这两个问题解决不好,网友“凌云之峰”问:以后该如何教育孩子“生在新中国、长在红旗下”?

国家工商总局局长周伯华谈到内地人对一罐奶粉都缺乏信心的时候,几欲落泪,表示“从广大畜牧工作者、乳业企业到国家政府部门,都有责任”。但政府监管无疑是其中最重要的环节。两年前的全国两会上,王岐山副总理在参加山东代表团审议时表示:“现在很惭愧啊,刚吃饱,就出现了食品安全的问题。很不好意思,这件事情我们很不好意思。”这体现了共产党人的清醒担当。

中央政府早已成立高规格的国务院食品安全委员会。网友方泉诚挚进言:“实干兴邦”,就从奶粉、雾霾这样具体而微、又与百姓健康和尊严息息相关的事情做起吧。正如十八届二中全会公报所言:“对党内存在的突出矛盾和问题,不能视而不见,不能回避,不能文过饰非,必须下大气力加以解决。”

公益人贺永强分析:香港奶粉限购,8亿农民和低收入者会有“鸭梨”(压力)吗?限购令打的是权贵的脸,打的是中等以上收入人群的脸。的确,内地大多数普通老百姓冷冷地看着“先富”阶层远赴香港买奶粉以及被限购后的怨气腾腾。在同样让人担惊受怕的国产奶粉面前,他们连说NO的资格尚不具备。希望网上的“吐槽”与网下弱势群体的呢喃形成共振,大家一起努力,在“畜牧工作者、乳业企业和政府部门”面前彰显消费者的话语权,推动食品安全。

 

Written by Huaxin Zhu, China Youth Newspaper

Translated by Marjorie Perry

Photo: Nandu.com (南方都市报)