Don't go to HK just for milk powder, urges Shandong governor

Mainland Chinese visitors look at the foggy skyline of Hong Kong island from the Peak. A China governor has called mainlanders not to visit Hong Kong just to buy milk powder.  — Reuters pic
Mainland Chinese visitors look at the foggy skyline of Hong Kong island from the Peak. A China governor has called mainlanders not to visit Hong Kong just to buy milk powder. — Reuters pic

BEIJING, March 8 — The governor of China’s Shandong called on those from the province not to go to Hong Kong for milk powder, so popular with Chinese tourists concerned about food safety that it’s sparked anger among the city’s residents who say local supplies are being sapped.

Guo Shuqing, who led China’s securities regulator before becoming governor in 2012, told a meeting of Shandong delegates to the nation’s legislature that he didn’t want to see too many tourists from the coastal province visiting Hong Kong. Shandong was China’s second-most populous province in 2013 with 97.3 million people, according to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

“Shandong has a big population and we don’t want to see too many individual tourists creating pressure for Hong Kong,” Guo said today. “Especially we don’t want to see Shandong people running to Hong Kong to buy milk powder. We promise Shandong people won’t go there scrambling for milk powder.”

Hong Kong residents, who say purchases by Chinese visitors are artificially driving up the cost of necessities, have staged several protests this year, including one on March 1 during which police used pepper spray to control the crowd.

Leung Chun- ying, the city’s chief executive, said in Beijing Friday that he had discussed measures with Chinese leaders for dealing with the issue.

Concerns about the safety of milk powder sold in China has been greater than for most other products since 2008, when contaminated baby formula killed at least six infants and sickened thousands of others. — Bloomberg