Pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho has said that a million Hong Kong people do not have a mainland travel permit because they “support Hong Kong independence.”
Ho was responding to questions about how he was able to conduct his daily Facebook live session while he was in Beijing for the national day celebration last week. Facebook is banned in China.
In his latest live video on Tuesday night, he said those who questioned him were “dumb.”
“They made loose speculations without being there – you cannot use Facebook in the mainland, but if you use China-Hong Kong [dual number] cards, you can go online, you can access Facebook,” he said.
“They don’t even know these basic things… Why would I need to climb over the [Great Firewall]? I just need to pay a hundred dollars more each month.”
Ho said those who criticised him “probably don’t even have a home return permit.”
Hong Kong permanent residents with Chinese nationalities require the mainland travel permit – commonly known as the “home return permit” – to enter China.
“There are a million people who did not apply for a home return permit in Hong Kong. I was thinking – what are these people thinking? They either support Hong Kong independence, or they don’t go to the mainland at all – they don’t like going there,” he said.
“This is a silly attitude, not to even mention the issue of Hong Kong independence.”
Ho said Chinese people should embrace their identity.
“China’s economy is developing very fast, yet you don’t go there even though there are benefits – gosh, there is money there but you don’t even try to earn it,” he said.
During a Facebook live session in Beijing on Saturday, Ho also said those who criticised him for his recent speech failed to criticise the Hong Kong independence movement.
“It means they support Hong Kong independence,” he said.
Recently, Ho was embroiled in controversy when he made remarks about independence advocates being killed “without mercy” at a rally. He later said that he used the “wrong choice of words” in the heat of the moment.
Hong Kong’s anti-graft agency is reportedly investigating the alleged inclusion of misleading information in his election material.