Thousands of people protested outside Dolce & Gabbana's flagship store on Canton Road, the most crowded tourist area in Hong Kong, yesterday on January 8, 2012.
People gathered, agitated by security guards for the Italian fashion store's security guard who recently banned a local Hong Kong photographer from taking a photo from the sidewalk in front of the store, claiming that only mainland Chinese tourists could do so.
Later, the fashion store explained to local newspapers that the policy is designed to stop people from infringing upon the company's intellectual property rights stored within their window displays. However, the store did not explain why there exist separate policies for dealing with local residents and tourists from mainland China.
Strong reactions to the news spread quickly through Facebook and a call was made to hold a flash mob on Friday for a collective photo-taking action outside D&G to protest the discriminatory policy. Within a few days, more than 17,722 people had clicked to support the event page. The YouTube video below shows the scene on Sunday, as protesters asked D&G to make a public apology:
The crowd gathered outside the shop for more than 8 hours. Below is a bird's-eye view photo of the protest scene:
Why are Hong Kong people so angry this time? Professor Wan Chin, an icon for the city's autonomy movement explains [zh] the situation on his Facebook profile:
A protester dressed like Iron Man participated in the protest and explained to local TV that he came down to fight for justice:
Chan King Fai, a radio host, explains where D&G went wrong [zh]:
1. They lack common sense (How can their security guards intervene in citizens’ activities in the street?);
2. They put money first (How can they only allow wealthy mainland Chinese tourists to take pictures outside the shop?)
3. They betray locals and itself (The company is too arrogant. You have your business because you are based in Hong Kong, occupying the center of the city. If you do not respect local people's way of living, you betray your base.)
Yvonne Leung believes [zh] that apart from protesting against discrimination, the ultimate issue is to reclaim the street:
Runaway Szeto tries to create a debate topic at Golden Forum [zh] by questioning the city's values:
現在, D&G就告訴香港人: 花得起錢的才夠”層次”, 我們只歡迎夠”層次”的人. 香港人已經不夠”層次”了…
今日D&G的態度, 根本正正是香港人的日常生活態度, 不過, 現在是到了自己被階級化的的時候, 心裡不好受, 就去高舉 “眾生平等”的旗幟。
掉返轉, 如果香港人返到內地, 有個地方只畀香港人用, 唔畀內地人用, 香港人一定會暗爽, 如果內地人用行動去抗議, 香港人仲會笑人、話人冇文化、話人窮
香港人, 今日到你地俾人笑鳥! 因果呀!
The D&G issue does not make any sense.
Why do you think the city has so many luxury brands? And why do Hong Kong people love these brands so much? Why are even second-handed luxury brand stores able to make such huge profit and get listed on the stock exchange? Hong Kong people love luxury brands, we are hypocritical. Deep down, we discriminate against lower classes and proletarians. We love to define others by the brands they were and tell others about our own “class” through luxury brands.
Now D&G tells Hong Kong people: You have to pay for your “class”, we only welcome a certain “class” of people. And Hong Kong people are not in that “class” anymore.
The attitude D&G has is also our attitude. Of course, now we are being discriminated against as a class and we feel bad about it. Only now do we uphold the banner of “equality for all”.
Do you think they will lose money with your flash mob action? Don't be silly, you're just helping D&G to build up its classy brand image?
If Hong Kong people travelled to mainland China, and there was a place where they only welcomed Hong Kong people and excluded mainland people, I am sure that Hong Kong people would be happy deep down their hearts. And if mainlanders protested against it, you would laugh, saying that they are not cultivated and poor.
It's due to your own karma that you are being mocked today.