China rejects complaints of mainland visitors flooding Hong Kong
BEIJING (REUTERS) - A senior Chinese government official on Saturday rebuffed growing complaints from Hong Kong that a flood of visitors from mainland China was overwhelming the tiny territory, saying it was natural for people to want to visit a part of their country.
Last year, more than 30 million mainland Chinese visited Hong Kong, almost four times the city's population, stoking concern about the ability of the city's infrastructure to cope.
Hong Kong residents blame Chinese visitors for pushing up prices and congestion, and the issue has fed unhappiness with the city's leader, Beijing-backed Leung Chun Ying. Tens of thousands protested against him on New Year's Day.
But Mr Lu Xinhua, spokesman for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a body that advises the government but does not have any legislative powers, said it was natural mainland Chinese would want to visit.