China bans exports of black clothing to Hong Kong amid protests; all mailings to city ‘severely investigated’, courier firm worker says

South China Morning Post 發布於 2019年10月17日07:10 • Vincenzo La Torre and Elaine Yau
  • Courier companies based in Guangdong, province bordering Hong Kong, have issued notices that customs requires halt to deliveries of black clothing, other items
  • Protesters have adopted as their uniform black T-shirts, jeans and sneakers, often paired with a black face mask
Hong Kong protesters in their “uniform” of black T-shirts at a shopping mall in Yuen Long district. Chinese customs authorities have banned the shipping of black clothing to Hong Kong. Photo: EPA-EFE

The Chinese government is cracking down on exports of black clothing to Hong Kong from mainland China.

The protesters who have taken to the streets of Hong Kong for the last four months, initially to oppose a now-withdrawn extradition bill, have adopted as their uniform black T-shirts, black jeans and black sneakers, often paired with a black face mask.

According to a notice issued by Guangdong courier company PHXBUY on July 11, mainland Chinese customs required courier companies to halt delivery of a list of products.

"They include yellow helmets, yellow umbrellas, flags, flagpoles, poster banners, gloves, masks, black T-shirts, metal rods, fluorescent tubes, bludgeon clubs. We cannot take delivery of the above products … Thank you for supporting us," the notice said.

Students wearing black light incense at a makeshift shrine to a student protester at Youth College, Tseung Kwan O, who was found drowned. Photo: Dickson Lee

A subsequent notice posted on September 26 by Guangdong-based EXPRESS contains an even longer list of banned items: foodstuffs, liquid, powder, gases, counterfeit brand products, big machines, helmets, umbrellas, wrist bands, towels, safety vests, speakers, amplifiers, trestles, walkie-talkies, drones, black shirts and other clothing, goggles, metal beads, metal balls, horticulture scissors, metal chains, torches, binoculars, remote-controlled toys.

"Customers mailing products have to use their real names. For mismatch between proclaimed names of goods to be mailed and actual goods, they will be left in the warehouse … for any discovery of the aforementioned goods (for mailing to Hong Kong), a thorough investigation will be launched."

An anti-government protester kitted out in black. Chinese customs has banned the export to Hong Kong of items including helmets, goggles, and items of black clothing, courier companies say. Photo: EPA-EFE

The Post called a Beijing outlet of courier giant SF Express. A worker at the company said that only black clothing is not allowed to be shipped to Hong Kong, with other colours allowed.

"All goods mailed to Hong Kong will be severely investigated. So all goods to Hong Kong will take around two days more than usual to mail," he said.

A user of online retail platform Shopify recently posted a note to a message board on its website which reads in part: "I'm writing to see if anyone else is having trouble shipping 'black' clothing items into Hong Kong from China? For those who don't know, China has put out an official (Public Service Announcement) to all courier services to stop picking up any clothing items that are considered black or even navy blue for an undisclosed amount of time."

All goods mailed to Hong Kong will be severely investigatedA worker at a Beijing branch of courier firm SF Express

The Chinese government, which has strongly condemned the protests in Hong Kong, has taken swift action against companies perceived to support the rallies.

It forced Hong Kong flagship airline Cathay Pacific to ban staff who had participated in the protests from flying in Chinese airspace, and to sack some staff. And recently, NBA preseason games were dropped by Chinese state television broadcaster CCTV after Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets NBA team, tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protests.

As the protests continue in Hong Kong, anti-China sentiment among the most radical protesters has grown and they have vandalised the shops of Chinese companies such as Lenovo, Xiaomi and Huawei.

However, as Chinese customs' crackdown on exports to Hong Kong of black clothing shows, the protesters are reliant on mainland China for their supplies, whether it's the black T-shirts they wear or the laser pointers they aim at police.

Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.