A Bone to Pick: Hong Kong man imposes ‘tariff’ on American patients at bone-setting clinic

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange watch as markets fall due to anxiousness over the US-China trade war earlier this month. Photo via AFP.
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange watch as markets fall due to anxiousness over the US-China trade war earlier this month. Photo via AFP.

A traditional Chinese bone-setting clinic in Kowloon has made the US-China trade war very personal, hanging a banner out front telling American customers they will be charged a 25 percent “tariff” on services at his establishment.

The banner goes on to note that if any Americans have a problem with that, they can take it up with the US consulate in Hong Kong, RTHK reports.

China and the US have been locked in a bruising trade war for some time now, with the Trump administration first imposing tariffs of 10 percent on some $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, later bumping the tariffs up to 25 percent after trade negotiations stalled. China, meanwhile, retaliated by imposing tariffs of its own on some $60 billion worth of US goods.

One person upset by the tariffs — in addition to the thousands of US farmers who have been hit by counter-tariffs, and the millions of investors across the world who have seen markets tumble thanks to the dispute — was Heung Kwok Shing, the owner of the bone-setting clinic in Tsz Wan Shan.

“As a Chinese, I should stand up and support my own country,” Heung told RTHK. “There’s no reason for me to stand on the side of the Americans.”

Heung said he would stop imposing his own personal tariffs once the US removed theirs.

But Americans in need of a quick bone-setting (Heung says there haven’t been any so far, by the way) shouldn’t hold their breath, as the increasingly fractious trade dispute shows no signs of ending any time soon.

The economic superpowers appear to be digging in their heels as they exchange barbs, blaming each other for the breakdown in tariff negotiations, with the crisis surrounding the White House’s blacklisting of the Chinese tech giant Huawei further complicating matters.

As Komal Sri-Kumar, founder of Sri-Kumar Global Strategies, told Bloomberg TV, the row threatens to slow economic growth worldwide as it grinds on.

”The trade war is taking on new dimensions,” he said.

After taken a hammering yesterday — with energy and tech firms among the worst hit — Asian markets continued to struggle in early trading today. Most markets in the region slipped between 0.2 and 1.5 percent. Hong Kong, however, managed to buck the trend and rise by 0.3 percent as of around 11am this morning.

The tepid performance followed a sharp drop on Wall Street, where all three main indexes lost more than 1 percent.

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