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New Zealander Takes Action Against Hong Kong’s Hateful Banners

By Stephen Gregory
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 20, 2013 Last Updated: August 11, 2013
Related articles: China » Democracy & Human Rights
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Miguel Fernandez (second from right) practices the Falun Gong exercises at an information site in Hong Kong in early January, 2013. Fernandez was arrested by Hong Kong police for taking down Hong Kong Youth Care Association banners that attacked Falun Gong. (Courtesy Miguel Fernandez).

Miguel Fernandez (second from right) practices the Falun Gong exercises at an information site in Hong Kong in early January, 2013. Fernandez was arrested by Hong Kong police for taking down Hong Kong Youth Care Association banners that attacked Falun Gong. (Courtesy Miguel Fernandez).

When Miguel Fernandez exited the subway in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong early on the morning of Dec. 27, 2012, he was shocked.

Hanging on the side rails of Nathan Road was a banner attacking Falun Gong, which Fernandez practices. He said he looked at the banner and thought, “That has to come down.”

He untied it from the rails and threw it into a nearby waste bin. But then he saw another banner, “and I took that one down, too.” And then another and another. 

Nathan Road is a major thoroughfare, and in that part of Kowloon near the Star Ferry it is a ritzy shopping area. As Fernandez walked up the glamorous avenue, he happened to look up. As far as he could see there were more banners hanging on the street’s side rails.

Fernandez had flown in that morning from New Zealand and was walking to a hostel. He thought to himself, “This is quite a big job. I had better go to the hostel first and put my backpack down. Then I can come back and finish.”

He never made it to the hostel that morning. The Hong Kong police picked him up.

Fernandez had come face to face with a campaign launched by a shadowy group called the Hong Kong Youth Care Association, believed to be a front organization for the mainland’s 610 Office—the Party organ tasked by former Chinese Communist Party head Jiang Zemin with eradicating Falun Gong. Beginning on June 10, 2012, that group had begun covering Hong Kong with its banners and interfering with Falun Gong activities. 

“I readily confessed to the police that I had taken down the banners,” Fernandez said. “I couldn’t imagine that those banners could be legal. They’re disgusting. I thought it must be illegal to spread such hatred about someone’s belief.”

“I mean, if you hung banners attacking Catholics in Italy, or hung banners in New York City or Israel attacking Jews, it wouldn’t be tolerated. Not for a minute,” Fernandez said.

Forty years old and married, Fernandez is a factory worker in the town of Invercargill in southwestern New Zealand. 

“I had heard that communist thugs were attacking elderly female practitioners in Hong Kong,” Fernandez said. He had come to see if he could help.

Although Fernandez had confessed, a police detective tried to get him to admit to taking down banners on several other streets. Fernandez had just arrived and had never set foot on those streets. The policeman had to back down.

Fernandez was charged with destruction of property, a misdemeanor offense. The police say he took down ten banners. 

“I don’t know how many I took down, so I accepted their number,” he said.

His hearing was delayed for a month. Fernandez was fined HK$8,000 (US$1,031), which included restitution to the Hong Kong Youth Care Association of HK$500 for each of the ten banners. When the case was finally settled, he had to get back to New Zealand. He had overstayed his vacation.

“I took the banners down because I didn’t want anyone to see them and be misled,” Fernandez said.

Does he regret his actions that morning in Hong Kong? “Not at all.”

chinareports@epochtimes.com

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carlos-De-Souza/584017589 Carlos De Souza

    Fernandez had the right idea, imho. Maybe, he should have gone about it differently though.

  • Just Passing By

    Good on ya, Miguel! Now that is what righteousness, conscience and confidence is. If we have banners attacking a certain faith in Australia, that would fall under the Anti-Discrimination Laws. It’s a shame that the Hong Kong government and police now has become a puppet to their Marxist masters in communist China.

    My uncle was born and bred, and gracefully grew old and passed away in Malaysia. He once told me that in his younger days, sailors from China spread Mao’s little red book into Malaysia (then known as Malaya). The Communist Party of Malaya was later formed. A few of my uncle’s friends were influenced by communism. As a result, they threatened and tried to rob my uncle off the little piece of land that his father worked so hard for.

    That is what communism does — It possesses the culture, rape the people, rob families, and kill at random. Finally, it expects its victims to thank the communist party for its “glory”. If the communist party is wrong, it is still “right”. “Power from the barrel of the gun”. “Lie a hundred times till the lie becomes the ‘truth’”.

    Communism is toxic.

    Falun Gong deserves what Aussies call “a fair go”. And so does Miguel Fernandez (in this article).

    To some of the Hong Kong politicians and police who favours their Marxist masters, I wonder what you will say in the future, to your children, if such an opportunity arises whereby they ask:
    “Daddy/Mommy! What did you do to help the Falun Gong?”

    To some of the Hong Kong politicians and police who favours their Marxist masters — you’re a disgrace. Shame on you.

    Just Passing By
    Sydney

  • Alex Fung

    A good opportunity for the world to find out the sorry state Hong Kong has become since it falls into PRC hands. Things went worse quickly since the reign of the current Chief Executive started last year.

  • FreedomforAllChina

    Great work Miguel!
    This is seriously the front line for CCP propaganda to the rest of the world!
    Well done and we need more brave souls from Europe and the US to take similar stands! Careful study of Hong Kong and local media environment highly recommended!


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