Hong Kongians Plan March Against Banner Invaders
A Facebook campaign group called “We are Hong-Kongian not Chinese” has called on the former British Colony to protest the increasing anti-Falun Gong slogans that continue to appear in the metropolis.
The group says citizens must stand up for their freedom and stop accepting the abusive behavior of the Hong Kong Youth Care Association, Ltd.
The Association has been blanketing central and very popular areas of Hong Kong, such as the SoGo, Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui and Star Ferry, with banners that slander the Falun Gong spiritual practice.
The Association is believed to be doing so because it is a front for the Chinese Communist Party’s 610 office—a Party organ specifically set up to persecute Falun Gong.
A Facebook message dated Feb. 22 from the “We are Hong-Kongian not Chinese” group has urged citizens to march to the SoGo area on March 3. The posting described the dress code for the event as “black T-shirts” for all participants, presumably to symbolize mourning for Hong Kong’s freedoms.
Soon after the online call-to-action surfaced, the group’s spokesperson, Danny Chan, was called to the Hong Kong Department of Security, to dissuade them from holding the protest.
Chan said the group had not met such resistance from the police before, even though they have previously held a few protests against the Youth Care Association.
The Feb. 22 Facebook message reported that the police promised to clear the Association’s abusive banners by March 3.
“If those banners are down [by March 2], then we would cancel the event of afternoon tea at SoGo and will go to Star Ferry,” reads the message, euphemistically referring to the proposed action as “afternoon tea.” Star Ferry is one of the busiest spots in Hong Kong and a prime tourist attraction.
Chan, however, expects the members of the Association to be present with their banners on March 3. “The police said the Hong Kong Youth Care Association people are very firm,” Chan said. “They will not remove their banners.”
Because the March 3 event is an appeal on the Internet, Chan does not know how many people will show up. The Hongkongese Facebook page is popular, though. It has 31,887 likes and over 29,000 people are talking about it, as of the printing of this article.
And they are not the only group expressing impatience with the Youth Care Association and support for Falun Gong.
Xiong Li, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Citizen Falun Gong Protection Group, said his group is planning to invite Hong Kong senators and democracy groups to join the March 3 protest.
“The whole information site of Falun Gong is covered by their banners that are offensive and we cannot tolerate this anymore and have to stand out to say something,” Li said. “Our slogan this time is ‘Crack Down on the CCP, Protect Falun Gong.'”
The pro-democracy Facebook group HK Innovational Guard has in the past also taken part in protests on behalf of Falun Gong in opposition to the Youth Care Association, but has typically not announced its plans in advance.
Numerous democracy activists and pro-democracy politicians have also spoken out against the activities of the Association and in defense of Falun Gong.
Protecting Hong Kong
In June 2012 the Youth Care Association began to interfere with the information sites around Hong Kong where Falun Gong practitioners tell others about their practice and how it is persecuted in China. The Association has attempted to cover up or wall off Falun Gong sites with giant banners that repeat Chinese Communist Party propaganda slogans slandering Falun Gong.
Beginning in November, the Association also began covering busy Hong Kong streets and tourist sites with their banners.
The Hong Kong police have allowed the Association’s banners to spread and allowed the Association to interfere with the Falun Gong information sites, despite Hong Kong law that would seem to prohibit the Association’s activities.
Mr. Wang from the “We are Hong-Kongian not Chinese” group says the banners hung up by the Youth Care Association in the Tsim Sha Tsui and Star Ferry are illegal and offensive, and also affect the city scape and the safety of the drivers.
“Many drivers say that the banners block their sight and worry they may cause a traffic accident,” he said.
Danny Chan agrees with Wang’s points but believes the people of Hong Kong will also support the protest of the Youth Care Association’s activities for other reasons.
“Hong Kong people are very understanding,” Chan said. “People can express their political differences, but one thing, they [the Association] are going way too far, far past the tolerance threshold of the Hong Kong people, and out of the scope of the freedom of expression.”
Chan places the blame for the Association’s actions on the Chinese Communist Party and the Hong Kong government. He worries that the character of the city of Hong Kong itself is at risk.
“If this is allowed to continue to happen, the Hong Kong people are the ultimate victims,” Chan said. “The Hong Kong people have to stand up to protect themselves and not let the regime or the Hong Kong government turn Hong Kong into a place where people are against people.”
Reporting by Lucy Leung.
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