HK patriots come to the fore

By Chen Qingqing and Yang Sheng in Hong Kong and Wang Wenwen in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/4 22:03:40

All Chinese are national flag bearers, say web users

Patriotic Hong Kong residents pose for photos with the Chinese national flag at Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor on early Sunday morning. The banner reads "Opposing foreign forces' interference in Hong Kong affair! Traitors get out of China!" Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT

A video featuring patriotic people raising the Chinese national flag and singing the national anthem at Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor early Sunday morning, which was recorded by a Global Times reporter, has become a hit on China's social media, with the topic "Hongkongers raise the national flag again" receiving 430 million views and prompting 99,000 comments as of press time.

Another topic with the hashtag "the Chinese flag has 1.4 billion bearers" also generated hot discussions and was viewed by 680 million times, a clear rebuke of some foreign media reports mocking the low number of patriotic people who showed up at the scene on early Sunday morning.

The scene happened after some protesters in Hong Kong on Saturday pulled down the national flag from its pole and tossed it into the harbor in a move clearly aimed at tarnishing the nation's dignity.

On Sunday, both the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR strongly criticized the act of insulting the national flag.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government condemned the protesters right away for desecrating the national flag and challenging national sovereignty.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying strongly condemned the move and offered HK$1 million ($128,000) to anyone who can provide police with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who threw the national flag into the sea.

According to the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance, "A person who desecrates the national flag or national emblem by publicly and willfully burning, mutilating, scrawling on, defiling or trampling on it commits an offence and is liable for a conviction to a fine of level 5 and to three years' imprisonment."

Anna Chan, a patriotic activist who organized the flag-raising ceremony on Sunday morning, told the Global Times that she got very angry when seeing demonstrators throwing the national flag into the sea.

"Such behavior really hurts our feelings. We're Hong Kong residents and we are all Chinese. Protecting our flag and national emblem is always our responsibility," Chung Wah sun, a resident from Yuen Long told the Global Times.

When patriotic Hong Kong residents sang the national anthem during the flag raising, dozens of passengers stood around the venue to witness the moment. One passerby  saluted the national flag. 

Another passerby surnamed Li said, "Now you know there are many Hong Kong people who love the motherland. They are just not as high-profile as those protesters."

Hong Kong once again was plunged into chaos on Saturday as thousands of demonstrators, for a ninth consecutive weekend, occupied a major downtown shopping district. There were more skirmishes between protesters and local police.

The months-long demonstrations organized by opposition forces have turned the protests into a secessionist campaign, said observers. A Global Times reporter witnessed extreme "Hong Kong pro-independence" elements during Saturday's protests.

The demonstration, which police had earlier approved, began in Mong Kok, but soon deviated from its approved route and angry protesters deliberately moved south into Tsim Sha Tsui, a major downtown shopping district. 

Anti-government protesters then blocked a tunnel tollgate at Hung Hom and rudely told passengers to get off a bus.

The unrest brought the busiest shopping area to a standstill. Demonstrators besieged the Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station and pointed laser pens at police as provocation.

At around 9:00 pm, protesters wearing black shirts, helmets and face masks set fire to a pile of cardboard outside the police station. They also threw gas canisters, sticks and iron bars at police and shined lasers into officers' eyes.

Firefighters arrived quickly and extinguished the fire. Police later used tear gas to clear the protesters from outside the station.

The unrest prompted all the shops in nearby areas to close and trains to skip two Kowloon stations.

Bystanders were also caught in the middle. A mainland tourist accidentally entered the blockaded area. She doesn't speak Cantonese and became very emotional.

Around 3:00 pm, pro-establishment groups held another music gathering at Victoria Park, calling for the end to the violence. Innes Tang from the Politihk Social Strategic said he wanted to send a message to Hong Kong society that people can express their opinions without using bricks.

Later on Sunday morning, a pro-establishment group showed up at Victoria Harbor, singing the Chinese national anthem under the raised flag. 

Ng Hok Ming, executive chairman of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area Youth Association, told the Global Times at the scene on Sunday, that the protesters' actions "have triggered our fury and we feel we must do something." Ng emphasized that the extreme actions of some should not affect the whole image of China, including Hong Kong.

"The Chinese national flag is my pride," another post on social media, is being followed by 44 million users.


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