Hong Kong theme park slammed for politicizing show, inciting hatred

By Xu Keyue Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/29 0:28:39

A view of the Ocean Park in Hong Kong on September 10. Photo: VCG

The public is demanding that a popular Hong Kong theme park "bring pure joy" to visitors after its show reportedly satirized Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam and allegedly supported rioters in the city, which suffered a backlash from the public for inciting hatred.

In Hell-TV's Anniversary Supershow, a special program at the Hong Kong Ocean Park to celebrate upcoming Halloween, a character born 7 pm on July 7, is reportedly described as "vicious and enjoys great power," and is cursed "to go to hell after death." 

Netizens said the character was designed to insult Chief Executive Carrie Lam as Lam was elected leader by 777 votes in the 1,194-member Election Committee on March 26, 2017. 

In response, the park issued a statement saying it had no political attitude and all programs aimed to entertain visitors, the Hong Kong media outlet Ta Kung Pao reported on Sunday.

An unnamed park spokesperson told the media they were willing to listen to different audience opinions and would adjust the performance accordingly.

A performer in the show mentioned "a taxi driver crashed and died," which some Net users said referred to a Hong Kong taxi driver who was beaten by mob after his car rammed into a crowd of protesters at Sham Shui Po.

A resident who was not named by Ta Kung Pao said he or she had seen the show and posted on social media that audiences shouted out Hong Kong secession slogans. The resident accused the show of "inciting hatred."

"Half of the audiences are children," the resident was quoted as saying to the media. "I really don't know what kind of black humor the park has designed. I'm going to call for complaint but I think it wouldn't work well."

Net users urged the park to "bring pure joy" to visitors and expressed fears that the show "could have a bad effect on young audiences." 

Lawrence Tang Fei, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said that the Halloween show, originally designed to entertain children and families, "has been turned into a political show, a frivolous and unserious act that threatens to tear apart society and spoil the fun of families."

The designer of the show "apparently intended to incite hatred as so many plots of the show made the audiences feel a political innuendo," Tang said.

Program director and lead actor Sam Wong Cham-sum has allegedly received complaints and was suspended from the performance. 

The suspension and show adjustment "was nice but it would be better if they could check the script of the show beforehand," Tang said.

A person who answered the phone of the Hong Kong Tourism Board hotline told the Global Times that the park continues to open as usual.

The Global Times reporter found on the park's website that the show was scheduled to open to the general public on October 4, 11, 18-20, 24-27, 31. Five shows on Thursday had not been canceled as of press time.


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