HK pa­tri­ots come to the fore

All Chi­nese are na­tional flag bear­ers, say web users

Global Times US Edition - - TOPNEWS - By Chen Qingqing and Yang Sheng in Hong Kong and Wang Wen­wen in Bei­jing

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 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 Chun­y­ing 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.

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.

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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