The Hong Kong government on Saturday banned residents from marking Taiwan’s national day by displaying its flag or holding other commemorative activities, in efforts to uphold the “one China” principle.
More than 50 police officers and seven police cars were seen guarding the Red House in Tuen Mun’s Zhong Shan Park, where the Republic of China’s first provisional president Sun Yat-sen, also named Sun Zhongshan, planned the Xinhai Revolution in 1911. That revolution overthrew the Qing dynasty and led to the establishment of Asia’s first democracy on October 10, also known as Double Tenth Day.
When the Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan after losing the Chinese civil war to the Communist Party in 1949, many of its followers fled instead to Hong Kong, then a British colony. A lot of them continued to celebrate Double Tenth Day year after year in Hong Kong.
Their celebrations would include staging a flag-raising ceremony on Oct. 10 at the Red House or on the land outside. They would also display flags of Taiwan outside their home windows on the same day.
This year, on the 109th anniversary of the founding of the ROC, the land surrounding the Red House was blocked off by the current property owner for “grass-cutting.” Century plants with heavy spikes that could pierce deeply had been planted by the government’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department on the land outside Zhong Shan Park, making the area unsuitable for the organization of commemorative activities.
Hong Kong residents paid tribute to Sun Yat-sen outside the Red House by giving a simple salute and were then approached by the police, who recorded their identification details before they could leave.
Yuen Long district councilor Johnny Mak, who officiated at last year’s flag-raising ceremony, told Apple Daily that several hundreds of people attended the event. Attendees to previous ceremonies once reached more than 2,000, according to Mak.
A graduate of Taiwan’s Tamkang University, Mak said that what the police did on Saturday, including setting up roadblocks near the Red House, “created a strong sense of fear.”
“We the Chinese should be proud of the Double Tenth, which was a big day when Sun Yat-sen led the Wuchang uprising and overthrew the Qing dynasty,” Mak said. He also mentioned that the Housing Department had requested a public housing resident in Tin Shui Wai to remove a Taiwanese flag on Friday and had ended up calling the police.
Sources told Apple Daily that the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau had ordered government departments to report on any display of the Taiwanese flag in public. Officials were to remove those flags in a low-profile way when there was no public or media presence, the bureau allegedly said in its order. Apple Daily is awaiting a response from the bureau to its enquiries about such an order.
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