Today on Hong Kong Island, atop a high-rise building behind the iconic Hong Kong Convention Centre, an image of the Chinese flag was displayed continuously for over an hour before being replaced by other advertisements.
The image of the flag was visible across Victoria Harbour in ritzy Kowloon, opposite the Tsim Sha Tsui district where, over the weekend, protesters tore down a Chinese flag in the threw it into the same harbor, and then raised a "Hong Kong independence" flag in its stead. Today's electronic display was seen by some as symbolic payback by Beijing: flown at an inaccessible height, far above the squalor of the streets.
Protests continue to rage in Hong Kong over the State Council's increasingly aggressive posture as it seeks to bring the famous port city to heel 22 years after the handover of Hong Kong. The protests and riots began six weeks ago over Chinese plans to begin extraditing Hong Kong residents accused of committing crimes to be prosecuted in mainland China.
Beijing has displayed an impatient attitude toward the 50-year "one country, two systems" pact agreed to by the U.K. and China during talks leading up to the handover.
Beijing has sought to retain its diplomatic remove from the havoc of the protests by repeatedly backing Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her Hong Kong police and peacekeeping forces, but government mouthpiece media have issued dark warnings and barely-veiled threats to the protesters.
If chaos continues, the anonymous warnings claim, Hong Kong will become a "stinky and dead harbour," and the protesters themselves could suffer reprisals, as quoted in the South China Morning Post:
“[We] must solemnly tell the thugs who have unrealistic hopes and wish to further disrupt Hong Kong: you will pay a price for your craziness...Your foreign mums and dads won’t be your guardians...Please be aware of your errors and turn back from your wrong path. Please drop your knife.”
Former Chief Executive of Hong Kong, C.Y. Leung, has offered a reward of HK$1 million ($127,000) for any information leading to the arrest of the vandals who threw the Chinese flag into Victoria Harbour.
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