Monday, 19 August 2019

‘Free Hong Kong’ graffiti, Chinatown, Sydney

I snapped this photo (above) yesterday when I was down in Chinatown for yum cha. This was visible at around 1pm on Dixon Street, in the heart of Chinatown. More than half of the street is a pedestrian mall, so wholesale deliverymen bring produce to restaurants that operate there using trolleys like this one, pushing them along the pavement on foot.

It wasn’t surprising for me to see the graffiti here. The day before, in Belmore Park, about five minutes’ walk from this spot to the east, a pro-CCP rally had taken place. Hundreds of protesters were there, and the day before that an anti-CCP rally had taken place in Sydney as well. These rallies can get quite boisterous, they are not at all friendly. The second photo (below) shows the same graffiti on the same ornamental lion but without the people walking in front of it.

It might seem a little incongruous for an Australian to publish a post like this one. Easy to do this when you are protected by centuries of precedent and by institutions that tolerate dissent. But I felt that it is important to do what you can to support the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Every little bit helps when you have an enemy as powerful and determined as they do. Whoever wrote this slogan evidently thought the same way as me.

I actually have little patience for people who say that it’s not worth talking about these problems because it’s common knowledge that the CCP is corrupt and unaccountable. For Hong Kongers, they are real and not at all abstract. It’s hardly a “truism” to say it if you live there and if you want to decide who makes the laws that govern your life. It goes to the very core of who you are.

(UPDATE 7pm, 19 Aug: The graffiti had been rubbed off by someone using their hand. The chalk was smeared all over the lion's plinth, making a mess.)

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