Row over anti-Falun Gong banners

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2013, 4:59pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 3:54pm

Legislators criticised the government on Wednesday for not taking action over banners put up by an anti-Falun Gong organisation in busy roadside areas.

In recent months the Hong Kong Youth Care Association has put up banners opposing Falun Gong in response to those erected by the spiritual movement, which is banned on the mainland.

At a Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday, People Power’s Chan Chi-chuen said many of the banners were illegal. They had appeared in no-banner zones such as the central dividers of roads and at pedestrian crossings. Chan said the problem was getting worse, with banners spreading to districts in the New Territories.

“The problem is not just confined to Tsui Sha Tsui and Mong Kok and has now spread even to Tai Po. The banners are all over Hong Kong. They are a breach of the law and a nuisance to residents,” he said.

“These banners have even occupied advertising space officially designated to me as a legislator,” Chan said.

Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man said the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department carried out joint operations with the Lands Department regularly to remove unauthorised publicity material.

Albert Chan Wai-yip, another People Power lawmaker, said the government had been lax in taking action. He demanded that Ko draw up a timetable for removing unauthorised banners put up by the youth association.

Lawmakers from pro-Beijing groups also agreed that the government should step up enforcement against roadside banners – but said the problem was caused by the Falun Gong. They demanded that the government remove banners put up by the spiritual movement.

The English slogans on the youth care association banners have included, “Boycott Falun Gong evil cult; Build a harmonious Hong Kong; Taiwan Falun Gong get out of Hong Kong; Eradicate Falun Gong; Cherish your life, stay away from the evil cult – Falun Gong” and “Anti-Falun Gong”.

They have appeared in Causeway Bay near the Sogo department store, as well as near the Hung Hom train station, the Star Ferry terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, the Wong Tai Sin Temple, and along Nathan Road as far as Mong Kok.