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  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 5:23am
NewsHong Kong
RELIGION

Counter-attacks rage in Falun Gong 'banner war'

The spiritual movement and its opposition group are battling to cover up each other's posters, while residents complain they are littering the city

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 February, 2013, 4:34am
 

The banner war between Falun Gong and an organisation opposing the spiritual movement has escalated, with both groups trying to cover up each others' banners around the city.

Falun Gong believer Lau Wai-hing, who is responsible for the group's Causeway Bay booth near the Sogo department store, said eight of the group's booths have been disturbed by the Hong Kong Youth Care Association over the past several months.

"As far as our Causeway Bay booth is concerned, at first [the association] set up their booth next to us. But on January 27, at about 2am, more than 10 of them came and covered up our banners," Lau said at the Causeway Bay booth yesterday.

In Causeway Bay yesterday, the association had put up several banners surrounding Falun Gong's booth and banners. The banners reading, "Life is valuable, stay away from the evil Falun Gong", were about three metres tall.

Lau said her group's booths at eight locations, including Wong Tai Sin, Tung Chung and Star Ferry pier in Tsim Sha Tsui, have all been disturbed in this way.

She alleged the association was affiliated with the central government's liaison office and that it had been set up to crack down on Falun Gong.

However, an association member who gave his name as Lam denied the claims.

He stressed his association was set up by people from "other district-level groups in the New Territories" last June.

He added that if Falun Gong really teaches people the spirit of goodwill, his association would not be covering up its banners.

Hongkongers have had a mixed reaction to the banner wars. One man passing the Causeway Bay booth yesterday said both groups had the right to express their views, while another woman said the banners and booths were blocking the roads and looked ugly.

The latter view was shared by People Power lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen. "Both sides have been competing to outsize the other recently; this has seriously affected Hong Kong's streetscape," he said.

In a reply to Chan last month, food and health minister Dr Ko Wing-man said most of these banners did not have permission from the Lands Department - a requirement when putting up banners in public.

Chan said a month had gone by "with no concrete improvement". "I doubt if the government has done anything to address this," Chan said. He speculated that political factors could be a reason for the inaction.

Ko said that if banners were thought to be a hazard to pedestrians and motorists, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department would refer the cases to the police for follow-up action

Police said yesterday figures relating to such investigations were not immediately available.

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17

This article is now closed to comments

andao
the problem is when the anti-Falun people don't just put up their own banners, but rather tear down the pro-Falun banners, cover them up, or otherwise destroy them. That's mostly what's going on in TST.
andao
The organization's materials are clearly higher quality than those of the pro-Falun people, yet they don't even have a website or any other purpose beyond Falun bashing. Youth Care Organization? It's obviously a ham-fisted attempt by the PRC to discredit the Falun Gong, but it only makes the pro-Falun people look even better. Now they can point to the poster onslaught and say "look, we really are being oppressed!"
Camel
@Snake eyes
This is not a discussion about the legitimacy of a sect in HK but a discussion why this sect can hang up posters and banners all over HK and the so called Youth Organization can not. Both organization do ruin the public places in HK. If the Youth Organization should be restrained so the Falun Gong should as well. Or do we practice double standards here?
mercedes2233
Even if I am not anti-Falun Gong, I would be now. What a nuisance to constantly have this 'religious', 'health promoting exercise' group constantly going out of its way to condemn China. If it aims to be political, stop pretending to be something else. Even political groups need to respect other people's right to going about their business without being disturbed by their eyesore protests.
Dai Muff
You are free to dislike or disbelieve in Falun Gong as am I. I am also not a Hindu, a Muslim, or a Catholic. What you do not have the right to do is use hate speech against, or persecute, members of a specific religious group or their beliefs. You are on the wrong side of the border for that.
yellow_lynx_cat
The anti-falun gong group are thugs.
mercedes2233
So are the Falun Gong members.
amunro
Further to Susanj's comment. Right above the HKTA shop by TST Start Ferry I saw a poster the other week saying "HATE THE FALUN GONG". Irrespective of one's views of religion, associations, etc. do we really want tourists here to believe that we preach hatred? This manifestation of free speech is against the public interest and posters of both sides should go.
Camel
I am on no both sides and find all the posters and booth from both organizations disturbing and ugly. But your allegations should be extended to both sides. Falun Gong is active many years in HK with posters, flyers, booth and performances to preach hatred against the Chinese Communist Party. If you are fair then you should admit that Falun Gong is no better.
Dai Muff
The Communist Party is not a religion, to most of us anyway. Falun Gong is. Falun Gong is a legal organization in Hong Kong. The Communist Party is not. You may well wish to change that, but it is the fact.
mercedes2233
So? Does that give Falun Gong the right to spoil the public areas?
fuminchu
The pro-falun gong and anti-falun gong organizations both have equal rights to voice their viewpoints. That is called freedom of speech. Taking down the anti-falun gong banners is no better than taking down the pro-falun gong banners, as both qualify as censorship.
Dai Muff
The only censorship going on here is that the "anti" group is deliberately covering Falun Gong materials. And you may NOT in Hong Kong promote hate speech against religion. If you really want to stop censorship you will require the police to let BOTH sides speak out openly in their own areas and share venues such as the Star Ferry. Under Hong Kong law the posters may be put up ONLY as part of a legitimate "demonstration". They may remain only as long as someone is there "protesting". If you see them unattended in the middle of the night, they can and should be removed because they are breaking the law.
susanj
I was horrified, during a trip on Star Ferry to TST, to see the historical landing area completely covered with anti falun gong posters. It was appalling. My own feelings about falung gong or whatever religious or other beliefs people have are irrelevant - what is disgusting is that these posters are allowed to be put up in the first place. What is our government thinking of allowing such abuse of one of our major tourist spots? With the closing of Star Ferry HK side and it's very poor reincarnation, we should at least try and preserve what is left of this wonderful and well loved tourist experience.
erik.chong
I think journalists and politician are too irrational that make handling these matters too sensitive.
Dai Muff
As far as I am concerned, Falun Gong is idiocy. But so are other religions. We have religious freedom in Hong Kong. And the Hong Kong government is wilfully allowing this mainland-backed organization to trample on that. Their campaign amounts to hate speech,
newgalileo
You are right in the attitude of the authorities: just imagine one would do something against Muslims in a similar way, sure that would not be tolerated...

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