Hong Kong taken out of the picture

The controversy over a movie poster placing Shanghai’s tower in Hong Kong resulted in the studio replacing it with a full image of the mainland city. That pretty much sums up what would happen if secessionists have their way: outsiders will just drop Hong Kong and go straight to the mainland

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 August, 2016, 1:04am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 August, 2016, 1:04am

Another day, another localist controversy. This time it’s over a Hollywood sci-fi movie. Paramount Pictures has apparently produced a geographically – and hence politically – incorrect poster for its upcoming movie about aliens called Arrival.

The offending picture includes Shanghai’s iconic Oriental Pearl Radio and Television Tower as part of the cityscape of Hong Kong while an alien spacecraft hovers over it.

The inaccuracy has caused a storm of protests among localists and their sympathisers. The social media page with the hashtag #hongkongisnotchina has attracted a massive following.

Unlike our localists, Hollywood has long thought of Hong Kong as part of China. In any case, Tinseltown has had a long history of getting Hong Kong wrong, so what else is new? I am no film historian but arguably, it all started with Love is a Many-Splendored Thing. When Dr Han Suyin heard news that her lover, the journalist Mark Elliot played by William Holden, had been killed while covering the Korean war, she ran in tears from Wan Chai to what was supposed to be the Peak where they had a romantic encounter. The marathon run would have exhausted anyone. In fact, it was quite unrealistic, unless Dr Han had superpower.

Hong Kong? Shanghai? Mainland landmark ends up on Victoria Harbour for Hollywood film poster

And that reminds me of Michael Bay’s fantasy sci-fi movie franchise Transformers. The last one, Age of Extinction, was shot mostly on the mainland but Hong Kong also experienced some major destruction in the movie. Sadly for our localists, Government House and the government headquarters in Admiralty were left intact.

In the last part where the main characters had to rush from Beijing to Hong Kong to confront the evil alien robots Decepticons, their drive was so short it could have been taken from Wan Chai to Causeway Bay. If you didn’t know better, you might think our nation’s capital is right next door where Shenzhen is.

Because of the furore, Paramount Pictures and international distributor Sony Pictures have quietly replaced the poster. Well, you guess it, Hong Kong is gone, but they keep the tower where it is, in Shanghai, and features the spacecraft hovering over the city’s famous Huangpu River.

This incident pretty much sums up what would happen if our localists and secessionists have their way. Outsiders and other countries will just drop Hong Kong out of the picture and go straight to the mainland.