søndag 7. juli 2019

Designed as a symbol of unity, Hong Kong's flag becomes the focus of protest

Hong Kong's flag was designed to be a symbol of unity. Its circular arrangement of white flower petals, set prominently against a bright red background, is supposed to embody the rights and freedoms enjoyed under the "one country, two systems" principle. But in the 22 years since it was first raised, the flag and flower emblem have become targets for pro-democracy activists -- including those who smashedtheir way into Hong Kong's Legislative Council building Monday evening, after weeks of street protests.

Demonstrators are using the city's ensign, which depicts a bauhinia flower, as a symbolic tool in their push to block a controversial extradition bill. Banners and protest art, for instance, have pictured the petals wilting, an apparent commentary on the perceived erosion of sovereignty.

On July 1, during an official flag-raising ceremony to mark the anniversary of the territory's handover from Britain to China, protesters hoisted an upside-down Hong Kong flag on the grounds of the Legislative Council. A sinister black version, now a regular sight at protests, replaced the Chinese national flag on an adjacent flagpole, and both were flown at half-staff in an act of mourning.