søndag 19. juli 2020

Can a religious group that wants to bring down China's Communist Party survive in Hong Kong?

To the upbeat sounds of a blue-uniformed brass band, the rally proceeded through downtown Hong Kong. Marchers, dressed all in yellow, carried purple lotus plants, yin-yang symbols, and other traditional Buddhist icons. But it was their giant banners, held aloft or mounted on small floats, that indicated this was not just a religious rally. "Keep away from the Chinese Communist Party. Stop the persecution of Falun Gong."

A religious movement that emerged in China in the mid-1990s, Falun Gong surged in popularity nationwide before it was banned and brutally suppressed on the mainland in 1999. But it continues to operate in Hong Kong thanks to the territory's greater human rights protections.

For decades now, Falun Gong protests against the Chinese government have been a common sight on the city's streets, with practitioners setting up gory mock surgery scenes to raise awareness about allegations of organ harvesting, and handing out free copies of the Falun Gong-linked newspaper, Epoch Times. Protesters have also targeted Chinese politicians and offices in the city, and regularly take part in mass anti-government rallies and marches.