Various pro-democracy activists have been protesting Chinese official Zhang Dejiang’s visit to Hong Kong, but perhaps none have been as social media-savvy (and unintentionally hilarious) as Avery Ng, chairman of the League of Social Democrats.
Ng and three other party members were arrested earlier today on Lantau Island after they hung a huge banner reading, “End Communist Party rule” from a bridge on the North Lantau Highway which Zhang’s car was due to drive past, HKFP reports.
Ng livestreamed the aftermath to his Facebook page while standing under the bridge. In the video, a police officer can be heard saying that Ng and his co-horts are breaching expressway regulations, after which the activists are arrested.
“Stay calm. We’re co-operating,” Ng said. “Zhang Dejiang should stop being a tortoise shrinking into its shell [Cantonese term for coward], he needs to face the people of Hong Kong.”
Speaking to reporters, Ng repeated, “Zhang Dejiang should stop being a coward and go back to Beijing. If he’s scared of Hongkongers, he shouldn’t come to Hong Kong.”
As if to further confirm his Hong Kong-ness, Ng can then be heard saying, “Aiya, aiya, aiya, aiya” as he boards the police van.
After a verbal warning, all four arrestees were released from police custody, but the prosecution claims against them were not dropped, Apple Daily reports.
Authorities have pulled out all the stops for Zhang’s visit: thousands of police officers have been deployed, paving stones have been glued down, and water-filled barricades have been erected around the Convention Centre — where Zhang will speak — for the three-day tour.
So far, activists have responded by hanging banners calling for suffrage and an end to the Communist Party rule, burning paper money (a funerary ritual) at the Convention Centre, and protesting at Zhang’s hotel.
A yellow banner reading “I want genuine universal suffrage” was seen hanging on Beacon Hill in Lion Rock Country Park at around 8am today, as a callback to the now-iconic banner with the same message which was hung on Lion Rock itself during the Umbrella Movement.
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