‘Flowers and food only’: Political, satirical goods banned from next year’s Lunar New Year market

Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year market next year will only be selling flowers and food after the government announced today that no stalls selling dry goods will be allowed “in view of the current social situation.”

The Lunar New Year market is a highlight for many Hongkongers, often drawing huge crowds of people looking for street snacks and fresh flowers for Chinese New Year. However, it has also long been an opportunity for political parties, organizations, and small businesses to sell often-politically themed merchandise and raise funds.

Cardboard cutout of Xi Jinping holding a yellow umbrella on display at the 2015 Lunar New Year Market. Photo by Vicky Wong.
A cardboard cutout of Xi Jinping holding a yellow umbrella on display at the 2015 Lunar New Year Market. Photo by Vicky Wong.

The fairs are held at multiple locations, but Victoria Park in Causeway Bay is the most popular.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced this afternoon that stall spaces for the 2020 fair will be put up for open auction on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

However, the statement goes on to say that crowd control measures will be implemented, and that to “safeguard public safety and public order,” the number of total stalls will be reduced and
“only wet goods stalls for selling flowers will be provided.”

A total of 1,284 wet goods stalls and 18 food stalls will be put up for auction, and according to RTHK, the 2020 fair will see 731 fewer stalls than the 2019 fair.

This year’s Lunar New Year fair saw a lot of pig-themed products to mark the Year of the Pig, including “Anypig,” a porcine version of the fire department’s “Anyone” mascot; and a pig-themed tote bag by the pro-democracy party Demosisto — which ran into a bit of a snag when at least two mainland companies refused to print the bags because the party’s name and logo were on a list of banned words and images.

After news of the ban on dry goods emerged today, people took to social media to float the idea of having their own Lunar New Year fair.

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