Banner Battles

If you've been through Hong Kong lately you've probably noticed the ongoing arms race between the Falun Gong and the Hong Kong Youth Care Association.

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One the one hand you have freedom of religion, while on the other you have freedom of speech, both cherished rights in Hong Kong. But some people feel the Youth Care Association is merely an arm of the central government's liaison office, given the anti-Falun Gong slogans on their banners can also be found in mainland China. And Beijing considers Falun Gong an "evil cult".

Because Basic Law prohibits the oppressive suppression tactics employed across the border, adherents of the Falun Gong have felt free to plaster Hong Kong's busiest pedestrian areas with huge, ugly signs depicting the horrors of persecution and emblazoned with cheery slogans such as "Heaven Destroys CCP". In response Youth Care members hauled out their own hideous standards with the refrain "Cherish your life, stay away from the evil cult - Falun Gong", among several others.

Each group has been keen on either damaging or obstructing the banners of the other in a tit-for-tat game that serves no purpose but to blight the streets and annoy the Hell out of everyone else.

And you know who's at fault in all of this? The Hong Kong government. Had it not hemmed in every street corner with railings then idiot protesters on both sides of the argument would be denied a convenient place to attach their banners. The city would become more pedestrian friendly in the bargain; with no restrictions on movement, people wouldn't be herded into areas where these groups like to operate. Come to think of it, we'd be spared political party banners as well, which would be a total bonus.

But that's never going to happen, so for the time being ordinary folks will have to endure this mindless feud until someone grows a pair and shuts it down.

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