Hong Kong protesters raise over S$1.4 million to post ads on Oct. 1 to celebrate ‘motherland’s birthday’
Making use of the big day to draw attention to their own cause.
A group of Hong Kong protesters have started a fundraising campaign to place ads in major newspapers worldwide to wish the People’s Republic of China (PRC) a happy birthday.
The campaign, started on Friday, Sep. 13, managed to exceed its target of HK$8million, raising HK $8,317,942 (S$1,460,819) in total within a day.
PRC’s 70th anniversary on Oct 1, 2019
The PRC was founded on Oct. 1, 1949, by the Chinese Communist Party.
The day is celebrated annually as China’s national day.
This year’s occasion is exceptionally special as it marks the 70th anniversary since the PRC was established.
“Celebrate your mother”
A graphic used for the tongue-in-cheek campaign reads: “A warm happy birthday to a powerful nation.”
The “powerful nation” refers to China.
It continues: “Celebrate your mother”.
The phrase is a colloquial expression commonly used when cussing in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s bright future depends on the motherland
Beijing has often referred to itself as the “motherland” when it comes to its relationship with Hong Kong, with its state media often expressing the view that “Hong Kong’s bright future” lies in being “backed by the motherland”.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has also likened Hongkongers to her two children, saying she could not give in to her children’s wayward behaviour.
A group of mothers, calling themselves Hong Kong Ma Mas, then wrote an open letter — signed by more than 44,000 women — calling Lam out for suggesting the voices of a million people were “wayward”, Hong Kong Free Press reported.
They also said Hongkongers need Lam to be a “responsible and accountable leader”, and not a “mother”.
Making their deep sentiments towards their “powerful motherland” known
Here is the description for the campaign, roughly translated:
“The world’s major power, China, is about to celebrate its 70th birthday. We believe that Hongkongers are ecstatically anticipating the occasion too.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the withdrawal of the extradition bill, and hopes that by doing so, Hongkongers would give in and stop insisting for all five demands to be met.
But with the cases of police brutality that occured at Prince Edward train station, and the San Uk Lang holding centre, never before has institutions and the systems without democracy collapsed so quickly.
This will only cause us, Hongkongers, to harden our resolve to continue fighting, and will not give up easily.
Previously, for the sake of saving the central government’s face, Lam even warned the United States not to interfere with Hong Kong using the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
As Hongkongers who love Hong Kong, how can we not express our deep, emotional sentiments towards the powerful major power?
So we, the G20 team, has decided: The birth of a powerful nation, celebrate your mother!
Through the funds raised, we’ll present a series of congratulatory messages to China, the powerful nation that everyone most respects and loves.
Taking a step further to make our sentiments known to the world, the congratulatory ads will be placed on major online platforms and international newspapers!
Recently, the government has started imitating us, taking out ads all over the world to spread their message, and to “maintain stability”. We hereby hope that this plan will allow all Hongkongers to make their stand known to both the central and Hong Kong governments.
We invite everyone to contribute, and hopefully with your support, we can convey the love that Hongkongers have for the nation to other parts of the world!”
The campaign organisers’ intention is to use the ads to draw attention away from the PRC’s 70th anniversary towards their own cause.
“Not joking around”
Not long after the campaign started, the group, called Freedom Hong Kong, posted an update at 12:55pm, saying they received a number of enquiries if they were playing around.
They said they are definitely not fooling around, and are dead serious with carrying out their plan.
They added that they sincerely hope for the international community to take notice of what’s happening in Hong Kong.
Chinese state media has also previously placed ads on the Internet using their Facebook and Twitter accounts that portrayed the protesters as a group of spoiled kids rioting against the wishes of the majority of Hongkongers.
Similarly, the Hong Kong government has taken out several ads worldwide to restore investor confidence in Hong Kong.
The group that started the campaign had previously raised over HK$5,484,799 (S$962,759) globally in June to place ads on international newspapers like the Financial Times.
The ads called on readers to stand with protesters, and to draw attention to their fight against the proposed extradition bill.
The group has since accounted for how the money was spent.
The city of Hong Kong is entering its 15th straight week of protests.
It is common to see peaceful street rallies escalate into violent clashes between protesters and riot police.
As Oct. 1 looms around the corner, Beijing has ramped up its military practices for a huge military parade slated on the big day itself.
This year’s national day has come at a sensitive period for China — it is locked in a trade war with the U.S., dogged by continuous protests in Hong Kong, and faced with criticisms over its mass detention camps in the Xinjiang region.
With the protests showing no signs of stopping, Chinese state media has urged the violent “riots” to stop in Hong Kong, and warned that any attempt at seceding “will be crushed”.
This year’s National Day fireworks in Hong Kong might be cancelled as well, South China Morning Post reported, citing a government source.
Previously in 2014, National Day fireworks were cancelled due to the 2014 Occupy Central protests.