A pro-Beijing group overseeing celebratory events for the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China was criticised as “petty” after it put up boards and a banner around Victoria Park in a way that obscured Queen Victoria’s statue.
The Hong Kong Celebrations Association, who had booked the football pitches in the park for a science expo between today and Sunday, had almost completely blocked the bronze statue, which sits at the main entrance of the park on Causeway Road.
Wan Chai district councillor Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying said she saw two rows of boards in front of and behind the statue on Tuesday.
An inflatable red banner which read “To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” was also placed above the statue.
The boards and the inflatable banner were removed later that day at the request of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which manages the park.
An LCSD spokesman said its staff had seen the structures while on patrol on Tuesday and immediately contacted the association.
The association had removed the structures, the spokesman added, without elaborating on why they had been placed there.
Charlotte Fong, 14, a student from International Christian School, told Young Post yesterday that she thinks the group’s move showed a lack of regard towards Hong Kong’s colonial history.
“The statue is symbolic of the city’s past,” she said. “By covering it up, the group are denying this history.”
Joshua Lee, 18, a former Sha Tin College student who now attends Britain’s Cardiff University, agreed.
“The statue is a reminder of our colonial past and our ‘special’ relation with the mainland. Hiding it will only give the impression that President Xi Jinping (習近平) is narrow-minded,” he said.