In the past few weeks, some puzzling banners have appeared in the high-traffic area of Tsim Sha Tsui. (For those interested, that’s pronounced “Chim Shah Choy” by Anglophones, which is actually a pretty good approximation of the Cantonese pronunciation.)
Labeled as the work of the harmless-sounding “Hong Kong Youth Care Association” (which has this benign website), the banners sport very strongly-worded slogans about Falun Gong.
The briefest of background: If you’ve ever wandered through a large public space in a large U.S. city, you’ve probably encountered Falun Gong [official website; Wikipedia entry] practitioners going through their exercises, and/or handing out literature. FG is generally considered to be aligned with qigong practices, which focus on breathing, slow, controlled exercise, and mindful meditation. Originally it was supported by the Chinese government, but it is now officially outlawed in mainland China. It continues to be practiced in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and elsewhere, and its founder, Li Hongzhi, now lives in New York.
These banners are apparently one piece of a larger puzzle. Here, for example, is a brief video from the South China Morning Post about a HKYCA-sponsored protest at the beginning of October. Watch and see—the participant who’s interviewed is unclear about why she’s there, or who’s in charge, or what’s going on.
Here are the banners themselves.
I expected to find HKYCA representatives nearby, handing out flyers or trying to get people to sign a petition, but no. Nothing like that. Just these banners rippling in the breeze while thousands and thousands of people pass by on their meanderings on and around Nathan Road.