Thursday, 21 June 2018

Where to Start July 1 March?

Last year's July 1 march had a colourful and healthy turnout
The annual July 1 march is weeks away and organizers still haven't secured a spot where protestors can gather before it starts.

It turns out a pro-Beijing association has taken over the usual spot, Victoria Park, with a three-day cultural event featuring lion and dragon dances to mark the 21st anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China.

For the second year in a row, the Hong Kong Celebrations Association, an umbrella group of 40 pro-Beijing societies, has been given priority to use all six of the park's pitches over the annual march that draws tens of thousands of people.

Will Victoria Park look like this instead with many lions?
Civil Human Rights Front deputy convenor Au Nok-hin said the Leisure and Cultural Services Department had been "unfair" in processing applications to use the park's football pitches on July 1.

"With the participation of political parties, it has become a political event, not a charity event," Au said.

Meanwhile the pro-Beijing association chairman Cheng Yiu-tong said it was necessary for the three-day event to have all six pitches. "We need such a large venue... Even if we were willing to share the six pitches [with the front], the police would not agree to it."

Really? Six pitches are needed for three days of lion and dragon dancing? Surely there are other ways to celebrate July 1? Oh wait -- there is also an exhibition on the "Greater Bay Area" plan -- a social and economic integration of Hong Kong with Macau and nine mainland cities.

Encountering pro-Beijing protestors along the way
Another way to remind us that we're a part of China and that Hong Kong is just another Chinese city...

In the meantime the front organizers are struggling to secure a meeting spot for its march. While it has applied for the march to begin at either East Point Road or Great George Street, the police would rather the march started on the park's central lawn.

Aren't we back at the beginning again? None of this would be a problem if the LCSD just approved the march to start at Victoria Park on July 1 and then allow the pro-Beijing group to have its festival on July 2. Monday is a holiday anyway...

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