A Hong Kong shopping mall’s patriotic display has backfired amongst many mainland netizens in the run-up to the October 1 National Day celebrations.

The statues of each armed forces branch, which now greet customers as they enter Cheung Sha Wan Plaza from Li Chi Kok MTR Station, have inspired outrage from mainland web users who cannot abide the sight of PLA soldiers saluting Hongkongers, rather than the other way around.

“This is blasphemy against the military,” the top comment on China’s Sina News rails. “[This] must be removed,” followed the close second, “it’s disrespectful to the People’s Liberation Army. This business’s acts must be severely condemned.”

“Hong Kong,” the third-top comment grumbled, “nothing good has ever come out of that **** place.”

Meanwhile, a marginally less bellicose comment observing that “they’re obviously saluting the flags” received zero likes.

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Ryan Kilpatrick

Ryan Kilpatrick is a local writer, journalist and editor. Formerly National Online Editor for the That's magazine group in China, his work on the history and politics of the region has earned him the CEFC Award in Modern China Studies and has also appeared in China Economic Review, Asian Studies Review, China Green News, e-International Relations, Shanghaiist and various publications at his alma mater, the University of Hong Kong, where he is currently enrolled in the Master of Journalism programme.