A poster for the Paramount movie Arrival has been changed after Hongkongers took issue with the photoshopping of a Shanghai landmark into the Hong Kong skyline.

The poster was taken down Thursday night, after multiple Hong Kong media outlets reported on it. A new version was posted on the movie’s Facebook page Friday morning.

The new poster for Arrival (left) next to the one it replaced. Photos: Facebook/Arrival Movie.

The movie’s PR people said the incident was a mistake made by a third party vendor, and that “the wrong art depicted in this specific poster has been replaced with the correct art.”

The previous version, with featured Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour skyline with the Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower dropped into it, offended the political sensibilities of many Hongkongers, who took to Facebook to protest. Hundreds posted the tag #‎HongKongisnotChina‬ on Arrival’s Facebook page. The real invasion, some said, was not by the aliens, but by the Communist Party of China, symbolically represented by the mainland building.

Even after the correction, one commenter said: “No excuses! You guys really did make a big mistake. Hong Kong is always different from China. This is totally unacceptable for real Hong Kong people.”

“Why are they (the Chinese colonist) here?” said another, playing on the movie’s tagline “Why are they here?”

Some speculated that the third party vendor had an agenda, while others tried to explain to the US studio and people abroad why Hong Kong and China are different.

Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. Photo: Wikicommons.

“… it was like calling a Northern-Irish as British, or a Catalan as Spanish,” said one comment. “It’s worse in this case as we’re talking about the Commie just across the fine border. You can’t imagine how much harm the Commie have done to Hong Kong so far.”

Troubled by the Chinese government’s increasing influence over the city, the localist movement has gained momentum in recent years. Localists emphasise Hong Kong’s separate identity and oppose the “mainlandisation” of the city.

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Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.