Pro-democracy activists have put up two satirical banners outside the central government’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong. The banners contain quotes from former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, who called for democracy in his early days.

On the banners are written “Abolish the one-party dictatorship” and “Introduce democratic government” from Mao’s article Order and Statement on the Southern Anhwei Incident, which was published on January 20, 1941. They face the back door of the China Liaison Office in Sai Wan district.

The banners were made by pro-democracy activist Sam Yip using banner space allocated to lawmaker Au Nok-hin, who has been co-hosting an online talkshow with Yip for years.

Mao banners
Photo: Facebook.

Yip told HKFP that it was rare for them to obtain the spot, as it was often given to the pro-Beijing camp after a lottery. He said he put up the banners in response to claims from the pro-Beijing camp and Beijing officials that those calling for an end to China’s “one-party dictatorship” – a slogan widely used by democrats – cannot run for seats in the Legislative Council.

“As patriotic Hongkongers, we wish to remind people at the Liaison Office that Mao also suggested abolishing one-party dictatorship and introducing democratic government,” Yip said. “Please do not forget that this is the way to make the country strong.”

Yip said the banners have been there since last Thursday but they have not been damaged, unlike banners promoting pro-democracy politicians, which he said are often cut up very quickly. “Maybe the people who damage banners can understand the irony,” he said.

Au Nok-hin Sam Yip
Au Nok-hin (left) and Sam Yip (centre). Photo: Facebook/Au Nok-hin.

Asked if they had plans for other Mao banners, Yip said they will revisit history with the community if the situation allows them to do so.

“We support librarian Mao’s ideals before 1949,” he said, referring to Mao’s job as an assistant to the Peking University librarian from 1918-19.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.