Hong Kong protesters have shared new posters to promote their cause featuring phonetically spelt Cantonese words. The stunt is aimed at deterring online trolls and people accused of being spies from mainland China – both of whom may have difficulty understanding the messages in roman characters instead of Chinese characters.

Cantonese is mainly used in Hong Kong, whilst Mandarin is standard on the mainland – they share a written script but differ phonetically.

By converting anti-extradition law movement slogans into the Latin alphabet, Mandarin speakers may understand how the slogans sound, but may not comprehend the meaning.

Cantonese poster

The posters began to appear online after a thread on the Reddit-like LIHKG forum, which called for a new method to identify “spies” from the mainland monitoring the forum.

Protesters, NGOs, and media outlets soon followed suit, to promote Sunday’s pro-democracy rally organised by the Civil Human Rights Front.

One poster said: “Gwong fuk heung gong, si doi gak ming” – meaning “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.”

It added: “8.18 Wai dor lei ah gung yuen heung gong yan dou si gin” – meaning “August 18 Victoria Park, see you there Hong Kong people.”

Cantonese poster
Photo: Civil Human Rights Front.

The Front also issued a poster saying “wai yuen gin,” meaning “see you at Victoria Park.

Meanwhile, pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily also splashed “wai yuen gin” on its Sunday front page.

Amnesty International Hong Kong also made a similar Facebook post on Saturday night.

“Wo ping jaap wui, ngo yau kuen. V Park no space gum dim sin,” it said. It translates as: “I have the right for a peaceful assembly. What are we supposed to do if there’s no room in Victoria Park?”

Cantonese poster
Photo: Amnesty International.

Some protesters also held placards written in phonetically-spelled Cantonese words on Sunday.

One said: “Heung gong yan yiu jaang hei ga yau” meaning “Hong Kong people must fight on.”

Posted by Stand News 立場新聞 on Saturday, 17 August 2019

The Hong Kong police approved a static rally in Victoria Park, but banned a march between the park and Central.

august 18 CHRF china extradition
Photo: May James/HKFP.

Pro-democracy lawmakers have said they will lead protesters to leave Victoria Park gradually between Causeway Bay to Central.

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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.