Chinese patriots in Hong Kong turned the city into a sea of red on Friday, as they unveiled a huge national flag to mark 72 years since the People’s Republic of China was founded on October 1, 1949.

Members of pro-Beijing group Chinese Hearts unfurl a large national flag at the piazza outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on October 1, 2021. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Members of pro-Beijing group Chinese Hearts unfurled a large Chinese flag at the piazza outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui, blanketing the outdoor staircase adjacent to the Victoria Harbour. They brought a banner that read: “Warmly celebrates the 72nd anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.”

Members of pro-Beijing group Chinese Hearts unfurl a large national flag at the piazza outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on October 1, 2021. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.
Members of pro-Beijing group Chinese Hearts unfurl a large national flag at the piazza outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on October 1, 2021. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Surrounding the gigantic five-starred flag were volunteers of the group who wore bright red face masks with the words “Chinese dream” printed on them, as they waved smaller versions of the national flag in high spirits.

Members of pro-Beijing group Chinese Hearts take a photo with Chinese national flags in their hands at the piazza outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on October 1, 2021. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.
Members of pro-Beijing group Chinese Hearts unfurl a large national flag at the piazza outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on October 1, 2021. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Founded in February last year, Chinese Hearts has held similar flag displays before to hail the imposition of the Beijing-enacted national security law, as well as in celebration of Hong Kong’s Handover to China.

Members of pro-Beijing group Chinese Hearts about to unfurl a large national flag at the piazza outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on October 1, 2021. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.
Some women wear bright red hats and face masks with the words “Chinese dreams” at the piazza outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on October 1, 2021 to celebrate the Chinese National Day. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

The National Day festivities included brief performances, with dancers dressed in a pink and white traditional Chinese costume moving rhythmically to a slow Mandarin song.

Members of pro-Beijing group Chinese Hearts unfurl a large national flag at the piazza outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on October 1, 2021. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.
Members of pro-Beijing group Chinese Hearts take a photo with Chinese national flags in their hands at the piazza outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on October 1, 2021. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

It comes after police thwarted a four-person pro-democracy protest in Wan Chai as top officials marked National Day at a ceremony.

Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

members of the pro-democracy party League of Social Democrats — including veterans Chan Po-ying and Tsang Kin-shing — marched from Hennessy Road towards the convention centre surrounded by several dozen police officers.

Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

The group called for the release of political prisoners in Hong Kong, including the 47 democrats charged under the national security law in connection with the democrats’ unofficial primary election last July. They also called for democracy in China.

Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

“The second article of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China states that the PRC’s power belongs to the people,” one of their signs read.

Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Star Ferry Pier

Back over at the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui, another group of flag-waving patriots were seen parading their national pride. A man wearing a red t-shirt with five yellow stars put his thumbs up, while at least seven Chinese flags fluttered in the wind.

A group of Hongkongers wave Chinese national flags at the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui on October 1, 2021 to mark 72 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.
A Hong Kong man wears a headband with adorned with two small Chinese national flags to celebrate the National Day on October 1, 2021. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.
A woman holds a bundle of small Chinese national flags at the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui on October 1, 2021 to mark the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Some people were seen taking a selfie with a billboard featuring Cantopop singer Anson Lo from the popular boy band Mirror, that has taken the city by storm, while holding Chinese flags in their hands.

Hongkongers take a selfie in front of a poster of Cantopop singer Anson Lo on October 1, 2021, to mark the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Friday marked the second Chinese National Day since the controversial security legislation was imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing in June 2020.

Police officers wear protective vests while patrolling in Causeway Bay on October 1, 2021. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Thousands of police were deployed around the city, with many wearing protective vests while patrolling after an officer was stabbed and seriously injured on the city’s handover anniversary in July.

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Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.