Dozens of Hong Kong police officers and security guards barricaded approaches to the historic Red House in Tuen Mun – a monument that commemorates the founding father of modern China, Sun Yat-sen – during Taiwan’s National Day on Sunday.
The building – also called Hung Lau – is thought to have housed Sun as he plotted some dozen revolutionary attempts against the imperial Qing Dynasty, using Hong Kong as a base. It was cordoned off for a second consecutive year to thwart any attempts to hold a flag-raising ceremony marking Taiwan’s National Day.
Dozens of police patrolled Sun Yat-sen Garden, where the Red House is located, and barred several individuals carrying Taiwan flags from entering the area, Stand News reported. Officers also stopped and searched individuals walking towards the area, online media HK01 reported, while private security guards sealed off the building using metal barricades, clear shields and cordon tape.
Sun yat-sen posters
Officers reportedly said the owner of the Red House had hired security guards to fence off the private property, according to Stand News.
Meanwhile, the “Democracy Wall” message board on the Chinese University of Hong Kong campus in Sha Tin — barricaded since last Thursday after the student union announced it would dissolve — was on Sunday found to be covered with images of Sun Yat-sen, Inmedia reported.
Dubbed the “Double Ten,” October 10 marks the successful 1911 uprising against the Qing dynasty that created the Republic of China (ROC).
But after losing a civil war to the communists, the defeated ROC government – led by the nationalist Kuomintang, founded by Sun – fled in 1949 to Taiwan, where the party enforced almost four decades of authoritarian rule. The People’s Republic of China claims Taiwan as one of its provinces and does not recognise it as a sovereign nation.
Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security Chris Tang said in September that any celebrations of Taiwanese National Day which reflected the intention to split the island from China could be a “serious” violation of the national security law.
Taiwanese groups in Hong Kong used to hold annual “Double Ten” flag raising ceremonies at the house from 1968 until they were blocked from doing so last year. The ceremony once attracted hundreds of participants and the park would be decorated with hundreds of Taiwanese flags.
One of the groups that previously organised “Double Ten” public events opted instead to host a banquet this year, but its reservation was cancelled by the restaurant, which cited a possible breach of the national security law, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported in September.
The land on which the Red House sits was sold to a company owned by a mainland Chinese person for HK$5 million in November 2016. The Antiquities and Monuments Office provisionally declared the Grade One historic building a monument in March 2017, granting it protected status for one year after repeated instances of destruction.