The Chinese emblem has replaced Hong Kong’s bauhinia insignia in the main chamber of the city’s legislature, according to images shared by CitizenNews.

Photo: Ho Ka-tat/CitizenNews.

The move, ahead of Sunday’s “patriots only” legislative election, is in line with the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance, which states that it must be displayed for the swearing-in of officials.

The oath-taking ceremony for new lawmakers is set to take place early next year.

The Hong Kong emblem is displayed as Chief Executive Carrie Lam attends a Q&A session at the Legislative Council on February 4, 2021. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The legislature was unable to comment when asked by HKFP whether the change was permanent, but NowTV reported that the change was only for the oath-taking ceremony.

HKFP’s reporter was unable to access the chamber on Friday.

Photo: Ho Ka-tat/CitizenNews.

However the chamber is to undergo an expansion to accommodate 20 extra lawmakers destined to sit in the newly-expanded legislature. Although more lawmakers will be sworn in, democratic representation was reduced by around half following the Beijing-led overhaul of the system in May.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that she herself, for the first time, will preside over the swearing-in ceremony.

In October, the Chinese emblem appeared alongside the Hong Kong emblem on government websites, including on the website for the Legislative Council.

Photo: GovHK screenshot.

The Hong Kong emblem shrank in size by around a quarter on computer screens.

Photo: May James.

On July 1, 2019, the Hong Kong emblem – which has traditionally sat above the president’s chair – was defaced by pro-democracy protesters who stormed the legislative complex.

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Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.