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Asia Minute: China’s Flag a Focus in Hong Kong

Craig Nagy

Symbolism can be an important consideration for China’s government these days, especially in Hong Kong.

Take China’s national flag.

Last week, Hong Kong’s Education Bureau told the Legislative Council that new guidelines are coming concerning the raising of the Chinese flag.

International schools will have to raise that flag higher than that of any other country. If there are a series of flags, the Chinese flag needs to be in the center.

Earlier this month, the Education Bureau announced it would subsidize every kindergarten with the equivalent of nearly four hundred dollars to buy Chinese national flags and “flag-raising equipment," including removable flag poles.

This followed a report in the local “Oriental Daily” that many kindergartens in Hong Kong don’t have flag poles, in part because of space considerations.

Strict laws already cover treatment of the flag. Late last year, a 19-year old pro-democracy activist was sentenced to four months in prison for “insulting” China’s national flag.

Local news reports say Tony Chung threw the flag on the ground when fighting with two members of a pro-China group outside the Hong Kong legislature.

Chung was the founder of a pro-democracy group called Studentlocalism; a group which no longer exists.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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