Hong Kong internet users fear censorship after artwork hoarding covers up yellow raincoats

Some Hong Kong internet users have voiced fears of censorship after a new panel was added to a hoarding printed with an image of an under-maintenance sculpture, covering up two men in the artwork wearing yellow raincoats, a symbol of the 2019 social unrest.

Living World Series – Lining Up, by Taiwanese sculptor Ju Ming, features 10 statues of people, each with distinctive characters and clothing. Maintenance works were under way on the sculpture, with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department erecting temporary boards printed with an image of the artwork.

The department told the Post on Wednesday that the artwork, which had been on display outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui since 2017, had been under maintenance from the end of April this year to have damaged parts repaired and preserved.

“During the process, the department found safety risks with the sculpture’s structure. We are conducting a comprehensive assessment of it and formulating a plan to address the issue at the moment,” it said.

The department did not explain why the two men in yellow raincoats were covered on the hoarding.

A new panel has been added to the hoarding, covering up the image of two men wearing yellow raincoats. Photo: Jelly Tse

The temporary boards, which are printed with an image of the artwork on them, feature a message informing the public that the sculpture is undergoing maintenance.

But a grey strip was recently added to the boards, which covered the depiction of the pair wearing yellow raincoats.

The grey section displayed the name of the work and its creator, with the words “reinforcement of all sculptures” written above. The hoarding originally referred to “enhancement work under process”.

Yellow raincoats were one of the symbols of the 2019 social unrest after a protester dressed in the attire – later dubbed the “raincoat man” – fell to his death in Admiralty in the early days of the months-long protests.

The colour has also been closely associated with calls for greater democracy since the Occupy movement in 2014.

An internet user on LIHKG, an online forum in Hong Kong similar to Reddit, questioned whether all yellow raincoats and umbrellas were forbidden in the city, while another joked it was now safer to wear red and blue.

“This place is hopeless, [the censorship is] much more serious than that in mainland China,” a user named NORIP wrote.

In 2021, the sculpture was temporarily enclosed, sparking similar speculation among internet users. Authorities said at the time that it was closed for regular maintenance, and it later reopened for public display.



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