CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 September 2018

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Pro-independence and pro-Hong Kong graffitti in Guangzhou

BEIJING (AsiaNews/RFA): Posters and graffiti have appeared on the streets Guangzhou, in China’s Guangdong province, calling for independence, not just for neighbouring Hong Kong, but for Guangzhou itself, which shares the Cantonese language and culture.
 
Graffiti with slogans like, Independence for Guangzhou, Go Hong Kong! have been photographed in a number of public places in the city and lies at the heart of the Pearl River delta economic area.
 
The slogans have been spotted at the Dayuanshuaifu and the Xinhong Gardens bus stops, as well as on the backs of bus seats with the phrases scrawled in marker pens of different colours in traditional Chinese characters 
 
After coming to power in 1949, the ruling Communist Party began promoted the use of Simplified Chinese characters (jianhauzi), however traditional characters are still taught and used in Taiwan and Hong Kong, which weren’t under communist control at the time of the reforms to the writing system.
 
Local human rights advocates have reported that stickers have appeared in different locations across the city in recent days.
 
One Guangzhou resident surnamed Wang, said the slogans are appearing after several years of government suppression of the Cantonese language and culture in the public sphere, which has prompted growing discontent among Cantonese speakers.
 
“A lot of the younger generation don’t even know how to speak Cantonese anymore and there are fears that Cantonese culture will be wiped out,” Wang said adding, “There is a huge awakening around our culture right now.”
 
Cantonese speakers in Guangdong, which gave the language its name, are culturally connected to those living across the internal immigration border in Hong Kong, where Cantonese has been an official language of government and the lingua franca of most residents for generations.
 
“Cantonese culture is directly connected with Hong Kong, because it has been wiped out in favour of Mandarin (here in mainland China),” Wang said.
 
In 2010, thousands of people took part in mass protests in Guangzhou in support of the Cantonese language after a mainland Chinese political body called for cuts in Cantonese-language broadcasts.
 
Flash mobs showed up in public places wearing white as a sign of protest, sparking similar actions in Hong Kong. However, advocates reported intimidation by state security police in the wake of the demonstrations. 

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