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Hong Kong Man Arrested for Cursing China's President with Graffiti

Hong Kong netizens are outraged by the abuse of police force in the arrest of a 46-year-old man for writing “Go to Hell, Xi Jinping” (習近平去死) on the stairwell of a residential building in Hong Kong's Ma On Shan district. Xi Jinping is the President of China.

According to a local news report [zh], the district police station in Sha Tin sent police officers from the Regional Crime Unit, which normally handles more serious criminal cases, to investigate the graffiti, which appeared three times in the same building between April 7 and April 17, 2013. The police officers monitored the “crime scene” overnight and caught a man holding a ballpoint pen at 8 a.m. on April 18, 2013.

Graffiti by Tsang Tsou Choi. Photo by Flickr User: William_Lau CC: BY-NC.

Graffiti by Tsang Tsou Choi. Photo by William Lau (CC: BY-NC)

Many Hong Kong residents believe that the case is a form of political prosecution aimed at intimidating citizens. Hong Kong police have traditionally seldom investigated minor cases like graffiti. Kay Lam, a Facebook user, reminded [zh] people of Tsang Tsou Choi, a man who called himself the “King of Kowloon” who was famous for writing calligraphic graffiti during his lifetime, including phrases like “Down with the Queen of England!” Tsang was never arrested.

In reaction to the police arrest, many expressed their frustration with the erosion of freedom in Hong Kong in the comment section of Kay Lam's post:

Nelson Ho 曾灶才如果在生,重唔畀人告謀反?

Green-man Lam 香港公安不如話塗鴉行為系煽動顛覆國家政權呀!

Simon Man Ho Wong放個屁都會被告恐怖襲擊!

Nelson Ho: If Tsang Tsou Choi were still alive, wouldn't he be prosecuted under the charge of subversion?

Green-man Lam: Hong Kong police may as well claim that graffiti is inciting subversion of state power.

Simon Man Ho Wong: Farting would become terrorist attack here!

In HKGolden, one of the most popular online forums in Hong Kong, some netizens highlighted [zh] the selective nature of the police action and proposed to report to police whenever people discover graffiti on any public or private property. For example, Ha Ding Kei (下頂機) said [zh] (April 19 3:58 p.m.):

由而家開始, 一發現任何牆壁, 燈柱等等之類有任何塗鴉, 後加文字(包括原子筆), 即刻報警, 要求重案組徹查。
公廁好多字
做個好巿民, 人人有責,
有人報警, 警察一定要開file嫁。

From now on, whenever we find graffiti or writing on any wall, street lamps, etc., we should report it to the police and demand the Crime Units follow up on the investigation.
Be a good citizen and serve our duty.
The police has to open a file once you report to them.

Other HK golden users commented on the news by repeating the phrase, “Go to Hell, Xi Jinping” and challenged the police to arrest them. “Laugh Till I Die” (笑能死人的) posted (April 19 4:59 p.m.) an animated gif of “Go to Hell, Xi Jinping” on the forum:

The curse, "Go to hell Xi Jinping", keeps reappearing in the gif file. By HKGolden user "Laugh till I die".

The curse, “Go to hell Xi Jinping” plays on loop. By HKGolden user “Laugh till I die”.

Christina Walter also wrote Xi Jinping's name on “Death Note“, a Japanese manga series about killing someone by writing their name in a magical book. She shared it on Facebook and invited the Crime Unit to arrest her:

Christina Walter wrote Xi Jinping's name in "Death Note".

Christina Walter wrote Xi Jinping's name in “Death Note”.

“Macau Over”(馬交完鳥)from HK Golden commented (April 20 12:19 a.m.) [zh] with irony on HK Golden that:

原本冇人乜留意既幾隻字,相信好快全香港四周圍都係,香港政府可能就係想借呢次“小事大行動”將“習近平去死”呢幾隻字攪到周圍都係

A few words that no one would have noticed are now spread everywhere across Hong Kong. Or perhaps that's the very intention of Hong Kong government – to create a big case out of a minor incident so as to spread the message of “Go to Hell, Xi Jinping”

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