You can’t kill an idea — the giant banner “I want genuine universal suffrage” on the Lion Rock and the Chalk Girl

[Updated on May 16, 2016]

In contentious politics, it is often argued that while you can kill leaders and followers and individuals, you can’t kill an idea. In Hong Kong, it seems that you can’t remove an idea: the demand for genuine universal suffrage. By removing a giant banner  that says “I want genuine universal suffrage,” the idea is likely to grow even deeper among pro-occupy supporters. Though no police force was used in this case, the removal is seen as a form of repression and seems to be backfiring. See posts on backfire. Immediately, memes and banners inspired by the stunt began to emerge at occupy sites and online. Protestors say “We put up 10 banners for everyone you take down.”

Since then, the giant banner has been put up and taken down multiple times.

[Sep 27, 2015]【雨傘一周年】Banner再現獅子山 消防員登山拆 and  [勿忘初衷]

[Feb. 23, 2015] The banner reappeared on the forth day of the Year of the Goat【巨幅再現】獅子山再現「我要真普選」.

Ricky Wong’s suggestion: umbrella supporters could hang the banner outside the windows of their flats to create scenes of yellow banners all over HK: 我建議一個讓大家表達意見而且可行的做法,就是在家的窗外插上旗幟。

[May 12] 《激戰獅子山》; 學舌鳥作品《激戰獅子山》團隊背後的故事(RTHK31:19/5/2015)

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[May 16, 2016] Police camp atop Lion Rock before Zhang Dejiang visit to Hong KongPost learns officers gathering at iconic mountain to ensure security for state leader. Nevertheless, Hong Kong activists welcome Chinese state leader by hanging pro-democracy banner near Lion Rock



How far would Hong Kong people go in fighting for genuine universal suffrage? In addition to camping out in the street into the fourth week, a group of climbers unfurled a giant banner saying “I want genuine universal suffrage” on the Lion Rock on Oct. 23. The stunt immediately went viral on HK-based social media. Climbers hiked up the rock to see it up close. The stunt resembles what the Green Peace often does.

Why the Lion Rock? “Lion Rock is a famous landmark that came to symbolise the tough and persistent spirit of Hongkongers after a popular television series, Below the Lion Rock, which depicted working-class Hong Kong people struggling to overcome hardship.” (SCMP )

Video of the stunt:

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Giant pro-democracy banner removed from Hong Kong’s famous Lion Rock.


A Banner on a Hong Kong Landmark Speaks of Democracy and Identity

Just as swiftly, replicas of the same slogan began to mushroom around HK.

Lion Rock banner removed, but the message stays on:

One day is forever: 區家麟:山中一日,已是永恆,感謝蜘蛛仔


An imitation banner was put up on another mountain Kowloon Peak but swiftly removed on Nov. 1


Animation of “Hong Kong: Occupy Lion Rock

See the digital banner.

Laser projection of the banner.

Another banner “CY steps down” was hanged and speedily removed on the Lion Rock:


[Jan 3, 2015] An identical banner was again hanged and efficiently removed:,

[Jan 1, 2015] The banner was hoisted to celebrate 2015:【短片】「我要真普選」直幡氣球升空迎新年/web_tc/article/20150101/s00001/1420042851241


The same with the image drawn by the “chalk girl”


Who is afraid of a 14-year-old chalk girl? 連儂牆上的花朵 政府究竟怕甚麼連儂牆上的花朵-政府究竟怕甚麼/


While her graffiti was speedily erased, the image has been reproduced.


政府與民為敵 粉筆花成民主標記


After fencing off the “Lennon Wall” at the former Occupy protest site in Admiralty last week, police relented yesterday, letting members of the public draw on the concrete in chalk. The U-turn came as more supporters of a 14-year-old girl arrested for criminal damage on December 23 gathered at the site on Harcourt Road. (Police take new line on ‘Lennon Wall’ graffiti as ‘Chalk Girl’ pens letter of thanks to Hong Kong

What did the 14-year-old do to make the authorities so nervous? She was drawing flowers in chalk outside the government building to express her demand for real democracy….  The police are seen to be “losing their professionalism as they take their cues from the unpopular head of the government.” (Graffiti girl — police killing a chick to scare the monkeys

Groups slam Andy Tsang over handling of ‘chalk girl’

Hong Kong Police Try to Take 14-Year-Old Protester Away From Parents

The girl, 14, was arrested on Dec. 23 at a staircase leading to the Central Government Offices in the city’s Admiralty district, an area which pro-democracy protesters had occupied for more than two months until mid-December. The wall had been covered with Post-its carrying notes from well-wishers during the protests, and was named the “Lennon Wall.” It became one of the most iconic landmarks of the protests.

Wall graffiti then and now:



The case received worldwide attention:



Various images inspired by the banner:


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10557183_785146771548492_6032012096990527606_n     10462564_787913861271783_703715876307244263_n

1458494_1003356749691256_2282431611078628590_n    16784_721209834632509_5431725253736569410_n    10501914_721306591289500_1895663477509554200_n   1011757_10152905445542448_7456343627002077355_n    1385546_10152907046132448_6689338454712445469_n   10365768_1001945379832393_4624519098880752432_n

10703550_1007905299236401_6000130063620281109_n   10353702_1007937759233155_4050390464065788795_n

10153048_1002209723139292_6925259441300125196_n    10173764_345931488922261_1838537125904998064_n

By the same token, roadblocks can be removed, but ideas cannot be removed:

IMG_0226  10703542_10152906190082448_7112948649137512007_n

Some unspecified images are taken from Facebook feeds, esp.

A new ad celebrating the new lion rock spirit: 幸福醫藥」新廣告老中青講獅子山精神

The RTHK series “Below the Lion Rock” (獅子山下2014)  can be viewed at:


[photo by Tugo Cheng]


Filed under Umbrella Movement

5 responses to “You can’t kill an idea — the giant banner “I want genuine universal suffrage” on the Lion Rock and the Chalk Girl

  1. Pingback: Hong Kong risks descending into a police state | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  2. Pingback: Post-occupy: Divided over strategies and tactics though united over genuine universal suffrage | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  3. Pingback: The “Freedom without Democracy” model is broken — why HK needs genuine universal suffrage | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  4. Pingback: RIP Liu Xiaobo | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement and Beyond

  5. Pingback: What happens now that Beijing has called the protests a ‘color revolution’? | Hong Kong: From the Umbrella Movement to the Anti-Extradition Protests

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