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Lennon Wall – Hong Kong Umbrella Movement protests. 10 October 2014
After China-Extradition bill protests, the Lennon Wall returns. June 2019

Lennon Wall Hong Kong (Chinese: 連儂牆; Jyutping: lin4 nung4 coeng4) refers to the mosaic wall created during the Umbrella Movement,[1] located at Central Government Complex, Harcourt Road, Admiralty. The wall is one of the major arts of the Umbrella Movement as a collective artistic work of spontaneous free expression, demanding democracy in the elections of the territory's top leaders.

It was a space of encouragement and solidarity, full of colourful post-it notes (more than ten thousand pieces) with messages advocating for freedom, democracy and universal suffrage. Post types included epigrams, lyrics, poems, foreign words and hand-drawn graphics. During the 2014 protests, there were coordinated preservation efforts to digitally document the wall and related protest art.[2][3][4]

Following the end of the occupation, most of the arts were removed from original positions while many protesters and citizens had been trying to re-create some of the arts, especially the Hong Kong Lennon Wall;[5][6] which aroused further controversy when police arrested a fourteen-year-old girl for drawing flowers on the wall with chalk, threatening her father with removal of custody, and not releasing her back to her family until 20 days later.[7] She quickly became known as "Chalk Girl" (粉筆少女) when pictures of her drawing circulated on social media.[8][9] Her lawyer, Patricia Ho, stated that the government response to a chalk drawing was "disproportionate" and that "police are using whatever mechanism they can think of to stop teenagers from participating in any protest."[10] A short film about her story, titled "The Infamous Chalk Girl" was released in 2017.[11][12]

Contents

Lennon Wall in PragueEdit

The original Lennon Wall was first created in Prague, Czech Republic, following the assassination of John Lennon. It was filled with art as well as lyrics from The Beatles.[13] In 1988, a year before the Velvet Revolution, this wall became a way for people to express irritation with the communist regime of Gustáv Husák. Since the 1980s, the wall has been continuously undergoing changes while the original portrait of John Lennon is long lost under layers of new paint.

Nowadays, the wall in Prague is a symbol of global ideals such as love and peace, which served as inspiration for the Hong Kong Lennon Wall of the 2014 Umbrella Movement. During the 2019 extradition bill protests that followed, Hong Kong democracy activist Marco Leung Ling-kit died, becoming a symbol for the movement.[14][15] Within weeks, artists in Prague had painted a memorial on the wall, with an image of the yellow raincoat he was wearing during the banner drop that eventually led to a fall.[16] Words of encouragement and solidarity were also written, including the famous phrase: "Hong Kong, Add oil."[17]

HistoryEdit

 
Close view of Hong Kong Lennon Wall on 2014-10-02
 
Close view of Hong Kong Lennon Wall on 2014-10-18
 
Hong Kong Lennon Wall on 2014-11-01
 
"We are dreamers" – a message written before the police takeover occupied areas. 11 December 2014

September to December 2014Edit

29 September 2014Edit

The day after the occupation started in Mong Kok, the occupation area expanded from Nathan Road and Argyle Street to Mong Kok Road, Sai Yeung Choi Street and so on. Vehicles were trapped because of the full-occupation of all six roadways in Nathan Road while many bus routes had to be rerouted. Meanwhile, those trapped buses and discontinued bus stops became the place where protestors and citizens stuck their opinions of requesting the stepdown of CY Leung and the slogans to call for universal suffrage,which were written mainly on cardboard and papers instead of post tips, which became the prototype for the Lennon Wall in Admiralty.

1 October 2014Edit

The Lennon Wall in Hong Kong was created by a group of post-80s social workers, Lee Shuk-ching and Chow Chi. They bought post-its and invited people to write down their hopes and reasons for stay after around three days after police had tried to disperse protesters by firing tear gas. The first post was "Why Are We Here?" . After that, they stuck their posts, left their pens and post-its, inviting others to write their wishes. The message board started to expand and eventually colonized the entire wall beside the staircase heading to the Hong Kong Central Government Offices. Following over ten thousand notes being stuck onto the wall, this wall became the focus of media. Since the theme and format were found to be similar to the Lennon Wall in Prague of Czech Republic, the banner of "Lennon Wall Hong Kong" was set on the outside wall of the staircase which turned the wall into one of the landmarks for the occupied area in Admiralty. The banner of Lennon Wall Hong Kong also became the Facebook page created by Lee Shuk-ching and Chow Chi for recording the posts on Lennon Wall later on as well.

18 October 2014Edit

An internet version of Lennon Wall was developed as a historical database to record the Umbrella Movement. Due to the clearance action of police, the originator was apprehensive that those post-its would be obliterated. She decided to create an online Lennon Wall and convert approximate ten thousand post-its into electronic form.

13 December 2014Edit

In the study room of Causeway Bay occupation site, some secondary school students who joined the Central occupation used expanded polystyrene to construct a mini Lennon Wall. As the police had already announced that the eviction of Causeway Bay occupation area will be held on 15/12, citizens went there and left their heartfelt wishes. It became a scenic spot for taking photos.

20 December 2014Edit

In the stair outside Central Government Offices, citizens tried to rebuild the Lennon Wall. They stuck posters printed with "It is just the beginning", "We will be back" and "Umbrella Movement" on the wall. The staff of Leisure and Cultural Services Development attempted to stop them. Although police noticed their action, police did not take action to interfere.

June 2019 till nowEdit

 
Lennon Tunnel near Tai Po Market Station. 7 July 2019
 
After demonstrations, democracy activists setup a Lennon Wall near Austin Station. 9 July 2019

BackgroundEdit

During the series of protests against the China-Extradition bill beginning on 9 June, the original Lennon Wall has been once again set up in front of the Hong Kong Central Government Offices staircase. During the months of June and July, Lennon Walls with similar encouraging messages written on post-it notes and regular paper have been put up throughout the entire Hong Kong. This is referred to as "blossoming everywhere" (遍地開花).[18][19]

Known neighbourhood Lennon Walls include Sheung Shui, Tin Shui Wai, Sha Tin, Fanling, Ma On Shan, Tsing Yi, Tung Chung, Tai Po, Sai Ying Pun, Shek Tong Tsui, Causeway Bay, Sai Wan Ho, Chai WanChoi Hung, Wong Tai Sin, Kwun Tong, Mei Foo, Kowloon Bay, Whampoa, and Tai Kok Tsui, as well as many others on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and outlying islands.[20] There are even some Lennon Walls located inside government offices, including RTHK[21] and the Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office.[22] According to a crowd-sourced map of Hong Kong, there are over 150 Lennon Walls throughout the region.[23]

Lennon Walls have also appeared outside of Hong Kong in the cities of: Toronto, Vancouver BC, Tokyo, Berlin, London, Melbourne, Manchester, Sydney, and Taipei.[24][25][26][27] Messages of solidarity for the Hong Kong democracy movement have also been added to the very first and oldest Lennon Wall in Prague.[28]

EventsEdit

At midnight on 9 July, more than 200 police officers equipped with shields and helmets stormed into the Tai Po subway that hosted the popular Tai Po Lennon Walls. Police photographed and removed several pieces of paper that allegedly contained the personal information of an officer who, while on duty on 8 July, challenged a peaceful protester to "remember me, and have a fight with me."[29]

Several Lennon Walls around Hong Kong have been reportedly vandalised within the first few days of being set up. To prevent vandalism, the Mong Kok Lennon Wall is situated at a private property with warning messages to ward off vandals.

On 10 July hundreds of people gathered near the Lennon Wall by the Yau Tong MTR station in Kowloon, after word spread that local residents, suspected of being off-duty policemen from the nearby Yau Mei Court, were threatening pro-democracy youth who were tidying up the wall.[30][31] Police later arrived, and the conflict persisted for several hours; a handful of arrests were made by the end of the night,[32] including the arrests of two retired police officers for assaulting democracy activists.[33] On the next day, a pro-Beijing middle-aged man was arrested for physically assaulting two victims, one of which refused to defend himself or retaliate, when he attempted to tear the sticky notes from a Lennon Wall near Kowloon Bay.[34]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Seah, Daphne. "Hong Kong Has Its Own 'Lennon Wall' To Show Support For Protests". Pixable. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  2. ^ Sun, Becky. "Umbrella Movement Visual Archive and Research Collective". Medium. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  3. ^ "The Umbrella Archives: Hong Kong artist collective fights to preserve protest art". Art Radar. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  4. ^ "UMAP Digital Archives". Umbrella Movement Art Preservation. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Hong Kong protesters to rebuild 'Lennon Wall'". GMA News Online. Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  6. ^ Law, Violet. "Hong Kong protesters seek to archive their art, words for posterity". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  7. ^ Wong, Vicky. "Teen arrested for drawing with chalk on wall at Hong Kong protest site". CNN. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Chalk Girl's Drawing on Lennon Wall". Twitter. Archived from the original on 8 January 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  9. ^ Barber, Elizabeth. "The Hong Kong Authorities Want to Take Teen Protesters From Their Families". Time. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  10. ^ Barber, Elizabeth. "The Hong Kong Authorities Want to Take Teen Protesters From Their Families". Time. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  11. ^ Young, San San F. "The Infamous Chalk Girl". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  12. ^ Young, San San F. "The Infamous Chalk Girl". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 July 2019 – via Vimeo.
  13. ^ Geiling, Natasha. "Prague's Famous John Lennon Wall: Is It Over, or Reborn?". The Smithsonian. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  14. ^ "A Hong Kong Extradition Protester Who Fell to His Death Is Being Hailed as a 'Martyr'". Time. 15 June 2019. ISSN 0040-781X. OCLC 1311479. Archived from the original on 17 June 2019.
  15. ^ Yuan, Iris; Tong, Vimvam. "Activists lay flowers at memorial for Hong Kong protester". Reuters. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Marco Leung Memorial Art @ Lennon Wall in Prague". Twitter CDN. Archived from the original on 12 July 2019. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  17. ^ Un, Phoenix. "Imagine that - 'support HK' messages on Prague wall". The Standard. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  18. ^ Yu, Verna. "'Don't mess with us': the spirit of rebellion spreads in Hong Kong". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  19. ^ "Lennon Walls of Hong Kong: Lennon Walls started to spread all over Hong Kong during the 2019 Anti-ELAB Movement". Twitter. Archived from the original on 10 July 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2019.[non-primary source needed]
  20. ^ Cheng, Kris; Chan, Holmes. "In Pictures: 'Lennon Wall' message boards appear across Hong Kong districts in support of anti-extradition bill protesters". HKFP. Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Civil servants join the fray as crisis escalates". RTHK. 25 July 2019. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  22. ^ Cheng, Kris (25 July 2019). "In Pictures: 100s of Hong Kong civil servants criticise gov't handling of protests and Yuen Long mob attacks". Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  23. ^ "HK Lennon Wall Map (香港連儂牆地圖)". Google Maps. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  24. ^ "A world away from Hong Kong, a 'Lennon Wall' supporting pro-democracy demonstrators springs up in Toronto". MSN. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  25. ^ Seucharan, Cherise. "'Lennon wall' on Vancouver steam clock a symbol of support for Hong Kong protesters". The Star. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  26. ^ "Tokyo Shibuya Lennon Wall (東京渋谷現「連儂牆」紙牌、人身代牆避免打擾日本人)". The Stand News. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  27. ^ Un, Phoenix. "Imagine that - 'support HK' messages on Prague wall". The Standard. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  28. ^ Un, Phoenix. "Imagine that - 'support HK' messages on Prague wall". The Standard. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  29. ^ Lam, Jeffie; Lok-kei, Sum; Kang-chung, Ng; Cheung, Tony; Leung, Christy. "'Lennon Walls' spring up across Hong Kong as more than 200 police in Tai Po remove messages featuring officers' personal information". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  30. ^ Tsang, Emily; Mok, Danny. "Clashes break out over extradition bill at 'Lennon Wall' near Hong Kong MTR station between protesters and supporters of Carrie Lam". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  31. ^ Chan, Holmes. "'Lennon Wall' message boards spark neighbourhood confrontations in Yau Tong and Kowloon Bay". HKFP. Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  32. ^ "Confrontation at Yau Tong Lennon Wall" (video). Facebook. Stand News. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  33. ^ Lum, Alvin; Lo, Clifford. "Two retired policemen among three people arrested over clashes sparked by 'Lennon Walls', Hong Kong's latest show of defiance against hated extradition bill". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  34. ^ "Scuffles at Hong Kong's sticky note 'Lennon wall'". BBC. 11 July 2019. Retrieved 13 July 2019.

External linksEdit