Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Symbols and public displays that threat China’s image and the smooth running of the Olympic Games have been banned from Hong Kong. Authorities have decided that following on from norms established in Beijing that ban all forms of political propaganda for the duration of the Games, Tibetan flags will not be allowed in the territory – host to the equestrian events.
The crackdown guidelines apply to flags representing countries and regions without athletes in the events. Demonstrations, as well as any "propaganda" appearing on banners, clothing or other accessories, won't be allowed either. Organizers said violators will be expelled.
"I think most people who come to these events would hope nobody is allowed to spoil the fun and the purpose of the games," John Breen, security coordinator for the equestrian events, said at a news conference in Hong Kong. Organisers fear that the former British colony could become a hotbed for protests given the relative freedom it enjoys, particularly for demonstrators as mainland China has tightened visa restrictions ahead of the games.
However, Hong Kong has acted to restrict demonstrators in some cases. In May, immigration officials turned back pro-Tibet activists who flew into Hong Kong before its leg of the Olympic torch relay.
Organizers will deploy about 300 of their own security personnel to venues during competition days in addition to the 4,000 officers police plan to mobilize to maintain order and “harmony”.