Anti-government protesters’ slogan spray-painted outside Chinese army base in Hong Kong

Lilian Cheng

The popular slogan of the months-long anti-government protests was spray-painted on the wall outside one of the Chinese army’s bases in Hong Kong on Wednesday evening.

The eight words in Chinese – “Liberate Hong Kong; Revolution of our times” – were found daubed on the external walls of Gun Club Hill Barracks in Jordan at 5.30pm.

Police officers arrived at the barracks and found no suspects, after a passer-by called emergency services. By Wednesday evening, an investigation was under way and no one had been arrested.

Footprints were found on a box, which police believed the vandal might have stood on when writing the graffiti.

Gun Club Hill Barracks is one of the sites occupied by the PLA since the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong from Britain. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Hong Kong has been gripped since June by an anti-government protest movement, sparked by opposition to a proposed piece of extradition legislation. The unrest grew into a broad movement for greater democracy and accountability, with frequent violent street clashes between police and protesters.

Use of the revolutionary slogan – a regular refrain of protesters – has in the past month touched a nerve with the authorities.

Both Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Beijing said it threatened the foundation of “one country, two systems”, the framework under which the city is ruled by the central government but promised a measure of autonomy.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has not replied to a request for comment on the vandalism.

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The 11-hectare military site is one of the barracks occupied by the PLA since the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong from Britain on July 1, 1997.

In 2011, when an image of mainland Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s face was projected onto the army’s main building in Hong Kong, in Admiralty, a PLA spokesman criticised the act.

“No one can paint or project pictures and images onto the outer wall of the barracks without the garrison’s permission,” he said at the time. “Such an offence is a breach of Hong Kong law. The PLA reserves its legal rights.”

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