Controversial GREAT ads ripped down

The British Council has taken down a station-wide spread in Admiralty MTR of UK flags with the slogan “This is GREAT Britain” as they became part of an anti-government online discussion.

The ads, which are a part of an ongoing campaign that promotes British culture in Hong Kong, are a recent spot for the education exhibition being held over the weekend; they were taken down a few days earlier as the British flag were increasingly misused as a symbol for colonial glorification and a protest sign against the government.

“The GREAT campaign is being used to promote the upcoming British Council education exhibition,” a British Council spokesperson told South China Morning Post.

"As a global campaign, it has uniform messaging for all markets. Given some of the wording has been subject to misinterpretation in Hong Kong, it was decided to remove those posters a few days early in order not to detract from the positive nature and overall success of the campaign," according to the SCMP.

On the British Consulate's Facebook page, for example, comments like “This is Hong Kong, here is Great Britian!” and “Great Britain built Hong Kong” could be seen underneath its photo of the Admiralty spot, which garnered 96 likes.

As well, anti-government bloggers who speculated this campaign as Britons’ declaration of reclaiming Hong Kong have been the centre of attention on the social network.

Outside of the virtual world, the British flag has been used in recent anti-government rallies.

The British Council could not comment at press time.