While Hong Kong enters its 13th continuous week of anti-government protests since June, a new video produced by the Hong Kong government – calling for citizens to “treasure” the city – has attracted ire and criticism from netizens, and is likely to be counted among a series of misguided PR blunders.
Launched on 29 August on the official YouTube channel of the Information Services Department of the Hong Kong SAR government, the one-minute video with the title of “Treasure Hong Kong Our Home” (珍惜香港 這個家), features everyday scenes from the lives of Hongkongers such as working at the office, buying fresh food at a wet market, and riding on a tram.
The video, clearly meant to appeal to Chinese locals rather than an international audience or other HK minorities, has two lines of subtitles written only in traditional Chinese. The subtitles read “Our home is built by every Hong Kong person with their efforts”, and “Treasure Hong Kong, our home”.
HK chief executive Carrie Lam also shared the video on her official Facebook page. At the time of writing, Lam’s post of the video has amassed more than 30,000 reactions (mostly negative reaction emojis) and over 21,000 comments.
Though this video may have been intended as a tool to provide some common ground goodwill, it is generally not being received positively by online users. Among some sparse support, many commenters posted variations on the slogan “All five demands must be fulfilled” (五大訴求 缺一不可). Other netizens criticised Lam as the cause of the situation in Hong Kong, while also saying that they had no faith in her to resolve the extradition law controversy.