Banners, flags banned at Hong Kong’s Olympic equestrian venues

July 19th, 2008 - 1:45 pm ICT by IANS  

DPA
Hong Kong, July 19 (DPA) Flags, banners, leaflets or any material promoting political or commercial causes will be banned from venues holding the Olympic equestrian events in Hong Kong, a media report said Saturday. The ban follows similar restrictions imposed for the Olympic events being held in mainland China, although some concessions have been made, the South China Morning Post said. Small flags of participating nations or regions or hosts will be allowed, but flags of Tibet will be prohibited.

Confirming the ban, John Breen, coordinator of security and support for the Equestrian Company, organiser of the Hong Kong event, said: “Our rules are based on the Olympic charter. They are not something introduced especially for Hong Kong.”

The ban on corporate banners and logos will extend to clothing, sportswear and accessories and will apply to both spectators and athletes.

Asked what would happen to people wearing clothes bearing slogans or logos, Equestrian Company senior manager Benny Lau said: “We will ask them to change their clothes or wear a coat. If they cannot, we will ask them to leave.”

The restrictions have annoyed local lawmakers.

Civic Party leader Audrey Eu said: “How it is done in Beijing is another matter, because Hong Kong has the freedom of speech guaranteed under the Basic Law (Hong Kong’s mini constitution). There is no reason why they cannot wear T-shirts with slogans.”

Frontier Party legislator Emily Lau added: “It seems Beijing has already forgotten its promise to improve human rights, and, now, it is destroying human rights in Hong Kong.”
DPA

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