In this illustration, the Hong Kong’s flag with all its symbolic charge is turned upside down. The flag was originally designed to reflect unity by placing the bauhinia flower, the city’s symbol, at the center in a stark contrast with the bright red background, the same colour used in the Chinese flag. The contrast is supposed to symbolise the status and characteristics of the city within the "one country, two systems": the symbol of Hong Kong takes the center of the design, yet the flag displays clear ties to mainland China.
Hong Kong’s constitution outlines strict rules on how the flag should be used and desecrating the flag is considered a criminal offense punishable with a 3 year jail sentence. Therefore ‘misusing’ the flag has become a common gesture amongst democracy demonstrators for decades. That is why this seemingly delicate image packs so much power, it follows a tradition of disobedience and creative resistance to power. The artwork not only transforms the perfect and clean flower into a half wilted and stained symbol, an accurate reflection of a city that is witnessing the erosion of their rights and cannot find its identity in this symbol anymore. It also replaces the background for a black one, the colour of the demonstrators, and turns the bright red into a blood-like splatter, that seems to call out the Chinese state for its use of violence but that it also points out to the fragility of the regime that it is not as solid as it seems and whose only option to sustain its power is to escalate the repression in an attempt to erase dissent. Yet, as Lady Macbeth found out, blood is not that easy to rub out.