Hong Kong handover: The protest symbols China's scared of

Protesters targeted Hong Kong's Golden Bauhinia Square, a symbol of the city's handover to Chinese rule, on Monday, June 26, 2017.

Story highlights

  • Police have reportedly been told to crack down on certain protest slogans and imagery
  • They're hoping not to embarrass Chinese President Xi Jinping while he's in Hong Kong

Hong Kong (CNN)When Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997 after more than 150 years of British rule, the Bauhinia flower was chosen as the symbol of the new Chinese special administrative region.

A giant golden statue was gifted to the city by Beijing and erected at Golden Bauhinia Square, which is now used for official flag-raising ceremonies.
Early Monday, several pro-democracy activists staged their own ceremony, covering the statue in a large black cloth to expose "the brutal truth behind the glorious rhetoric" of Hong Kong's handover to China.
    The protesters were led by Joshua Wong, the former "Umbrella Movement" leader turned international political activist and leader of the Demosisto political party.
    "(We) wish to appeal to fellow citizens to take part in direct civic actions on 1st of July to demonstrate our aspiration to democracy and the right to self-determination," Demosisto said in a statement.

    Banned words

    Monday's action is the first of what is expected to be many protests around the handover anniversary, which will be heightened by the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is due to arrive in the city on Thursday.
    According to local media, police in the city are under instructions to shield Xi from as many of those protests as possible -- including preventing certain phrases and images banned in China or that might "embarrass" Xi from appearing in his eyeline.
    So just what iconography in particular might patriotic Hong Kongers like to avoid?

    Hong Kong or Taiwan independence