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Hong Kong Protesters Are Getting Tattoos That Represent Their Struggle

Tattoo artists across the city are getting requests for designs that feature symbols of the protests like umbrellas, gas masks, and Hong Kong’s floral emblem.

by Meera Navlakha
19 August 2019, 5:20am

Images via Zada Lam's Instagram.

The ongoing rallies in Hong Kong will be remembered in the years to come for gathering close to two million people to fight for independence from mainland China, but protesters have found another way to immortalise the event -- tattoos.

Tattoo artists across Hong Kong are now flooded with requests to create designs that feature symbols of the protests. These include gas masks, goggles, Hong Kong’s emblem the Bauhinia flower, and umbrellas -- a nod to the 2014 protests known as the Umbrella Movement.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), restaurant employee Sage Victor said he chose delicate designs for his tattoo, done by artist David Zuleta. The 19-year-old, identified only by his first and middles names, moved to Hong Kong from Los Angeles at the age of 13.

On his arm, he got a small gas mask, protesters holding banners, and a man staring down at a tank. The third image was inspired by “tank man,” an icon of the bloody 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing.

For Sage Victor, the tattoos are a way “to remember the struggles Hong Kong has had and the fight it is still going through.”

He is just one of the many people in Hong Kong who have chosen to get a tattoo to represent protesters’ plight. Over on social media, others have shared that they have done the same.

Artist Zada Lam told the SCMP that he has tattooed 70 to 80 people with these designs, free of charge.

Hong Kong has seen unrelenting protests over the past eleven weeks. Citizens continue their fight for democracy, which was once again sparked in June because of a controversial extradition bill.

The latest rally yesterday saw protesters defying a police ban and peacefully demonstrating at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park. Demonstrators called for Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down and emphasised their anger at Hong Kong’s police force, which has been criticised for its violent measures against protesters.

Find Meera on Twitter and Instagram.