8 Feb 2015

China cracks down on protest toilet paper

Chinese authorities seize 8,000 rolls of toilet paper printed with Hong Kong leader CY Leung’s face that were intended to be sold as a part of New Year celebrations.

China toilet paper

The toilet paper, as well as 20,000 packets of tissues, were ordered by the Hong Kong Democratic Party and had been expected to sell out following Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests at the end of last year.

But mainland Chinese authorities were reported to have seized the rolls of paper “without reason”.

Lo Kin-hei, a vice chairman of the Hong Kong Democratic Party, said on Saturday that he guessed Chinese authorities “don’t like people mocking government officials, especially high-ranking government officials, after the movement.”

Four thousand rolls of the toilet tissue sold out at last year’s seasonal market, and Mr Lo said the Democratic Party had decided to order more from a factory in Shenzhen on the mainland.

The images of Mr Leung, reviled by the Hong Kong protesters, included pictures of him with fangs, or with the word “lying” on his forehead. The sickle and hammer symbol of the Communist Party of China also appeared on some of the products.

Watch more: Thousands return to march for democracy in Hong Kong - video

Mr Lo declined to reveal the name of the owner of the factory where the products were made – but added he was now concerned his safety.

He said he had no information on the whereabouts of the owner. “We are worried about what has happened to him”, he said.

China’s human rights record is regularly criticised by rights charities, with Human Rights Watch saying recently that the country “systematically curbs fundamental rights inlcuding freedom of expression”.

“Authorities have unleashed an extraordinary assault on basic human rights and their defenders with a ferocity unseen in recent years – an alarming sign given that the current leadership will likely remain in power through 2023,” HRW said in its 2015 report.