On Oct. 18, a tweet claimed a protest banner against the Chinese government was seen in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province in southern China.
It reads, when translated to English, “No to nucleic acid tests; yes to the rule of law; No to lockdowns, yes to freedom; No to Mandarin, yes to mother tongue [Cantonese implied]; No to enslavement, yes to independence; No to China, yes to dissolution; No to Guangdong province, yes to the nation of Cantonia.”
A self-proclaimed news channel on YouTube with 691,000 followers also used this picture in a video, claiming that it was taken in Guangzhou.
However, this claim is misleading. The banner was put up in Los Angeles, not in Guangzhou.
Through an image search, Annie Lab found a Reddit post with the same picture. In the comment section, a user said this banner was made by the Cantonia Independence Party, which describes itself as “a democratic party promoting the independence of the nation of Cantonia from China’s occupation” in its Twitter profile.
Annie Lab reached out to the group and one of the members, who declined to be named for safety reasons, confirmed on Oct. 19 that they put up the banner in Los Angeles.
They also sent us a previously unseen photo of the banner taken from a different angle.
We geolocated the photos with Google Street View and know the location was 101 E Temple St. in Los Angeles, California. The white building seen in this picture is the Los Angeles City Hall.
In the past, the group also tweeted about other protests they staged in this area.
The banner in question was hung days before the 20th Communist Party Congress. President Xi Jinping secured a historic third term.