‘Most unwelcome’: Hotel group draws flak for John Lee ‘hope’ postcard celebrating reduced quarantine

A hotel group in Hong Kong has drawn flak for a postcard that seemingly suggests the city’s leader is a beacon of hope for implementing a policy that reduces hotel quarantine for arrivals to three days.

Twitter user @caitschult2, who says in her bio that she is a writer and lawyer, recently shared an image of the postcard, stylized like the iconic Barack Obama “Hope” poster used during his 2008 US presidential election campaign, she found while undergoing mandatory quarantine in an Ovolo hotel.

“Ovolo Hotels, why is there a stylized image of John Lee, like the Obama hope poster, as if reduced quarantine can gloss over ongoing assaults on human rights by this man in his several recent capacities including [Deputy] Police [Commissioner], [Secretary] of Security, Chief [Secretary] and Chief Executive,” she asked.

The Twitter user explained that the hotel group created the material and put it in her quarantine room welcome package.

“This was most unwelcome and completely out of touch,” she said.

She also pointed out how the back of the postcard reads, “I want to break free.” 

“It’s talking about quarantine, but how dare they evoke freedom that Hong Kongers have been fighting so hard for, and this message is especially offensive to the over 10,000 people arrested since 2019,” the Twitter user wrote.

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She also criticized the hotel group for using “an actual, literal political card placed in my hotel room as some kind of business gimmick”.

“Shocking – what the hell are @ovologroup thinking. Remove politics from business,” replied one Twitter user. 

Another Twitter user commented, “Besides being tone deaf, is it not also a copyright violation of some kind?”

As the secretary for security from July 2017 to June 2021, Lee oversaw the police’s controversial handling of protests in the city in 2019 and 2020.

In 2020, the US imposed sanctions on him for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and restricting the freedom of expression or assembly of the people of Hong Kong.