Checkpoint Asia

That ‘Incredibly Beautiful’ Photo of the Hong Kong Protest? It’s a Cropped, Mirrored Image

Shared tens of thousands of times on social media

An “incredibly beautiful” image of a mass protest in Hong Kong has been shared tens of thousands of times in social media posts that claim it shows an anti-extradition bill march in the city on June 16, 2019. The night-time picture is actually a cropped, mirrored version of an original photograph of a similar protest a week earlier, on June 9, 2019.

The image, which appears to show a Hong Kong street filled with people, was shared in this Twitter post on June 17, 2019.

The post’s caption says: “Report: 2.13 million ppl rallied in #HK. Incredibly beautiful!”

Organisers say around 2 million people attended a protest in Hong Kong on June 16, 2019, against a proposed law to allow extradition to China. Here is an AFP report about the rally.

Below is a screenshot of the Twitter post:

The same image was also shared on June 16, 2019, by Demosisto politician Nathan Law on his Twitter account here, where it has been retweeted more than 3,200 times with the caption:
“Official: organizer says 2 millions of people marching today. #NoChinaExtradition”.

The image was also shared on Instagram here in a post that says: “Hong Kong’s biggest protest march ever on 16th June 2019”.

The edited image does not show the Hong Kong protest on June 16, 2019; it shows a similar anti-extradition bill rally in the city on June 9, 2019.

Here is an AFP report about the June 9 demonstration, which organisers said more than a million people attended.

This Instagram post by, dated June 11, 2019 contains the same edited image.

Its caption says: “whatever it takes. #AntiELAB #noextraditiontochina (photo is cropped and reflected).”

Cropping and reflecting are photo editing techniques which can flip and mirror an image.

The resulting image is vertically symmetrical, with even the smallest details the same on both the left and right hand sides, as shown below: also shared the original, non-edited photo on Instagram here on June 10, 2019.

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the edited image (L) and the original photo (R):

Source: AFP