Two plain bronze lions named Stephen and Stitt outside HSBC central office have been joined by a pair of multi-coloured replicas as part of the bank's LGBT ”Celebrate Pride, Celebrate Unity" campaign.
The new statues, created local artist Michael Lam and on display throughout December, have drawn the ire of anti-gay groups in the city, citing the bank’s failure to protect family values.
Groups have launched a joint petition against the artworks, including Roger Wong who said that the statures are "causing annoyance to the feelings of many Hong Kong people as well as trampling on the existing family values".
The petition adds that the rainbow colours, symbolic of the LGBT community, are emasculating and deprive "all the strength and stamina of the original lions.”
HSBC is standing by its proud lions.
”Having a workforce that reflects the diversity of our millions of customers in Hong Kong and which draws on a wide range of perspectives makes us better able to serve the whole community," HSBC spokesman Adam Harper told AFP.
Billy Leung of the city's Pink Alliance told AFP that Hong Kong must "up its game" on rights. "Our Asian neighbors such as Japan, Taiwan and even Vietnam are considering not only prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination but also offering benefits to same-sex couples," said Leung.