A viral photo showing a sea of protesters crowding the streets of Hong Kong has been debunked

A South Korean man holds a placard during a rally to support Hong Kong’s protest over extradition law in front of Chinese embassy on June 17, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
  • An incredible photo showing a sea of protesters crowding the streets of Hong Kong has spread across social media.
  • The striking photo, posted to Instagram by photographer Deacon Lui last week, has been liked and shared tens of thousands of times on social media, including by prominent rights activists.
  • However, the photo was reportedly photoshopped, making the crowd size appear much larger than it actually was.
  • Photographer Deacon Lui confirmed that the photo had been altered and told CNN that the intention was to “share the beauty of Hong Kong to everyone.”
  • In his initial Instagram caption he wrote that the photo had been doctored.
  • An incredible photo showing a sea of protesters marching through the streets of Hong Kong has spread across social media.

    The photo has been liked and shared tens of thousands of times on social media, and has even been shared by prominent activists, including by Nathan Law, the founding chairman of the pro-democracy organization Demosistō.

    But upon further investigation, it appears the photo has been photoshopped and makes the crowd size appear much larger than it actually was.

    The original photo, posted to Instagram by photographer Deacon Lui on June 10, captures the masses of people taking part in protests on Sunday, June 9, against proposed legislation that would allow for the extradition of Hong Kong residents to the mainland.

    “You cant just ignore our 1.3mil peaceful protestors,” the caption reads. “HongKongers, rise to defend this beautiful place we call home, this is our very last and only chance tmr.”

    Lui posted another version of the photo — the photo that has been widely shared across social media and has received over 33,000 likes on Instagram — on June 11, in which he cropped and reflected the people and buildings in the shot using Photoshop, he confirmed to CNN.

    “I was just trying to share the beauty of Hong Kong to everyone,” Lui told CNN.

    Lui explained to CNN that the caption of the now-viral image that the photo had been “cropped and reflected.”

    “People should have acknowledged that as I stated,” he told CNN.

    While the image does enhance the size of the crowd, protest organizers estimate that over 1 million Hong Kong residents – nearly 1 in 7 people there – attended demonstrations on June 9, while Police estimated the number was closer to 240,000.

    Protests continued into last week, culminating in violent clashes between protesters and police that left 81 people injured and led to the arrests of 11 people. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam conceded to protesters on Saturday by postponing debate on the bill. Her announcement did not quell the protesters, who piled into the streets on Sunday demanding full withdrawal of the legislation. Organizers estimate almost 2 million attended, while police put the number at over 300,000, The New York Time reported.

    On Tuesday, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam publicly apologized for stoking protests though she refused to table the bill completely.

    Protest leaders remain unimpressed by Lam’s apology and have demanded her resignation. Calls have been made for protests to continue on Thursday unless central demands of protesters, including the complete withdrawal of the bill and an investigation into police brutality against protesters, are met.

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