Not ever, and certainly not on this day

(The flag of the People's Republic of China flies behind Brockville city hall on Tuesday.)

I have used this space to engage in vexillology in the past, so I will not go on at length about Brockville's latest flag flop.

But as the the 70th anniversary of one of the most brutal regimes on the planet draws to a close, I am not inclined to let it go either.

I have written before about the questionable practice of the city flying the flags of oppressive regimes above the Railway Tunnel; in fact, more than five years ago, I even made a joke of one such instance.

But this is 2019, and few people are in a mood to joke about the erosion of democracy worldwide. 

So I must ask: Why fly the flag of the People's Republic of China behind city hall, on the same day Beijing celebrated the anniversary of Chinese Communism with a show of military strength big enough to impress the supposed leader of the free world?

On the same day a pro-democracy protester in Hong Kong was shot at close range, why turn our backs on democracy and fly the flag of the nation in whose name that round was fired?

And to bring it a little closer to home, why fly the flag of a nation holding two Canadians hostage in an act of arbitrary detention to retaliate against our own observance of the rule of law?

Yes, this is the part where someone will tell me flying the Chinese flag is but one of many instances of city hall observing a significant day in the life of a nation from which many of our fellow Brockvillians have immigrated. 

Except it isn't. Not ever, and certainly not on this day.

Brockville's hard-working Chinese community is the product of immigration that began decades ago, sometimes predating the rise of Communism in China, and sometimes in reaction to it, as people came to the stable, prosperous democracy that we are in search of a better life.

As some on social media have pointed out today, Chinese Communism has killed more people than both Hitler and Stalin combined.

I asked this question in a column 13 years ago, and today, in the name of that protester shot in Hong Kong, and in the name of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, I ask it again: Can we find a better way, be it a different flag or a different gesture, of honouring the Chinese fact here than flying the flag of a dictatorship?