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Hong Kong

“Emperors in China have always been calligraphers.”
-Tsang Tsou-Choi, 84
For 50 years, Tsang Tsou-Choi has expressed his belief that his family is the rightful ruler of Kowloon, an area of Hong Kong, by writing his claim on lamps, pavements, walls and pillars. His work has been constantly removed and he's often been arrested, but neither the departure of his wife–who got sick of his obsession–nor the absence of any records backing up his claim have shaken his conviction. The contents of his calligraphy usually contain some or all of the following: his name, his title (King or Emperor of China, Kowloon or Hong Kong, depending); a list of 20 or so ancestors, with new additions from time to time; the names of some famous Chinese emperors and phrases such as, “Down with the Queen of England.” Now that his poor health has forced him into a retirement home, he continues his calligraphic campaign on towels, plastic cups and bed sheets, and tells visitors that Donald Tsang–the chief executive of Hong Kong–is an impostor, and that he should have been elected instead. The work of the world's oldest graffiti artist is now on the official list of “Hong Kong identity symbols to be protected,” and one piece of wood he painted sold for HK$8,600 (US$1,100) at auction last year. “I don't care about money and fame,” he told COLORS recently in an increasingly rare interview (his “manager” now restricts access). “They should just give me back the throne. I am not an artist–I am simply the King.”
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