Display of the Flags and Emblems
All individuals and organisations have the responsibility to display the national flag, national emblem, regional flag and regional emblem with dignity and respect. In this regard, this page provides some general information relating to the display of the flags and emblems with reference to the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance, the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance and the stipulations published by the Chief Executive, as well as the administrative guidelines of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). For other information relating to the prohibition on certain uses of the flags and emblems, please click here.
Condition of Flags
To safeguard the dignity of the flags, we must not display or use the flags which are damaged, defiled, faded or substandard. We must not display the flags upside down, and must not display or use the flags in any way that undermines the dignity of the flags. Flags should be regularly inspected to ensure that they are clean and in good condition. They should be dried and kept neatly folded and stored when not in use.
Raising and Lowering of the Flags
When hoisted or lowered from a vertical staff, the flags shall be hoisted or lowered slowly. When hoisted, the flags must reach the peak of the staff. When lowered, they may not touch the ground.
When flown together with the regional flag, the national flag shall be hoisted first and lowered last. When the flags are being raised during a flag-raising ceremony, the etiquette to be followed by the persons who take part in or attend the ceremony is to stand solemnly facing the flags; to look at the flags with respectful attention or to salute the flags in an appropriate manner (as the case requires); and to not behave in a way that undermines the dignity of the flags.
When flown at half staff, the flags shall be first hoisted to the peak of the staff and then lowered to a point where the distance between the top of the flag and the peak of the staff is one third of the length of the staff. The flags, when lowered, shall be again hoisted to the peak before they are lowered.
The National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance and the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance also set out the conditions for flying the flags at half staff.
The proper procedures for the raising and lowering of the flags should be carefully explained to the staff responsible for this duty.
Severe Weather Conditions
The flags may not be hoisted or lowered in case of severe weather conditions.
Priority of the National Flag
When the national flag is displayed, it shall be placed in a prominent position.
When the national flag is raised or carried in a procession with another flag or flags, it shall be in front of the other flag or flags.
When the national flag is displayed with another flag or flags, it shall be either at the centre, above the other flag or flags, or in a position of prominence.
When the national flags of two or more nations are displayed in foreign affairs activities, relevant provisions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the international practice shall be followed.
Flying the National Flag and Regional Flag at the Same Time
The national flag, when displayed with the regional flag, shall be either at the centre, above the regional flag, or in a position of prominence.
When both the national flag and regional flag are raised in a procession, the national flag is to precede the regional flag.
When the national flag and regional flag are displayed at the same time or displayed side by side, the regional flag shall be smaller than the national flag, with the national flag on the right and the regional flag on the left.
For the display of the national flag and regional flag inside a building, "left" and "right" sides of the backing wall are ascertained by reference to a person standing with his back to the wall and looking forward.
For the display of the national flag and regional flag outside a building, "left" and "right" sides of the building are ascertained by reference to a person standing in front of the building and looking towards the front entrance of the building.
Recovery and Disposal of the Flags and Emblems
A national flag, national emblem, regional flag or regional emblem must not be discarded at will. A national flag, national emblem, regional flag or regional emblem that is damaged, defiled, faded or substandard must be returned to a designated collection point for central handling by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. For details of the designated collection points, please visit the website of the Home Affairs Department.
After an event in which the national flags, national emblems, regional flags or regional emblems are used, the organizer must recover the flags or emblems used on site of the event for keeping and reuse. For the used flags or emblems that are damaged, defiled, faded, or substandard, they must be returned to the designated collection points mentioned in the above for central handling.
Display of the Flags and Emblems at Government Offices and Premises
At present, the national and regional flags are displayed every day at the official residences of the Chief Executive, the Government House, the Central Government Offices, all boundary control and check points of the HKSAR, the Hong Kong International Airport and the Golden Bauhinia Square. The flags are also displayed on each working day and on the six specified days, i.e. National Day (1 October), HKSAR Establishment Day (1 July), Labour Day (1 May), New Year's Day (1 January), Lunar New Year's Day and National Constitution Day (4 December) at the office of the Chief Executive, the Executive Council, the Legislative Council, the law courts in the HKSAR, government departmental headquarters, major government composite buildings and public sports and cultural venues, etc. For a list of locations for the display of national flag and regional flag in government premises, please click here.
The national flag and regional flag displaying at government premises should, as far as practicable, be raised at 8:00 a.m. and lowered at 6:00 p.m.
The national emblems are displayed at the office of the Chief Executive, the Legislative Council, the Central Government Offices and the Justice Place (formerly the Central Government Offices Note). In addition, the regional emblems are displayed at the official residences of the Chief Executive, the Government House, the Executive Council, the Legislative Council, the Central Government Offices, the law courts of the HKSAR, all boundary control and check points of the HKSAR, Hong Kong International Airport, District Offices, etc.
For heritage conservation reason, the national emblem displayed at the former Central Government Offices has been preserved in-situ after the venue was renamed as the Justice Place.
The oath-taking ceremonies set out in item 1 of Schedule 3 to the National Anthem Ordinance are required to display the national flag and national emblem.