08/20/2019 12:00 EDT

Hong Kong Bakery Sells Mooncakes With Pro-Democracy Messages

The baker wants the Autumn Festival snack to "make Hong Kong happy again."

HONG KONG — A Hong Kong bakery is doing its part to support the city’s pro-democracy protest movement by making mooncakes with a message.

At Wah Yee Tang, the traditional Chinese harvest festival treat comes with a twist: slogans opposing the city’s Beijing-backed government and promoting Hong Kong’s unique identity that have become popular rallying cries during the protests. 

Canadian Press
Mooncakes are pastries with rich fillings that are usually served at the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Bakery owner Naomi Suen hopes the cakes will bring about positivity during a time of political unrest.

Suen’s mooncakes carry messages including “No withdrawal, no dispersal” and “Hong Kong people.”

Canadian Press
These mooncakes' pro-democracy messages have been popular at Wah Yee Tang. South China Morning Post reports that at the time of reporting, the bakery's owner had to start turning down orders.

Other versions say “Be water,” referring to the protesters’ philosophy, inspired by martial arts star Bruce Lee, of taking a fluid approach to their demonstrations.

Known for being dense and calorific, mooncakes are typically filled with lotus seed or red bean paste and a salted egg yolk symbolizing the moon.

Suen hopes hers can “make Hong Kong people happy again.”

Canadian Press
While the stamps are unique, the bakery's mooncake fillings are more traditional. As Atlas Obscura reports, Wah Yee Tang offers mooncakes in six flavours, including green tea, nuts, red bean, and white lotus seed paste. 

Customer Sandy Lam said the cakes “represent our voices” and reflect the “actual situation” for protesters.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets since early June as part of a protest movement that began with the demand to scrap extradition legislation that could have seen criminal suspects sent to China. It expanded to include calls for full democracy and an inquiry into what they say is police violence against protesters.

Their five demands are: a withdrawal of the extradition bill, freedom for arrested protesters, more democratic rights, an inquiry into alleged police violence, and the resignation of Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam. 

Sparked by an extradition bill, Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests have expanded to object against authoritarian government rule. 

Mooncakes are traditionally served during the Mid-Autumn Festival, when the moon is at its roundest and brightest and families gather to pray for bountiful harvests.

Legend has it that Ming revolutionaries used them to smuggle secret messages tucked inside while fighting Mongol rulers during the Yuan dynasty.