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To the Chinese native speakers here on HN: how clear would the message have been to you, if you didn’t read the explanation on this website?

I have to admit it's not obvious to me at first. Especially for the second ad, you need to have good knowledge of Chinese literature to know the story behind the poem.

But once I read the explanation it became quite clear since there isn't really other ways to interpret it.

It's not clear because people don't read like that (jumping for different directions), that's the intention. But once other people pointed out it became very obvious, and could almost be judged as they intended to do that.

It could be a common way to trick the initial sensor from the publisher. Because most editors wouldn't notice that. But it won't hide from the mass. Once it's get published it would piss someone off.

I didn't notice that when I first read it. However, mainland Chinese can get the message easier because they always use this way to avoid the "big brother". Not only politics, Chinese government enforces heavy control on the speech.

Definitely not obvious if not pointed out like this to me, but the words generally spread fast once somebody points it out which the chance is almost 100%.

To be fair, I knew HongKong and GuangZhou area are still very traditional, rooted with a lot of these ancient Chinese language games. People there might be much more conscientious looking for word games than I do.

I knew the message "因果由國 容港治己" as it is now well known and well used slogan during the protest, so I picked it up quite easily knowing that there's a cryptic message in there.

Also, this slogan is often interpreted as protestor declaration for wanting HK independence.

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