Happy Mid Autumn festival! Today is meant to be a day of celebration, but the protestors are still fighting so today I thought I’d finally share some information on what’s going on in my home. This post has been written and re-written over the past 15 weeks, so bear with my mess of thoughts. There are tons of sources at the end of the post including deep dive videos and articles from sources far more qualified than myself. So - here we go.
This post is about the Hong Kong protests and some of my feelings about what’s been going on there.
As someone who calls Hong Kong home, I feel so unbelievably guilty that I haven’t spoken out about what’s been going on in my home myself. I’ve relied heavily on sharing the words of others because part of me feels unqualified to talk about it since I grew up in the “expat bubble”. My audience may be small but my city needs as many people talking about it as possible. Before we get into my mess of feelings here are the quick facts:
Protests have been going on since the 9th of June of this year
They started as a protest against an extremely controversial extradition bill
Since June, protesters have taken to the streets in peaceful protests week in and week out, that have up to (and sometimes over) 1 million participants
Things have started to get violent on both sides, however the extent of police brutality has violated international human rights laws
As of Sept. 4th, Chief Executive Carrie Lam has promised to withdraw the extradition bill when government returns from their summer recess
For more context: BBC, NPR - a quick google will give you pretty much all you need to know but media bias is real. If you’re interested in seeing some more “real time” updates from the people scroll through Hong Kong hashtags on social media. Twitter’s #antiELAB is a good place to start. If you’re a Redditor, r/HongKong also has decent updates.
My feelings & and how I got to writing this
I was travelling a whole bunch over the summer and after many hours in airports, on planes, in cabs, busses, and trains, I consumed a lot of content and news surrounding the protests. From blog posts to YouTube videos to longer-than-normal Instagram captions, I have been a sponge for any and all news. One post in particular sparked up a fire in me and it’s this sundaze 128 post by Michelle from Daisybutter. She talks about the protests in a way that more or less summarised all the news and sentiments from those abroad. It hit me so hard. It made me realise that one of the reasons I’ve been more or less radio silent across my platforms is because my home is in fucking shambles right now. Michelle’s post did a great job of explaining what’s happening to people who aren’t inundated with that kind of news everyday and it helped me get my own head out of the sand.
For the past couple of months, I have been trying my hardest to think of a way to explain how I feel about what’s going on at home in the most informed way I can. The truth is though, I can’t sit here and be objective about it because it’s my home. I can’t stand watching the police beat their own citizens and I can’t believe the more radical protestors are attacking the families of the police. It breaks my heart that I can’t be at home fighting alongside the millions of people who are fighting for my future. I don’t have any profound words or new political statements to make because to me the protesters are fighting for the only future that makes any sense to me. Universal suffrage isn't a big ask and the only way forward, in my opinion. The police state that my home is in right now is terrifying and even though I’m quiet about it most of the time, I fear for my friends’ safety everyday.
So why now?
Well this post has actually been written for a while, but it felt right to share now as finally one of the protesters demands have been met. Carrie Lam has agreed to formally withdraw the extradition bill - the catalyst for these protests. Even though this is amazing news and a true testament to the power of the people, our fight for freedom is far from over. I hope that this wave of progress will continue and that the rest of the protesters demands will be met, because it doesn’t make any sense as to why they wouldn’t. Before you comment “but China-“ yeah, I know - but it’s still my home and having hope that the future of it won’t be squandered away is all I can have.
That’s all for today. Gaa yau, Hong Kong. The world is still watching.
Follow what's happening in HK on social media, most notably on Twitter; the hashtag #antiELAB will bring up a lot of important news in real-time so you can follow what is happening.
Reddit - it is a bit of a biased echo-chamber but the real time videos and opinions are still interesting.
VOX: Hong Kong’s huge protests, explained (Jun. 2019)
NY Times: What’s Going On in Hong Kong? What to Know About the Protests (Updated: Aug. 2019)
HKFP: Explainer: How Hong Kong’s ‘self-learning, open source’ protest movement decides what to do next (Sept. 2019)
Help fund the independent journalism coming out of Hong Kong; the Hong Kong Free Press has been doing a lot of coverage
The 612 Humanitarian Support Fund provides financial support for medical coverage - physical and mental - as well as legal support for arrested persons. Donations are accepted via FPS or Paypal. As of last week, the fund had HKD $49 million in donations.
listening to: Arctic Monkey's AM album on repeat.
watching: That Al Jazeera doc.
reading: The Defining Decade by Meg Jay
playing: Crypt of the Nercrodancer
feeling: guilty that my life moves on even in the wake of an uncertain future. It's hard to remember that life goes on in the face of uncertainty and that sometimes all I can do is my best.