A space to mourn Liu Xiaobo's premature death set up
in front of the China Liason Office in Hong Kong
A rally for four disqualified Hong Kong legislators
in front of "Civic Square" this evening
This afternoon, I went to the China Liason Office in Hong Kong to pay tribute to the late Liu Xiaobo. Or, rather, I went to the area set up in front of the Liason Office for mourners that has been bedecked with white flowers and signs urging people to remember the Nobel Peace Prize winning pro-democracy activist and demanding his widow, Liu Xia's freedom, and where a condolence book also is available for people to sign.
Within hours of my having gone over to pay my respects to a man who paid a terrible price for loving his country and wanting better for it, a Hong Kong judge paved the way for the disqualification of four local lawmakers upon ruling that they had failed to sincerely take the oath of office. This verdict comes in the wake of the same judge having upheld the disqualification of two other Legislative Councillors on the basis of their also having failed to take the oath of office sincerely, and means that the balance of power in Hong Kong's legislative assembly has disastrously shifted to the pro-Beijing camp.
Not surprisingly, a rally was organized this evening to protest the decision and also to show support to disqualified lawmakers "Long Hair" Leung Kwok Hung, Nathan Law, Law Siu Lai and Edward Yiu. With many of its speakers being the same ones who also had spoken at another rally this past December, I couldn't help reflecting sadly on how the mood has changed.
Then, there was jubilance in the air since that event at Chater Garden had come in the wake of Leung Chun Ying's announcement that he'd not be seeking re-election as Hong Kong's Chief Executive. This time around, at the rally in front of the still closed 1,000-square-meter forecourt to the Central Government Offices at Admiralty popularly known as Civic Square, there were notes of defiance struck but along with Liu Xiaobo's death casting a shadow on things was a sense among the assembled crowd that the battle for democracy for Hong Kong is not going to be won anytime soon.
This is not to say, however, that people in Hong Kong have decided to give up the fight. Especially considering that tonight's event was effectively a one and half hour press conference and had been organized and announced at pretty short notice, the number of people who turned up was surprisingly high.
One of the folks who turned up to voice their disappointment and unhappiness at what's happened today in Hong Kong was quoted in a Hong Kong Free Press report as follows: "There is no point in protesting when an oppressive government won't listen to you. But I still felt that coming here, contributing to the headcount, was better than staying at home and typing up a status on Facebook. At least I was here." To which, I'd say, "Hear, hear -- and that's the (Hong Kong) spirit", at least to the latter part of that statement!