Section of Tsim Sha Tsui East sealed off to the public
Strolling on a pedestrian bridge (with protest posters
pasted along sections of it) near PolyU earlier this month
The siege of PolyU is over; with the police having ended their lockdown of the campus and surrounding areas this morning. After touring the campus this afternoon, university officials announced that this institution of higher learning could reopen for business next semester.
Before that can happen though, what physical damage that has been done to the campus needs to be repaired as well as a massive cleanup undertaken of the place. And then there's the matter of the students: quite a number of whom have been arrested and others traumatized by what has happened at their institution of learning this month -- and, like so many other people, by what has taken place in Hong Kong over the past six months or so and still is very much going on.
Lest it not be clear: I'm not referring to the protests per se but the violent repression of people by the Hong Kong police and the continued unwillingness of the government to do the right thing. With regards to the latter: Carrie Lam could so easily cool things down and make Hong Kong great again. But she appears to either stubbornly (and robotically) refuse to or have her hands tied and consequently be unable to do so.
With no further progress in getting the government to accede to the five demands (since October 23rd, when the much-protested-against Extradition Bill was finally formally withdrawn), it's just a matter of time before the uneasy peace gets broken in a major way again. Already in the past days, there have been rumblings of discontent -- and not just at the news out yesterday that more than 10,000 cannisters of tear gas have been fired at protesters since June 12th and more than 5,800 arrests made but also such as the police considering re-introducing wooden bullets (which cause more damaged to the human body than rubber bullets) into use and the government having withdrawn funding plans totalling HK$1.4 billion for universities, including PolyU and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
In the meantime though, there's no denying that many people are still in a largely good mood brought upon by the pro-democrats' overwhelming victory in Sunday's District Council election. And while I personally am in two minds about it, there's little question that there are Hong Kongers who are very pleased that the Hong Kong Human Rights Act has been signed into law over in the USA.
While we're on the subject of the USA and Hong Kong: I'd like to draw attention to two outstanding pieces of commentary emanating from the former; albeit one by Hong Konger currently based there and another by a Mainland Chinese who now calls the USA home. Alvin H.Y. Cheung's piece points to many American "China hands" -- not just Beijing and the Hong Kong government -- misreading the Hong Kong situation so very badly. Yangyang Cheng's piece, meanwhile, is about her discussions with her mother about Hong Kong.
There's much in both these lengthy pieces that will get one thinking. For now, I'd like to highlight Cheng's viewing Hong Kong as where people embodying what might well be termed as the best China can be found: one which comes out of "a rejection of the false binary between prosperity and freedom, an assertion of national identity independent from the state, a breakup with the imperial fantasy, an imagination of justice and the willingness to demand it."