Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Hong Kong's second, scarier handover

Sun setting in Hong Kong

Dark clouds over the city too

Surprise, surprise (not really): the national security law for Hong Kong has been unanimously approved by the Standing Committee of China's rubber stamp National People's Congress. All this with no member of the Hong Kong government (including Chief Executive Carrie Lam), let alone members of the public, having actually seen actual drafts of the sweeping law that contains six chapters and 66 articles.

Early on in the day, the reports had it that the draconian law was expected to come into effect tomorrow, the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China from British rule (and 99th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China -- so yeah, the CCP probably is looking upon this law's passing as nice birthday present for itself).  Carrie Lam has since stated that it came into effect this evening.  All in all, it really does feel like quite the rush job, reminiscent of China's notorious "tofu buildings" whose shoddy construction can lead to serious problems, including a distinct lack of safety for those who spend time in them and sometimes even their outright collapse.

Ahead of what's been termed the second handover of Hong Kong (this time, by the government of Hong Kong to their bosses over in Beijing), we've already seen the scraping and deleting of various social media accounts.  But things escalated this morning with the likes of Demosisto officially disbanding hours after Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Nathan Law announced that they were leaving it and a number of "yellow" shops deciding, for their safety, to go ahead and take down the protest art and signs that had adorned their stores or publicly stating that they were leaving the yellow economic circle.      

How long will it take before Hong Kong feels like just another Chinese city?  In all honesty, it's been feeling far less free than it is supposed to be the case for quite some time already.  (Think, among other things, of the kidnapping of the Causeway Bay bookstore booksellers a few years back.) So rather than death in one fell swoop, it's really been death by a thousand cuts -- or, since Hong Kong is not actually dead yet, let's say at minimum that the city is being subject to the slow but painful drip, drip, drip of Chinese water torture.

So, what now? Just lie back and think of England?  This much we do know (this by columnist Peter  Kammerer today): 
The target is anyone who opposes, or even suggests opposition to, the Chinese Communist Party and its authority. As Beijing has the ultimate say in all matters pertaining to Hong Kong through its right to interpret all provisions of the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution, the Hong Kong government acts as its local arm and is therefore also covered."

People who don’t get the hint end up in prison; Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who was one such advocate, died there. That the Basic Law speaks of universal suffrage is immaterial; China’s constitution also mentions democracy.
And yet, as Kammerer goes on to note: "The law will not end protests or calls for genuine democracy. Hong Kong is not the mainland; people here think differently on account of their distinct history and experience, so oppressing, suppressing and threatening will not work."  

Also, as lawyer-political commentator Antony Dapiran has observed: "Sentiment seems to have shifted over last few weeks from, initially, despair & a sense that any protest is futile, to now an increasing defiance."  (Indeed, reading this piece written by Jessie Lau, a British-based Hong Konger today, I actually felt that she's in significantly greater despair about what's happened to Hong Kong than anyone I know who's currently living here in the Big Lychee!)

At the very least, the prevailing sentiment among many folks is -- to quote Kammerer one more time -- that:  "We should continue as we always have, doing and thinking as we do. To change our ways would be to give up Hong Kong’s advantages to other cities in China. If there is to be a knock on the door by secret police at 3am, it will come when it does. Let’s hope this isn’t what Beijing means by national security" (because, even at this late hour of the day, we still haven't been privy to the text of this new piece of legislation imposed on Hong Kong!)

Monday, June 29, 2020

One afternoon in Yau Ma Tei and Mongkok

A crazy amount of police on one street corner yesterday

There also were a large number of riot police on the streets
of Hong Kong yesterday afternoon

Police vans and officers in riot gear have become

While passing through Causeway Bay on a bus yesterday afternoon, I caught sight of such a large number of police vans and also some police officers in riot gear that I felt compelled to text a friend to ask her if she knew what was going on.  She answered that she didn't know of any protests in that area, and reported that parts of Kowloon -- including that which I was on my way to -- also were filled with cops.  

And so it proved, with my spotting a line of police vans parked in the middle of Nathan Road soon after I got off the bus at Yau Ma Tei.  With a few minutes to spare before I was due to meet up with a friend, I popped into a pharmacy to look for some pharmaceutical items I was thinking of buying.  Upon walking out, I found myself passing by not only a group of police officers but a couple of actually pretty innocent looking young adults they had decided to stop and presumably check to see what they were doing in the area.

At times like this, I really do feel that being young has become a crime in Hong Kong, since the police are among those sections of Hong Kong society who seem to think that protestors are primarily young in age.  And in the case of these two individuals who were held by the police before being let go, it really was sad how their age alone appeared to give the police grounds for suspecting them of committing a crime (or just plain planning to protest); this especially since they weren't attired in the black clothing that also has become a marker of a protestor in the eyes of those who don't seem to really know what protestors look like and actually are (i.e., quite a range). 

After I did meet with my friend, we went for a stroll up to Mongkok (and then back again).  Interestingly, despite her having lived all her life in Hong Kong, it was I who was more familiar with these sections of the Big Lychee; something I attributed to being a fan of Hong Kong cinema (whose products include films with titles like One Nite in Mongkok and Mongkok Story) and the Broadway Cinematheque.  

Nonetheless, Mongkok and Yau Ma Tei yesterday was not how I usually find it -- in that it was seriously crawling with police, particularly on Nathan Road but also on a number of other streets, including the section of Argyle Street near Langham Place.  Looking at them, how they dressed and how they acted, one would be moved to conclude that some argy-bargy was taking place.  And yet, the reality was that the vast majority of people in the area besides them that afternoon were there to peacefully walk about, shop and window-shop -- as is the wont of many Hong Kongers on a Sunday afternoon.

To be sure, a protest against the draconian security legislation that China's imposing on Hong Kong had indeed been planned.  Somewhat unusually, it was meant to be a silent one and involve protestors walking on the side of roads rather than the road itself.  But even while that did generally seem to be the case, I did hear a few chants of such as "five demands, not one less" (which my friend actually suspected was by people who weren't actual protest participants but decided to shout out encouragement to those who did!).  And when the police acted in ways that made people unhappy, there were some pretty vocal reactions too.

More than once, the riot police would start running after people -- for no real reason that those of us close to the action could actually see.  They also took to blocking off sections of roads and sidewalks, dragging people out of shops, arresting people, pepper spraying people (including journalists) and raising the blue flag (to indicate that an illegal assembly was in progress) a number of times.  And, of course, they also went about arresting people -- more than 50, in fact, and, I suspect, mistakenly in a good number of cases (including that of a father whose young son appeared pretty traumatized by it all).

When such actions ensued, you could feel the anger -- far more than fear, actually -- in the crowd.  And it seemed that some of the most upset people out there yesterday were people who hadn't specifically gone to the area to protest but were enraged upon having their paths blocked by the police (for no real reason that anyone who wasn't in uniform could see), and otherwise saw their rights and freedoms being tampered with.  

For the record: the two most vocal people I witnessed were an old woman and even more elderly man who repeatedly called out "hak keng (black/crooked cops)" and "dieu leh loh moh (f--k your mother!)" at the police.  And while I don't usually advocate the shouting of obscenities, I must say that I definitely could understand their frustration -- not just at the police, per se, but what they have come to represent: enablers of the super unpopular Hong Kong government and its Beijing overlords (who seem to be out to enrage other governments right, left and center!).   

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Worrying far more about political repression than the Wuhan coronavirus in Hong Kong

The British imperial crown surrounded by various signs of Chinese 
financial power and political control in Hong Kong's Central District
 
The Falun Gong's still here in Hong Kong

Hong Kong reached the two week mark with regards to zero local Wuhan coronavirus transmissions today.  Okay, yes, there was one imported coronavirus case (from the Philippines) reported -- but there is very little doubt at all that the police's decision to ban this year's July 1st pro-democracy march -- which was officially announced this afternoon -- is pretty much entirely politically motivated.  

To be sure, the local constabulary's decision was not entirely unexpected -- seeing as they had already objected to protests taking place on the first year anniversary of last year's June mega marches and their disastrous actions on June 12th which resulted in the protestors making more demands than just the withdrawal of the extradition bill as well as the June 4th vigil to commemorate the Tienanmen Square massacre.  But the ludicrousness and hypocrisy of citing health concerns to ban these events is especially marked given that, as Wall Street Journal reporter Mike Bird Tweeted, "Hong Kong has had so few local coronavirus cases in the past 10 weeks that you could fit them all on a minibus."   

With so much repression already taking place before the draconian security legislation China's announced for Hong Kong has actually come into effect, some people have asked how much worse things will become after that happens.  Apart from the answer of "We'll know soon enough" (since this particular piece of law is expected to come into effect by the end of this month), the actions that a good number of individuals and organizations are taking signal that many people are expecting very bad things to happen indeed; with Joshua Wong's Demosisto having decided to set up a backup fund in the USA, and the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (which has been organizing the June 4th Victoria Park vigils and operates the June 4th Museum in Mongkok) working to digitalize much of the photographic and documentary evidence of the Tiananmen Square massacre that they have managed to collect over the years.

The anticipation that the security legislation will be far reaching can be seen in owners of independent bookstores and other "yellow" commercial enterprises fearing that they will soon be unable to sell items they currently are free to sell, decorate their shops in the way they currently do and go about exercising these little but key acts that one expects to be able to do in a place whose residents are guaranteed many fundamental rights and freedoms.  At the same time though, one shop owner has voiced that, "What scares me the most is self-censorship" -- which, sadly, I already have seen quite a bit of evidence of in recent years, but especially notably since the announcement of the security legislation (which may be made retroactive)

Another unpopular piece of legislation, the national anthem bill passed this June 4th, is responsible for filmmaker Evans Chan deciding to remove a scene featuring the playing of March of the Volunteers from his We Have Boots (at least when it's screened in Hong Kong).  Interestingly, the artist whose performance of the Chinese national anthem is the first casualty of this new law, appears remarkably sangfroid about this.  Furthermore, Kacey Wong has actually voiced his optimism that "the national security law will only galvanise creativity in Hong Kong"

I wish I could have a similarly upbeat perspective but about the best I can muster at the moment is to "prepare for the worst, hope for the best".  In the past, I often joked that you will know that Hong Kong has had its wings clipped on the day that the British imperial crown perched atop the heritage-listed Court of Final Appeal Building gets lopped off by the powers that be.  These days, I have what I think is a more reliable marker of when I should start to seriously panic: when the Falun Gong disappears from the streets of Hong Kong.  (The Mormons, on the other hand, left Hong Kong months ago -- because of coronavirus fears that turned out to be not all that well founded, particularly since the USA is the number one country that's been the most negatively impacted by the pandemic!) 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Still openly advocating and supporting a free Hong Kong

Hong Kong Sign -- Umbrella by Jerry Ng Sek-hin

Wounds of Hong Kong: Aaron by Ko Chung-ming

Anti-extradition bill protest woodcuts by Tekhean Lee

After Monday's 30 new cases blip, a further 16 Wuhan coronavirus cases (all imported) were confirmed yesterday along with Hong Kong's sixth coronavirus death.  Things got back to what Hong Kongers think is more normal with regards to the Wuhan coronavirus today though, with the reporting of two new cases (again, imported rather than local transmissions).     

If only the news about the security legislation the Chinese Communist regime wants to put in place in Hong Kong would slow down and be less alarming too. Sadly, however, every day brings more concerning news; and no, the assurances being trotted out by pro-Beijingers really does not put people's mind at ease -- this not least since no one in Hong Kong, including Carrie Lam herself, has actually seen the draft of the proposed "National Security Law", never mind had a hand in drafting it.

What with the increasing suspicion that this legislation is going to be rushed through ahead of July 1st (the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong's colonialization by China and also the official founding date of the Chinese Communist Party), there is a sense among many that "This is likely to be the last week of Hong Kong's (relative) freedom." In anticipation of a witch hunt soon following, some people have taken to scrubbing and "privating" their social media accounts.  As one Hong Konger has sought to make clear on Twitter, "if you see fewer of us openly expressing dissent, it doesn’t mean state violence has abated. it means the opposite."

For my part, I'm going to keep going (with my blogging, etc.) until it becomes patently clear to me that they're really coming after me and that they have indeed been vested with the legal right to do so.  For the record: I'm not completely without fear myself -- but, honestly, I'm such a small potato compared to so many others, with this blog having so few readers.  (Heck, I often feel like I can't even get friends and family members to visit and check it out!)

At the same time, for every person that has decided to fall silent (at least in public settings, including social media), you have another person being very open about their advocacy of, and support for, the still ongoing efforts to free as well as save Hong Kong.  A case in point: In recent weeks, I've been to three different anti extradition bill protests-themed art exhibitions (6.12, Wounds of Hong Kong and A City of Glimmers) which all have attracted a good size crowd.  And after doing so, I spent time (and money!) in stores and eateries that are very openly part of the Yellow Economic Circle -- and, I suspect, get extra patronage precisely because they are so.

As I said to the similarly pro-Hong Kong friend I went to check out a couple of the exhibitions with this afternoon: Even if they are going to come for us, surely they're going to go for more visible and vocal as well as prominent others first?  Also, I know China is big and all but, since so many Hong Kongers (the majority of the populace of this city of close to 7.5 million, after all!) are pro-democracy and anti-repression by the Chinese Communist regime, surely we can hope and believe that they can't arrest and imprison -- never mind kill -- us all? :S        

Monday, June 22, 2020

Still fighting against the incursions of the Wuhan coronavirus and Communist Chinese regime into Hong Kong

Together, we fight the virus...

...this even while we longer how much longer it will be before 
the axe falls on Hong Kong and a significant percentage 
of the populace will end up behind bars :(

After several days of single digit and even zero new Wuhan coronavirus cases reported daily, Hong Kong suddenly had a whopping 30 new confirmed cases today.  Unlike back in March and early April, however, there's little panic this time around -- at least for now -- about the onset of a second (or would it be third now?) wave because all today's new confirmed coronavirus cases are imports rather than local transmissions.  

I do hope though that those individuals who decided that it was safe to stop wearing masks last week are going to start wearing them again.  Granted that they are in the minority (indeed, I'd estimate that non-mask wearer are, at most, 20 percent of Hong Kong's population) but I still do find it irritating that there still are people who don't realize -- or, maybe, it's more a case of don't care -- to help protect others as well as themselves by wearing masks while out in public   After all this time, surely we should know what's the score with regards to the Wuhan coronavirus and go about fighting it together?

Also, much as I hate to point it out, some of the most reluctant mask wearers in Hong Kong continue to be expats; particularly those who tend to prefer to stick to their own kind and tend to stay in the more international sections of the territory.  Last Thursday, I went to Central for the first time in ages and was quite shocked to see a discernibly higher number of mask-less people walking about as well as hanging around in the vicinity of bars; and a friend who works in Central but lives in Wan Chai told me that she reckons that the area around Lockhart Road has the lowest percentage of people wearing masks of all.     


Thus it was that there were no large protests on June 9th, 12th and 16th -- and even while a significant amount of people turned out to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4th and the death of Marco Leung on June 15th, they were nothing like what surely would have been the case if Hong Kongers were safe to freely assemble and exercise their other supposedly guaranteed (under several Articles of the Basic Law) freedoms.   Furthermore, not only does it look unlikely that the annual July 1st protest march will be allowed to take place this year but it is increasingly looking likely that China will bring into effect the national security legislation it plans for Hong Kong by then.    

With regards to that national security law: It's been excruciating -- like Chinese water torture? -- to be presnted with dribs and drabs of information and speculation as to what it actually will entail, including by local government officials who actually haven't been seen any drafts of it, never mind been involved in its drafting.  And this despite my having tried to spare myself from reading detailed analyses of it (or, rather, what it's speculated that it will be) since I agree with lawyer-political commentator Kevin Yam that: "There’s nothing to analyse. It’s just whatever they say it is. And if they cannot make it whatever they say it is when they want something, they will just change it in whatever way they like. End of story."


In the thread of the latter Tweet though, you have others serving up reminders that "We didn’t fight becoz there’s hope; we fought hard so that there can be hope"and, also, that the "CCP is really good at using helplessness... to control ppl.  Don't fall into the trap. Keep fighting".  And even while there are people mulling leaving Hong Kong and urging others to do so too, you also get the stubborn, defiant folks who ask: "Why should we be the ones forced to leave and not those bastards[?] fuck them so much".  In summary: many of us are hurting but we also aren't prepared to go (down or away) without a fight -- precisely because we love Hong Kong so.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Day and night in a surprisingly normal looking Hong Kong? (Photo-essay)

I have friends and family members abroad who imagine that Hong Kong looks like a war zone these days.  Actually, though, when the local constabulary aren't out harassing people, things actually can look pretty much like it used to be, before a good majority of Hong Kong got to realizing what the local authorities were doing to, and the Communist Chinese regime wanted for, the territory (and deciding that we can't return to the normal, because the normal that we had was precisely the problem).  And even though the Wuhan coronavirus still is lurking about, life can be said to be more normal than many might expect of a place that has variously been described as a city on fire and of tears as well as of expired tear gas (and where protests still do indeed take place).  

Granted that the vast majority of people have on face masks when venturing outside their homes.  Yes, there are certain shops (owned by the Chinese Communist party and those pro-Beijing Hong Kongers hostile to the majority of the Hong Kong populace) that now have protective steel doors in place outside them -- but, in all honesty, these blots on the landscape really are in the minority.  And yes, many people are metaphorically holding their breath and waiting for the axe to fall on Hong Kong's freedoms (thanks to the national security law that the Communist Chinese regime is going to impose upon it and the people living here).  

But even while the streets can feel less crowded, especially late at night and in formerly tourist-infested areas like Tsim Sha Tsui, it all looks okay for the most part, at least on the surface.  You don't have to just take my word for it.  Instead, here are some photos taken earlier week -- on a bus ride through Kowloon late one afternoon and a tram ride in Hong Kong Island after midnight -- for you to see and judge for yourselves (and actually, feel free to let me know what you think in the comments thread, etc!)...

View from the upper deck of a doubledecker bus
travelling through Cheung Sha Wan
 
Few English language signs hanging about in Sham Shui Po ;)
 
 Lots of foot traffic, as per the norm, in Mongkok
 
 Traffic jam as we approach the Cross Harbour Tunnel
 
An empty and closed eatery that I expect to be full 
during daytime (BTW, notice the lack 
of protective metal covering, etc. over its windows)

So quiet late at night in the border area between
 
Even the Bank of China is back to having its ATMs
available to dispense cash, etc. after office hours
 
And these days when you see yellow hard hats being worn,
they are more likely to be by workers out repairing infrastructure 
(or working on building sites) rather than protestors

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Taking time for self-care and further reflections about what Hong Kongers want

The closest thing I've seen to a rainbow in recent days

Or maybe it'd be this (Yes, there still are Lennon Walls about
in Hong Kong -- but mainly on the walls of private establishments)



Having spent quite a bit of time out on Monday, I decided to stay in for much of Tuesday -- and, consequently, missed not only the sight of that convoy of police vehicles but, also, at least one rainbow -- and in some cases two! -- viewable from various points in Hong Kong.  And as it so happened, the most eyecatching news reported that day actually occured thousands of miles away from Hong Kong -- along another section of the Chinese border, involving a clash between Chinese and Indian troops, involving rocks and clubs(!), that left at least 20 people dead on one side alone!  (Oh, and the North Koreans blew up a liason office -- can you imagine what would happen if this occured to the Liason Office in Hong Kong?!)  

I did venture out again yesterday though.  Among other things, I decided to practice self-care by treating myself to a viewing of a Hong Kong movie I had wanted to see for months (but couldn't for weeks because of the cinemas having been closed because of the Wuhan coroanavirus).  Ray Yeung's beautifully understated Suk Suk made for an involving watch.  

But while it is a very good film, its viewing did leave me feeling rather sad.  Watching a Hong Kong film in these troubled times, I guess it's inevitable that one will see personal meaning in it.  In this case, there's a moment in the movie when the lead character (sensitively played by Tai Bo) talks about how he's done well for himself since escaping from Mainland China during the Cultural Revolution to Hong Kong.  He has a family, a home, enough money.  What more should he want?

Well, in his case, it would be the freedom to live the way he really wants, and openly -- since he's a gay man who's been so closeted all his life that he got himself married with children and one grandchild (on whom he dotes).  And, really, that's what a lot of Hong Kongers want: to be able to have the freedom to live the way they really want, to not have to pretend to be someone/something else that they really don't feel that they actually are (even if other people think that's the case), to love who and what they want (without being told it's wrong).  To feel free, you know, to sing the songs they like and not the ones they don't.  To feel happy and safe in their home.  Rainbow or not, what a wonderful world it then would be.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Mourning as resistance in under siege Hong Kong

A well known face in the crowd at the 2 million (plus one) 
 
Some of the tributes to the "plus one" laid out 
at Pacific Place that evening
 
There are certain events that take place over the course of one's life that have the kind of impact on you that makes it so that you can vividly remember the circumstances you were in when you first heard about their having occured.  For me, they include the death of John Lennon, the Challenger explosion, the Tiananmen Square massacre, the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11.  And, even while it's far less known than all those previously mentioned events, the fall to the death of anti-extradition bill protestor Marco Leung Ling-kit on the eve before a planned protest march that would turn out to be the largest ever in Hong Kong history.
 
To this day, it is not known for sure if the man looked upon as a martyr to the cause accidentally or deliberately plunged to his death outside the Pacific Place mall in Admiralty that night.  What we do know is that he was there to protest; and that the messages he had written on a banner he sought to hang from that building included the following calls: No extradition to China”; “Fully retract the bill”; “Carrie Lam to step down”; and “Help Hong Kong.”  
 
On June 16th of last year, many people who took part in the mega protest march against the proposed China extradition bill made their way to Pacific Place to place tributes to Marco Leung after they ended their multi-hour march at Admiralty.  And this evening, thousands of people queued for hours to pay their respects to him at the same venue on the one year anniversary of his death.   
 
Tributes also appeared to him at other venues this evening.  And before their second court appearance this afternoon, the 15 pro-democracy figures whose arrests this past April shocked Hong Kong observed three minutes of silence for Marco Leung.  In addition, many of those who went to the West Kowloon Magistracy to support them wore white ribbons in memory of Marco Leung -- and I noticed that Figo Chan was wearing a t-shirt commemorating the "2 million plus one" march at his court appearance today while another of the 15, Jimmy Lai, tweeted a tribute to "the Yellow Raincoat Man" this evening.
 
With its propensity for wearing colors associated with mourning and marking anniversaries that involve deaths, the anti-extradition bill turned pro-democracy protest movement may come across as tending towards the morbid to some.  Undeniably, we often do find ourselves doing such as mourning the death of "one country, two systems" and even Hong Kong itself.  
 
But strange as it may seem, this mourning can also be seen as a refusal to die -- or capitulate to Beijing and its lackeys.  For, remember, the Chinese Communist regime won't allow the Tiananmen Mothers and others who lost loved ones on June 4th, 1989, to publically mourn in peace.  So call it a weapon of the weak if you will but, yes, mourning in Hong Kong -- including, but sadly no longer exclusively, on June 4th -- these days also has become yet another form of anti-government resistance -- and act of solidarity with fellow pro-democracy activists and supporters for good measure.    

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Repression in Hong Kong even before the enactment of China's national security law for it

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EaUSbYQUYAQDkzI?format=jpg&name=medium 
Graph by Leung Kai-chi showing the results of the latest survey 

China's national security law for Hong Kong has yet to be enacted -- or, for that matter, drafted.  But it already is feeling very much like a police state in Hong Kong (or, at the very least, one where justice is not on the side of the just and innocent).  

Some of the news in recent days that make me think this way: the arrest of organizers of the June Fourth candlelight vigil last week (and media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who reportedly had only been at Victoria Park for 15 minutes before going to attend a church service thatevening!); the shock resignation of a senior official of under pressure Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK); and a number of crazy decisions made by judges in Hong Kong's courts (including one involving a teacher who accused the police of abuse, only to end up being sent to a psychiatric center by a disbelieving judge, and a man found guilty of public disorder after he swore at police because he was tear gassed by them).  

And, sorry, Ocean Park reopening its doors again today is not going to make me feel better!  (In fact, it makes me even more upset about the maximum-eight-people gathering ban still being in place for protests!)

More than incidentally, yesterday was the day the controversial national anthem law (passed last Friday) came into effect.  And it, of course, also was one year to the day that I got to wondering whether we'd see the end of HongKong as we know it, thanks to the police going nuts and attacking the crowd of 100,000 that had assembled at Admiralty to protest and block the hated (China) extradition bill

As expected, the first annivesary of this key date in the anti-extradition bill protests was filled with protests.  In the morning, a human chain protest formed outside a school in solidarity with a teacher sacked for allowing them to sing Glory to Hong Kong.  (More than incidentally, just the day before, Hong Kong's education secretary old school principals that schoolchildren who chant political slogans, sing political songs or form human chains should be punished.)  

And in the evening, there were protests all over town (including in the New Territories, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island) -- which, despite largely being of the peaceful "Sing with You" variety, still attracted the attention of the riot police (who, once again, provided more evidence of their brutality and disrespect for regular Hong Kongers along with vengefulness against pro-democracy lawmakers) and also one deranged pro-Beijinger who pulled out a knife and tried to slash pro-democracy protestors

It's not just that the protestors were out to mark a protest anniversary.  Rather, they still have so many reasons to protests.  For one thing, only one of the five demands that people have been making for close to a year now have been met.  Then there's also the added problem and grievance that comes with the destruction of "one country, two systems", most notably by way of the Communist Chinese regime openly wading into, and seeking to dictate from on high and afar, Hong Kong affairs

Even while some are wont to maintain that "one country, two systems" is not actually dead yet, others are already pointing fingers as to who is responsible for its demise.  In a recent Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI) poll, it was interesting to see that while the pro-democracy and pro-Beijing camps think the other has had a role in most people losing trust in (the continued existence and implementation of) this peculiar arrangement that, nonetheless, was supposed to be in effect until 2047, the majority of people in Hong Kong are united in knowing who the chief culprits are: i.e., the Hong Kong government/officials/disciplinary forces and the Chinese Central Government/China itself/its people!

Anecdotally, pretty much everyone I've ever spoken to in the past year -- and yes, that includes pro-Beijingers/government individuals and those who will say "I am neutral" before saying things that make me very much doubt this as well as pro-democracy protestors and supporters -- usually end up agreeing on the following point: Carrie Lam is an idiot.