Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A part of Hong Kong that's seen protest action but also days of peace (Photo-essay)

Last Sunday afternoon, I marched from Tsim Sha Tsui to Hung Hom with hundreds of thousands of other protesters determined to not forget why we started protesting earlier this year and remind people that the five demands have yet to be completely met.  After the police tear gassed and shot pepper spray at people in Tsim Sha Tsui, the protests and general unrest moved onto neighboring Hung Hom, with the section known as Whampoa seeing more tear gas action in the evening.

A video clip showing Whampoa West district councillor, Kwong Po-yin, stopping riot police who had set foot into a private residential space in search of radical protesters to attack and arrest on Sunday evening from venturing further into the area.  "Do not step forward, you are agitating our residents. This is not how you de-escalate. Do you know what is de-escalate?", the pro-democrat politician -- who also happens to be an ER doctor -- demanded of the armed officers.  It is quite the sight and sound to behold.

As it so happens, I was in Hung Hom and Whampoa earlier in the week (and had taken the same cross-harbour ferry between Hung Hom and North Point that I did again on Sunday).  The following is a photo-essay of what this part of Kowloon looks like in calmer times -- though it's worth noting that the friend I was visiting there talked about how she happened to have had her apartment windows open one evening some weeks back when her area was tear gassed, with the result that her abode was filled with tear gas that required quite a bit of effort to wipe clean... 

On the cross-harbour ferry heading to Hung Hom
 
A uncrowded part of Hong Kong
 
 The parked tour buses point to the presence of (Mainland Chinese)
tourists but peace nonetheless prevails for the most part
 
 View from one of the apartments at Whampoa Garden

An apparently landlocked boat is the area's most 
easily recognizable landmark

Believe it or not, The Whampoa is actually a boat-shaped
shopping mall rather than an actual maritime vessel! 
 
One of my more "artistic" photography attempts in Hung Hom ;b
 
On a beautiful, sunny day, Hong Kong's troubles 
and woes can seem far away even if they actually aren't

Sunday, December 1, 2019

The uneasy peace is over but not so the protests and resistance

Protest march in front of The Peninsula this afternoon

asking people to "Never forget why you started" today

Protesting loudly despite a strong riot police presence

For some reason or other, the Hong Kong police issued letters of no objection to three different protest marches today -- the first time they had done this for any protest march since September 8th.   There were people who wondered whether this was gesture of goodwill from the local constabulary or if it was all the trap.  But the first, which took place this morning -- and whose aim was to express concern over the impact of police tear gas on children's health --  took place without incident.  And ditto re the second, which was planned as a thank you gesture to the American government for passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act earlier this week

Consequently, hopes were high that the third protest march of today, staged to urge the public to remember their fight for their five core demands -- and in doing so, serve as a reminder that Carrie Lam and her Beijing overlords have still not bowed to the will of the (majority of Hong Kong) people -- would be peaceful too.  Indeed, many wo lei fei, believing that this would be the case, turned up to publically protest -- in a number of cases, with young children in tow or senior citizen parents for company -- for the first time in months.

Upon getting to Tsim Sha Tsui at the official start time of this afternoon's protest march, I found a veritable sea of protesters at the official start venue: the area around the Clock Tower.  It was the largest protest crowd I've seen in a while, in fact; and one whose large size I think that both the police along with march organizer had not expected to have to deal with.  Sadly, the police turned once more to their usual, dubious "crowd control" methods involving prematurely revoking their permit for the march and then tear gassing the crowd that I can personally attest to having included children, elderly folks, people in wheelchairs and musicians playing Glory to Hong Kong on such as a saxophone while marching along the route.     

As it so happened, I was far enough away on the occasions that the police employed tear gas and other weapons on protesters today.  At the same time though, I was close enough to the action that I worried -- like was the case the last time I was in Tsim Sha Tsui for a protest -- that police actions would cause a stampede that would end up with me getting hurt along with hundreds, if not thousands, of other people as we frequently found ourselves in super crowded as well as log jammed situations.   

Fortunately, I managed to extricate myself from that scary situation and ended up being among those who managed to get to the official march end over in Hung Hom.  I must admit to thinking a bit before I went ahead and decided to take a ferry over to North Point -- whose reputation for being a pro-Beijing bastion gained added notoriety after thugs sought to attack pro-democracy protesters there back in August.  And despite warnings issued from a fellow passenger for people to be on the lookout for danger, I manage to get home safe and sound from there.         

What with tear gas and pepper balls also having been fired at Prince Edward last night, it is looking like the peaceful window opened by protesters has been shut once more by the police.  To those who go on and on about "violent protesters": please do realize that us protesters really have tried to give peace a chance time and time again.  Also, that the sheer size of many a protest in Hong Kong makes it so that it really is hard, if not downright impossible for the crowd to disperse quickly -- and that it really doesn't help when people trying to move along get tear gassed in the bargain.       

Friday, November 29, 2019

A reminder that universities are where thoughts should fly freely and inspiration can come

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


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.    


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." 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

An uneasy peace currently reigns -- but for how long more?

Jockey Club Auditorium in happier times
 
View (including of the upper section of the International 
Commerce Centre) from the campus one fine day last year
 
 
With an uneasy peace prevailing at PolyU along with the rest of Hong Kong over the past few days, there have been multiple calls made for the sensely siege to end and release of the remaining individually effectively trapped there by the police.  But rather than retreat from the scene, the police have announced their intent to set foot on the university campus tomorrow.  
 
In other words: instead of the results of Sunday's District Council Election giving them some pause and reason to question -- or even reverse -- their actions thus far,  it seems that Carrie Lam is continuing to be deaf to pro-democracy protesters' demands and the government, including its police arm, are going to continue to provoke already angry people.  Indeed, in recent days, harsh sentences have been meted out to protesters involved in the 2016 "Fishball Revolution" as well as this summer and news of it looking into requiring civil servants to take oaths of allegiance indicates that the government actually is doubling down in its actions against seekers of democracy who wish to exercise freedoms supposedly guaranteed them in the Basic Law.

 
(Almost needless to say: I sincerely hope that Hong Kong protesters can retain their sense of humor, and that the police don't go crazy once more doing such as fire thousands of rounds of tear gas in a single day.  Actually, it's really nuts that the latter don't seem to have realized yet -- or plain don't care -- that their doing so only makes more Hong Kongers more determined to rebel against a government that is not serving the majority of the population.)      

Monday, November 25, 2019

A tsunami of an election result and a major rebuke to Carrie Lam's government

What I went to witness late last night

I was far from the only person who made the effort, and 
found it all to be a riveting -- and, at times, tense -- watch

The winning candidate talks to the press :)


If truth be told, I too have been in shock -- but happily so in my case! -- for much of today by the size of the pro-democrats' election triumph (and people's public rebuke of Carrie Lam's government).  After all, it's really pretty uncommon to see close to 90 percent of the contested seats go to the opposition; and all this in spite of allegations of voter fraud and foul play on the part of the pro-Beijing camp!  Add to this a whole slew of big name pro-Beijing politicians losing their seats, often to young people making their first bid to enter political office at this level, and it all can feel like one's hallucinating what's going on rather than it being really true!

It doesn't help that I ended up suffering a bit from sleep deprivation on account of not only going and watching the votes being counted at my local polling station -- and consequently being there to witness live my chosen candidate being proclaimed the winner of a seat that a pro-Beijinger had taken uncontested the last time around -- after writing up yesterday's blog post but then staying up for several hours afterwards to watch the results being delivered.   But such was my initially disbelief at what turned out to be a veritable tsunami of wins in favor of the pro-democrats that I ended up staying until the number of seats they won got past the 200 mark before I could relax enough to feel able to go to sleep!

Even before the final results (of 388 seats to the pro-democrats, 59 to pro-Beijingers and 4 to Independents) were announced, people were celebrating, as a friend suggested on Facebook, like Hong Kong had won the (football) World Cup!  Bottles of champagne were popped after news was received of Junius Ho having been vanquished by pro-democrat Cary Lo.  And the champagne flowed again -- this time, including those from at least one bottle of Dom Perignon! -- at a pro-democracy protest turned celebration in Central this afternoon

Amidst all the joy though, thoughts also did turn to the continued siege of PolyU and the people still trapped on its campus.  While it remains to be seen if they are successful in getting those trapped out in one piece and free of riot charges, I consider it very much to the credit of the newly elected District Councillors that they made it a priority to gain access to it this afternoon and have done so

In addition, thoughts did turn to those who have already sacrificed so much to the pro-democracy cause.  And while I couldn't help but smile and laugh a lot today, I shed a few tears too: particularly after coming across the following illustrated story (for which the word "comic" can seem like a misnomer).      

Sunday, November 24, 2019

A historic election day in Hong Kong

Not a line for bargains at the local ParknShop 
supermarket or, for that matter, any shop or store!

Rather, people queued up for hours today to cast their vote in

And the campaigning continued well into the later part of the day

I got up earlier than usual this morning to vote for the first time in the District Council Election.  (The previous time I was eligible to do so, the (pro-Beijing) candidate in my area had run unopposed.)  In the days leading up to it, messages were shared online (and on Lennon Walls) urging people to go and vote early, in case they got prevented from doing so later in the day.  With memories too of long lines late into the night at Taikoo Shing and Lam Tin for the 2016 Legislative Council elections, I figured it would indeed be better to get over to my local polling station closer to 7.30am (the polling start time) than 10.30pm (the polling closing time).   

As it turned out, I ended up waiting in line for more than one and a half hours to cast my vote.  It was quite the contrast to the previous occasions when I had voted in Hong Kong.  On each of them, I had just walked into the polling station and been done with the whole process in less than 10 minutes!   Yet today, my experience was the rule rather than the exception; with other friends sharing about having joined long queues at their respective designated polling stations too -- though there was one who stated rather smugly that when she went to vote at around 4pm, she got to breeze in and out in far less time than it had taken her husband, who had opted to go cast his vote in the morning!

It's not just that lots of people went earlier than usual to vote today though but, rather, that lots more people went to vote today than is usually the case for District Council elections.  In the past, many people didn't place much importance on these elections because the District Councils are the lowest tier of government in Hong Kong.  But their significance has latterly been realized on account of such as their being the only fully democratic elections in Hong Kong (unlike that for the Legislative Council, never mind Chief Executive) -- and as such, can be utilized as a referendum on the Hong Kong government as a whole -- as well as there being practical benefits to winning seats on, and control of, District Councils.      

By 9.30pm, more than 2.85 million people -- that is, 69 percent of the electorate -- had cast their votes.  With unprecedented numbers of people turning out to vote today, hopes are high that there will be a large number of pro-democrat victories; this especially since some of the highest voter turnouts have been in areas that have seen lots of protest (and negative action by riot police).  

At the same time though, there are some fears about the record voter turnout; with the possibility of phantom voters definitely existing along with vote rigging.  And, already, there's ample evidence of the usual shenanigans pulled by the pro-Beijing camp: namely, vote buying and the distribution of all manner of goodies to those who vote for them.  Also, as if that's not shameless enough, there's their instructing elderly people who don't seem to be entirely sound of mind who to vote for at polling stations.      

Additionally, despite Electoral Affairs Commission chairman Barnabas Fung declaring that "Everyone has to queue up to enter the polling station, and there's no priority or preference given to anyone", there apparently were people who got to vote at a different polling station from their designated one (on account of their being wheelchair users) over in Kennedy Town.  And I am pretty sure that I saw elderly people and the family members accompanying them getting to jump the (very long) queue at my polling station this morning!  

So I think it's understandable then that I still am feeling really tense even though polling closed some time back.  And seeing the number of riot police in the area around my polling station (which happens to be located just a few minutes' walk away from my residence) increase from two this morning to about eight this afternoon to at least a dozen in the evening doesn't help me feel relaxed either.  

Call me paranoid but I'm still deciding whether to close all my windows tonight (in case tear gas gets fired in my area) or not (because my place would get stuffy with the windows closed).  Also, after posting this blog entry, I plan to go and watch the votes being counted at my polling station.   

Still, rather than end things on a depressing note, here's stating that: If nothing else, the high voter turnout at today's District Council election clearly shows that Hong Kong people want to have a say with regards to their government. Fingers crossed for the news tomorrow to be further in favor of democracy.  And as it is, it's really nice that this has been the first tear gas free weekend Hong Kong has had in quite some time!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Drama going to and after movie screenings this month in Hong Kong

Some bricks missing from pavements in Tsim Sha Tsui

Meanwhile, extra bricks lie by the side of other sidewalks 

Also in the area: a shoddy looking attempt to fill back a hole?

Not so long ago, going to watch a movie at the Broadway Cinematheque in Yau Ma Tei didn't involve much drama.  A good measure of how different Hong Kong has become during the present unrest though is that even a seemingly mundane activity like cinema-going can feel quite fraught with danger these days.  


After learning that the HKAFF had scheduled a "make up" screening for that film, I decided that I had to go to it -- even though this new showtime was at 9.45pm, one of my least favorite movie time slots.  As the screening day approached, my enthusiasm for that scheduled screening time sank some more upon certain events (primarily, the siege of PolyU) and circumstances (specifically, the closing of the Cross Harbour Tunnel) making it so that I would not be able to get to and out of Yau Ma Tei using my favored mode of transport for those purposes.

If the film concerned wasn't M for Malaysia, I would have just given up there and then.  But I really wanted to see this documentary about last year's Malaysian election miracle; this especially since I figured it'd provide me with some inspiration to continue fighting for genuine universal suffrage here in Hong Kong, ahead of tomorrow's District Council elections.    

In lieu of the routes of the two direct bus options currently being suspended, I ended up taking two different buses plus the Star Ferry over to Yau Ma Tei and then three different buses home (since the Star Ferry would have already ended service for the night by the time I'd get to Tsim Sha Tsui after the screening).  Making my journey to the Broadway Cinematheque seem more hazardous was that, on the bus from Tsim Sha Tsui further up the Kowloon Peninsula, I passed by sections of the city which looked shockingly torn up -- so shocking, in fact, that I ended up returning to the area earlier today to confirm in broad daylight what I had seen last night.       

As for what happened after last night's screening: as I made my way to Nathan Road to catch the first of three buses I'd be taking home, I passed by a woman screaming at workers near a closed MTR exit.  I didn't stay to find out what the commotion was about but I wouldn't be surprised if she was upset to find that the MTR had closed for the day earlier than she thought would be the case.  

Then, shortly after I got onto that first bus, a number of police vans with lights flashing rushed northwards, presumably to nearby Mongkok and Prince Edward (which the driver of the bus taking me to Yau Ma Tei earlier in the evening told me that his bus would be bypassing).  More than incidentally, a friend told me there have been nightly protests in those areas for weeks, maybe even months, now -- and that they are so much of the new "norm" that there's not much press coverage of them anymore! 

On the same bus heading out of Yau Ma Tei, I encountered two befuddled tourists who hadn't realized the MTR would be closing before 1am and seemed pretty lost in general.  They can count themselves lucky that this week in Hong Kong hasn't been as bad as the previous week (even with the tragedy that is the siege of PolyU going on and protests still taking place).  Even so, I would highly recommend that if you're going to visit Hong Kong anytime soon, do be sufficiently aware of the current situation by doing such as reading up on what's (been) happening here before you come over and consulting knowledgeable locals while you're here!   

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Peaceful protests against the odds in Central and beyond

Lunchtime protest in Central earlier this week

The protest attracted a number of riot police,
some armed with submachine guns

Threats were issued but the crowds didn't disperse 
until it was time to head back to work!

The siege of PolyU (as the Hong Kong Polytechnic University is popularly known) in not yet over; with a number of holdouts still on campus -- including a cook adamant that the food situation, at least, is not as bad as some people have made out.  Still, the general sense appears to be that it's but a matter of time before this particular section of this protracted protest movement will conclude; this even while the ongoing pro-democracy protests still have quite a bit of life in them.

Every day thus far this week, there have been protests taking place at lunchtime in various parts of Hong Kong, with Central being at the, well, center, of it allOn Tuesday and Wednesday, the riot police arrived at the scene soon after to try to shut down the protests.  I was there on Tuesday and while it's true enough that the riot police quickly got people off the roads, large crowds ended up occupying the surrounding sidewalks and were pretty vocal in expressing their disdain for the police as well as their seeking "Five demands, not one less".   

For the record: I had never heard "Diu lei lo mo" shouted by so many people (at the police) at the same time before -- and most definitely not by such a generally well-dressed crowd (We're talking three piece suits in some cases for the men and designer wear and heels for the women here) too!  Also, I have to admit to some of the asides I heard being made between friends tickling my funny bone!

First off were the disdainful remarks made about the thuggish riot police having too low an education to be able to understand as well as speak English -- which then prompted a suggestion to "Let's shout at them in English!"  Then there was the genuine astonishment of a wide-eyed woman who pointed to the riot police before theatrically proclaiming to all around her: "They really aren't wearing ID tags!"  (After one of the officers aimed a glare at her, her friend literally pulled her away and, fortunately, spirited her off to safety!)


Lest it not be obvious: the above-mentioned protests were peaceful ones (despite the police often seeming wanting to make them otherwise).  The reason why I want to emphasize this is that many people -- inside and outside of Hong Kong -- still don't seem to realize that there have been a whole lot of peaceful protests in Hong Kong over the past six months or so!

Returning to the people still holed up at PolyU: while the government is wont to deem everyone there to be rioters, there reportedly are a number of non-protesters -- never mind non-rioters -- there.  Call me biased but the general sense is that there are a heck of a lot wrongly accused as well as plain wronged civilians amidst all this business.  So please spare a thought for them, including those people who were arrested by the police during the siege of PolyU, then put on trains headed to who knows where: possibly across the border to Mainland China, to suffer a worse ordeal and fate than Simon Cheng (since their illegal -- if they were indeed sent to Mainland China -- abduction does not appear to have gotten much international attention as yet). 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Protesting while watching football and cheering for the Hong Kong national team

Two national anthems were played before the association 
football match at Hong Kong Stadium tonight

scored its first goal in the first half

They managed to score a goal too in the second half! :)

Before anything else: here's confirming that, contrary to my truly pessimistic expectations, the police siege of Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is still ongoing.  This is not to say though that the news coming out of there has been all that great.  To the contrary, in fact, as reports, video footage and images galore have attested to terrible things having occured in the past 72 hours or so in the area, including the police reneging on their promises to let people leave unharmed by firing tear gas and rubber bullets as well as effecting arrests in a thoroughly brutal fashion.

So it might seem callous of me to have gone and attended the football match at Hong Kong Stadium this evening between Hong Kong and Cambodia -- except that this World Cup Qualifier was listed on the Hong Kong protest schedule and was arguably one of a number of events these past few days that many people took part in with the hope of causing at least some riot police to be diverted to them, and away from the besieged university.

Yesterday (and especially last night), thousands of people went to central Kowloon to try to create diversions for and also to rescue people trapped at PolyUAt lunchtime today as well as yesterday, office workers and others protested in Central -- but while it's true enough that protesters were quickly forced off a street they had occupied onto neighboring sidewalks today, their actions resulted in a good number of riot police spending some time in Central rather than, as might have been the case, on the other side of Victoria Harbour.    

Returning to the subject of tonight's football match: here's confirming that I did indeed encounter riot police on duty on the way to and into its venue.  Also, here's confirmation of there being lots of pro-democracy supporters as well as football fans in the crowd came by way of the booing of the Chinese national anthem (which, officially, also is Hong Kong's but really isn't accepted as being so) when it was played before kick off,  the belting out of Glory to Hong Kong more than once this evening, and protest chants reverberating through the stadium along with more football match specific ones.  And even with the latter, shouts of "We are Hong Kong" and "Fight for Hong Kong" are impossible to think of as being non-political in current circumstances. 

At the same time though, I have to admit to having genuinely enjoyed watching the football and being at the game; this not least since Hong Kong ended up notching its first World Cup Qualifying Match victory in five attempts by scoring two goals while not letting in any from Cambodia.  A week after I had broken down and wept upon learning what was happening at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a day after I had gotten so upset about what was happening at PolyU that -- strange but true -- I actually felt the top of my head heat up, it was nice to be able to cheer on Hong Kong, and see at least its football team triumph after having endured a number of losses over the past few months.     

Sunday, November 17, 2019

More agony for Hong Kongers on International Students' Day

Hong Kong is burning on the 30th anniversary

Messages on a cardboard mock-up of the Berlin Wall
erected this evening in Edinburgh Place, Hong Kong

What many Hong Kongers want

In a since superseded November protest schedule for Hong Kongers, there had been plans to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with a rally at Edinburgh Place on November 9th.  But the death of Alex Chow Tsz-lok on the morning of the day before put a stop to what would have been a happy as well as peaceful protest event.  

Although Hong Kong's troubles have continued into this week -- and, in the eyes of many (including myself) actually increased in intensity and seriousness -- no such decision was made to cancel a rally at Edinburgh Place this evening to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the beginning of Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution (and defacto beginning of the end of Communism in Eastern Europe).  And while public transport problems had caused me to abandon plans to attend a rally in support of, and to praise, Hong Kong's firefighters and ambulance workers on Thursday night, I arrived in Central this evening with sufficient time to peruse the messages written and plastered on a cardboard wall that had been erected there, and even add a couple of my own!   

A few minutes after 7pm, the rally officially began with announcements, including of the main themes of today's event, in Cantonese and English (with sign language interpretation also utilized at the rally).  A video was also screened which began with a look at Eastern Europe in the years immediately after the Second World War, included film footage showing the emergence and rise of Poland's Solidarity along with the creation as well as fall of the Berlin Wall, and ended with a recap of recent events in Hong Kong.

Also shown at the event were video recordings of what took place over in Mainland China in the summer of 1989.  And it once more tore at my heart to see idealistic students with little idea of what lay ahead for them and their country on June 4th of that year as well visual documentation of the massacre that Hong Kongers have continued to commemorate and mourn even while many Mainland Chinese can't, won't or are outright ignorant about.  

Three other things compounded the agony of this evening's re-watch of the massacre of students by the People's Liberation Army 30 years ago.  First was the fact that we were doing so just meters away from the Hong Kong headquarters of the same military force under the absolute control of the Chinese Communist Party.  Second was the same People's Liberation Army having ventured out into the streets of Hong Kong yesterday afternoon for what was clearly a propaganda stunt that I sincerely hope that the vast majority of Hong Kongers can see through (and thus react to with horror).  

Most upsetting of all was that midway through this evening's events, participants were sharing images posted online of Hong Kong Polytechnic University in flames (on the evening of what happens to be International Students' Day) and messages of the Hong Kong police having threatened the protesters there with the use of lethal force, resulting in an exodus of a good portion of the rally's crowd -- presumably to head over to try to help out the beleaguered protesters over across Victoria Harbour.  In all honesty, this was one of those occasions when one gets incredibly tempted to cease being a wo lei fei (peaceful, rational, non-violent) protester and one could sense the frustration and shame of people who elected to stay at Edinburgh Place and be so.  

A friend visiting from Germany invoked the protests led by Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King last night as examples of successful non-violent movements and why Hong Kong protesters should eschew violence.  But when I asked her if she thought Gandhi or King would have been successful against the Nazis, she fell silent.  

And yes, I know that it can seem like a cheap shot to some to compare Communist China to the Nazis.  On the other hand, one can't deny that Communist Chinese leaders have been responsible for a whole lot of atrocities and deaths, including of democracy-seeking university students and their supporters at Tiananmen Square.  Also, it can't be too much exaggeration to state that, after what happened over at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Tuesday, people have good reason to fear that the Communist China-backed Hong Kong police may carry out their version of the Tiananmen Square massacre at Hong Kong Polytechnic University tonight. :(