Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Hong Kong is changing (too) fast in some ways but not changing enough when it comes to others

First among equals? 
(from Chan Man-chun's Chung Hwa series)
 Also from Chan Man-chun's Chung Hwa series
-- this art work is easy enough to interpret
Was it just a few days ago that Hong Kong celebrated having gone three consecutive weeks without a local Wuhan coronavirus transmission?  Alas, the past two days have turned up evidence of a community outbreak taking place in Hong Kong; with there being close to four times more locally transmitted cases reported today (19) than imported ones (5) for a total of 24 new cases to add to Hong Kong's growing tally of 1,323.  
Amidst this latest surge of coronavirus infections, local experts are calling for a re-tightening of certain restrictions; with the idea being to curb the spread of the coronavirus in indoor settings (where it's been found to take place more easily than outdoors).  And looking at the venues where the latest spreads have been identified as taking place (e.g., restaurants and at least one elderly care home), it is indeed looking like it's healthier to be out in the open air, if one does venture outside of one's home, than enclosed spaces.  
It having taken over a week since China's security legislation for Hong Kong was made law can be considered one of the slower pieces of actions that the authorities have taken since we moved into July.  Frankly, they've appeared in quite the hurry to "mainlandize" Hong Kong; with jokes about things changing by the hour having been replaced by observations about it feeling like they're changing by the minute.   
Among today's announcements: the Hong Kong government banning of the Glory to Hong Kong protest anthem in Hong Kong's schools -- including the alma mater of Sun Yat-sen, located just a few feet away from the national security office headquarters -- and the same government proposing that all civil servants be required to take oaths to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR, and declare to uphold the Basic Law.  (No word, as yet though, of the extension of the Great Firewall of China to encompass Hong Kong though I must admit that I am getting a sense that that day is approaching, and probably way more quickly than I would like, despite -- or maybe because of -- internet companies (belatedly) standing up to the authorities in Hong Kong.) 
Something that doesn't look to be changing anytime soon though is the local constabulary being allowed to employ chokeholds while making arrests, including by way of kneeling on a person's neck.  This is even though there's been one recent death from this practice here, not just over in the U.S.A.; and one also needs to factor in that Hong Kong riot police now regularly wear metal knee guards when on duty.
Something else that I am afraid will not be changing for a time is the police brutality and misbehavior that makes the local constabulary no longer respected by the vast majority of Hong Kongers.  It's not just the overwillingness to use tear gas (including inside MTR stations and near homes for the elderly), the targeting of journalists and the mass arrests of pro-democracy protestors (many for what might best be described as thought crimes).  Rather, it's also the callousness and cruelty that's often on display, even when the officers are aware that cameras are capturing their actions.      

One can only imagine the horrors that take place where journalists and their cameras aren't around.  Or not, since some brave souls have stepped forward to give testimony.  And then there are those cases which are heard in court: like that which saw a man acquitted yesterday of pushing a policeman during the protests, over the course of which it was revealed that had been subjected to physical and verbal abuse by police officers following his arrest back on November 12th of last year.  In all honesty, a little piece of me died when I read the following:   
Fiona Nam Hoi-yan, for [the defence counsel for the subsequently acquitted man], complained during the trial that officers had used pepper spray on [him] at close range before pouring an unknown liquid on his head, making the inflammatory substance flow down his body and causing searing pain.
He later felt unwell and vomited inside a police van after arrest, but was asked by an unknown officer to “clean it up with his tongue” before he was allowed to get off, Nam continued, adding that [he] was repeatedly intimidated during the car journey to the police station.
There is no mention in the article of the police officers involved being reprimanded, let alone punished.  Perhaps the icing on the cake (to give you a sense of the caliber, and tolerance, of Hong Kong protestors): "Asked outside court whether he had anything to say to the police officers involved in his case, the free(d) man said: “We are all Hongkongers. The same goes for the police.”" 

Monday, July 6, 2020

Literally as well as metaphorically headache-inducing developments in recent days in Hong Kong

Spotted last Wednesday (and probably already removed
by today but recorded for posterity by my camera) 

As Chairman Mao said,  

For those who were wondering: I'm still here; and I'm still planning to generally blog about Hong Kong.  But I literally have been having headaches for the past few days along with a stiff neck and high blood pressure, for which I've been taking medication (and am apt to blame the stress that has come from China's draconian security law for Hong Kong having come into effect).  So I've been sleeping a lot and not going out nor checking the news as much as has become the norm in the past year or so.  And I figured I might as well take a few days off from blogging too (except to commemorate a beloved character's brthday two days ago). 

The $64,000 question though is how much longer I will be able to do this sort of thing.  In just a few days, so much has happened -- and, sadly, not much of it good.  Among the more major developments have been Nathan Law having fled Hong Kong last week even while his erstwhile Demosisto compatriots, Joshua Law and Agnes Chow, elected to remain in the Big Lychee even while surely fully knowing that they were marked for prosecution.  And so it has come to pass, with their having been charged with inciting others to participate in an "unlawful assembly" outside the police headquarters in Wan Chai on June 21st of last year, and also to participating in that "unauthorised assembly".

Lest it not be clear: many Hong Kongers support the man who was Hong Kong's youngest ever legislator's decision to leave Hong Kong.  And, frankly, it's a greater shock to me that Agnes Chow decided to plead guilty today to what she was charged with (even while Joshua Law and another ex-Demosisto member, Ivan Lam, opted against doing so).  Is she doing so to see what kind of punishment the courts are planning to mete out to "big name" activists?  It has been mentioned that, up until now, most existing cases of people guilty of similar "crimes" have resulted in fines rather than prison sentences.  Sadly though, I could see the penalty imposed on her being harsher in nature.

Here's the thing: against the odds, there are a good number of Hong Kongers who still are willing to place faith in the law and justice in Hong Kong.  And even while lots of terrible things have been happening, it still can feel like doing Hong Kongers a disservice to completely write off Hong Kong already; this not least since it can feel like the vast majority of people doing so live outside of it and were inordinately slow to wake up to there being serious political repression and injustice taking place here.   Also, it's true enough that, even as late as this past Saturday, there have been legal rulings that have gone in favor of the opposition: e.g., five pro-democracy figures having obtained a temporary court order to prevent police from accessing their phones.           

At the same time though, this now is a Hong Kong where a man who accidentally rode his motorbike into police while flying a flag on July 1st became the first person charged under the new security law (and was denied bail, to boot, for "endangering national security").  In addition, there are fears that he was abused while in custody, resulting in several broken bones and a need to be hospitalized.  But while it was initially thought that Tong Ying-kit would not be able to appear in court today, he did end up doing so, albeit in a wheelchair.    

If truth be told, these kind of actions were anticipated by many of us to happen after the security legislation was announced over in Beijing.  But what has taken many people's breaths away is how quickly as well as dramatically things have changed since July and the Beijing-imposed legislation came along.  

Just this evening has come news that Carrie Lam has invoked it to give more powers to the police to do such as enter premises without warrants, intercept communications and request ISPs or internet platforms to remove information posted online.  How soon before major internet censorship kicks in and the likes of Facebook, WhatsApp, Google (including its Blogger platform which I'm using) and Twitter -- which, lest we forget, all currently banned in Mainland China -- will also not be allowed to be used in Hong Kong too?  At this rate, way faster than many of us would like and actually expected too. :(    

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Pear adoration on the occasion of Funassyi's 1882nd birthday! (Photo-essay)

This time last year, the extradition bill was preying on my mind.  Now, it's the sweeping security legislation that China has imposed on Hong Kong and, to a lesser extent (because Hong Kong's now had three weeks without a local transmission), the Wuhan coronavirus that are major concerns.

What's not changed in between last and this July 4th though is my love for a certain Pear (Fairy) who came down to Earth -- or, at the very least, made its first physical appearance in public -- on April 2012 but lists its birthdate as July 4, 138; and still is capable of making me smile and laugh, and be downright inspired by its cheery disposition and big heart.  Yes, today is the 1882nd birthday of Funadius Yonsei (better known as Funassyi)!  

And in honor of a being whose existence I honestly feel makes the world a better place, here's presenting a(nother) Funassyi-themed photo-essay -- this time, of some items I came away with over the course of visits I made to three Funassyilands (one each in the Pear's home city of Funabashi, Tokyo and Osaka) in 2019 along with views of the Funassyilands that are like pilgrimage sites for me:-

Some items I did not avail myself of at the Funabashi 
Funassyiland when I visited back in May 2019

I did come away from my visit to Funabashi with 
a free magazine promoting the city
with Funassyi on the cover though! :)
Funassyi-themed socks for my chairs ;D

Spot the Pear at Harajuku Kiddy Land!

 There hopefully will be at least one corner of 
that store that will be forever a Funassyiland...

 A section of the Osaka Kiddy Land is 
home too to a Funassyiland :)

Part of me so wanted to bring that 90cm
Pajama Funassyi plushie home...

What I absolutely made sure to get was a 2020 calendar
to sit on my desktop -- and I really do hope that I'll be 
able to get the 2021 edition on a future visit to Japan...

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Repression but also defiance on the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong's official Handover

What ensued after the police blocked access to
Causeway Bay to these people this afternoon

One of six police water cannon truck-led convoy 
sightings that came my way today

A small sticker with so many messages
(and in multiple languages to boot!)

Eight years ago today, I took part in a legal protest march on the anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Adminstrative Region and -- the reason why I went out on the street that day -- the day that the man who became Chief Executive by winning 689 votes from the roughly 1,200 strong selection committee assumed office.  This year, however, the police refused to give a letter of no objection for the annual July 1st pro-democracy march.  Still, as I was making my way over to meet a couple of friends in Causeway Bay this afternoon, I was informed by one of them that there were people marching past her as she made her way to our agreed-upon meeting point!   

Although another friend and I had little problem getting to that meeting point, the friend who had to cover a longer distance to get over there reported that she was finding roads she'd otherwise be using being blocked off by riot police.  So the friend I was already with and I decided to go meet this other friend at an alternative place that was accessible to all of us; over the course of which I saw hundreds of other people deciding to literally take to the streets after being cleared out of Causeway Bay by the riot police!

Put another way: the police had banned a protest march from taking place on July 1st but because they refused people access to large swathes of Causeway Bay and also kept on telling people to stop gathering and move away, they caused people to start marching en masse through and out of Causeway Bay to various points to the east and west of it!  And with seemingly insufficient protestors to target and attack, they got to turning their attention to, and targeting, journalists on the scene with such as pepper spray and also the noxious spray from their water cannons (two of which I spotted over the course of the afternoon; all three of which were apparently stationed today on Hong Kong Island)!

For the record: the police targeted their water cannon barrage at journalists on more than one occasion.  And one of them was so terrible that it needs to be seen from more than one angle to believe -- and also appreciate that, after the journalist in question was knocked down by the water cannon spray, many people rushed to the unfortunate fellow's rescue, with scant regard for their own safety.  (This is something I've long appreciated about Hong Kong people involved with protests; this particularly after I ended up inhaling far more tear gas than I clearly was comfortable with one afternoon last year while attempting to make my way home!) 

Lest it be thought though that all of the tens of thousands of protestors who turned up to show their defiance and continued quest for justice on the first full day of Hong Kong's second handover to China managed to get off scott free, here's pointing out that more than 300 people have been arrested; some for dubious crimes such as having Taiwan flags in their possession, having stickers with slogans such as "Hong Kong independence" on them, waving a "Hong Kong independence" flag (this by the youngest person arrested today -- aged just 15), and walking away from the police?  In addition, even people queueing for bubble tea were not spared by the police: imagine being pepper sprayed because you decided to choose to get a drink at shops that people with trigger-happy fingers didn't like

With scenes like these taking place in open view of cameras and apparent disregard of world opinion, small wonder then that many in the world (including four major Japanese newspapers) are trumpeting the death of Hong Kong today.  And yet, as one Hong Konger phrased it, "Hong Kong is dead but the Hong Kong people are alive".  And maybe, just maybe, the world might finally be getting it: that people in Hong Kong haven't been crying wolf and are completely serious about Hong Kong's plight (as well as really, truly love it). 

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.