Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Monday, June 27, 2022
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Remembering Apple Daily and those who worked for it one year and one day after its final issue came out
Sometimes I feel like a garden gnome, hunkered down and being comfortably ignored. Other times I feel anxious and helpless when I think about my former colleagues in custody.
I have known some of them for many years. In our old life, one joined me on a 100km charity walk in Japan, another often went trekking with me. Surrounded by nature we watched the sunrises and sunsets together. We shared hot dumplings on a chilly day after another exhausting hike. We laughed and cried together.
While they have been detained for almost a year., I still feel their presence...
It is a struggle to try and put my emotions at what has happened to us all into words, so instead I will share an excerpt from a letter I received from a fellow journalist, now in prison.
“Life will nevertheless push us forward, like a stream that brings both hungry and sleeping fishes downstream. Strong wind will lead us towards tomorrow, no matter if we are anxious or calm.”
Thursday, June 23, 2022
More bad portends -- but some "must read" articles on Hong Kong too -- ahead of the 25th anniversary of its Handover
In Hong Kong today, falsehoods, gaslighting, and endless fabrications such as these are equaled only by the cowardice of the people partaking in this insulting ruse, an infectious cascade of lies used by Hong Kong’s leaders, and their overlords in Beijing, to reimagine the past and justify the retooling of the city. One would think that the “patriots” deemed worthy of running Hong Kong and their swelling ranks of collaborators would be proud of their role in the dismantling of the city’s freedoms, jailing of its opposition, and overhauling of its institutions. Instead, they hide their motives behind unbelievable excuses and make their moves under the cover of darkness, treating Hong Kongers with visceral contempt, like a pack of gullible idiots devoid of agency and free thought.The narrative of the 2019 prodemocracy movement—in which millions defended their liberties and pushed for more freedom—now recounted by Beijing and its loyalists in Hong Kong is one of paid protesters, foreign agitators, and unpatriotic internal opposition. Claims that once resided in the mind of unhinged propagandists and on the fringes of the internet are now accepted wholesale in many parts of polite society, a story line being cemented in the city’s courts, where scores of activists and former lawmakers are on trial for violating Hong Kong’s national-security law...It is a struggle to try to keep up with the lies, which arrive at a furious volume and pace: New school textbooks proclaim that Hong Kong was never a British colony, for example, and heavy editing was deployed earlier this year to make a set of postage stamps appear more patriotic. All of these fictions serve the city’s leaders and officials, and help perpetuate one of the biggest, most enduring falsehoods about Hong Kong: that it is a city where people simply don’t care about politics. One needs only to look at the events in the city for the past decade to know that this is untrue. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, few places did more in recent years to stand up for freedom and democracy in the face of an unending autocratic assault.
Mo has been a prolific writer, authoring at least 10 books over the course of her life, including a couple on raising children — “essentially sharing my experiences throughout my, ahem, reasonably successful motherhood”, she joked on a personal website many years ago. Her publisher Jimmy Pang misses her presence at the city’s annual book fair where she was known as the “mic queen” for standing at his stall for hours introducing her books and speaking to passers-by.
“She would quote this line as she signed her new book for her fans, especially young people: ‘It’s not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog,’” Pang told me. “[She meant] the fight between two dogs is not about their sizes, but more about the spirit that they hold in the fight. When you fight, relying on pure violence is futile. Focus on how to hold on.”
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Friday, June 17, 2022
Remembering and sharing memories in order to fight against those in power who seek to rewrite history
Hong Kong was never a British colony, schoolchildren in the city will soon be taught. That may come as a surprise to the many parents who remember British governors, the Queen’s head on coins and stamps, and numerous other relics of a 150-year colonial presence. Behind the apparent absurdity is a deadly serious program to inculcate youth with the Communist Party’s view of history...
China successfully lobbied to have Hong Kong and Macau removed from the United Nations’ list of colonies in 1972, after taking over the UN seat formerly held by Taiwan. Beijing’s concern was that colonial status might pave the way for Hong Kong to become independent. Under the UN’s Declaration on Decolonization, passed in 1960, colonized peoples were entitled to the right to self-determination via referendum over whether they would become an independent state, join with another country, or stay with the colonial motherland, as Ho-fung Hung, a political economy professor at Johns Hopkins University, recounts in City on the Edge: Hong Kong under Chinese Rule, published in April.
It’s a semantic distinction then, but a significant one... China’s post-Qing governments may have been morally right to reject the 19th century treaties as unequal. It is nevertheless a historical fact that the 1842 Treaty of Nanking ceded Hong Kong in perpetuity to Britain, and that the then-Chinese government continued to recognize and accept the treaty as valid for seven decades. Will pupils be given the full picture?
...At root here is a clash of world views, between the philosophical approaches of the open society and the Leninist system. Is truth an objective quality to be discovered through inquiry and rational discourse, or a political decision, a fact to be created by action and force of will? The reality that Hong Kong was a de facto British colony for 150 years is less important than making the city’s young people believe they have never left (and therefore never can) the Chinese family. (My emphasis)