October 2019 / Issue 1
What exactly is happening? • Hong Kong police inciting ‘white terror’ among students • Overseas students defend identity in times of protests
In This Issue
Here’s what you need to know about the Hong Kong protests
Hong Kong protest timeline
Hong Kong police instill “white terror” among student journalists and leaders
Foreign domestic helpers are the silent victims of the protests
Social media: In the age of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement
Safe in black?
Overseas Hong Kong students defend their identity in times of protests
The heart-stirring rhythm: ‘Glory to Hong Kong’
Letter from the Editor Before summer, I was ecstatic at the thought of welcoming a fresh group of reporters once the semester starts. Now that they have finally joined us, we are still excited, but our excitement is unfortunately laced with concerns and fear. Since the beginning of the anti-extradition movement in June, the reporting environment for journalists has quickly deteriorated. Within months, it went from being shot at with police projectiles to being arrested, beaten, or forced to remove protective gas masks in hostile environments. As editors, we spend the day in anxiety when our new reporters cover the protests. Multiple student reporters have been injured by police projectiles. A team of reporters from our own school were searched likely because the police donâ€™t see students press as real reporters, while one of them was arrested for having a butter knife in his belongings. For student reporters with limited legal means and insurance, the anti-mask law further increases their risk of being hurt or detained, for protective gas masks are absolutely necessary for any protest coverage.
Acacia Redding Alec Lastimosa Bella Huang Carine Chow Carol Mang Carol Yuan Cassie Zhang Cherry Lee Clara Ip Eurus Yiu Han Xu Haywood Man Hongshun Wong Jay Ganglani Kawai Wong Kylan Goh Liony Xue Mark Chen Mereen Santirad Moon Lam Nicole Ko Olivia Tam Ronald Fan Samuel Mo Suey So Sunny Sun Yanni Chow
Anna Kam Phoebe Lai Rachel Yeo Wallis Wang Advisers
Jenny Lam Robin Ewing Editors
Amy Ho Brison Li Cara Li Fifi Tsui Hailey Man Jo Ng Karen Kwok King Woo Maisy Mok Nadia Lam Oasis Li Stephanie Ma Tomiris Urstembayeva Vanessa Yung Vimvam Tong William Tsui Yetta Lam
Despite all the hardship we face, we dedicate this issue to the protests that had not only shaken our city, but also shocked the world. As student media, it is not about whether or not it is necessary to be present at protests to complete a story, it is about having the right to do so as a registered publication. May we stay united to defend truth and justice. Sincerely, Katherine Li Editor-in-chief
The Young Reporter Volume 52 No. 1
Elaine Soh Hailey Man Maisy Mok Oasis Li Stephanie Ma Tomiris Urstembayeva
Department of Journalism School of Communication Hong Kong Baptist University
For the past five months, hundreds of thousands of people have repeatedly taken to the streets of Hong Kong to voice their opposition initially against an extradition law amendment bill – a proposal widely regarded as Beijing’s encroachment on the semi-autonomous city’s freedom amidst China’s tightening grip on democracy. Weeks of contentious protests have since morphed into a fullblown pro-democracy movement, which has now overtaken the duration of the 2014 Umbrella Movement to become the longest and largest, in terms of disruption and scale, manifestation of resistance against Beijing since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
Here's what you need to know about the social unrest in Hong Kong Reported by Stephanie Ma and Suey So Edited by Rachel Yeo and Maisy Mok
What is the extradition bill? The Fugitive Offenders amendment bill was first proposed by the Hong Kong government in February 2019, following a murder of a 20-year-old pregnant woman Poon Hiu-wing by her 19-yearold boyfriend Chan Tong-kai, during a getaway in Taiwan. Ms. Poon was strangled to death, and her body was later stuffed into a suitcase and dumped inside a thicket of bushes near Taipei’s Zhuwei station.
Because Hong Kong lacks a formal extradition agreement with Taiwan, Mr. Chan was tried and jailed for money laundering, but not murder. The murder case spurred beleaguered Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor into action, as she submitted papers to the Legislative Council proposing the amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, which would have
allowed the transfer of fugitives to stand trial in jurisdictions with a less robust legal system, such as the mainland's. Mrs. Lam has now officially declared the bill’s withdrawal after three months of contentious protests. But protesters are less than satisfied as they demand for her to respond to their five demands laid out since the beginning of Hong Kong’s summer of unrest.
Aside from the withdrawal of the extradition bill, protesters are also demanding police accountability and greater democracy, among other things.
What are the “FIVE DEMANDS”?
1. Complete and formal withdrawal of the extradition bill
2. Retraction of the “riot” label of all protests
On September 4 evening, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced the full withdrawal of the extradition bill.
Police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung said he did not classify the protest as a riot. Instead, he only called protesters as rioters on June 18.
3. Release and withdraw criminal charges against all protesters Up till September 3, police have arrested 1,117 protesters since June 9 for offences like unlawful assembly and possesion of offensive weapons.
5. Implement universal suffrage for Chief Executive and Legislative Council elections Mrs. Lam said discussions of this demand must be undertaken within the legal framework.
4. Launch an independent commission of inquiry into police conduct Mrs. Lam did not fullfill this demand, saying that Independent Police Complaints Council is the appropriate body to investigate on recent clashes.
2019 Hong Kong Protest Timeline June to July Reported by Stephanie Ma, Suey So and Kawai Wong Edited by Maisy Mok
June 21 A June 9
One million protest A breaking record of an estimated 1.03 million people took part in a mass rally organised by the Civil Human Rights Front.
Police headquarters besieged
Bill suspended Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced that the bill would be suspended, but refused its complete withdrawal.
After a peaceful sit-in in Admiralty in the morning, hundreds of protesters occupied Harcourt Road, while some marched and laid siege of Hong Kong Police Headquarters in Wan Chai.
July 1 B Legco chaos
On the official day of Hong Kong’s 22nd anniversary of its return to China, around 550,000 people attended the annual democracy march organised by CHRF. At night, hundreds of protesters stormed into Legislative Council after ramming glass doors and windows around the complex in the early evening, destroying portraits and spray-painting graffiti inside the building.
When the government refused to back down and to table the bill’s seconding reading on June 12, protesters occupied main roads connected to Legislative Council complex, preventing lawmakers from debating the bill.
Angered by the first signs of police brutality on June 12, an estimated 2 million people flooded the streets of Hong Kong Island, breaking the June 9 record. People also marched to reject Mrs. Lam’s suspension of the much hated legislation and demand for her resignation.
First violent clash
Violent clashes broke out with riot police firing tear gas, beanbag rounds and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters at Admiralty. The blockade was later classified as a “riot” by Police Chief Stephen Lo Wai-chung.
Two million protest
G20 Summit petition In a marathon march, around 1,500 protesters petitioned to 19 foreign consulates in hopes of bringing international attention to the suspended bill, ahead of the G20 Summit.
July 21 F
Vandalism at the Liason Office
Kowloon March For the first time, Kowloon set the stage for the contentious protests in a march to Tsim Sha Tsui, aiming to inform mainland Chinese shoppers on the recent events.
Reclaim Sheung Shui Thousands flooded the streets of Sheung Shui in New Territories to protest against cross-border parallel traders. Violent clashes broke out between protesters and the police once again. At this point, protests have spread city-wide.
Mrs. Lam declared the bill was “dead”, which was not well received by protesters as it was not an official withdrawal.
The peaceful daytime march in Sha Tin descended into chaos at night when bloody brawls broke out in New Town Plaza, as baton-wielding police officers chased a small group of protesters into the shopping mall.
The bill is “dead”
Sha Tin March
A group of protesters surrounded the Hong Kong Liaison Office and defaced the Chinese emblem after a mass peaceful rally organised by CHRF. Police fired multiple rounds of tear gas, sponge grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. On the next day, China condemned the action as “intolerable”.
Yuen Long March Organisers recorded a turnout of about 288,000 marchers in the Reclaim Yuen Long protest. Bloody clashes broke out between protesters and the police again in the evening, when the police fired canisters of tear gas in the residential area and protesters hurled hard objects in return.
Flip to the next page
Yuen Long attack A group of white-clad, rod-wielding masked men rampaged through the Yuen Long railway station and attacked black-clad protesters and passengers indiscriminately. At least 45 people were injured, including journalists and a lawmaker. Police officers were heavily criticised for arriving at the scene almost 40 minutes late, and pro-democracy lawmakers denounced the authorities for “colluding with triads”.
August, September, October and still counting... August 5
One of the largest strikes in Hong Kong where tens of thousands of protesters and office workers assembled in seven districts, including Mong Kok and Central. Some protesters took to the streets after assemblies. At the end of the day, 148 people were arrested. The police claimed that more than 800 canisters of tear gas were used to disperse the protesters.
Hand in hand, more than 200,000 protesters formed human chains across the city.
The Hong Kong Way
Demonstrations turned violent as the evening wore on, about 30 white-shirted men armed with rattan sticks showed up in North Point and attacked protesters. No police were seen at the spot.
August 12 B
China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office held a press conference, criticising protesters’ action and gave“unflagging support”to Mrs. Lam.
August 9-11 A An airport sit-in was staged for three consecutive days. Protesters assembled at arrival halls and distributed protest leaflets to tourists, in hopes to raise international attention.
Major MTR lines were paralysed and over 200 flights were cancelled.
Chinese Officials address social unrest
The stargazing rally Hundreds of protesters gathered at Hong Kong Space Museum with laser pointers for the stargazing rally; in solidarity to the release of Keith Fong Chungyin, President of Hong Kong Baptist University Student Union, who was arrested for possession of offensive weapons.
Airport protests continued, riot police entered the airport The Airport Authority Hong Kong cancelled all flights in the afternoon due to a massive number of protesters gathering at the airport. The riot police entered the airport and clashed with the protesters.
The action was inspired by the Baltic Way demonstration, Hongkongers were commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way. The aim was to raise international attention to the city’s democratic movement and the five demands.
Aviation rally, #Metoo rally Demonstrators assembled at Edinburgh Place, Central to show their support to Rebecca Sy On-na, a long term employee of Cathay Dragon for 17 years and chairwoman of Dragon Airlines Flight Attendants Association. She was allegedly terminated for her pro-protest Facebook posts.
August 31 D
Mass arrests/blue-dyed water deployed for the first time/Prince Edward station beatings For the first time, police deployed water cannons, spraying indelible blue-dyed water to protesters for easier detection during the day. As night falls, a group of riot police stormed into Prince Edward MTR station. Police were caught on camera assaulting passengers, beating them with batons and spraying pepper-spray directly to their faces. MTR later closed the station and denied access of first aids and journalists. This incident sparked demand for the release of CCTV video footage.
09 Photo credit to TYR reporters Icons credit to flaticon.com
October 4 Anti-mask law
September 4 The bill has been withdrawn
Mrs. Lam announced that the extradition bill will be withdrawn, in response to one of the five demands. Protesters vowed further action despite the withdrawal.
September 2-3 E Class boycotts
A class boycott was called on the first two school days of the academic year. Students from secondary school and universities joined the rally at Chinese University of Hong Kong and Edinburgh Place.
Singing in malls and Mid-Autumn Festival Hundreds of protesters climbed to the Lion Rock to form a human chain, they used laser pointers to light up the top of the mountain at the Mid-Autumn Festival. Singing protest songs, such as the new anthem Glory to Hong Kong, in shopping malls are also becoming a regular occurence.
Secondary school students human chain
China’s National Day Violence during protests escalated as China celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.
On the same day, thousands of protesters took to the streets with their maks on.
October 6 F
High court refuse interm injuction
Mrs. Lam held the first commuStudents from various nity dialogue in Wanchai amid schools formed human mass protest outside the venue. chains in the early morning before classes began.
Turning to the Emergency Ordinance Regulations, Mrs. Lam announced the enacment of the anti-mask law. People are banned from covering up their faces in unlawful assemblies.
24 pro-democractic lawmakers applied for interim injuction against the anti-mask law and judicial review on the Chief Executive’s action to bypass the legislature. The High Court refused the injuction, while the further hearing will take place in late October for the judicial review.
(Photo credit: Jack Lung)
HONG KONG POLICE
INCITE ‘WHITE TERROR’ AMONG STUDENT JOURNALISTS AND LEADERS Reported by Rachel Yeo and Anna Kam Edited by Katherine Li
If we are targeted for reporting the truth, the more reason we should keep going. Boaz So Student reporter from Baptist University
Various arrests of high profile student leaders and student reporters have sparked controversies in schools and online, as non-mainstream media become targeted by the police due to distrust. Hundreds of Baptist University students staged a march on September 16 to rally against the arrest of broadcast journalism student Boaz So, which later escalated into a heated verbal exchange between students and various school authorities. Mr. So, a student reporter from Broadcast News Network, a student-run news station based in the university, was arrested in North Point on September 15 for suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon. This later sparked the students’ outrage, which led to verbal attacks on Journalism Department Head, Mr. Lau Chi-kuen and Baptist University’s Vice-President, Mr. Albert Chau. Riot police found a butter knife while searching through So’s belongings, then took him away in a private car. Mr. So said that the knife was used to cut mooncakes, which was confirmed by his girlfriend Rachel So Ching-yan and BNN. While the police chief superintendent of the public relations branch, Mr. Tse Tsun-chung, accused the knife of being a “nine inch sharp knife”, BNN and Mr. So have clarified that it is a butter knife with a round edge. After Mr. So was arrested, different photos shared online by both sides have sparked
“Free the arrested reporters, stop stifling press freedom,” hundreds of Baptist University students chant in Cantonese.
quarrels. Those in support of the police used a photo of kitchen knife on memes whilst those in support of Mr. So responded that he was carrying a plastic knife. “They seem to be targeting at student reporters. They also seem to be targeting at young people,” said students Ms. Lam and Ms.Tam, classmates of Mr. So who were with him and witnessed his arrest. According to Ms. Lam’s account of Mr. So’s arrest, they were requested by the riot police to show their press cards and identity cards in Fortress Hill. The police passed around their identity cards and took notes of their information. Their bags were also searched by the police on scene. Mr. So was not the only student who had been targeted by the police.
Increasingly, the police have also targeted more student leaders, including the student union president from Hong Kong Polytechnic University Ken Wu, who was physically assaulted by a 21-year-old student from the mainland. Hong Kong University’s student union president Wong Chingfung resigned from his duties citing in his letter that his position is putting his family in a “sometimes dangerous position”. The resignation was accelerated after he was assaulted by a man in white which left a scar on his right hand. Keith Fong Chung-yin, BU’s student leader, who was arrested in Sham Shui Po for purchasing laser pointers last month, said he felt like he was “tailed by the police”.
If an inquiry shows that there has been bad behaviour from many conundrums of society, whether it’s the police or not, then it will be condemned. v
Clayton Mackenzie Provost from Baptist University
The police have not responded to TYR’s enquiry about the number of students that have been arrested during the course of this social movement, which has surpassed more than 100 days. As of September 15, a total of 1,452 people between the age of 12-72 years old have been arrested in relation to the protest movement, according to the police. During the march against Mr. So’s arrest which started out peaceful, students demanded for the university to provide assistance for arrested students, to condemn the police for arbitrary arrests and stifling press freedom and to ensure the physical safety of students.
However, Clayton Mackenzie, Provost of the university, said that the school will not condemn the police for unreasonable arrest. “If an inquiry shows that there has been bad behaviour from many conundrums of society, whether it’s the police or not, then it will be condemned,’ said Mr. Mackenzie, which shocked many students who were present. Angered by the response, dozens of students decided to march up the president’s office in Shaw Tower to look for school authorities, but were stopped by the school security personnel at the elevators. They eventually took to the
stairs and managed to break through the doors of eighth floor with rods and rocks, but did not successfully reach where the presidential suite is located. “The distrust of the police officers towards the journalists are quite common, especially to non-mainstream journalists. The police officer would obstruct their reporting once in a while to check non-mainstream journalists’ identification, or even treat them impolitely,” said Bruce Lui Ping-kuen, advisor for BNN and senior lecturer from Department of Journalism at Baptist University. Mr. Lui, who assisted Mr. So during his arrest, also mentioned that his arrest is just an individual case, which would not affect the reporting activities of the Communication Department. He hopes that the police would respect the rights of student reporters in future operations.
A female student hands a petition letter addressed to President Roland Chin to Provost Clayton Mackenzie. (Photo credit: Jack Lung)
Mr. So was later released on bail on the evening of September 16. Two days later, Mr. So appeared in a press conference, providing his account on his arrest. Adamant on the basis of his arrest, he also highlighted that the police had stopped his colleagues from filming his arrest. “If we are targeted for reporting the truth, the more reason we should keep going,” Mr. So said.
Head of Journalism Department Lau Chi-kuen addressing demands from dozens of students who have broken into the 8th floor of Shaw Tower.
Caught in the mayhem: foreign domestic helpers silent victims of the protests Reported by Kylan Goh Edited by Vimvam Tong
On Sundays, foreign domestic helpers from Southeast Asia usually gather next to Victoria Park for recreational activities and to share food. But finding a safe place to meet has become increasingly challenging since protests started in June. Organisers of Indonesian Martial Arts have been holding events every Sunday in Victoria Park since October 2009, but that has stopped.
“Sometimes we can’t meet our friends,” said Nuki, IMA’s spokesperson who only gave her first name. “We have almost 300 people in our group,” she added. Nuki has been living in Hong Kong since 2008. “I never felt scared, but this time I [am] really scared.” She feels “caught in the middle” when violence erupts on weekends.
Demonstrations have spread across the city every weekend since June and the violence has intensified, forcing domestic workers to change their schedules on their only day-off to avoid high-risk areas. The Cabinet Secretariat of Indonesia issued a travel advisory in August to Indonesians concerning Hong Kong’s protests. According to the Immigration Department’s
Many foreign domestic workers gather near Victoria Park on Sundays.
legal procedures. They will continue to provide assistance to all Filipinos who are in distress, especially those who are facing criminal cases in Hong Kong. Help for Domestic Workers (HDW), is a non-profit organisation that provides free advice and assistance on employment, immigration and human rights issues to domestic workers in Hong Kong. data in 2018, out of the 390,000 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, about 165,000 are from Indonesia. “The way of Hong Kong’s protests won’t happen in our country. The police won’t allow it,” said Nuki. Maya, another Indonesian helper, sat on the ground at Victoria Park, chatting and eating with her friends. “Hong Kong is too dangerous, if I have no place to go, I will just stay at home,” Maya said. “We have to work the whole week, we need to enjoy our holiday.” Some domestic workers have had their days off cut short by the protest. On August 15, protesters dressed in black were at a rally organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, despite the march being banned by the police. Domestic workers sit under the footbridge, where a pillar bears the graffiti that reads: 'dog officer'.
“Go quickly, otherwise you would not have transportation to go home,” a cleaner shouted at a group of domestic workers, as a wave of people suddenly poured out from Tin Hau MTR station. In early August, Jethhro Pioquinto, a Filipino dancer who worked at Disneyland was arrested during a protest. The Consulate General of the Philippines in Hong Kong told The Young Reporter that they have provided him with assistance and he is now out on bail. His case is being investigated and undergoing
They warn employers against terminating the contracts if domestic workers are injured due to the protests because such termination using injury as an excuse may be unlawful. Plus, they may not be able to afford the medical expenses if they lose their jobs. Nuki was not optimistic about how the current political turmoil will turn out. “I just hope the protests and demonstrations can be over as soon as possible. I love Hong Kong, but not the way it is now,” Nuki said.
Social media: In the age of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement
Reported by Jay Ganglani Edited by Yetta Lam
While the protests on the streets have been widespread, new posts regarding action plans, escape routes and protest advertisements keep popping up rapidly on the backstage of the battlefield – LIHKG, a local multi-category online forum.
media platforms such as Twitter, LIHKG and Facebook play a different and important role in shaping both the Occupy Central and the current protests.
Throughout the protests, anonymous users are often referred to as an ‘air-con military advisor’, which consists of social media-driven users that both share information and provide suggestions to on the ground protesters across Hong Kong.
Back in 2014, the Occupy Central movement led to mass demonstrations on the streets of Hong Kong and is largely credited as one of the biggest pro-democracy movements in the city in recent memory. Facebook was commonly used for information sharing and as a way to connect with people in other countries.
Discussing one’s political views has always been a contentious issue in Hong Kong, but social
Many supporters of the movement changed their profile pictures to a yellow ribbon,
while a blue ribbon symbolises support for the police force. Facebook accounts proved to be a key way to identify one’s political stance and to spread news updates. Facebook also increasingly became a popular platform that was used to call for international attention to the movement. Glacier Kwong Chung-ching, a spokesperson for the local political organisation “Keyboard Frontline”, uploaded a video titled “Hong Kongese: Please help Hong Kong”. It explained the political situation of Hong Kong in English in a bid to gain support from the international
community in Hong Kong’s fight for greater democracy. The current wave of protests has resulted in more than 1,000 protesters arrested and is now at its fourth month. This time, LIHKG has taken the place of Facebook and is regarded as the most important platform for discussion. Apart from information spreading, using social media has also escalated to a deeper level, in terms of organising protests. Su Xinqi, a reporter who has been covering the Hong Kong protests, states that LIHKG has predominantly been used during the 2019 protests to gather young people in forums and channels under certain themes or action plans, with a virtual community being developed from thereon. Ms. Su said that the growth in using social media platforms such as LIHKG is driven by the importance of communication in the on-going movement. “Communication was less demanding during Occupy Central because in the worst case, you could simply shout loud or run. But in this current movement, protesters go everywhere and each episode can involve several spots across Hong Kong in one day, or even perhaps in the same period.” A unique feature regarding the on-going pro-democracy
A Twitter user spreads fake news by sharing a viral video of Chinese troops supposedly near the Hong Kong border. Several netizens later pointed out that it was filmed over 300 miles away from the border at Longyan station in Fujian Province.
protest is the lack of leadership. Protesters discuss and vote on their plan of action on LIHKG and Telegram.
Aside from the need to connect, privacy is also another huge reason behind such a drastic change.
This is in stark contrast to the Occupy Central movement that was led by the likes of Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, Benny Tai Yiuting and Dr. Chan Kin-man. The direction of the movement was driven by the leaders and the various political parties involved.
Agnes Lam, a lecturer at the School of Journalism and Communication of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, states that LIHKG and Telegram are both platforms that have proven to be popular among today’s protesters, while Facebook
was most prominent during Occupy Central. ‘Be Water’, a phrase originally coined by Bruce Lee has evolved to be a key principle followed by protesters. The phrase means to creatively come up with unique ways to combat a suppressive establishment. “Lessons learnt from Occupy Central back in 2014 have had a great impact and explain why the ‘Be Water’ strategy is being adopted this time around. Privacy is a great concern, as mass arrests have been conducted,” explained Ms. Lam. According to the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, a total of 1,003 people were arrested during the 75 days long Occupy Central movement, while over 1,500 people have been arrested so far during the on-going Hong Kong protests.
Communication Studies, also feels that social media practice during the ongoing protests has not been all smooth sailing. He feels this is evident with the growth of fake news on the Internet and social media platforms. According to Twitter, more than 900 accounts originating from the mainland were found to be “deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong” and 200,000 accounts were part of a broader spam campaign. At the very height of the Occupy Central movement, it saw 12 tweets per second being posted about Hong Kong with images
of clashes between protesters and the riot police spreading on a worldwide scale. “I think a salient social media practice by both sides in the extradition bill protests is propaganda,” said Dr. Yeo. “This phenomenon, including the spread of misinformation such as fake news and rumours, while also present in the Occupy Central Movement is relatively more prevalent and plays a more important role in the present movement.” Facebook also says that it found seven pages, three groups, and five accounts from the mainland that was believed to be involved in “coordinated inauthentic
This results in greater fear among protesters regarding their safety and what the future may hold if they are caught. Ms. Su adds that online channels have been infiltrated by the police for investigation or other operational purposes, thus making it increasingly important to use anonymous channels to maintain the safety and security for supporters of the Hong Kong protests. Dominic Yeo, an Associate Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University’s Department of
‘Keyboard Frontline’, a local political organisation, shares a video titled “Hong Kongese: Please help Hong Kong” in an attempt to gain support from the international community during the Occupy Central movement.
behaviour” focused specifically on Hong Kong. But, some protesters feel that a small group of demonstrators have not been using their voice for the right reasons. “Despite my support for the pro-democracy movement, I do feel that some of the protesters have gone overboard on LIHKG and Telegram in terms of communicating and coordinating attacks, including vandalising MTR stations,” said John, a freshman at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a protester, who did not want to reveal his last name due to concerns over his safety. This ruins the image of protesters as a whole and we should follow the more peaceful approach of Occupy Central,” he added. John adds that social media platforms are a powerful tool that should not be used to make misguided decisions that could allow the government to ignore the protesters’ demands.
Local forum LIHKG sees a post by an anonymous user regarding transportation routes out of Tuen Mun during a protest on September 21.
Lessons learnt from Occupy Central back in 2014 have had a great impact and explain why the ‘Be Water’ strategy is being adopted this time around. Agnes Lam Lecturer at the School of Journalism and Communication at CUHK
black? Reported by Sunny Sun Edited by Amy Ho
Since June, the streets of Hong Kong have been filled with the trademark black and yellow hues, peppered with the pink filters of gas masks. Some even cover their entire faces with black scarves or turtle necks to hide their identities. Andy Lam, 21, is one of the black-clad demonstrators.“Wearing black T-shirts represents our identity and our five demands,” she says. The five demands include withdrawal of the extradition bill, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, not to label the unrest as “riot”, release the arrested protesters and universal suffrage. Many Hongkongers say that wearing black makes them look like a protester, even if they are not, especially after some protesters threw petrol bombs and bricks, set fires and vandalised properties.
Ms. Lam said strangers sometimes glance at her just because she is in black. Recently, she tried to help a mainland couple to find their way around Hong Kong Baptist University. Ms. Lam said they seemed suspicious of her, perhaps because she was wearing black. Christoph Li Xiaoyong, a 22-year-old mainland student from HKBU, is not a protester, but was mistaken for one on September 9 just because he was wearing black. He was actually just out to watch a movie in Mongkok that evening when he ran into the protests. “I had to hide in the alley but the riot police followed me and then found me. I then had to go back on to the main road, where I got tear-gassed along with the protesters,” he recalled. “And that made me feel depressed.”
Another mainland student, Seven Yang, had a similar experience when she was in black. “Coming back from Lowu, I was stopped by customs officers for inspection. They checked my bags but not my friends who were wearing other colours,” she said. In fact, people with different political views are split according to the colour of their clothing during the current wave of protest. On July 21, a group of men in white attacked passengers on a train in Yuen Long. And on September 15, fighting broke out between a group of men in white and protesters in black in North Point and Fortress Hill. Gary Tang, an assistant professor in social science at Hang Seng University of Hong Kong said the media is to blame. (Photo credit: Rachel Yeo)
“Some news focus on black-clad protesters and the disruptions in public facilities and social order, and misleading the public to think that black-clad people are dangerous,” Prof. Tang said. “Since there has been a series of attacks in which blackclad protesters are targeted, people are concerned that wearing black may risk getting beaten.”
Protesters wear black clothes and masks to conceal their identities, which is a tactic called “black bloc”. (Photo credit: Katherine Li)
The colour black, Prof. Tang said, is an expression of anti-government sentiment, and consequently, those who are not in the protest associate black with social conflict. Zhang Xiaoming, Director of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said at an open forum in Shenzhen on August 7 that Hong Kong protests reflect the characteristics of a colour revolution, which means a non-violent resistance adopting a specific colour or a flower as its symbol. According to Maria Spirova, a senior lecturer of Comparative Politics and International Relations at Leiden University, a protest identified as a colour revolution represents final transformation from post-communist regime to a democratic regime.
Protesters dressed in black gather at the Hong Kong International Airport to voice their grievances against the government. (Photo credit: Stephanie Ma)
Prof. Tang believes the nature of the protest in Hong Kong is different to the colour
“ As soon as I see people in black, I feel the peace of mind and the unity of Hong Kong people.
Andy Lam 21-year-old demonstrator
Wearing black represents the protesters five demands, including the withdrawal of the extradition bill. (Photo credit: Katherine Li)
revolutions in other parts of the world, such as the Middle East.
time these days to symbolise her opposition to the government.
Although Mr. Li is avoiding the colour altogether so that he doesn’t get chased by the police again, Ms. Lam says she wears black all the
“Wearing what kinds of colours is my freedom,” Ms. Lam said.
“Dressing in black is a symbol recognised by the anti-government protesters. As soon as I see people in black, I feel the peace of mind and the unity of Hong Kong people.”
Overseas Hong Kong students defend their identity in times of protests Reported by Mark Chen Edited by Phoebe Lai Photos edited by Amy Ho
On her way out of the classroom, Sara, a sophomore from Hong Kong majoring in journalism at Emerson College in Boston, was asked by one of her American classmates if she was from China. “No!” she said, “I’d be offended if people said I was from China.” Given the recent tensions in Hong Kong, Sara did not want to disclose her full name. Sara first became aware of her cultural identity as a Hongkonger when she was involved in the Umbrella Movement, a three-month occupation of a downtown area in Hong Kong back in 2014, to call for universal suffrage. Calling herself as a Hongkonger would make Sara proud. It gives her a sense of belonging to her home city. On her Facebook page, most of her posts are about protests in Hong Kong. “I’d say I’m from Hong Kong and they [her classmates] can
ask me about what’s going on there,” Sara said.
“It’s very offensive to ignore one’s identity,” Ms. Hui said.
She believes this is her way of contributing to her beloved city when she tells people on campus in Boston about what protesters in Hong Kong are facing. It’s her way of expressing her cultural identity.
She has been organising marches and assemblies in support of the anti-extradition bill protests Hong Kong protests in Boston since June.
Frances Hui Wing-ting, another student from Hong Kong at Emerson College, wrote an article called ‘I am from Hong Kong, not China’ for the university newspaper. It went viral. “‘I am from Hong Kong’ has a special meaning. It means we value democracy and human rights,” Ms. Hui explained. In the article, she said it upset her to see the name of her home city listed as “Hong Kong, China” in the university’s exchange programme document. She accused the university of not being sufficiently “cognizant” and “knowledgeable” about Hong Kong.
On September 22, around 400 protesters marched to Boston City Hall Plaza to call for the passing of the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019”. The Act means the US will have to review Hong Kong’s state of autonomy every year in order to decide whether it should continue to be regarded as a separate economic entity from the mainland. The question of a Hong Kong identity has created division between students from mainland China and those from Hong Kong at Emerson. Raine Pan, a mainland Chinese student believes Hong Kong protesters’ actions have gone too far and will destroy Hong Kong.
“I can understand that they [Hong Kong people] may find it unacceptable that a city [Hong Kong] governed under capitalism now belongs to a socialist country [China],” Ms. Pan said. “But they’ve gone far beyond freedom of speech and are provoking riots.” She thought Ms. Hui’s stories on Hong Kong did not reflect reality. Frances Hui Wing-ting, an exchange student from Hong Kong at Emerson College, gives a speech for the protest at the Boston City Hall Plaza square.
Tim Riley, instructor of cultural criticism at Emerson College, thinks the intention of protests is probably very innocent, but the effect could be very offensive to other people.
“She has made her cultural identity issue to a political-like statement with no reliable sources,” Ms. Pan said, “it’s [claiming oneself as a Hongkonger] okay in terms of cultural identity, but political identity is objective. They need to be separate.” According to a survey conducted by The University of Hong Kong in June, the number of residents in Hong Kong who identified themselves as “Hongkonger” has almost doubled since August 1997. Only about 11% of the respondents in the survey identified themselves as “Chinese”. Three days after Ms. Hui’s article went online, the university newspaper published a letter. In the letter, three Emerson students from the mainland Fu Xinyan, Liu Jiachen and Tu Xinyi, said they were worried that the article would lead to misunderstanding among
Sara, one of the participants, holds up a sign at Boston City Hall Plaza. She also helps to put up posters on the walls at the plaza.
ethnic groups on campus. They believed “Hong Kong, China” was the appropriate title for their university to use. “By listing Hong Kong as a part of China, Emerson is following the region’s [Hong Kong’s] legal recognition,” the letter read. According to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, it was agreed between Britain and China that, Hong Kong would “be directly under the authority of the Central People’s Government.” As “Hong Kong, China”, Hong Kong could develop its own economic and cultural relations with states, regions and relevant international organisations.
Tim Riley is a cultural studies academic at Emerson College. “I would bet money the person who’s referred to this person [Ms. Hui] as “Hong Kong, China” did not intend to offend anybody, really just trying to be correct [for herself],” said Mr. Riley. “The intention was probably very innocent, but the effect could be very offensive to other people.” Mr. Riley said although the title “Hong Kong, China” is based on agreed terms in the Sino-British Joint Declaration of Hong Kong in 1997, it has
overlooked Hongkongers who are now increasingly reluctant to be identified as Chinese. He believes the Hong Kong protesters are trying to press and clarify and seek transparency in the Hong Kong Government’s relationship with China. “Are we [talking on the side of Hong Kong people] going to be more defined? Is Hong Kong going to fit under the definition that China imposes on Hong Kong? That to me seems to be the identity question that’s at stake in the Hong Kong protests,” said Mr. Riley.
Nearly 400 protesters participate in the “105 Days of Resistance: Democracy for Hong Kong March” in Boston.
The Heart-s Glory to Ho
stirring rhythm: ong Kong
Reported by Cherry Lee Edited by King Woo
Dubbed the new, unofficial anthem for Hong Kong, the heart-stirring song Glory to Hong Kong has motivated and touched the hearts of protesters, inspiring them to join choruses in shopping malls around Hong Kong.
“The song not only talks about the old days when people used to chant about the ‘Spirit of Lion Rock’, but it also refers to a new generation of Hongkongers, and their sacrifice for liberty and rights,” he said.
The lyrics have been translated into different languages, including English, Japanese and Korean.
Thomas said the protests are no longer just about opposition to the extradition bill, but also symbolises Hong Kongers’ fight for freedom, liberty and universal suffrage.
Videos showing flashmob-style performances have reached more than 2 million views on Youtube in a month. The tune is the creation of a musician working under the pseudonym, Thomas. “I created this song to boost morale and to enhance cohesion among the people,” Thomas said. “My faith [in the movement] inspired me to write the song. I want people to keep their heads up together and I want everyone to know that we are fighting hard for liberty and freedom,” Thomas added.
“Most people in Hong Kong support the protesters by buying them safety gear, such as helmets and gloves, but these gear can barely withstand the violence. As a musician, I can write a song to strengthen people’s faith because having a strong faith is invincible,” he said. Some say the song is a better way to express political aspirations than violence. “The song comes at a time when the activists want to have space to express their sentiment rather than just
The unofficial anthem “Glory to Hong Kong” brings protesters together as they sing this song in different shopping malls across Hong Kong.
A live band playing ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ at a shopping mall in Fan Ling, as protesters gathered to sing the anthem. (Photo Credit: Vanessa Yung)
The lyrics of ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ reflects protesters’ wills and feelings in the movement, and was created by a musician working under the pseudonym, Thomas, to boost and enhance cohesion.
fighting the police. I believe people are afraid of ‘Mainlandisation’, that is, their personal liberty and freedom will be eroded by mainland China,” said Cheung Choryung, a senior teaching fellow at the Department of Public Policy at City University of Hong Kong. “This song reflects the core values of Hong Kong, such as freedom, justice and a democratic society, which encourages people to show their solidarity. However, mainland authorities will not welcome this since it shows political separation and Beijing will censor the song and all of its performances. I believe Beijing authorities will do so perhaps through education or legislation,” he said.
Even singalongs in shopping malls, Dr. Cheung said, could be perceived as challenging the mainland government. A middle-aged woman with pro-China views, who asked to be identified only as Ms. Yung, said protesters have seriously harmed harmony in the community. But when Ms. Yung heard people singing Glory to Hong Kong, she changed her mind, saying that singing peacefully it is like “spiritual sustenance”. “Singing this song out loud is better than having conflict
with the police,” she said. The four-stanza song has united thousands of protesters all over the city and includes common protest chants, such as “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.” “This is such a catchy song, and it definitely boosts our morale and brings us together,” said Ms. Chan, a protester who participated in the Pacific Place singalong and asked not to reveal her full name. “It shows all of the protesters yearn for the day when we have liberty and freedom.”
This song reflects the core values of Hong Kong, such as freedom, justice and a democratic society. Cheung Chor-yung Senior teaching fellow at CUHK
A marching band playing “Glory to Hong Kong” at the City University of Hong Kong.
Cover and back page photos by Rachel Yeo, Katherine Li, Anna Kam, Stephanie Ma, Maisy Mok, Phoebe Lai, Karen Kwok, Mark Chen and Tomiris Urstembayeva
MIGRATION Illustrated by Katherine Li
What started out as a call to withdraw the extradition bill has gradually turned into week after week of violence and protests in Hong Kong....
Published on Oct 11, 2019
What started out as a call to withdraw the extradition bill has gradually turned into week after week of violence and protests in Hong Kong....