This is not a book review, but a distribution post. A Hong Kong friend has been collecting publicly available blog posts, articles and Tweet threads written by people who have been caught up in the protests in Hong Kong this year. We’ve presented them here to help spread the word more widely in the anglophone world about what conditions have been like in the daily lives of Kong Kong’s citizens, and how life has changed for those who have been participating in the protests.
‘Since this summer, Hong Kong has been wracked with protest after protest. The initial cause of unhappiness — an extradition bill that would have allowed anyone in or merely stepping foot in Hong Kong to be extradited to China — has now been withdrawn (though the formal steps of withdrawal can only be taken in mid-October when the Legislative Council reconvenes). The protests still continue, however, because there is immense dissatisfaction with the brutal tactics of the police and extreme unease with the signs of police collusion with secret society gangs. The latter have been used to inflict beatings on protestors and non-protestors alike and have suffered no legal consequences. With the recent use of colonial-era Emergency Rule powers to enact an anti-mask law that makes wearing any kind of face covering to a protest illegal, there is now a fear that even more freedoms and rights are being eroded.
There has been much media coverage on Hong Kong, but what you may have seen or read is only a small fragment of the picture. The is a curated collection of essays, translations, and Twitter threads intended to give you an inside view of what it has been like to be at the protests, to live in Hong Kong in a time when life is both normal and not normal, to experience the horror of trust breaking down between the police and the people, and to witness the astonishing creativity and resilience of the Hong Kong people.’
Protest Action: ‘On the Front Lines’, a translation of an essay written by a Taiwanese woman who has been actively participating in the Hong Kong protests.
A Twitter thread about being tear gassed and kettled by the police in Wanchai and yet eluding arrest.
A Reddit AMA [Ask Me Anything Q&A post] with a 17-year-old volunteer medic who offers first aid at protests.
Twitter thread about the events of 21 July 2019 when gangs attacked commuters at Yuen Long station (it is widely believed that this was with the collusion of the police). This was a major turning point for many Hong Kong people.
Twitter thread about the events of July 21 and why the protests have become more violent — ‘Riot is the language of the unheard’.
An article from Public Radio International on the complicated relationship between the police and local gangs known as triads. This is good context for the Yuen Long attack.
Emotional Fallout: the emotional roller coaster of living in Hong Kong.
The double life. Karen Cheung’s article in the New York Times. ‘In Hong Kong, I go to work and see my friends as usual. But I also spend time in a parallel universe of tear gas, barricades and anonymous allies.’
Hong Kong Protest Art: master Twitter thread with breakdowns by theme — women, pop culture, Winnie the Pooh, hard hats, cats and dogs, and the use of Cantonese.
For further reading, please try:
Antony Dapiran, City of Protest: A Recent History of Dissent in Hong Kong (London: Penguin, 2017)
A beautiful essay by the Taiwanese writer, Lung Ying Tai (translated for the Los Angeles Review of Books blog)
Frank Dikotter in foreignpolicy.com on the birth of the People’s Republic of China