Hong Kong Apostasy
In this chapter of ‘Hong Kong Apostasy’ five writers reflect on the citywide mass protest held on the evening of Friday 26 August 2019. Called ‘The Hong Kong Way’ 香港之路 that protest brought together 210,000 people who, standing shoulder to shoulder, created a human chain through the city that was approximately sixty kilometres in length.
We start our account with Lee Yee (李怡, 1936-), a commentator whose work has featured in The Best China section of China Heritage from 1 July 2017. As early as June 2013, Lee suggested that the pro-democracy protesters of Hong Kong might want to consider organising a mass demonstrations along the lines of the ‘Baltic Way’ of 1989. He reiterated this advice in his regular column for Apple Daily on 12 August 2019. Our translation of that column is followed by accounts of The Hong Kong Way demonstration by:
- Ger Choi (蔡芷筠), an artist, designer and middle-school teacher whose essays appear in The Stand News;
- Chow Po Chung (周保松, 1969-), an associate professor in the Department of Government and Public Administration at The Chinese University of Hong Kong;
- Allan Au (區家麟, 1968-), a journalist and broadcaster; and,
- Sio Ka I (蕭家怡, 1990-) who, having relocated from Macau to study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, became a journalist and a writer.
In conclusion, we offer an example of the ‘windiest militant trash’ (to quote W.H. Auden) invariably found in The People’s Daily, along with a note on the greatest black hand of them all.
— Geremie R. Barmé
Editor, China Heritage
26 August 2019
- Da Yu 大宇, 新聞拍案驚奇, ‘21萬港人星光人鏈，獅子山頂美如北斗；香港反送中持續，習近平最新指示’, Youtube, 24 August 2019
- Citizen News 眾新聞, ’香港之路: 這一夜，獅子山最美’, Youtube, 24 August 2019
- Voice of America 美國之音, ‘香港人的香港之路’, Youtube, 24 August 2019
- ‘香港之路發起人：人鏈達 60 公里 21 萬人參與’,《立場新聞》, 2019年8月23日
- ‘823 香港之路漸成形 港島、觀塘、荃灣線集合點公佈 愛沙尼亞政界關注’,《立場新聞》, 2019年8月23日
- ‘不斷更新: 823 香港之路 多區現人鏈’,《立場新聞》, 2019年8月23日
- 吳志森, ‘中國人唔信國產奶粉、疫苗、食物 點解會信國產假新聞?’, Youtube, 24 August 2019
- 《人民日報》微博, ‘「香港之路」露出「港獨」本相 自掘墳墓 「勿拖黑手」’, 《立場新聞》, 2019年8月24日
- Austin Ramzy, ‘Hong Kong Protesters Join Hands to Form Human Chains Across the City’, The New York Times, 23 August 2019
- Victor Mair, ‘The Enigma of the Black Hands’, Language Log, 25 July 2019
Time to Talk About the Baltic Chain Again
Lee Yee 李怡
Translated by Geremie R. Barmé
Young Hong Kong forms the core of the Anti-Extradition Law Movement and they have constantly devised new ways to protest. I never thought I could offer any meaningful suggestions, although a young friend of mine recently did suggest that, given the ongoing stand-off between the protesters and the government, it might be worth revisiting something I wrote about six years ago.
My friend was referring to an essay that I published in June 2013. At the time, as part of protests agitating for universal suffrage people were proposing to launch a peaceful occupy movement. I’d only recently read an online article by the activist Melody Chan [陳玉峰, 1986-, formerly a journalist who, since 2015 has been a lawyer] in which she discussed a conversation she had with two Estonian ladies she had met on a Baltic cruise. In response to their query as to why she was visiting Estonia, Chan said it was because of the ‘Baltic Chain’; she wanted to see what China might have been like [if the 1989 Beijing Protest Movement had been successful].
The Baltic Chain was an historically ground-breaking demonstration that involved the three Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. It took place on 23 August 1989, not long after the Fourth of June in Beijing. On that same day fifty years earlier — 23 August 1939 — the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany had signed the ‘Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ [known as the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact] which divided Poland between the two countries and opened the way for the Soviet Union to occupy the Baltic states in 1940. Half a century later, in August 1989, people organised a mass demonstration to mark that historical moment and support the independence of the three Baltic nations [which, at the time, were constituent states of the Soviet Union].
Altogether the population of the those Baltic states was only eight million people, approximately two million of them joined hands to form a human chain over six hundred kilometres in length. It straddled all three territories and connected their capital cities in a protest against Soviet occupation that called for the international community to focus on their historical plight. The sight of a demonstration of that scale that expressed the will of people who yearned for independence was profoundly moving. It inspired the international recognition of the secret deal done by the Soviets with the Nazi regime and it sparked a discussion about the illegality of the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states.
In response, the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party duly issued a strongly worded condemnation of the three states. It decried an act that was deemed to be part of an ‘anti-socialist and anti-Soviet’ agenda. Apart from that shrill protestation, however, no further action was taken. Six months later, Lithuania unilaterally announced its withdrawal from the Soviet Union and the following year Estonia and Latvia also declared their independence.
The Baltic Chain was the first wave in a breaking tsunami that presaged the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union itself. In its wake the Eastern Bloc splintered and its constituent nations declared independence. Two years later, the Soviet Union itself was no more. Thereafter, the 23rd of August has also been an official day of remembrance in the European Union [where it is known as ‘Black Ribbon Day’, or the ‘European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism‘].
That Baltic Wave — a chain of two million individuals who forged themselves together hand in hand — was the first and longest such chain in history. It reflected the irrepressible human quest for autonomy; it was a declaration that the dirty deal negotiated between the Soviets and the Nazis leading to the annexation of the three Baltic states was not merely a political issue, more importantly it was also a moral issue.
In 2009, in recognition of its historical significance and value documentation related to the Baltic Way was added to the Memory of the World Register maintained by UNESCO.
On that Baltic cruise, after the two Estonian ladies had told Melody Chan about their participation in the 1989 Baltic Wave they asked her: What about China? Chan recorded her response:
‘I told them a host of dispiriting things about the situation in China and I added that Hong Kong was going that way, too.’
‘But that is the way of all revolutions: it rises up a little, and then it goes down. But please keep Hong Kong as its own way.’ [sic]
兩位老婆婆向陳玉峰敍述當年參加人鏈示威的經過。接着是她們問：中國呢？陳玉峰接下來寫道：「我說了種種中國令人沮喪的情狀，而香港也快守不住了。」婆婆對她說：「革命就是這樣，it rises up a little, and then it goes down. But please keep Hong Kong as its own way.」
‘Hong Kong’s Own Way’ is the way things were under a British-Hong Kong administration that respected basic freedoms and the rule of law. In the six years before Hong Kong was ‘going the way of the Mainland’ I mused to myself that perhaps, at some point, Hong Kong might try building a ‘human chain’ to express its own hopes and wishes. When I wrote about the idea back then I got no reaction at all. Maybe the situation then was best addressed by the protests being mounted by the mainstream opposition.
Hong Kong has now moved far beyond ‘going the way of the Mainland’; it is facing ‘being the way of the Mainland’. The formalised opposition groups of the past have given way to the dazzling boisterousness of mass resistance. That’s why I am bringing up my old suggestion about the Baltic Wave on online protest discussion platforms today. Not too long from now — the 23rd of August is only ten days away — we can mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Baltic Wave here in Hong Kong.
The chain of humanity forged in the Baltic Wave was the wondrous achievement of masses of people. Today, the Anti-Extradition Law Protest Movement has been recognised both by the international media and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress, Nancy Pelosi, in a similar way, and it has been praised for ‘sending a stirring message to the world’.
[Note: On 6 August 2019, Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement on the Hong Kong protests:
“As they have all summer, today the people of Hong Kong are sending a stirring message to the world: the dreams of freedom, justice and democracy can never be extinguished by injustice and intimidation.
“The extraordinary outpouring of courage from the people of Hong Kong stands in stark contrast to a cowardly government that refuses to respect the rule of law or live up to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework which was guaranteed more than two decades ago. The people of Hong Kong deserve the true autonomy that was promised, with the full rights guaranteed by the Hong Kong Basic Law and international agreements. The Legislative Council must finally take long-overdue measures to meet the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong people – starting with completely and immediately withdrawing the widely-repudiated extradition bill.
“Democrats and Republicans in Congress stand united with the people of Hong Kong in demanding the hopeful, free and democratic future that is their right. We reiterate the call of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Co-Chairs Congressman Jim McGovern and Congressman Chris Smith to the Trump Administration to suspend future sales of munitions and crowd control equipment to the Hong Kong police force.
“When we return to Washington, the bipartisan, bicameral Congress will begin our work to advance the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, and fight to preserve democratic freedoms and the rule of law in Hong Kong.”]
As I noted in the above, the Baltic Way human chain not only confronted a political injustice, more importantly it addressed a vital moral issue as well. By the same token, the Anti-Extradition Law demonstrations and the Hong Kong Protest Movement of 2019 are not merely about politics, they too are about more basic moral issues.
There are those who have waved the Union Jack during the 2019 Resistance Protests. Seeing that flag brings to mind the press conference [on the 21st of December 1984] that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher held in Hong Kong after she had signed the ‘Sino-British Joint Declaration’ in Beijing. The reporter Emily Lau [Lau Wai-hing 劉慧卿, 1952-, who was then working for The Far Eastern Economic Review] asked the Iron Lady:
‘Prime Minister, on Wednesday, you signed an agreement with China promising to deliver over five million people into the hands of a Communist dictatorship. Is this morally defensible or is it really true that in international politics the highest form of morality is one’s own national interest?’
[Note: For further details of the exchange between Emily Lau and Margaret Thatcher, see the editorial introduction to He Weifang 賀衛方, ‘Hong Kong — 2019, 2003, 1984, 1979‘, China Heritage, 12 August 2019]
- 李怡, ‘重提波羅的海人鏈‘,《蘋果日報》2019年8月12日
Hong Kong People Are Fundamentally Stand-offish
Ger Choi 蔡芷筠
Translated and annotated by Geremie R. Barmé
Standing out there on one of the roads where it was all taking place it was impossible not to be moved. Even some relatives of mine who were usually punctiliously neutral were texting me about it. It was like some kind of fantasy.
Ostensibly, it was organised to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of The Baltic Way, but we’re Hong Kong People, we don’t live in some Baltic state. We’re not ‘inimical foreign forces’ either. We simply aren’t used to having any kind of direct physical contact with strangers. In fact, in the normal course of events we are so not into displays of affection, even when it comes to members of our own family — none of that embracing and backslapping for us. As for holding hands with strangers — dream on! On LIHKG many posts appeared offering ‘Ways to Overcome the Discomfort of Holding Someone Else’s Hand’. All those ‘Isolated Men’ even put considerable effort into working out how they could overcome their isolationist phobias so they could participate in what was an unprecedented event. It was truly something to behold.
[Note: ‘Isolated Men’ 毒L, also written as 毒男, refers to people who keep to themselves, those who are uncomfortable in social situations or who enjoy a hermit-like existence. Otaku-zoku 御宅族, originally a Japanese term for house-bound people, nerds and geeks is also commonly used in this context in Hong Kong, Taiwan as well as on Mainland China. Such individuals are also referred to as ‘宅男’/’宅女’]
The upshot, nonetheless, was that whole districts witnessed a chain of hand-holding people; true, others had to contribute by assembling a row of people who were only willing to standing shoulder to shoulder. On some city blocks people stood in a line simply holding their phones up and, despite repeated calls to ‘hold hands!’ they just couldn’t bring themselves to reach out to those next to them. According to my observations, this was a huge test for Hong Kong People — I reckon that getting people to hold hands with strangers was even more discomforting than being subjected to clouds of teargas.
Regardless of how you chose to participate in The Hong Kong Way, though, be it hand in hand or just by standing there, everyone involved chanted slogans and sang. Many thought of various inventive ways to display slogans on themselves so as to get the message out. Wherever you went along the route of the protest you could see an outpouring of profound affection for our home, Hong Kong.
That’s right, it was truly an ‘outpouring’; that’s because in the normal course of events we’re not people who readily make a show about things like ‘I Love Hong Kong’, let alone are we given to chanting thinks like ‘I Love Hong Kong’. That’s because tacky things like that simply are not the Hong Kong style. We’re not quick to use the word ‘love’. ‘Love’ is something you demonstrate by the way you treat people and approach things. Only calculating individuals, or PoPo-supporters, are quick to spout the word ‘love’, and they come out with all that stuff about ‘loving Hong Kong’ at the slightest provocation. (Yeah, and they’re the same ones who will, without a second thought, discard the Chinese flag or the local government flag along with garbage on the ground [after a demonstration supporting the authorities]). [The Chief Executive of Hong Kong] Carrie Lam-Cheng also puts on a quite a turn pretending that she regards Hong Kong with motherly affection (though she’s ready to deploy violence when dealing with Young Hong Kong at the drop of a hat).
Hong Kong People are by nature fairly bashful. They dislike skin-crawling displays of any sort. Confronted as they are now with the fate of their hometown, they can no longer afford such studied indifference. There’s a striking contrast with what’s happening now and the norm in the past, one that can best be described as a kind of ‘Hong Kong Arrogance’. The true Hong Kong Spirit or temper is one of slightly edgy hostility, both towards things and people.
[Note: Here, and in the title, the author uses the Japanese word 傲嬌, or ツンデレ, short for ツンツンデレデレ. This expression is generally translated as ‘hypocritical’ or ‘standoffish’, although it has a range of meanings relating to aversion, antipathy and passive-aggressive hostility]
We’ve all seen how those Hong Kong protesters have valiantly charged time and again despite their deep-seated fears. Now they have overcome their natural aversion to create a human chain. It is a profoundly contradictory state of mind and emotion, but reticence has been overcome because of this place, Our Hong Kong. Is there anything we are not willing to do for it?
From our earliest years we are told that Hong Kong is the ‘Pearl of the Orient’. That’s meant to be a description of the bright lights of the big city. Then, last night, following a hard-day’s work, over 210,000 people took to the streets to join The Hong Kong Way protest. With their sweaty hands reaching out for those of others they challenged the very limits of their reticence; and through their actions they redefined the meaning of the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, as well as that of the ‘Spirit of Lion Rock’ . What we want is not merely some materialistic pursuit of economic development and constant newness. What we aspire to is meaningful democracy, equality and justice. The most attractive feature of Hong Kong is this endearing spirit of Hong Kong People.
[Note: The officially promoted ‘Spirit of Lion Rock’ 獅子山精神 or the ‘Hong Kong Spirit’ 香港精神 is:
- 蔡芷筠, ‘真正的香港人是傲嬌‘, 《立場新聞》, 2019年8月24日
Our Hong Kong Way
Chow Po Chung 周保松
Translated and annotated by Geremie R. Barmé
This is my record of ‘The Hong Kong Way’.
It’s an important chapter in Hong Kong’s ‘Summer of Freedom’, so I want to leave an account of what I witnessed. Yesterday, our little family unit of three people decided to participate in the demonstration back in Sham Shui Po. I grew up there and my parents still live there; it seemed only natural that on this special occasion I should want to go back to where I come from.
At 7:40pm, after eating at Ki Lung Tea Restaurant in Mong Kok, we walked over to the intersection of Boundary Street and Nathan Road where we saw that a long, snaking line of people had already formed. They’d arranged themselves along the railings separating the sidewalk from the traffic. There were lots of people there already, so many in fact that there really wasn’t much space to squeeze between them, especially when they took each other’s hands. Some were dressed in black [the unofficial ‘uniform’ of protest], though there was a rainbow of other colours as well. Most were wearing face masks and everyone was carrying a mobile phone. Some had the ‘The Five Great Appeals’ slogan printed out and attached to their backs.
We joined in next to a lady who looked as though she was about sixty years old. An older man was standing next to her. They appeared to be neighbours, though scanning the crowd the vast majority were young people. There was a small park next to where our group was standing and a friend of mine set up a projector there so as to screen some documentary footage from the original Baltic Way protests thirty years back.
This is what we saw there: in the glare of street lights at night on Nathan Road, what is usually a bustling thoroughfare, the traffic was flowing normally. There were just as many pedestrians as usual and the traffic lights changed from green to amber and to red just like they always did. But tonight large numbers of everyday Hong Kong People were departing from their daily routine to line up and form a vast unbroken human chain, the beginning and end of which were far beyond our field of vision. And there on the screen that had been set up right in front of us we saw images of over two million people in the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on this very day exactly thirty years ago. They joined hands to create an unbroken chain of humanity demanding freedom.
Today, we Hong Kong People, just like those people thirty years ago, too have stood up as part of our own struggle for freedom.
With the official start of the protest at 8:00pm the atmosphere around us became electric.
People started chanting slogans — mostly ‘The Five Major Appeals Must All Be Met’ and ‘Restore Hong Kong, Revolution of the Times’. But there was also lots of singing and you could make out ‘Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies’ as well as ‘Do You Hear the People Sing’.
[Note: ‘Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies‘ 海闊天空 is a 1993 song by Wong Ka Kui (黃家駒, 1962-1993). It has become an anthem for Hong Kong protesters. For a rendition by Wong’s group ‘Beyond’, see here; and, for an English rendition, see here.
‘Do You Hear the People Sing‘ (À la volonté du peuple) is the best known, and most recognizable, song from Les Misérables, a theatre work that premièred in 1980. The Cantonese version of the song —《問誰未發聲》— has featured in anti-Beijing demonstrations for years]
大家開始喊口號，主要是「五大訴求、缺一不可」和「光復香港、時代革命」。 也有歌聲響起，包括「海闊天空」和 “Do You Hear the People Sing” 。
People started handing out face masks, bottled water and even sweets. The young volunteers who had taken it upon themselves to tally the number of protesters ran back and forth along the line and kept us all updated about what was happening in the other districts of the city. They told us, for instance, that the line of protesters between one particular MTR metro stop and another was now complete. People turned on the flashlights of their phones and waved them around. Some passing vehicles toot support and passengers would stick their heads out of windows and shout: ‘Keep It Up!’ Then, on our phones, we saw that there was a line of light snaking right up to the top of Lion’s Peak.
Of course, others simply jostled past us on the way home, heads studiously looking down as though nothing out of the ordinary was going on. There were also those who disagreed with us, flipping us off with their middle fingers as they walked past. Police vehicles were on the prowl, too, but none stopped. This was one night on which we saw no policemen out on the streets.
The streets of Hong Kong are always teeming with vehicles and given all of the intersections and traffic lights how would our line of protesters ever be able to connect up?
This is what we witnessed: when the traffic stopped on a red light teams of young people would flood out to form a line across the intersection. Hand in hand, phone lights flashing, they chanted slogans. As soon as the lights turned green they broke the chain and everyone rapidly moved back on to the sidewalk thereby creating a thoroughfare for the vehicles. And on it went, back and forth, that line across the street forming and dissipating again and again.
This was The Hong Kong Way, our unique kind of chain, one in which each link was ‘like water’.
Around 8:40pm, a volunteer told us that the ‘chain’ between Prince Edward [just north of Mong Kok] and Kowloon Tong had not been joined up so they asked some of us to walk east along Boundary Street in the direction of Flower Market [Fa Hui] to help out. We set off and, after crossing a few intersections, we approached Tai Hang Tung Estate Playground where we helped form that final link along the Prince Edward-Kowloon Tong subway line.
We are average Hong Kong people and we simply aren’t used to holding the hands of strangers. But, on this night, over 200,000 people came out into the streets to join hands and create a human chain sixty kilometres in length. We were strangers no more.
我們都是平凡的香港人。我們平生不習慣和陌生人拖手。可是這一夜，有超過20萬香港人站出來，組成一條 60 公里的人鏈。我們不再是陌生人。
This was our way — The Hong Kong Way. It was also our Path of Freedom.
24 August 2019
- 周保松, ‘我們的香港之路‘,《立場新聞》, 2019年8月24日
Candles in the Wind
Allan Au 區家麟
Translated and annotated by Geremie R. Barmé
I decided that I would spend this night on a stretch of road frequented by few other people. I’ve lived in these parts for twenty years and at night this place is cloaked in such pitch darkness that it can even envelop the spirits of the dead. On this night, however, groups of people with one thing in mind managed to find their way here to this desolate spot. Having arrived here they willingly they took each other’s hands and formed a line.
Don’t say it was for naught. Let me speculate that on this night drivers who usually pass along this mountain road, or passengers on buses that come this way, suddenly encountered a remarkable sight in the fading light of dusk light: a long line of people lighting up the way with their flashlights. It would be a stirring lesson for all who witnessed it.
Let me dare claim here for those non-committal types who for the last two and a-half months have simply not cottoned on to what has been happening around them that even they would have been taken aback by the scene that presented itself: a line of people stretching out as far as the eye could see. All of them were here on this hot and steamy summer’s night to make a stand.
Don’t say it was for naught. In the space of a few short days the organisers of this voluntary protest action had demonstrated startling acuity; they had taught also a priceless lesson by bringing together all the districts of Hong Kong so they could be ‘on line’.
With no organisational back up or overall direction each and every individual worked out where they would go and just where they would take their stand. Those with cars took it upon themselves to pick up and deliver people to agreed assembly points and to help fill in any gaps in the human chain. The young formed their own youth corps that inspected the whole length of the chain, announcing at key moments that Tsuen Wan was linked up to Mei Foo, that the line was packed with people and that it boasted numbers far greater than anyone had dared hope for.
They were ‘the faceless ones’ — the majority of people, from organisers to participants, wore face masks. This was an expression of the fact that they did not want to be recognised or known as individuals; they were involved as participants in an collective action, not to make themselves known to history. They willingly participated just so as to be part of it, humble cyphers in a collective that numbered in the tens of thousands.
These are the bright candles in gale-force winds swirling around the fate of Hong Kong. The only thing that they leave in their wake is a shadow of their participation on the long road that is being travelled. Their hope was to use the feeble light of the flashlights in their hands to illuminate for a moment the sense of decency and conscience in others. They strained in devoting every iota of energy to help create what was a truly miraculous event.
For forty kilometres they lined up, their hearts joined together, stirred, uplifted hearts. Yet, despite their emotion, each and every one of them knew all too well that the hearts of the Puppet Regime that rules Hong Kong would remain unmoved.
One million people poured into the streets to protest; then two million. They have done so in the stifling heat of summer drenched in sweat; they have done their best even as the heavens have opened and soaked them to the skin, the skin on their feet wrinkled by all the water they’ve waded through.
And they have all come out: the accountants and the public servants, the doctors and the nurses, the teachers and the lawyers, as well as the journalists.
They have all marched: Christian groups have marched; the mothers of the young have marched; the white-haired oldies have marched.
There have been strikes; the airport was paralyzed; Lennon Walls have blossomed in all directions; and now ‘The Way of Hong Kong’ has connected us all together.
Every peaceable, rational and elegant form of protest has been tried.
In normal times, a normal government would have been forced out of office by the scale of such protests three times over. In normal times, they would have been forced to make dozens of concessions. But this lot — this pack of self-interested entrenched power-holders — in their grotesque arrogance remain unmoved and unmoving.
Let me tell you, then: You and you alone are responsible for every escalation, every violent confrontation.
There are no ‘inimical foreign forces’ here. The fact of the matter is that through our demonstrations we have impressed and moved all the foreign forces of the globe. It is Hong Kong People who have created our Lennon Walls; it is Hong Kong People who have measured out with our bodies The Hong Kong Way.
In the torrential rain and beating winds we have raised our umbrellas to embrace freedom. We have spoken out to the world in the most universal language there is to express the Heart of Hong Kong. The whole world knows and understands the vengeful hate of the autocrats.
A feature story in The Economist on 22 August was titled ‘Cathay’s mayday‘ and it explained ‘Why China’s assault on Cathay Pacific should scare all foreign companies’.
In the article China is described as ‘flagellating’ Cathay and demanding that the owner of the airline — the Swire Group — ‘submit’ to Beijing. It noted that: ‘As a general rule, the more foreign companies prize China’s market, the more they have to fear.’ It also states: ‘Cathay’s predicament shows why global boardrooms are growing more anxious about Chinese anger.’ From the ‘Cathay Pacific Incident’ it is clear as day that, in the final analysis, all Chinese enterprises must be loyal to the Communist Party and that: ‘Their participation in the flagellation of Cathay is a reminder that their ultimate loyalty is to the party.’ However, ‘Using state of the art firms in the marketplace and weaponising regulators undermines China’s ambitions to play a bigger international role.’ ‘[I]ts Cathay warning makes it look like a political hack. The party may be foreign to its line on Hong Kong. In the process it is revealing its true nature.’
Moreover, the detention of [Simon Cheng] an employee of the British Consulate in Hong Kong on his way back into Hong Kong for ‘soliciting prostitutes’ as well as the abuse of basic rights when border police search the phones of Hong Kong travelers to China, coupled with the scary show-off performances by ‘patriotic thugs’ in the UK, the United States, Australia and Canada — these brazen acts have even the most loyal ‘International Friends’ gawping in wide-eyed amazement.
Just let them keep going: their defeat will be even more resounding.
Beliefs are not afraid of bullets; guns and arms are not going to convert hearts and minds. The people who are holding out on the streets are not planning to engage in the farcical ‘Dialogue’ offered by this puppet regime. Be it Carrie Lam-Cheng Yuet-ngor or the Beijing’s Hong Kong Liaison Office, or for that matter the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in the north — all of you — just do your darnedest.
這裏沒有外國勢力，是我們感動了外國勢力；香港人建起了連儂牆、築起了香港之路、在風雨中舉傘擁抱自由，用全世界都明白的語言，表明了香港的心迹。專制強權的復仇之心，全世界也讀懂了。最新一期《經濟學人》，封面點題是〈中國欺凌國泰〉，(網絡版的標題為：Why China’s assault on Cathay Pacific should scare all foreign companies，為何中國向國泰施襲會嚇怕所有外資) 內文用上了「施襲」、要求「服從」，報道指外資若倚賴中國，必然有恐懼，環球的企業大班都開始提防中國的忿怨；從國泰事件亦清楚看到，中國所有企業最終都要忠於黨，他們會把監管規則當武器使用，外資都開始明白這個黨的本質。也不用說，英國駐港領事館職員過關回港時被指「嫖娼」被拘留，香港人過關被徹底查手機等損害人權之舉動，再加上英美澳加愛國賊炫富之嚇人表現，國際友人看得儍了眼。奸有奸輸，繼續下去，可以輸得很徹底。
- 區家麟, ‘香港之路——荒夜裏風燈亮起‘, 《立場新聞》, 2019年8月24日
My Notes from ‘The Hong Kong Way’
Sio Ka I 蕭家怡
Translated by Geremie R. Barmé
The 23rd of August 2019 was when Hong Kong People created ‘The Hong Kong Way’ and I want to record a couple of things about it:
1. When I got to the prearranged assembly point a women who looked like she was around sixty said to me: ‘Excuse me but I didn’t register and I’m not part of your group. Is it okay if I join in here?’ A volunteer replied in the affirmative and when the time came we all set off together. When we got to our spot that same lady suggested that we join hands because, she said, as soon as we form a human chain by joining hands other people like her who weren’t sure about what was going on would definitely want to take part. And, just as she predicted, lots of people from the neighbourhood came out to join in, many even brought their children with them.
2. There were too many people in our particular assigned spot so some set off to find a place further along the line. A child of about five years old cried out: ‘Keep It Up, Hong Kong!’ Everyone looked in the direction of the child’s voice. Then he said: ‘Are the riot police around? They’d better not shoot anyone in the eye!’ We all fell silent.
3. After taking up a position one couple asked if it was okay if they stood next to me. They’d already walked quite a distance and they needed to take a break. I nodded assent. Then, as the action began with lots of arms raised and the waving of flashlights in response to instructions being given by the coordinators, the older man next to me said, ‘Dear me, but my arms are really tired. I’m afraid I’ll have to have a little break’. ‘Yes, rest a little,’ I said with a smile and he responded, ‘I’m seventy this year; I simply don’t have the stamina of you young things.’
There were also all the people who waved their phone flashlights from their apartments and from passing buses, as well as those cars that honked support, as well as all the people who stuck their arms out of their car windows to give us the thumbs up. None of these little gestures might seem particularly significant, but I thought they deserved to be written down nonetheless.
- 蕭家怡, ‘「香港之路」上，我想記住的幾件小事‘,《立場新聞》, 2019年8月24日
The Blackguard Voice of Beijing
In regard to that Special Action Plan organised to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of ‘The Baltic Way’, we warn you:
‘Don’t Take Hold of a Black Hand’
This will be The Ruin of Hong Kong
— Protect Hong Kong; Reject Black Hands! —
Don’t Get Mixed Up with Hong Kong Independence Elements
Make Sure That the Hand You Are Holding is Not a Black Hand!
# Enough Chaos # Stop the Violence # Salvation for Hong Kong
— The People’s Daily
‘The Hong Kong Way’ Human Chain is
The Path to Perdition!
The People’s Daily 人民日報
Translated by Geremie R. Barmé
The so-called ‘human chain’ protest dubbed ‘The Hong Kong Way’ is but an obvious imitation of an historical incident that was heavily freighted with pointed political connotations. Now, finally, those Hong Kong extremists have torn off the mask of duplicity to reveal their underlying despicable intentions. Their true aim in agitating for ‘Hong Kong Independence’ is now plain for all to see.
Everyone knows just what ‘The Baltic Way’ of thirty years ago was really all about. ‘Taiwan Independence’ elements are notorious for having imitated it and today it is glaringly obvious what this ‘Hong Kong Way’ is really all about.
Now that the extreme minority who have been clamouring for ‘Hong Kong Independence’ has finally rushed to the front of the stage and is posturing extravagantly, the guise under which they have previously cloaked themselves — avowed ‘Opposition to the Extradition Bill’ — has been demonstrated to be utterly threadbare. Their poisonous intentions are out in the open. They are so deluded that they truly believe they can drag the entire population of Hong Kong into a pit of irredeemable perdition along with them.
The True Hong Kong Way is one that has long been built with the blood, sweat and tears of generations of Hong Kong people, people who are patriotic Chinese and who truly love Hong Kong.
The True Hong Kong Way is one that has grown in length and width along with the awareness that we Chinese all share the same fortune, overcome the same vicissitudes and celebrate the same achievements.
The True Hong Kong Way is inextricably bound up with the fate of Our Nation and Our Fatherland’s path to the future.
Abandon these ridiculous notions that this ‘Human Chain’ can in any way disrupt the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. This will not be able to sink The Pearl of the Orient in hoped for disastrous floods and fires.
The People of Hong Kong will not permit it! Nor will the People of China allow you to threaten the National Interest! They will not countenance your efforts to cross the red line of acceptability by challenging the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ governing principle!
Where is The Hong Kong Way? It certainly is not and will never be the one-way road to damnation represented by ‘Hong Kong Independence’ fanatics. By creating your ‘Human Chain’ and claiming ‘The Hong Kong Way’ you are only digging your own grave!
- The People’s Daily Weibo blog, 2019年8月24日
- For details of ‘black hands’ in Chinese political discourse, see Victor Mair, ‘The Enigma of the Black Hands’, Language Log, 25 July 2019
The Greatest Black Hand
In 1967, under the grandiose title ‘Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Teams’ worker-thugs were dispatched to quell forcibly the warring Red Guard factions at Tsinghua University. The Red Guards, who despite their factional differences all believed that they were ‘fighting to the death to protect Chairman Mao and Mao Thought’, mounted a resistance to the surprise invasion of their campus in the belief that it was a counter-revolutionary ploy by enemies of the revolution. When Mao Zedong met with student leaders on 28 July 1968, he observed that Kuai Dafu (蒯大富, 1945-), a particularly blood-thirsty Red Guard boss 紅衛兵頭頭, had failed to put in an appearance. He famously quipped:
‘I believe that Kuai Dafu wants to grab the Black Hand who sent the workers to “repress” the Red Guards, but so far he’s failed to do so. Well, the Black Hand in question just happens to be mine! I see he hasn’t taken the opportunity presented today to come here to nab me. He should try and he’ll discover that [the armed forces from] Xinhua Printers, the Main Knitwear Factory and the Central Committee Elite Guard Corps were dispatched on my orders.’
— from 韓愛晶口述整理