Holding Hands in Hong Kong

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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

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Related Material:


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Time to Talk About the Baltic Chain Again
重提波羅的海人鏈

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.

以年輕抗爭者為主體的反送中運動,不斷有新招。我不認為自己可以提出任何給抗爭者的建議。但一位年輕朋友對我說,在目前的膠着形勢下,我六年前提過的建議不妨再拿出來討論。

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].

指的是我寫於2013年6月的文章。那時正值有人提出以和平佔中爭取真普選。我在網上讀到義工陳玉峰的文章,她談到在波羅的海郵輪上,同兩位愛沙尼亞婆婆的談話。婆婆問她為甚麼來愛沙尼亞,她說是因為Baltic Chain(波羅的海人鏈),「想看看另一個中國,可能是怎樣的」。

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.

波羅的海人鏈,是指1989年六四後的8月23日,發生在波羅的海三國(愛沙尼亞、立陶宛和拉脫維亞)的一樁歷史性事件。在這之前的50年前,即1939年同一天,蘇聯和納粹德國秘密簽訂《蘇德互不侵犯條約》,雙方協定瓜分波蘭,德國同時默許蘇聯吞併波羅的海三國。50年後,三國為追求脫離蘇聯,發動一次創造歷史的抗議行動。三國一共只有800萬人口,卻由大約200萬人手牽手組成一個長度超過600公里的人鏈,橫跨國境,連接三國首都,抗議蘇聯佔領,喚起世人對三國歷史的關心。事件場景震撼、牽動情緒,體現三國的自主意志,引起國際社會對當年蘇德密議的譴責,重新檢討蘇聯佔領三國的非法性。蘇共中央發表聲明嚴詞譴責三國「反社會主義、反蘇聯」的行為。但除嚴詞之外,蘇聯沒有採取任何行動。示威後六個月,立陶宛成為首個宣告獨立的蘇聯加盟共和國。一年後,愛沙尼亞和拉脫維亞也宣告獨立。

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.

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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.’

They replied:

‘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]

波羅的海人鏈是「蘇東波」的第一波,接下來東歐共產政權紛紛倒台,兩年後,蘇聯解體。其後,8月23日,就成為歐盟和其他國家的紀念日。200萬人手牽手連結成的人鏈,是人類史上首個和最長的沒斷開的人鏈。它象徵着不可抑制的人性中最基本的自主意識,宣示歷史上蘇聯與納粹德國勾結而吞併三國,不僅是政治議題,更是道德議題。2009年,紀錄波羅的海人鏈的文件列入聯合國教科文組織的世界記憶計劃,以承認它的歷史價值。

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.

「香港自己之路」就是港英時代的自由法治的道路。「快守不住」的六年前,我想到香港是否也可以採用人鏈方式表達訴求,得不到迴響,也許當時環境仍需要大台領導抗議行動。現在,香港從「快守不住」變作即將「守不住」了,而沒有大台的運動也有聲有色。因此,重新提出來供討論區商議。將要到來的8月23日,正是波羅的海人鏈的30周年。

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.”]

波羅的海人鏈是一道美麗的人權風景;而香港的反送中示威,也被西方媒體和美國眾議院議長佩洛西稱為一道美麗的風景。

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]

波羅的海人鏈的訴求不僅是政治議題,更是道德議題。香港的反送中和逆權抗爭也不僅是政治議題,更是道德議題。抗爭中有人舉港英旗,讓我回想到1984年,英國首相戴卓爾夫人在北京簽署了《中英聯合聲明》之後,在香港召開記者會,當時還是記者的劉慧卿質問鐵娘子:「你們將500多萬香港人交給獨裁的共產政權,在道義上是否說得通?」悲劇是從這個道德議題開始的。

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Hong Kong People Are Fundamentally Stand-offish
真正的香港人是傲嬌

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’]

站在香港之路現場,好難不感動,連一些平日立場中立的親戚,也傳來短訊說感覺好夢幻。雖說是紀念波羅的海之路三十週年,但香港人不是波羅的海人,我們不是外國勢力,都不習慣跟陌生人有身體接觸。連平日對著親人也很難熱情親密地攬頭攬頸,跟陌生人手拖手更是難過登天(對我也是……)。連登仔流傳好幾篇「拖手尷尬解決大法」,毒L研究了一整日如何突破自己的煩惱去完成今日的創舉,實在不容易。

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.

結果有些區域成功拖著手築起人鍊,也有些區域只是一起站著,部份路段更是一排人各自按著手機,即使不斷有人大喊呼籲「拖手」也沒有成效。我一路觀察,發現這行動真的是香港人大考驗,要跟陌生人拖手,可能辛苦過食過期催淚彈。

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.

但無論展示方式如何,拖著或是站著也好,人人都用力叫喊口號和唱歌,用盡方法把標語放在身上傳遞訊息,一路上處處都流露著對香港這個屋企的感情。

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]

對,是「流露」,說起來其實我們平日很少大叫「我愛香港」之類,更不會喊口號說「我愛香港」。因為肉麻不是香港人的風格,我們的「愛」不容易講出口,「愛」是用行動實踐出來。只有一些有利益關係的計算,又或是藍絲,才會喜歡利用「愛」的名義,開口埋口說「愛香港」(卻又亂掉國旗區旗和垃圾在地上),林鄭叫自己做母親愛香港什麼(卻又用暴力對待年輕人)。

香港人很害羞,最怕肉麻,但對著自己的家卻絕不冷漠,這反差只能以傲嬌(編按:日文漢字,一般翻譯為口非心是、外冷內熱)來形容,真正的香港人是傲嬌。

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?

我們見識過香港人明明心裡害怕,卻又衝前勇武,明明好怕醜,卻又嘗試手拖手人鍊。這情緒好矛盾,但為了這個屋企,我們還有什麼不敢試呢?

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:

‘一種刻苦耐勞、勤奮拚搏、開拓進取、靈活應變、自強不息的精神。是香港長盛不衰的力量之源,也是香港十分寶貴的精神財富。多少老一代的香港人身無分文,白手起家,發揮聰明才智,歷盡千辛萬苦,創造了今天的輝煌業績。今天的香港,面臨新的創業挑戰,正需要這種香港精神。’]

從小就知道香港美名為「東方之珠」,說的是香港光輝燦爛,發達的城市萬家燈火閃爍。但昨晚「香港之路」行動,有超過21萬人在一日辛苦工作後走出來,充滿著手汗地挑戰自己不太情願的極限,重新定義「東方之珠」、「獅子山精神」的意思。我們要的不單止是追求物質上的發達和光鮮,我們要的是真正的民主、平等和公義,香港最美的風景是香港人的可愛。

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Our Hong Kong Way
我們的香港之路

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.

我也記述一下我的「香港之路」,為這個香港「自由之夏」運動的重要一頁,留一點個人見證。

我們一家三口昨天選擇回到深水埗,參與這次行動。我在深水埗長大,父母也住在這裡,回到老家是順理成章之事。

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.

我們先在基隆茶餐廳晚飯,七時四十分走到附近的界限街和彌敦道交界,見到長長一條人龍已經成形,沿著馬路邊的欄杆有序地排著。人實在很多,以至大家張開手彼此拖著的空間也不是很夠。有人穿黑衣,也有人穿別的顏色,大部份人戴上口罩。每個人手上都拿著手機,也有人在背上貼著「五大訴求」的標語。

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.

我們加入隊伍後,站在我旁邊的,是一位六十歲左右的大嬸,再過去是一位大叔,看來都是街坊。不過舉目望去,還是以年輕人為主。在隊伍旁邊的小公園,有我認識的朋友架設了一個投影器,播放三十年前「波羅的海之路」的片段。

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.

於是,我們見到這樣一個場景:在燈火通明、車水馬龍的彌敦道,車如常行著,行人如常走著,紅綠燈如常來回更替,有這樣大大一群香港人,從日常中走出來,排成人鏈,往左看不到盡頭,往右也看不到盡頭,而在我們前面,有波羅的海三國(愛沙尼亞、拉脫維亞、立陶苑)三十年前今日,二百多萬人手拉著手,築成人鏈爭取自由的畫面。

Today, we Hong Kong People, just like those people thirty years ago, too have stood up as part of our own struggle for freedom.

我們這些香港人,和三十年前的人一樣,站出來,為的是爭取我們的自由。

With the official start of the protest at 8:00pm the atmosphere around us became electric.

八點活動正式開始後,氣氛開始熾熱。

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.

有人開始派口罩、派水,甚至派糖。有負責統籌的年輕人,來回奔跑著,告訴大家其他地區最新發展,例如某某地鐵站和某某地鐵站已經成功聯結。大家亮起手機,在空中搖動。經過的車輛,有的會鳴笛聲援,還有人將頭伸出窗外,大叫加油。然後,我們從手機中見到,獅子山頭也有一條光之路。

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.

也有趕著回家的人,對這一切視而不見,匆匆而過;也有不認同我們的人,一邊走過一邊豎起中指;也有警車在路上經過,不過沒有停下。整晚我們沒有見到一位警察。

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’.

香港交通繁忙,紅綠燈滿街,如何 connect?

於是我們見到這樣的情景:紅燈時,車停下來,一群年輕人從馬路兩邊湧出去,迅速排成一排,手拖著手,亮起手機,大叫口號;綠燈時,大家迅速往兩邊散開,站回路邊,讓車輛經過。如此來回往復,不斷聯結。

這是香港特色的流動人鏈,像水一樣。

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.

去到八時四十分左右,有義工告知,九龍塘和太子之間仍然未有完全聯結,請部份朋友沿界限街往花墟方向走,提供支援。於是,我們起程。走過幾個街口,去到大坑東遊樂場附近,終於將太子站和九龍塘站聯成一缐。

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.

這是我們的香港之路,也是我們的自由之路。

24 August 2019
2019年8月24日

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Source:


***

Candles in the Wind
香港之路——荒夜裏風燈亮起

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.

這夜,我選了平日人煙稀少的一段山路;住了這區二十年,這條路入夜後漆黑一片,鬼影都無隻。這夜,都市中的荒蕪地帶,默默走來一群心意相通的人,自動自覺手牽手,連成一線。

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.

不要說無用。我敢說,平日駕車經過這段山路的司機,坐在巴士上的乘客,瞥見昏黃燈光下,忽然冒起亮着手燈的人鏈奇景,必然是一場震撼教育。我敢說,過了兩個半月仍然不明白這群人做什麼的中立無感一族,路過時必然會刮目相看,總會想一想,這條看不見盡頭的人鏈,酷暑之夜,究竟為了什麼。

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.

不要說無用。只是短短數天,網絡上的自發組織者發揮驚人能耐,又上了寶貴一課,實踐地區聯繫;無大台之下,每個人學懂走位,自我埋位,有車的人負責接送,找尋人鏈缺口填補;年輕人自組「塞窿」部隊,沿線遊走,宣布從荃灣走到美孚,已全線連上,人群密密麻麻,參與人數遠超所需。

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.

每個自發組織者與大部分參與者都戴着口罩,他們都是   faceless,沒有面孔的人,代表每個人都不求聞達,純粹為了參與,不求歷史留名,只願成為卑微的十萬分之一,只願在香港命運風燈亮起的一刻,長路上有自己的身影;只願每個人手上微弱的燈光,照亮人的良知;只願用盡每一絲力氣,寄望奇迹出現。

四十公里心連心,激動、感動,但大家都知道,傀儡政府將不為所動。

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.

一百萬人走過了,二百萬人走過了,酷暑中大汗淋漓嘗過、暴雨中雙腳皺皮也試過;會計師、醫生護士、公務員、教師、律師、記者都遊行過了;基督徒、媽媽群、銀髮族都表態了;罷工罷過了、機場塞過了、連儂牆遍地開花了、香港之路we connect了。一切和平理性優雅的方式,能做的已做盡;平常政府,有一點羞恥之心,已倒台三次,讓步十八次;但這幫狂妄傲慢的權貴無動於中,一切勇武升級行動,你只能怪自己。

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。

信念不怕子彈,槍炮不可能令人心回歸,仍在街頭堅持的人,沒有打算同傀儡政府對話;林鄭月娥、中聯辦、港澳辦,你們就看着辦。

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Source:


***

My Notes from ‘The Hong Kong Way’
「香港之路」上,我想記住的幾件小事

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:

2019年8月23日, 香港人用人鏈組成「香港之路」的日子,有這麼的幾件小事,我想記住。

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.

一、在指定地點集合時,一位看起來大約六十歲左右的女士跟我說,「年輕人,我沒有報名,也沒有你們的群組,是否這裏集合?」身旁的義工回答了這女士的疑問,然後著我們一起往某個站點方向走去;到達後,那位女士提議我們開始牽手,因為她相信,只要有成形的人鏈,會有更多像她一樣不知狀況的香港人願意停下腳步,結果,不同街坊前來,好些還帶著孩子。

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.

二、原站點的人太多,少部分人往更前的地方走去,等待過馬路期間,一位五歲左右的小朋友喊了句「香港加油」,成功把大家的目光吸引住,而他的下一句是:「防暴警察喺邊度?你哋唔好射人隻眼啦。」在場的大人,都靜默了。

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.’

三、在某地點站好後,一對夫婦問我是否介意在我旁邊停下,因為兩人已走了好長的路,想停下腳步,我點頭;然後,過程中屢有舉手、開閃光燈等不同的指令,站在我旁邊的伯伯說:「哎喲,伯伯手累了,要先休息一下」,我笑笑說:「先歇一歇吧!」他接著說:「伯伯今年七十了,沒你們健壯。」

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.

還有那些在樓上住宅、在巴士上揮舞的電話燈,那些響咹打氣,那些在私家車裏舉起的姆指。

這一切一切,微小得不足提起,但我都想好好記住。

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Source:


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!

人链“香港之路”?不归路!

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.

效仿具有鲜明政治意图的历史事件,用“人链”搞所谓的“香港之路”。香港极端激进分子最终还是抵不过恶念的驱使,自行撕下了伪装的面具,露出“港独”本相。

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.

30年前的“波罗的海之路”是怎么回事,世人皆知;“台独”分子其后仿效,臭名昭著;所谓的“香港之路”是什么性质,不言自明。

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.

当一小撮“港独”分子冲到前台开始卖力表演,所谓“反修例”的“画皮”还兜得住吗?潜伏的“毒草”已由暗转明,妄想裹挟全体市民滑向万劫不复的深渊。

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!

香港之路是由一代代爱国爱港的香港人辛苦打拼筑就的,从来都是在与祖国的同舟共济、同频共振中延展绵长,从来都与祖国的前途命运紧紧相连。妄想借“人链”行动摧毁香港繁荣稳定局面,陷东方之珠于水火,市民不会答应!动摇国家根本利益,触碰“一国两制”原则底线,中国人民不会答应!

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!

香港之路在哪里?决不会,也决不能是“港独”这条不归路。筑人链搞所谓“香港之路”,无异于自掘坟墓!

***

Source:

  • The People’s Daily Weibo blog, 2019年8月24日

Note:

  • 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.’

蒯大富要抓黑手,這麼多工人去‘鎮壓’紅衛兵。黑手到現在還沒有抓出來,這黑手不是別人,就是我嘛!他又不來抓,抓我好了,本來新華印刷廠、針織總廠、中央警衛團就是我派去的。

from 韓愛晶口述整理
毛澤東接見紅衛兵
五大領袖親歷記’

2015年05月16日
trans. GRB