A day near the epicenter of democracy protest

When I woke up yesterday to the news that Occupy Central movement had started, I was surprised but I knew I would go and join the students and all others at the government headquarters area in Admiralty. I arrived there at about 11am, and the area was calm and peaceful, with the young people, the high school and university students, organizing every thing, such as distributing water, masks, raincoats and goggles, and making announcements.

The Central Government Offices railing is tied with yellow ribbons, the symbol of Hong Kong's democracy movement
The Central Government Offices railing is tied with yellow ribbons, the symbol of Hong Kong’s democracy movement
One of the resources centres with all stuff donated by Hong Kong people
One of the resources centres with all stuff donated by Hong Kong people

Barriers were set up at various points where police and protesters were separated by umbrellas and barricades.

A student stands at one of the barricade points.
A student stands at one of the barricade points.
Students stood up on the barricade, at the front.
Students stood up on the barricade, at the front.
Some sit quietly in front of the police
Some sit quietly in front of the police

There was announcement from time to time which point needed more people to guard and protect and urging people to gather there. There was also announcement from time to time that the police would force their way in and clear up the site. Later we were alerted that the police were putting up gas masks and asked us to get prepared. But somehow, all the warnings did not materialize and I also believed that the police would not be so crazy that they would use tear gas. So when the police fired tear gas at about 6pm, it caught me off guard, when I had no protective gear at hand – not a mask, not a pair of goggles. I left them with my friend, who at the time was not around. The tear gas sent people rushing away, and the smoke started flowing my way.

The tear gas sent people rushing away near civic square
The tear gas sent people rushing away near civic square

At first I thought I could cope. But soon, my eyes burned, my throat burned, and my tongue burned. It was painful, very painful. Students came to me with water. One after one. Some students gave me salt water to wash eyes. We were then asked to move to Tamar Park. Among those moving to the Tamar Park, were small kids whose eyes suffered from tear gas too. It was getting dark when we settled in Tamar Park.

We retreated to Tamar Park
We retreated to Tamar Park

I was so tired that I had to lie down and take a rest. In front of me, is the beautiful Victoria Harbor, but at the back, I heard the firing of tear gas one after one, one after one. It was bizarre, and ultra-realistic.

The whole day I did not cry. But I woke up this morning, feeling so sad for this city, though at the same time feeling so proud of all the people who have stood up and fought for the dignity of being a citizen.

I was with a westerner friend yesterday. At dusk, when we were forced to retreat to Tamar Park, a young kid, probably 15 years old, came to my friend, saying, please tell the world what happens here. He thought my friend is a journalist.

The Hong Kong people have been very peaceful in their fight. This is really what I and many others saw. They put up their hands to show they did not want to use violence all the time.

The protesters wanted to use the elevator to enter Tamar Park but were denied access. Protesters all held up their hands to show they were peaceful.
The protesters wanted to use the elevator to enter Tamar Park but were denied access. Protesters all held up their hands to show they were peaceful.

It is not the people, it is the police who use excessive violence and should be condemned.photo 2

The police held up a warning banner to stop people from joining those already at the Government Headquarters protest site
The police held up a warning banner to stop people from joining those already at the Government Headquarters protest site

I am truly moved by the solidarity Hong Kong people showed yesterday. They have shown to the world that we don’t want what is dished out by Beijing (no universal suffrage in 2017 as promised by the mini constitution of Hong Kong, but a voting system that is designed to be controlled and screened by Beijing and still want us to call it “universal suffrage”!), and we will fight.

The sea of protesters in Admiralty when it was getting dark
The sea of protesters in Admiralty when it was getting dark
The sea of protesters in Admiralty from afternoon to night
The sea of protesters in Admiralty at night

Riot police used to crush student protesters

(updated at 9:13am, 28 Sept)

A revolution is brewing in Hong Kong, as the Beijing-backed CY Leung government is using riot police and pepper spray to crush the student democracy movement. The excessive violence used by the police against the students (many of them secondary students) can only drive more people to turn up for fighting for democracy and freedom in the city. Thousands of people are now converging at the Government Headquarters to protest against the CY Leung government and police’s excessive violence against students.

The charismatic high-school student leader Joashua Wong was arrested and handcuffed away yesterday, and has been denied bail after being charged with three counts of offences (as of updat time 9am 28 Sept) . His place (a small room he shared with his younger brother) was searched by police for two hours, and his computer and hard discs, etc. were taken away. According to the witnesses, the police searched everywhere and everything in his room, including his underwear. The police has been treating Wong, a 17-year-old, like a dangerous criminal! His parents issued a statement saying this is political persecution, especially for a 17-year old kid who has been an activist for pursuing a better HK.

What Leung’s government is doing can only make people explode with anger and the Occupy Central movement will happen, attracting more people to join. In fact, the Occupy Admiralty movement has happened. Hong Kong is entering a civil disobedience era where people will have to fight the uncivilized and authoritarian rule of the CY Leung and Beijing government without resorting to violence.

China President Xi said yesterday that Taiwan should be reunited with China using the one country two systems formula. What a big joke while HK is showing to the world that one country two systems fails miserably. I hope the Taiwanese know at least that one country two systems will never work and Beijing can never be trusted.

Btw, when CY Leung was bidding to be the chief executive of Hong Kong with another candidate not too long ago, he was cited as saying that the riot police would have to be used for suppression. He denied at that time. Now we all know how true it is. The riot police is now in town.

White terror is finally in HK

The climate is so chilling in Hong Kong. Five organizers of the July 1 rally were arrested. The police has become the political tool of CY Leung’s government to suppress any political dissent and engage in political persecution. This is glaring contempt of the rule of law and taking away the freedom of assembly from people. One country two systems is dead. Hong Kong is dead.

Good luck to those still thinking that all the “fuss” about July 1 rally and “occupy central” has nothing to do with them.

Occupy central seems to be the only choice people with conscience are left with. They have no other choice, faced with the chilling and oppressive environment CY Leung and his government controlled by Beijing is creating. People will rise up, I am sure. “官迫民反”-The masses will be forced to revolt under oppression by the officials, as a chinese saying goes.

A call to action – march this Sunday for press freedom

I, like many others in Hong Kong, have been extremely concerned about the gradual disappearance of press freedom in the city. This Sunday the 23rd of February, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) will stage a protest against the increasingly blatant attacks on press and speech freedom in HK. Let’s come together to answer the HKJA’s call and march to the Government Headquarters from Charter Garden, Central at 2:30pm.0220_banner

Please see below HKJA’s statement:

Attacks against press freedom and the freedom of expression in Hong Kong have been increasing daily. In the face of such threats, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) and other organisations from the news media will hold a protest on Sunday to support the freedom of expression and resist attempts to silence the media. The protest will end with a rally outside the Chief Executive’s Office, where we will demand the Chief Executive acts to maintain Hong Kong’s space for free speech, free from attack.

The protest will start at 2.30 p.m. at Chater Garden and marchers will proceed east towards Admiralty, passing through Tamar Street and Harcourt Road before arriving at the Chief Executive’s Office in Tim Wa Avenue.

Well-known broadcasters and writers who have been censored will speak at the rally outside the Chief Executive’s Office. Representatives of disadvantaged groups whose plight have been highlighted through the news media will talk about the impact a free press and free speech has on society and people’s livelihood. And members of the younger generation, who learn about the world through the media, will share their thoughts and feelings about their future in a society where facts may be distorted.

“A journalist’s duty is to report, not to protest but our consciences compel us to raise the alarm: those in power are attacking the media and their ultimate aim is to create a population kept in ignorance and blind loyalty,” said Hong Kong Journalists Association Chairperson Sham Yee-lan.

Journalism Educators for Press Freedom, Ming Pao Staff Concern Group, RTHK Programme Staff Union, Next Media Trade Union and the Independent Commentators Association Preparatory Committee share the HKJA’s fears. Together, we urge all Hong Kong people who cherish Hong Kong’s freedom of the press and freedom of expression to stand up and join in Sunday’s “Free Speech, Free Hong Kong” protest; to jointly speak out for Hong Kong’s core values of press freedom and free speech.

For enquiries, please contact HKJA at 2591 0692.

Hong Kong Journalists Association
19 February 2014