Humans of Hong Kong

Humans of Hong Kong

Translated version of feature stories and interviews by Stand News. 立場新聞專題、人訪的英文版本。

2020/7/3 - 12:14

'We are not afraid': Hong Kongers mark July 1 by show of defiance against national security law

"Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times" and "Hong Kong independence, the only way out", two slogans often chanted in past protests, could be deemed illegal after the national security law for the city came into effect at 11pm on June 30. Yet on July 1, thousands of Hong Kongers still gathered on Hong Kong Island, shouting protest slogans and holding up banners. "We are not afraid," they said. 

The Hong Kong police made about 370 arrests on Wednesday. At least 10 among them were arrested due to potential violations of the national security law.

Among the crowd outside Time Square that evening was a couple in white, Mr. Chap and Miss Chu. They kept shouting "Hong Kong independence" and "One nation, one Hong Kong." Neither of them was afraid of the national security law. Miss Chu said they must continue to do the right things, and that Hong Kongers have always enjoyed the right to assembly and freedom to protest.

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The national security law is "so broadly defined" that anyone could be liable to its charges, Miss Chu said, adding: Anything you do can get you arrested." She said citizens have always rightfully enjoyed the freedom of assembly and to protest. As a taxpayer, she has fulfilled her duties, but now her rights and duties were not proportional. She said there were "too many things to be scared about," and compared getting arrested to something as common as dropping a pencil onto the floor in a classroom, so there is little point in fearing arrests.

Mr. Chap quoted from Secretary for Security John Lee who said that those taking to the streets on Wednesday "will have to bear the risks," but if everyone was frightened, then nobody would come out.

Miss Chu said she came out today in the public's interest. What they were doing right after the new law was implemented was to cry foul, just like poultry would shriek before being slaughtered. Mr. Chap added that the reason why so many were out on the streets was "like it said in the national anthem of a certain country, we want to make our last howl heard."

Twenty-three-year-old Mr. Chung was another Hong Konger shouting "Hong Kong independence" outside Times Square. He said he was not frightened of the national security law and he had to show the world that Hong Kongers would not back down.

Mr. Chung

Mr. Chung said he had been active since the anti-extradition-bill movement last year, sometimes as a valiant protester on the frontline, sometimes as a peaceful protester at the back. "If even the valiant protesters are out today, then there's no reason why peaceful protesters like me should stay out." With regards to the risk of being arrested for violating the national security law, Mr. Chung said "the worst that could happen is getting arrested," and even life imprisonment won't deter him. Mr. Chung said "Hong Kong belongs to Hong Kongers," they must continue to make themselves heard on the streets.

As many protesters have been arrested, Mr. Chung said he was worried about them. But for himself, he had made up his mind that he would defend Hong Kong, even if it was at the cost of his future.

Mr. Hung, who was over 70 years old, was leading a crowd on the footbridge near Pacific Place in Admiralty to chant: "Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times" and "Down with the Communist Party". The security guards tried to stop him, but Mr. Hung kept going, saying: "There is nothing to fear."

He was not afraid of going to jail for violating the national security law. "I am in my 70s, I don't have many years left to live." He said the law wasn't about national security. "Can security be achieved by a national-security law? It can only be achieved if the government has the people's support." He refused to be silenced by the law, adding: "The Communist Party wants you to be scared, that's the main purpose of the law. I am telling you, I still have the freedom of speech, 'one country, two systems' is still here, this is Hong Kong."

Mr. Fong, aged 63, was standing outside the police cordon in Causeway Bay that afternoon. He was displeased with the police restricting access in many locations. He was out shopping in Causeway Bay and the atmosphere was peaceful with no protester around. It was until "green-coloured monsters" arbitrarily held up banners and blocked off many areas to pedestrians that they began gathering near the cordon. "I really don't get what 'unlawful assembly' they're talking about."

Mr. Fong

Asked about his views on the national security law, Mr. Fong said he was "really angry," and that the ‘heartless monsters are to blame for what Hong Kong is today." He saw many people going up to the police to reason with them, but Mr. Fong thought it was a waste of time. "You can only reason with someone who has a heart, not someone who has lost it." He said he had participated in marches on July 1 when he still had an inkling of hope for the Hong Kong government, but now he had lost all hopes because the Communist regime was all that's left. He added the so-called "Special Administration Region" was no more and wondered where the conscience of Hong Kong's government officials was.

Asked if he was afraid of being arrested for violating the national security law, he said "not at all." But he was infuriated by the unfair and arbitrary arrests. He pinned all his hopes on the youngsters and felt more worried about them than about himself.

Mr. To in Causeway Bay was carrying a backpack with a piece of paper that had the inverted Chinese character for "Party" written on it. It also said, "The nation is very secure, only the Party is insecure, because it is acting against the people's interests." He said going on the streets to voice demands was a basic right of Hong Kongers. "Law or no law, 1 July or not, it doesn't matter," he said.

He also criticized that "the Chinese Communist Party just wrote whatever they wanted" in the national security law, hoping it would frighten Hong Kong people. Even Chief Executive Carrie Lam didn't know what was in it before its passage. "What is there to say? Soon we can get arrested for breathing," he said.

Mr. To

The chief executive and her cabinet repeatedly stressed that the law only targeted an extremely small minority, but before the first day of its debut was over, at least 10 people had been arrested for allegedly violating it, including a man who was in possession of a Hong Kong independence flag. The police also held up a purple-coloured banner multiple times, which warned of potential violations of the law.