2021 年 5 月 24 日
Avery Ng Man Yuen’s Statement
I was brought up by my parents to value the importance of empathy, to care and to feel for others in our community less fortunate. Although I enjoyed great success early in my career, I never had a desire to pursue personal wealth in the more traditional sense.
When I settled back in Hong Kong after years of living abroad, I was baffled and disturbed by how severe the social inequality existed in a city I am proud to call my home. I was struck at how discrimination against the poor and the minorities far too often goes ignored or can even at times is encouraged by the established social structure; and how we cannot have the basic democratic rights and freedoms that other places enjoy.
These were my motivations to join social activism and enter into politics. I chose to spend my energy to speak for the underprivileged, the disenchanted and often ignored segments of society. To offer a voice for those who could not speak for themselves.
Compared to many, I am privileged to have a great education and a certain level of financial freedom and social standing. We are fortunate enough to be able to lead comfortable lives and have the freedom to choose the path that we take. I chose to fight for social equality. Many of those in this court are not that much different. We all love Hong Kong, the place we call home. We chose our different roles in life but with the same aim: to serve others.
Sadly, I fear that many of us are increasingly the exception to the rule. Today far too many Hong Kong people do not have that chance, whether that is our elderly who live in poverty, marginalized youth with few opportunities for social mobility, or workers who give up all their time slaving away to provide the bare minimum for their families. These people all struggle to make ends meet with very limited options in life. “Choice” for them is a luxury that they cannot afford. Let alone having the gratification of being able to dictate their own destiny.
I recognise, with the pressures of life, it is often difficult for people to see beyond their own social bubble. It is harder still to acquire empathy for strangers. Polarized political division increasingly has driven a wedge between people, making it sometimes impossible for people to understand and empathise with one another, to disagree agreeably, and attempt to find some level of compromise.
It has always been my hope that a more democratic system could be the bridge that heals this social divide or at the very least allow us to choose how we can live together in our home.
I’m certain that none of us in this court wanted to see the turmoil in 2019, which has seen our whole society suffer regardless of political preference. Distrust, hatred, and fear has engulfed Hong Kong. Today is certainly not the right forum for this immense topic. However, I hope the court can understand that the Judiciary alone cannot resolve the deep-rooted socio-political divide which exist.
It will take our collective strength, courage, honesty, and empathy to mend our home. Looking at my fellow defendants with their extraordinary history in serving this society, I believe they can do far greater good among us in society than being locked in prison.
In pursuit of the rights of all Hong Kong people, I have broken the law. I am prepared to face the court’s judgement. I am proud to be in the company of my esteemed fellows who have spent their lives championing the rule of law, fighting for the democracy and voicing for the voiceless.
I believe the storm-clouds that currently reside over our home will one day lift, and make way for a bright and clear day. I believe love and empathy will eventually prevail.