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I deeply understand why you must defend these values to the death, those which I have seen but never possessed

2019/12/2 — 12:45

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編按:本文為「內地生撐香港」專頁文章《我深明為何這些價值你們要誓死相守,皆因我見過但從未擁有》的英文翻譯。

Mainland student not based in Hong Kong; soccer fan; staunch supporter of the revolution of our times; sexual minority; member of the Chinese Communist Party. 

These different identities have forced me into multiple mental spirals over the last few months.

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As one of the few Mainland students within the Great Firewall who began to pay attention to the anti-extradition bill movement since the legal sector’s silent march, who knows the truth, the anger, grief, agitation, suppression, agony, desperation, insomnia that I have experienced, requires no further explanation––if only because you all understand it much deeper than I. Living within these high walls, I am scared of speaking out; and yet, I yearn for freedom. I am ashamed of not being brave enough to do something; I agonize over clicking like on an article or an Instagram photo, only to ultimately give up, which brings me infinite sorrow. And in this cowardice and grief, I cling on to the belief that “there is no price to dreaming”; I am in even greater awe of those born around 1997, who are the strongest-willed Hongkongers! 

I deeply understand why you must defend these values to the death, those which I have seen but never possessed. Every day, in the darkest of times, I pray for a lifeline; for a miracle to happen. In future, if I see you have to go through the kind of mental fracturing that I experience on a day to day basis, in the knowledge that I was a bystander who did nothing, my conscience will be cursed, perhaps for the rest of my life. 

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I entered the Chinese Communist Party on the basis of my school rank and grades; what used to be monthly ‘life organizing’ (brainwashing) meetings now happen every week, and perhaps three times every six days. In the meetings, we discuss how to inspire the general public; listen to comrades’ twisted logic: “We are brave enough to fight the trade war with the US and to undermine the NBA is because we are strong now”; hear teachers call you “A small group of useless, riotous youths who are paid to protest”, and silently nod in order to show approval. 

My networks on Weibo and Weixin are full of falsities; I am too scared to leave messages on articles that are deliberately misleading for fear of being visited by the digital police. People who previously supported LGBT groups and sexual minorities, revert mindlessly to hatred, as if they had pulled a lever and been swept up into the collective fanaticism of nationalism and patriotism. Even sitting on a bench on Wedding Card Street, I still have to deal with CCP members who send questionnaires under the title: “Remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind”––those who choose the wrong option are scared of whether they will be arrested and detained as political prisoners. 

Without freedom, then we cannot defend our conscience; man cannot live as man.

In spite of this fractured life, I also sometimes think about how I am one of the lucky ones. At least I have worked hard to use NOW TV, Cable TV, Stand News and Initium in order to convince my parents to be ‘yellow ribbons’; I have carefully tried to sniff out those with similar views, finding allies in the strange place that is Telegram. In and amidst a frenzy of red propaganda, I have been able to protect my own home. 

One of the most memorable moments for me is at an ‘life organizing’ event after China’s National Day, when one student, who, while partaking in the National Day reading group, expressed fervent enthusiasm and pride in the strength of the nation; his face flushed with emotion as he teared up: “In that moment, I truly understood, that our country had stood up at last!” The applause was thunderous; I suddenly felt that I could no longer keep up the act, my shock at these intellectuals’ deeply felt love for Big Brother left me paralyzed. Yes, they truly believed what they were saying; they were not the family members who sat around my dinner table, who thanked the revolution and yet constantly complained about their diminishing year-end bonuses; they truly had adopted the teachings of the propaganda machine as their own beliefs, without recognizing that hatred and vengeance were quickly replacing their human conscience. If Hong Kong is lost, I truly believe that this paranoic fear will come to the fore. 

The small, beautiful island of Hong Kong: whose music and words accompanied me from primary school onwards; whose universal values inspire me, cause me to reflect, enable me to continually improve; is important to me, not because of the nights we painted the town red or the romance of a bowl of tofu and roast pork rice. What makes this place wonderful, is because the majority of people are willing to embrace universal values, to defend the conscience, and to protect humanity. Every day is more arduous than the next; we cannot predict what will happen tomorrow. Pessimistically, I cannot see any possibility that this ongoing protest will end peacefully. But importantly; if you survive, no matter how bruised and battered Hong Kong is, it will continue to be Hong Kong; if everyone retains their humanity, no matter how many roadside barriers are torn down, bricks dug up, Hong Kong will simply be severely injured; if you continue to persevere with gritted teeth, you will not be relegated to history and memory. 

In the flash mob protest in Central on October 11, I made my birthday wish for next year. 

I truly hope that by my next birthday, these wishes will come true. 

(作者按:這是本專頁和「中流青年」聯合發起的樹洞撐香港計畫,歡迎 PM 來信聊聊內地生的心聲)

Author: This is the joint effort of the ‘Mainland students support Hong Kong’ Facebook Page and ‘Midway Teen’ account, to provide a place where Mainland students can secretely speak about their support for Hong Kong. You are welcome to PM us to hear about Mainland students’ voices. 

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