basically the only hope is exile and keep the memories alive
the Jewish diaspora managed
we can too
it’s the only hope
highly recommend talking to a Kurd/Zoroastrian/Yazidi/etc. for perspective

wednesday wrap-up: national security law

The unofficial slogan for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong for the past year or two has been


The English translation is

Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times

光復 means ‘return (something) to the light’. In a sense that is to ‘liberate’ (from darkness), but after focus-group-ing various alternatives with my sister, we settled on ‘reclaim’. This might give the CCP one tiny reason less to connect this slogan with the call for independence. Not that reason matters to the CCP, of course. One man on the street said

It is not really a national security law. It is something like a party security law.

For today’s ‘WTF Quote of the Day’, how about this gem from Education Secretary Kevin Yeung:

No one, including students, should play, sing and broadcast songs which contain political messages or hold any activities to express their political stance.

Um. Just in case you didn’t catch that, let’s break that sentence down: No one should hold any activities to express their political stance. We’ve always known this is what Beijing wanted. The difference now is that it is being expressed explicitly – and by HK bureaucrats. Also… just… WTF!??!?!?!?!? (Also part 2: what about pro-CCP political stances?)

Here’s a good comparison of the national security laws in HK and Macau.

It’s interesting to hear the president of the Tibetan government-in-exile compare HK and Tibet.

It’s interesting to compare what is happening in HK now to the White Terror in Taiwan.

Did you know about the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China? The co-chairs from all 16 countries + EU agreed that there should be no extradition to HK from their countries. They are now trying to convince their governments to adopt this position. Canada and Australia have suspended their extradition treaties already.

hk: the handmaid’s tale meets 1984

 In a video of this very silent, very peaceful blank-paper protest you can’t see the protesters’ faces but you can still see how young they are: teens. Massive respect. Photo (c) Kevin Cheng / United Social Press

…the irony being, of course, that the Sino-British treaty signed in 1984 was completely acceptable. The problem now is that Beijing is using the treaty as toilet paper.

HK police arrest 8 at ‘blank placard’ silent protest – lemme get this straight: you’re not allowed to hold up a blank piece of paper now?

What the actual fuck is this?

HK police, you pieces of shit.

This can’t be real (oh but it is)… the HK police now have the power to:

  • Search without a warrant
  • Seize passports
  • Freeze assets
  • Control what information is spread online
  • Block online platforms
  • Demand information from international political org’s, incl. activities in HK, personal data, income sources
  • Take DNA samples from suspects
  • Take “necessary measures” to “strengthen management and services” for foreign news agencies

I miss the days when my biggest gripe about the CCP’s overreach in HK was being greeted in Mandarin by shopkeepers.  Can we please go back to those days T_T

It is not a good look for the Education Bureau to tell schools to review their library offerings and start removing books.

national security law turns hong kong into another chinese city

I admire Hong Kongers for their creativity and ingenuity (here here and here) in trying to express themselves without falling foul of the new national security law (which I posted about yesterday).

But am I the only one going “WTH??????” here? This is not normal!

The Hong Kong I know is (was???) not like those other cities in mainland China. In the Hong Kong I know (knew???), we could use Facebook, WhatsApp, and access any website in the world. We could say whatever we wanted because we had the right to free speech. We could assemble every June 4th to commemorate the Tiananmen Massacre, as no Chinese city was allowed to do, and we could assemble every July 1st in the hundreds of thousands in Victoria Park to air our grievances, as had become tradition. My first political protest was in Hong Kong – fittingly, protesting against a very similar national security bill (Art. 23) in 2003. You could wave the colonial flag and no one would blink an eye.

Up until the early 2010s, you could give Beijing the middle finger and not have to fear for your life.

Even as we celebrate HKers for their creative subversive brilliance – the first arrest on July 1st, 2020 was for a poster that read “Independence for Hong Kong”, but upon closer inspection, the guy had written a very small “No” at the beginning – I wish news outlets would stress that this is not normal. It’s normal in mainland China, where “netizens” have to find creative ways to say what they really want to say, but Hong Kong is not China. My friend’s sister, who in recent years has been very vocal on Facebook in condemning Beijing’s encroachment on HK rights, has had her account reported and deactivated.

What!!! This shit does not normally happen in HK! We are not used to this. We are London, we are Tokyo, we are New York. We are not a PRC city.

It’s never a good sign when public libraries start removing books about democracy.

I struggled for a long time with the implications of British imperialism on my personal life, including my relationship with English. More precisely, I struggled with my failure to categorically condemn British imperialism despite believing that imperialism is bad. It wasn’t until today that I realised the comparison in reality is not HK under colonial rule vs HK under independent rule. In reality, we are comparing HK as a colony controlled by London vs HK as a colony controlled by Beijing. A no-brainer. My troubled heart is mildly relieved.

new ‘national security law’ in hong kong affects everyone on earth

Subversive material that led to arrests: the word “conscience” (top left) and a drawing of Xi Jinping (bottom left). (c) RTHK English News

You might’ve heard about the scary new law in Hong Kong that China forced through on July 1st. It affects you (yes, you!) too, so I encourage you to inform yourself and take action if you can. Here’s some background info and then suggestions of stuff to do from the comfort of your couch:

The National Security Law allows for arbitrary detention of anyone seen as a threat to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In addition, that person could be extradited to the PRC where legal counsel and rights to humane treatment are routinely denied. The wording in this law is so broad that one wrong word, one wrong acquaintance could land you in jail – or worse. The day the law was passed, hundreds of Hong Kongers were arrested for peaceful assembly. Some were arrested for holding a cartoon drawing of Xi Jinping’s head drawn to look like a virus. This is the kind of ‘threat to national security’ that they can jail you for.

You – yes, YOU! – are covered by this law, too! It covers not only HKers, but also anyone outside HK who is not a HK resident (Art.38). That’s literally every person on Planet Earth.Read More »