In June 2019, Hong Kong became entangled by the proposed extradition bill that would allow China to retrieve any Hong Kongers and foreign citizens living in Hong Kong back into mainland China for trials — a place that’s infamously known for a lack of fair trials. 1 million people, and then 2 million people, took to the street. The government didn’t listen.
On July 21, a group of white shirt gangsters attacked civilians in the train station in a neighborhood called Yuen Long, under broad daylight, while cops just walked away, refusing to calls for help by civilians. It was shocking to everyone that this level of lawlessness happened in Hong Kong.
I grew up in Yuen Long. Back in my parent’s generation, Yuen Long was the backwater farmland in the northwestern part of Hong Kong. My mother’s side of the family is considered “indigenous” because they already settled in Hong Kong prior to the Chinese Civil War when China was still a dynasty. She grew up in one of the Yuen Long’s “walled villages” as a farmer. My father, on the other hand, was part of the wave that swam across for 8 hours at night from China to Hong Kong to escape poverty and communism back in the 70s.
Hong Kong’s population is almost made up entirely of refugees (like my father) or the children of refugees (like myself) from China, back then when Hong Kong was a British colony. It’s painful to watch the Hong Kong and Chinese governments trying to turn Hong Kong into China, a place where all of us escaped from.
After July 21 happened, I was tired of liking and sharing angry protest-related posts on Facebook. So, I decided to make a Meetup group to organize an event. At that point, I literally could count the number of Hong Kongers I knew with my one hand, so I had no idea who would show up. Amazingly, more than 20 people appeared in Starbucks in the basement of the Empire State Building — a British couple who had lived in Hong Kong for the past 10 years just landed from Hong Kong to NYC the day before, and a few people had previous experience organizing events. We decided to do something that Sunday. With 20 yellow umbrellas, stickie notes for Lennon Walls, a painting I made the night before, and a lot of help from everyone involved, the event happened in Washington Square Park on August 4th.
Nobody knows what will happen to Hong Kong, but we Hong Kongers will keep on fighting.