Photo of Hong Kong protests in 2019.
I’m really happy and proud of how Hong Kong has been handling the coronavirus situation: handing out masks, checking people’s temperature at buildings, cleaning surfaces, coming up with new tech to disinfect public areas better, and nearly 0 new cases every week. It does get better. Especially seeing the situation many of my friends in the United States are currently in, I’m very thankful that the state of Hong Kong is able to provide perhaps a light at the end of the tunnel.
So when the protests started again it felt like a mental reboot because I had to rethink the condition of Hong Kong’s overall autonomy and how much the government really cares about us. On one hand they’re doing a great job at keeping everyone healthy with quick tests for the coronavirus and the response to the pandemic has been great, but on the other hand, that doesn’t change our political climate with respect to China. The protests are a continuation of those last year, against the Extradition bill introduced in 2019, that would force individuals living in Taiwan and Hong Kong to transfer to mainland China and be prosecuted under Chinese law. It will effectively end the “one country, two systems” policy on Hong Kong and restrict the freedoms of HK residents.
It feels like a hopeless situation is getting even more hopeless. There are so many different layers of bad news. I am trying to be conscious of things that are happening outside of Hong Kong even though it’s difficult because there’s so much going on right here. Especially concerning the Minnesota protests after the murder of George Floyd, I want to be informed. Although they’re not the same, it’s good to see a generally positive reception in the U.S. because it strengthens the fact that the Hong Kong protests are just as valid. Protesting is particularly dangerous right now, so it is frustrating to see governments taking advantage of that to act without as large of a democratic response. It really is a double edged sword: picking between making our voices heard and staying safe. It seems like no matter which you choose, you lose.
Written by: Michelle Zimmermann