The Hong Kong report – part #2
You can find part #1 of our interviews under this link.
(For more information about the interview and a disclaimer, check here.)
Date of the interview: September 23, 2019
Interviewee: Flake (nickname), 40+ years old male, born in Hong Kong.
Global Game [Globalna Gra]: Could you tell us about yourself a bit?
My name is Flake and I am 40-something. I am a French teacher. I was born and raised in Hong Kong and I went to the US for my university studies.
My paternal grandparents were Chinese, my paternal grandfather came from Beijing and moved to Vietnam shortly after his studies to escape the Cultural Revolution in China and the political persecution at that time.
He met my Chinese grandmother there and got married and settled there.
My maternal grandparents were Vietnamese and they lived in Central Vietnam.
Due to the danger of the Vietnam War and the impending draft, my father who was around 18 years old at that time, was sent to Switzerland to pursue his studies at the university. It was there, where he met my mother. Shortly afterwards, they fell in love and got married. Eventually, after completing their studies in the US, they finally settled in Hong Kong where I was born.
In conclusion, the escape from Communists is inter-generational, from my grandfather to my parents, then finally to me.
1. What are your most important demands?
- Investigation on the Sun Uk lang Detention center
- Independent investigation on police brutality
- Investigation on the terrorist attacks of 21st July and 31st of August
- Dual universal suffrage
2. Is it true that young people are not able to afford a flat? Is it true that even pretty good-earning people are not able to buy an apartment? Is it true that because of the high prices of flats (comparing to salaries) a lot of young people have to live with their parents? Does it affect you severely? Do you feel that it’s blocking your outlook for development and stable life? Is it one of the essential issues that push you to protests?
It is absolutely true. We are faced with a housing crisis that has destroyed the future and the dreams of not only young people but of the majority of the population!
A huge percentage of young people live with their parents. Some even after their marriages with their spouses and children. YES!!! It is a pipe dream for most and the inability to see a viable future pushes most people to take to the streets to voice their frustration against this immovable wall of social promotion.
3. Do you rebel against orders from China (represented by Carrie Lam)? Do you agree with the opinion that extradition bill is an initiative of HK government? Or do you think that China inspired it?
Yes, because all the information spread by and from China is usually propaganda.
The extradition bill, in my opinion, was the idea of our brilliant Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
She wanted to impress her masters and thought she could just pull a fast one on us Hongkongers.
Oh boy, was she surprised when people started taking to the streets. She has no fucking clue about Hongkong. She represents the epitome of the privileged class: they have no idea about the real issues that face our society today and they will never understand.
In the end I dont think China wanted it at firs, they had a bigger fish to fry at the time.
4. Are there any other ways how China interfere in the internal affairs of HK?
Yes there are many examples:
* In the judicial and political systems where pro-democracy activists and opposition lawmakers were attacked and jailed.
* In education were they are constantly trying to abolish Cantonese as a language.
* Propaganda in the social media (Twitter, FB, IG) and through its official governmental agencies, during official press conferences etc.
* The infiltration of chinese agents into the local police force (on the frontline).
5. Do you rebel against privileged caste of developers and business people who are continually increasing their wealth? Is it a problem for you that business is growing when, even well-educated Hongkongers, are not able to achieve a decent salary? (and meet satisfying living conditions like buying a flat and affording for a family)
This is a tough one… I am angry at this system but not neccesarily the people who benefit from it. It is the way the world works.
The problem is the government not the people. They are the ones that carry out policies that benefit the rich and cripple and destroy the poor.
The government is the people enemy.
6. What pushes you to protests? Who is your enemy? Where are the biggest problems of Hongkong in your opinion?
When I see the state of HK, the hopelessness is overwhelming.
However through this, it has awakened the political and social consciousness of its people. In the past Hongkongers were generally quite apathetic towards politics, but through this movement and most especially through the sacrifices of our younger generation they have successfully exposed all the evils of our government, and opened our eyes (for the older generation) and it has galvanised the whole society.
We are at our darkest moment in history, but we have never been as united. It is so sad but it is only at its dying moments can we witness the true beauty of the Hongkongers.
7. What is the upper limit of protest? I mean: is there and – if yes, then – where is, the point where protesters are going to capitulate? Are you aware of the threat of intervention of Chinese troops? Are you afraid of the response? What would you do if China would decide to intervene?
The final limit is death. I think that the only people who will capitulate are the ones who already decided the battle is not worth fighting for.
For the rest of us, the fight for freedom and democracy is a commitment.
Even unto death, and even if we know this would fail, it is the only right thing for us to do. Defend our home and the values we stand for, we will never give up nor give in.
8. Do you consider emigration?
I have discussed this issue with my family recently, but as you know, my family has been running away from Communists since my grandfather.
I will not run anymore. I want to stay and defend my home.
9. What is your vision of relations with China? (in context of „one country two systems”, how should it be organised? how do you understand this rule?)
If it was up to me, the continuation of the sino-british joint delaration, that promised 50 years of autonomy and the principle of one country two systems.
What I understood from this was, we were guaranteed that HK will be governed under the Basic Law from 1997 to 2047.
The reason for the outrage and the frustration lies in the gradual encroachment and dominance of a socialist system and policies (right) now. An it’s only been 22 years!
Young people of this generation are willing to risk torture imprisonment and arrests and even deathm because they already seen the future, and there is nothing for them, no hope no dreams.
So they rather risk everything to fight this tyranny and military regime to preserve our freedom and delay the inevitable.
10. What do you think about the idea of independence from China? Do you hope for it?
Before june came, I would have said no, but now with respect to the situation, it is crystal clear what China wants.
I hope we can disassociate ourselves with the Chinese and rebuild our home and our political and judicial and education systems.
11. What do you think about the following sentence (?): Hong Kong is an artificial country, that according to the law is under Chinese rule and it will remain so. Do you agree?
It hurts but it`s true. We were never considered a genuine state. Before we were a British colony, now we are part of China. However, we are guaranteed 50 years of autonomy as promised by the Sino-British Joint declaration!
Give us 28 more years please! It was suppoused to be 2047 not 2019!
12. How do you imagine Hong Kong after protesters victory?
I cannot begin to imagine this situation… I`d rather not yet…
13. How do you imagine HK in 5 years? What will be the role of HK in the future? How do you consider HK in the context of the Greater Bay Area vision? Does Hongkongers have any concept of HK?
My genuine wish is for HK to return to its former glory, where we continue to be a beacon of democracy and an international business center.
However, the reality is that we might just be an insignificant shitty little city belonging to the Greater Bay Area.
I am not sure if we have such concept but we do have the idea of a shared social consciousness called „hongkongness” (see question 18) 🙂
14. What do you expect from external forces? (ie. Taiwan, United Kingdom, USA)
The main player is the US. We expect them to continue to monitor and participate and help defend Hong Kong from China. It would be naive to expect them, to always be on our side. But we need them as a counter-balance for China as we have not much leverage. It is important to keep the US as an ally and continue to encourage their support.
English have tried to pull their weight on the issue but to no great avail as they are embroiled in their own Brexit fiasco and are too weak internationally to influence China. Taiwan has always been our friend however their elections are coming up and the results could change their stance drastically.
We will see. I am curious to see Kremlin’s stance, not quite sure about it.
15. What is your attitude towards the USA – do you count on American support (especially in the case of military intervention)? If yes, do you realise the USA has already lost with China, and you are alone in your fight?
I believe in the saying the enemy of my enemy is my friend. That is the principle . I think it`s hard to count on US support constantly, but in the meantime, it’s a viable solution. I think it’s in our best interest that we continue to engage them in every step. I never liked Trump but what better way to fight a crazy man than pitting him against a crazier one? Plus, the only one issue that can unite the republicans and democrats is democracy and the support from the Congress (The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act). This will at least keep China on its toes, so its a good thing.
16. Are you aware that protests may be inspired by foreign agents (intelligence)? Are you aware that it may be a part of the information war? (Is it possible that you are a pawn in someone else’s game? In the context of a trade war between the US and China).
It was very clear from the get go, that we were just a chess piece with respect to the sino-us trade war, however it is important to continue to use this situation to our advantage. We have to keep US support and gradually raise international awareness and hopefully more foreign pressure, intervention, from nations as well as international agencies or NGOs. I think, it is vitally important to see our position in the bigger picture and accept it and be at peace with it in order to find our solution (to the situation).
17. Does any party or country pay you or offered you any benefit to participate in the protest? Did you ever hear about such proposals or agreements with other protesters?
Yes, but only from the Chinese press, which spread rumours about free sex offered by young female protesters. This is completely unfounded and fucking ridiculous. Again, propaganda from the Motherland. But what is much more ridiculous is government agencies and officials lying and misleading the public to gain a foothold in this information war. Recently, a senior HK government official said she heard from a friends friend that sex was offered by young teenagers in the frontlines and Beijing (after illegally imprisoning a HK-british resident Simon Cheng in China ), accused this same young man of soliciting a prostitute and even published photos (taken from a porn site) to discredit and defame him!
18. I know it’s not exactly right and colossal generalisation, but some people need explanation. Why don’t you consider yourself as Chinese despite the universal language and culture?
Hong Kong is an unique city that has been shaped by its people and history. We were all immigrants and refugees, coming from all over the world to find an utopia. We succeeded in transforming this small fishing village into a global financial center. Our core values of freedom/democracy/rule of law which are completely different from the Chinese. As well as our language and even the way we write our characters ours (traditional), China’s (simplified). The most telling difference is our belief that the political system in China is NOT FOR US.
19. What is the attitude towards protest between:
- generation of your parents?
They are understanding and support and sympathize with the protesters.
- generation of your grandparents?
They passed away.
- immigrants from the Mainland who are living in HK for many years?
They are supportive because they consider themselves as Hongkongers.
20. Why do you attack the police? There are movies on the internet where protesters are attacking people who don’t agree with you. What about damaged MTR stations? What about damaged face recognition towers?
The attacks on the police are a reaction to the overwhelming violence, brutality and abuse by the police force. Since june, almost 1500 arrests have been made and yesterday they even arrested a 10 year old boy. They have also been targeting journalists and even first-aiders, not to mention their cooperation w triad members and attacks on civilians on the MTR stations and illegal arrests and torture in prison.
The damage to the MTR station is a reaction to the MTR corporation actions. After a warning issued by China through its media, the MTR company became sort of a transport department of the police. They closed down the stations deliberately during the protests (and even had the balls to blame the protesters for it) and aided police to trap and arrest the protesters.
The facial recognition towers is the first step of the social (surveilance) system. Kids destroyed them to protect us from this evil and to raise awareness on all the different ways through which China is trying to influence and change Hong Kong.
I totally support the damages made to the MTR stations and facial recognition towers.
21. (This question is not about HK itself but is also interesting) What is the attitude of Chinese people from the Mainland towards growing control of society (through technologies)? Do you think it could trigger a civil war there?
I am not sure.
22. I suppose that you are aware of what are economical results of protests for HK economy. Is it worth to damage the HK economy for political reasons? Are you not affraid of economical consequences?
I am OK with that, as long as this can awaken the apathetic attitude of Hongkongers and unite us in our stand for freedom. The price for freedom is high and i think everyone needs to make sacrifices. Big or small. This is something that is quite extraordinary as Hongkongers are known to be quite concerned with money and themseleves. But through this movement people have forgotten about their selfishness, their money and have bonded together to take one last stand against an evil regime despite knowing the inevitable end.
This is a historic moment for us in HK and i am so proud to be part of this.
23. We decided to publish this interview as a text instead of the video because of privacy concerns. Could you tell more about why privacy is such a big issue in this case, and what kind of repercussions are you expecting?
24. I hope that the above questions exhibit the popular points of views about HK protests that dominate discussions in Poland. I am curious if the nature of those questions made you feel misunderstood somehow. Would you like to add anything?
Thank you so much for your heart. We will never forget this!
All copyrights (c) reserved to:
Preparation of questions and interview: Paweł Żentała
Editorial, translation and publication: Filip Dąb-Mirowski [Global Game]
Publishing date: 29th September 2019
About the authors and disclaimer
The above interview was conducted by Paweł Żentała, a Polish programmer working for the french IoT startup (Internet of Things) in Hong Kong between 2018-2019. Political discussions with both educated Chinese from the mainland and Hongkongers (as they like to call themselves), inspired him to familiarize his fellow countrymen with the political situation in this (recently) troubled city.
The questions were prepared based on the suggestions made by the participants of the Geopolitics discussion group. They vary in tone, from apologetic to provocative, depending on the individual attitudes of the debaters towards the events in Hong Kong. In our opinion (Filip’s & Paweł’s), this holistic approach allows for a better understanding of the events taking place. Provides the best form of documentary and gives a glimpse into social moods. The interview was conducted in English, and was published in the original form, with just small adjustments enforced by the editorial requirements. However, it should be remembered that:
1. The opinions and content presented are the result of individual perception and knowledge presented by the person being interviewed. Therefore, they should not be identified with the opinions of the author / authors of [Global Game].
2. Due to possible legal liability, the risk of arrest or harassment, the personal data of the interlocutor will not be disclosed and, where relevant from an editorial point of view – we’ve changed some of it (e.g. name). You have to take our word for it that this person really exists.
3. The interview is published with the consent of all interested parties. It is designed to confront our local journalism (Polish) on the matter, with the knowledge and opinions of protest participants.
If you want to know more about Hong Kong protests, be sure to read the article Dangerous state.
About Global Game (Globalna Gra): It’s an independent Polish blog focused on geopolitics, established in the early 2017 by Filip Dąb-Mirowski. It hosts interviews, reviewes and articles which touch upon developments and issues in the international politics. It also works as a podcast, YouTube channel, Facebook profile and Twitter account under the same name.