Reflection by a Protester in Umbrella Movement, Hong Kong

Posters on the streets in Hong Kong

Posters on the streets in Hong Kong. Photo by Zhenxu huang / CC BY

Letter by Vincent:
After the campaign ‘Occupy Central’ commenced, I hesitated if I should join. I am the breadwinner of my family and can take no risk. However, I made up my mind and went protest on streets because I do not want my daughters to live in a Hong Kong with less and less democracy.

The story began in the 80s: China proposed the ‘one country, two systems’ framework in which ‘two systems’ was the condition that made Britain agree to the handover of Hong Kong so as to fulfill ‘one country’. Nevertheless, after the handover, China’s focus is on ‘one country’, not ‘two systems’, and the performance of our Chief Executive is far from satisfactory. We know that a real universal suffrage is the only way that we can choose our future Chief Executive who will devote him/herself to making a better Hong Kong.

After police fired 87 canisters of tear gas at protesters holding only umbrellas for self-protection, overseas presses named our protest ‘Umbrella Revolution’. In fact, it is not a revolution at all. Neither do we aim at overthrowing the government, nor seek independence. We only ask China to fulfill her promise, which is to give us democracy. We are now standing up for ‘two systems’.

I personally join the protest at the occupied areas each day after work. It is the most humble and peaceful way of protest that Hong Kong demonstrate to the world: none of the many shops of luxury brands in the occupied areas has been damaged and not a single car has been burnt. Protesters give hands to strangers selflessly, donate all sorts of materials for all to share and voluntarily manage all matters in the areas. For example, we make decorations on streets, sweep the ground, clean washrooms and separate recyclable items from rubbish etc. It is truly sarcastic that the social modality in the dream of the Communist is realized in the occupied areas in the protest against Communist pressure in our capitalist Hong Kong. Young people having experienced all these are reborn: they become stronger, selfless and are no longer in clover. Frankly and sadly speaking, it is very unlikely that the movement is going to succeed. However, the young people make me feel optimistic about the future of Hong Kong.

Throughout these days, we have been facing numerous challenges on the streets from police, who treated us with batons, pepper spray and tear gas, gangs who were masked and equipped with clippers and knives and anti-Occupy Central parties who are not necessarily rational. Our resolutions are: protecting ourselves from pepper spray with umbrellas, eye masks and cling wrap, discussing with rational anti-protest citizens and singing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song to irrational ones. We want real universal suffrage and democracy, not war.

Finally, I would like to thank your Union for kind words and publishing this article. You assure my belief: democracy is of universal value that everyone treasures.

Hong Kong needs your support. Please keep following our situation and share our news to others if you have time. Thank you so much!

Vincent