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Ivan Lam and Joshua Wong enter Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre (prison), November 23, 2020. Photo: Stand News

A translation of Die Welt’s interview with the Hong Kong freedom fighter currently in solitary confinement

On November 23, Joshua Wong and Ivan Lam plead guilty to charges of organising and inciting “unlawful assembly” related to the surrounding of Hong Kong police headquarters by protesters on June 21, 2019. In the same trial, Agnes Chow had earlier plead guilty. All three were immediately remanded in custody pending sentencing on December 2. Joshua and Ivan were sent to Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre, where Joshua was placed in solitary confinement because, he was told by prison authorities, a foreign body had been detected in his abdomen in an x-ray taken upon his incarceration and he had to be placed under observation in isolation for three to five days. …


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Evening, March of 800,000, December 8, 2019, Hong Kong (Photo: Lam Yik Fei)

from February 2018 to February 2020

The first protest against the extradition bill occurred on March 31, 2019, but the ‘Hong Kong protests’ are generally considered to have started with the first mega-march of 1.03 million protesters on June 9. Since then, protests have continued over eight months, with at least one million protesters taking to the streets every month from June 2019 through January 2020. In all, as of the end of February, there have been at least 973 protests and 14,507,591 protesters. Occurring as they have over eight months, the massive protests have been accompanied by an extraordinary array of events and developments related to them. This timeline is extensive but far from comprehensive and is meant merely to indicate the most important protests and events. It should not be construed as a coherent narrative history but as a point of reference. …


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Prague mayor Zdenek Hrib with the Tibetan flag at Prague City Hall

On January 12, 2020, the following piece was published in Welt am Sonntag. I appreciated it so much, I decided to translate it into English.

It is not so often these days one hears an elected politician in the West speak so forthrightly and critically about the dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party. Mr Hrib definitely has the CCP’s number, and I can only hope that more people in Europe and elsewhere in the world come to see how true his words are. Indeed, I would go even further: the CCP, being the world’s biggest, most powerful dictatorship, is one of the greatest global threats of the twenty-first century.

The public was shocked. The headline of a Czech newspaper showed the small mole, hero of a famous Czech comic strip series and symbol of the Czech Republic, being eaten by a gigantic, fearsome panda, a symbol of China. That was 2014. At that time, few recognized China’s potential threat to Europe. …


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Ten of the year’s best, and twenty-five superb others

Previous Best Human Rights Books lists: 2018, Oct-Dec 2018, Jul-Sep 2018, Apr-Jun 2018, Jan-Mar 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

Thanks to the on-going revolution in Hong Kong, I read far fewer books this year, but I always took a book in my backpack when I went out to protest, and whenever I found myself hiding from the police or thugs, I whiled away the time by reading what I could.

In a way, the fact that I read far fewer books wasn’t such a loss, at least as far as human rights books were concerned, since 2019 was not a bumper year. The best books this year were as good as the books in any other, but there weren’t nearly as many books with human rights themes published this year as in the previous four. I presume this was mere coincidence. …


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Mass arrest of protesters on Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, November 18, 2019

As of January 8, 2021, at least 10,257 protesters have been arrested and 2,396 prosecuted.

This is a follow-up to an article that tracked protests and protest-related arrests in the Hong Kong freedom struggle up through November 2, 2019. That article has been split in two, with this one following arrests and trials and another following protests. The information here is updated regularly.

612 Humanitarian Relief Fund was set up expressly to assist protesters by providing legal defense aid and is the largest of its kind in Hong Kong. As of the end of October 2020, it had spent HK$170 million in donations to do so and had only HK$17 million. …


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Frontline protesters in Hong Kong; photo: Lam Yik Fei

As of July 7, 2020, 15,246,481 protesters have taken part in 1,096 protests

This is a follow-up to an article that tracked protests and protest-related arrests in the Hong Kong freedom struggle up through November 20, 2019. That article has been split in two, with this one following protests and another following arrests. The information here will be updated regularly.

Where possible, the crowd counts or estimates below come from protest organizers. But as the protests have gone on, there has been an increasing number of protests with no organizers. In such cases, estimates by news organizations are used. For protests at which I myself was present and no credible counts or estimates by protest organizers or news organizations were available, I myself have made the estimate or count. An increasing number of protests have no organizers, no estimates by news organizations of the number of participants, and I myself wasn’t present. In these cases, a rough estimate is given, of hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands, based on video footage, photographs, and reports. …


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28 open letters from citizens in different sectors of Hong Kong society

Citizens across Hong Kong condemn the July 21 Yuen Long attacks and police inaction; police brutality against protesters; government inaction in the face of the biggest political crisis in Hong Kong since the handover; and call on the government to fulfill the four (in some cases, five) demands demonstrators have been making since June. These letters, as a collection, give a sense of just how broadly civil society has mobilized to demand accountability and basic rights.

NOTE: Since this piece was published and before July 27, 38 more open letters from various groups appeared, for a total of 66 in all. As soon as I get the time, I will add them below. …


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July 21 march (Photo: Lam Yik Fei)

As of November 20, 11,286,456 demonstrators have taken part in 648 demonstrations; at least 4,891 have been arrested and 728 charged.

Last updated on November 20. AS OF NOVEMBER 20, THIS PAGE WILL NO LONGER BE UPDATED. A NEW PAGE DEDICATED TO PROTESTS HAS BEEN CREATED AND WILL BE UPDATED REGULARLY. A NEW PAGE DEDICATED TO ARRESTS IS IN THE WORKS.

Note: The numbers above are accurate as of the above date. The information and charts below regarding numbers of demonstrators and demonstrations are updated weekly, usually on Monday or Tuesday.

As of November 20, 11,286,456 demonstrators; 648 demonstrations

Note: As of early October, I have stopped updating all of the numbers on arrests below on a regular basis, simply because they have become far too many for me to keep up with. I will continue to update the overall numbers here at the beginning of the article. The number of protest arrests is based on the announcements of the Hong Kong Police Force as its regular press conferences. The number of protesters charged in court is based on regular announcements by the Arrested Persons Concern Group (被捕人士關注組). …


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Panicked demonstrators attempt to enter Citic Tower, across from the Hong Kong Legislative Council, as police continue to fire teargas at them, June 12, 2019. Teargas is meant to force a crowd to disperse, but the police have trapped the demonstrators on all sides and they have nowhere to disperse. (From this video)

Calls are growing for accountability for the systematic police attacks on peaceful protesters of the June 12 protest, with religious leaders joining in and Civil Human Rights Front cooperating with international human rights organizations to hold the Hong Kong government and police accountable.

In particular, the call is for the Chief Executive to set up an independent Commission of Inquiry, which the CE has the authority to do under HK law. A CI is for matters of great public interest. CIs have recently been conducted for the Lamma ferry disaster, lead in water, and shoddy construction at an MTR station.

How the police act toward citizens is clearly a matter of great public interest, and June 12 was one of the darkest days in HK history because the police were used not for law enforcement but to protect the regime from the people. …


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Demonstrators and police face off on Harcourt Road, Hong Kong, June 12, 2019 (Photo: Dale De La Ray)

What happened, how it happened, and how it was five years in the making

On June 9, 1.03 million people marched against the HK government’s plan to legalize extradition to places to which HK currently has no extradition treaty. Most problematic by far of all those places is China, to which no one in HK wishes to be extradited due to the impossibility of receiving a fair trial there, China’s regular practice of charging political enemies with non-political crimes, and general antipathy to the Communist Party and widespread resistance to its constant attempts to tighten its grip in HK.

After that 1.03-million-person march, HK’s Chief Executive said she still intended to move ahead with the legislation, which was to be introduced in the Legislative Council on June 12. In response, a demonstration at Legco was planned on that date. Civil Human Rights Front, the organizer of the June 9 march and many otheres, called on demonstrators to arrive at Legco at 10 am, an hour before the session was to begin. Unions and other groups had called for strikes. But young people weren’t following the leadership of any of them and took matters into their own hands. It was stunning how quickly people mobilized, new developments occurring so quickly I could hardly keep up.

About

Kong Tsung-gan / 江松澗

Author of ‘Umbrella: A Political Tale from Hong Kong’ and ‘As long as there is resistance, there is hope: Essays on the Hong Kong freedom struggle…’

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