Transcript

Battle For Hong Kong

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MOMO:

[Speaking Cantonese] Sorry, Mom and Dad. I couldn't be the obedient girl you wanted.

I'm writing my will at the moment because I don’t know when I’ll be caught or killed by someone.

I feel that during this protest movement I've done the right thing. I really hope that Hong Kong will change in the future as a result of our resistance.

This is the truest thing I've ever done.

Hong Kong

October 4, 2019

NARRATOR:

It’s the fourth month of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Protesters have surrounded the car of an off-duty police officer.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Don’t let the cop escape.

NARRATOR:

The city is in turmoil.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] **** you.

MALE POLICE OFFICER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Drop that.

Fight this mother******.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Gunshot!

NARRATOR:

The officer shoots and injures a 14-year-old protester.

How did one of the world’s biggest financial centers descend into such chaos and violence? And where will it end?

MALE POLICE OFFICER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Help me. I’ve been beaten up.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] I told you to leave.

Drop your gun and fight me now.

**** you.

NARRATOR:

This film follows five young protesters through the most intense clashes. Facing arrest for their actions, most are wearing masks and using aliases to protect their identities. They say they’re fighting for their freedom against the communist government of China. China says they are radicals, thugs and separatists.

MOMO:

[Speaking Cantonese] I used to think that working hard and playing hard would be enough for me.

NARRATOR:

Momo is a nurse in her late 20s. When she was a child, Hong Kong was a British colony.

In 1997 it was returned to China and granted special status for 50 years, allowing for far more freedoms than in mainland China. But the city’s government would be accountable to the communist regime and its leader approved by Beijing.

MOMO:

[Speaking Cantonese] Before the protest movement, I rarely paid attention to the politics in Hong Kong.

June 12, 2019

NARRATOR:

On June the 12th last year, Momo was one of tens of thousands who took to the streets. Hong Kong's government had proposed a controversial extradition bill that would allow criminal suspects to be sent for trial in mainland China.

MOMO:

[Speaking Cantonese] My understanding of China is that in theory there is the rule of law. But in reality, if they don’t like the look of you or what you’ve said, they'll make up a crime you didn’t commit and find you guilty.

NARRATOR:

Amid growing concerns about China’s influence in Hong Kong, the extradition bill struck a nerve.

The majority of protesters were peaceful, but a few tried to take on the police.

Momo says she wasn’t ready for what happened next.

MOMO

[Speaking Cantonese] All of a sudden, I felt that the world wasn’t as perfect as I thought. Actually, the world is cruel and terrifying.

NARRATOR:

The police fired large amounts of tear gas into the crowds. They were filmed beating protesters.

MOMO:

[Speaking Cantonese] I never thought the Hong Kong government would treat us like this. It’s the same way the law works in mainland China. They want to silence us. They don’t want us to speak out.

My partner is a policeman. For us protesters, he’s on the enemy’s front line. I asked him, "If you were the person who shot me, how would you feel?" He didn’t comfort me at all.

I felt terrible sadness, because—I was living with someone like him. It was terrifying.

NARRATOR:

The Hong Kong authorities said the police had adopted a restrained and tolerant attitude on June 12th and called the protesters "rioters."

For many Hongkongers, that day was a turning point.

One of them was Lomi, a researcher.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] I got home that night. We said, “Wow, Hongkongers have risen. They're finally waking up and protesting.”

Three months later

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] If the protesters are walking toward Central, I’d expect something to happen at North Point.

NARRATOR:

Lomi and her friends are in a safe house, preparing for the next protest.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] When we get there, let’s spread out. Let’s stay away from Admiralty.

NARRATOR:

In the weeks since June 12th, the demonstrations have escalated. The protesters now have more demands, including the right to directly elect Hong Kong’s leader without China’s approval.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Put this in my bag.

NARRATOR:

The majority have been peaceful, but some, like Lomi, are taking a different approach.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Hongkongers used to be regarded as rational, peaceful and nonviolent. Yet, have we had any breakthroughs? I don’t think so.

So we thought why not try something more intense, using other ways to protest to achieve our aims.

FEMALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] There are lots of CCTV cameras around.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] I can smell tear gas.

Let’s gear up. Get changed now. Where is the police helicopter?

If the riot police are getting ready, we’ll have to start running. If they continue using tear gas and rubber bullets, we’ll try our best to build barricades and hold the ground.

It’s loose. Please help me tighten it.

NARRATOR:

The police start firing tear gas to try to clear the streets.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] If tear gas lands near us, neutralize it with water. I’ll pick it up.

Rubbish goggles.

My eyes are burning.

Ouch, it hurts.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] I know, same here. Can you bear it?

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Yes, I can.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] My arms and forehead are burning. The barricades should be ready in 5 minutes.

NARRATOR:

Lomi and her team help build barricades to stop police water cannon vehicles getting within range.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] That way. Watch out. This is so heavy. Turn it sideways.

NARRATOR:

Then they realize the police are closing in.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] I see riot police now. Let’s run. Run, run, run!

NARRATOR:

Seconds later, police special forces charge the protesters.

They make more than a hundred arrests. But Lomi and her team escape.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] I twisted my head and ran away.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] There’s lots of CCTV here. Let’s move.

Let’s head towards Causeway Bay. Wow, we’ve got everyone here. Two, four, six, eight. Great, we’re all safe and sound.

If you ask me what I’m fighting for, it’s for the sake of the freedom that remains in Hong Kong.

Let’s find somewhere to get changed.

NARRATOR:

Lomi and her friends say they’re running out of time. Hong Kong’s special status is due to end in 2047, when China will take back full control.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Let’s get changed here.

The values we’ve been thinking about, such as freedom, equality and universal values, don’t match those of the Chinese communists.

There aren’t any police out there, we can walk. Tell him we’ll meet him there.

I don’t want to be controlled by the Chinese communists.

NARRATOR:

As the protests have intensified, China has warned that it could directly intervene.

CHINESE GOVERNMENT SPOKESWOMAN:

[Speaking Mandarin] The riots should be stopped as soon as possible. I hope the radical, violent protesters engaged in separatist activities in Hong Kong come to their senses and recognize the serious harm they're doing.

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] If you ask whether I’m afraid, I’ll say yes. But retreat is not an option. If I did, I’d lose everything forever. It’s better to die standing than to live kneeling.

NARRATOR:

Vincent is one of tens of thousands of high school students at the heart of the protests.

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] See the red fire hydrant down there?

FEMALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] I see it.

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] That was hit by gas bombs and fire went up.

NARRATOR:

He has firsthand experience of life in mainland China: He grew up there before moving to Hong Kong in his teens.

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] In mainland China, your behavior online and on the streets, your daily life is watched by the authorities’ surveillance system. It’s another prison outside prison.

NARRATOR:

Vincent says he fears Hong Kong will become a surveillance state like China. Some lampposts here are already equipped with sensors and cameras and have become targets of the protesters.

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] If Hong Kong becomes part of the Chinese system, people will find it hard to survive.

NARRATOR:

Hong Kong currently has a free press and internet, unlike on the Chinese mainland, where both are heavily censored.

So it was only when Vincent arrived in Hong Kong that he learned about China’s deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] I just watched the Tiananmen Square video. I don’t have the heart to watch further. The government used brutal violence to massacre the protesters. The protesters fought for democracy because they loved their country and wanted to have a better China.

NARRATOR:

Since the protests began, millions of Hong Kong residents have participated, making them the largest on Chinese territory since Tiananmen Square.

On this night, Vincent has joined thousands of others in the center of the city. One of their slogans is "Liberate Hong Kong: revolution of our time."

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] If Hong Kong achieves democracy, we could export those ideas to mainland China.

NARRATOR:

A few hours later, the violence escalates. The first live round is fired by the police—a warning shot.

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] The hour before sunrise is the darkest hour, and now Hong Kong is in its darkest hour.

AGNES CHOW:

I thought a lot on my own future. I had to be mentally prepared to be arrested or even to be sent to the prison.

NARRATOR:

At 22, Agnes Chow is already a veteran of pro-democracy protests. She’s not worried about showing her face because she’s already known to the authorities. She was recently arrested.

AGNES CHOW:

When I woke up and I opened the door of my room, I suddenly saw five police officers standing outside of my room, and I was so shocked.

NARRATOR:

Now she’s on bail and tonight must report to a police station.

Agnes says she was demonstrating peacefully but was charged with taking part and inciting others to join an unauthorized assembly.

AGNES CHOW:

If I were sent to prison because of participating in assembly or protest, of course it’s a political prisoner.

The violence and the suppression from Beijing and the Hong Kong government and also Hong Kong Police is getting stronger and stronger.

NARRATOR:

Hong Kong has a history of pro-democracy demonstrations and protests against China, but never on this scale.

MALE PROTEST SPEAKER:

[Speaking Cantonese] She's called the goddess of democracy by the Japanese.

NARRATOR:

And now, the police deem most demonstrations illegal, citing concerns about violence.

MALE PROTEST SPEAKER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Now, we invite them to the stage.

AGNES CHOW:

[Speaking English] Hong Kong people should enjoy genuine democracy. At least we would have a political system that could kind of force the government to respect and to listen to public opinion.

[Speaking Cantonese] We want to live in our beloved Hong Kong for 10, 30, 50, 70 years.

[Speaking English] In the eyes of the Chinese Communist Party, all behavior, all social movement fighting for democracy, is over the red line.

[Speaking Cantonese] Keep fighting, Hongkongers!

[Speaking English] We want to choose our future by ourselves.

NARRATOR:

Agnes is scheduled to go on trial soon. She faces up to five years behind bars.

It’s mid-September. Momo has been protesting regularly since June.

MOMO:

[Speaking Cantonese] I’ve changed my view on a lot of things and people.

NARRATOR:

She says the violence used to suppress the protests has traumatized her. It’s also made her angry.

She now goes to the front lines, providing medical support and extinguishing tear gas rounds.

MOMO:

[Speaking Cantonese] I’ve seen so many police overusing their power and unjustified violence. They don’t serve the citizens. They serve the almighty government, the senior officials and China.

NARRATOR:

Hong Kong is now bitterly divided over the best way forward and whether the protests are doing more harm than good. The city is suffering the worst recession in a decade, and many blame the protests.

MOMO:

[Speaking Cantonese] My parents know I go to the front line. However, my mom is a typical anti-protester. She says in foul language that the protesters need to be beaten to death.

Nothing can hurt me now.

NARRATOR:

It’s been almost four months of protests. Lomi has been out confronting the police several times a week.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Sometimes I have nightmares where I’m being chased by the riot police. Every now and then, in my dream I’ll see the police charging at me.

NARRATOR:

The police are stepping up the arrests. The protesters face up to 10 years in jail for rioting, so the stakes are high.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] For the last two days we tried to avoid arrest.

FEMALE SPEAKER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Check the radios.

MALE SPEAKER:

Testing, testing—

NARRATOR:

Lomi’s team are in their safe house planning their next move.

FEMALE SPEAKER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Let’s eat.

NARRATOR:

One of the biggest celebrations in China’s history is on the horizon, and the protesters are planning to do all they can to undermine it.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] We’ll carry on, but today we don’t want to use too much energy because we want to save it for the real battle on October 1st.

NARRATOR:

October 1st marks National Day—70 years since the beginning of communist rule in China. A huge parade in Beijing will showcase China’s increasing military and economic power to the world.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] This festival is an insult to us. We’ll definitely take to the streets to fight.

NARRATOR:

The Hong Kong Police are on high alert.

HONG KONG POLICE SPOKESMAN:

We are on the verge of extreme danger. Mass property destruction, furious street fights, indiscriminate attacks on innocent citizens. There are apparent signs that hardcore violence will escalate in the near future. All acts are one step closer to terrorism.

NARRATOR:

Vincent, the high school student from mainland China, is also planning to protest on National Day. For him and many other protesters, the Communist Party is the enemy.

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] In Hong Kong, the vast majority of people don’t regard October 1st as National Day. They see it as national day of mourning because on that day a murderous regime came to power.

AGNES CHOW:

It’s a very symbolic day. A lot of people are suffering under this regime, people in Tibet or Xinjiang or people practicing religion in China, people who voice out the truth. That’s why for us it’s never a day for celebration.

Beijing

National Day

October 1, 2019

NARRATOR:

The celebrations in Beijing are underway, marking China’s emergence as a global power. Presiding over the event is China’s leader, Xi Jinping.

Back in Hong Kong, Momo is getting ready for action on the streets.

MOMO:

[Speaking Cantonese] This is the telephone number for Civil Human Rights Front legal aid, and this is Spark Alliance legal aid. So, it’ll be easier for me to make a phone call if I’m arrested.

PRESIDENT XI JINPING:

[Speaking Mandarin] We have the same hearts. We work hard together. We have achieved something which is acclaimed by the rest of the world. We’ll stick to the policy of peaceful unification. One country, two systems.

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] They’re using this festival to brainwash people. We all love our country, but we shouldn’t be made to love a particular political party.

PRESIDENT XI JINPING:

[Speaking Mandarin] We must maintain Hong Kong's and Macao’s long-term prosperity and stability and unite all Chinese people to fight for complete unification of the motherland.

MALE VOICE [on walkie-talkie]:

[Speaking Cantonese] There are fewer than 20 front-liners at Tsim Sha Tsui.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Copy that, we’ll call people back.

NARRATOR:

Lomi’s team has split up to stretch the police response across the city.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] It’s OK! There are no cops!

Now, we know what kind of regime the Chinese Communist Party runs.

Be ready. I’ll pick up and you extinguish.

They want to breed you like a pig, to silence you and get you to listen.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Delete his photos. Take his phone.

NARRATOR:

As the day progresses, the protesters’ anger against China ramps up.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] We'll beat you to death.

NARRATOR:

A group of them surround a Chinese tourist.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Smash his phone.

NARRATOR:

There’s growing suspicion of anyone from the mainland.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] **** your mother.

MALE PROTESTER 2:

[Speaking Cantonese] You deserve it.

FEMALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Do you want to clean your wound?

MALE VICTIM:

[Speaking Mandarin] I’m just here on a day trip. I can't believe this happened. Wow, this is what Hong Kong is now.

NARRATOR:

By midafternoon on National Day, clashes between protesters and police have spread to 13 areas across Hong Kong.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Cops two blocks away.

NARRATOR:

The police are closing in around Lomi’s group.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] I can’t see them. Cops behind us. Run, run, run!

NARRATOR:

In another part of the city, Momo is heading to the front line.

She’s recorded a message for her parents.

MOMO:

[Speaking Cantonese] Sorry Mom and Dad. I don’t know if you guys understand how scared I've been. It turns out, if you want to be a good person who wants democracy, it’s such a tough struggle. It takes so many people next to me to be injured or die. But the government will not back down. I’m very disappointed in Hong Kong.

NARRATOR:

Over the course of the protests on National Day, the Hong Kong Police say they are forced to shoot six live rounds to defend themselves. One is fired by an officer whose colleague is being attacked by a group of protesters. The bullet seriously injures a high school student.

PRESIDENT XI JINPING:

[Speaking Mandarin] We need to work hard toward realizing the great Chinese dream of reviving China.

NARRATOR:

To cap off the day, there’s a huge firework display in Beijing.

Hong Kong’s official fireworks are cancelled, but the protesters organize their own.

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] The violent clashes have grown in scale. Now it’s either total defeat or complete victory. People don't care about life and death now.

NARRATOR:

After the violence on China’s National Day, Hong Kong’s authorities take new measures in an effort to stop the protests.

CARRIE LAM, Hong Kong government chief executive:

Protesters' violence has been escalating and has reached a very alarming level in the past few days, causing numerous injuries and leading Hong Kong through a chaotic and panicked situation.

The chief executive in council decided at a special meeting this morning to invoke the power under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance. The objective of this regulation is to end violence and restore order.

NARRATOR:

Face masks are banned.

The government also goes on to make a concession, formally withdrawing the extradition bill that ignited the protests.

But it's too late: Hard-liners ramp up their battles with the police and take control of a university campus.

LI:

[Speaking Cantonese] It’s easy to fire an arrow.

NARRATOR:

Li is part of the core group occupying the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

LI:

[Speaking Cantonese] No, like this. The arrow sits underneath

NARRATOR:

Li is married and has a daughter. He's been protesting since June.

LI:

[Speaking Cantonese] I used to be a peaceful protester. I've been forced to become one of the "braves."

Basically, we’re now at war. What we’re doing now will be seen by society as ******* violent ****.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Did it go through?

LI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Yes. Don’t shoot yet. It will stab you to death.

But if it wasn’t for the "braves" the movement wouldn’t have lasted as long.

If it’s just me who has to die in order for Hong Kong to get democracy, I’m happy to make the sacrifice. But if I die, I want a quick death.

Clear a path.

NARRATOR:

Li and his fellow hard-liners are devising new ways to keep the police at bay, fortifying their barricade of the university campus.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] If the police do come through here and the van blows, they’re ******.

LI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Put a bunch of Molotov cocktails in the van and a battery there. Connect the opposite ends and add a super-long wire.

MALE PROTESTER 2:

[Speaking Cantonese] I’m ******* excited, ******* seeking revenge.

LI:

[Speaking Cantonese] If I risk my own life, at least a policeman will die too.

MALE PROTESTER 2:

[Speaking Cantonese] One is not enough.

MALE PROTESTER 3:

[Speaking Cantonese] I disagree with most of what you say even though we’re on the same side.

You’re supposed to treasure **** every single life. If the movement succeeds **** with no casualties, that’s the perfect outcome. We all hate the **** police ****. But we don’t want the police to die, we want them on our side.

NARRATOR:

Li and the hard-liners have heard there’s a larger gathering elsewhere in Hong Kong. They decide to abandon the Chinese University.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Run, run, run.

NARRATOR:

They have a bigger battle to fight across the city at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University

November 17, 2019

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Front-liners below, spread out. Keep your distance.

NARRATOR:

Around 2,000 protesters have amassed at the campus. Lomi is among the crowd. And Li and his fellow hard-liners are also here.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Riot police next to the water cannon.

NARRATOR:

The police have them surrounded.

LI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Please, quickly get me more arrows.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] There are very few left.

LI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Please try your best to get some.

NARRATOR:

It’s the start of the most violent confrontation since the protests began.

Up on the terrace, Li is in the firing line.

MALE PROTESTER [on megaphone]:

[Speaking Cantonese] They’re retreating. Hit them now. Everyone crouch down. Get ready.

LI:

[Speaking Cantonese] I think that just missed one of them.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] But you hit one already.

LI:

[Speaking Cantonese] What?

FEMALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Your arrow hit a policeman at the front.

LI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Yes! Kill the cockroaches.

The police say to us, "You're not playing games, what you're doing has consequences." Of course, I'm aware of that.

I told you I could hit someone. I did it.

We're playing this game while putting our lives and futures at risk.

It’s like a war game. I shoot and then crouch to get another arrow.

I really fear I’ll be shot at any moment and then—goodbye.

****, I haven’t even said my last words to my wife and kid.

NARRATOR:

The standoff at the university drags on through the night. Inside, there’s a growing sense of desperation.

FEMALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Don’t turn yourself in.

MALE PROTESTER 1:

[Speaking Cantonese] If you turn yourself in, you’ll get 10 years. If you get caught escaping it’s 10 years. But if we escape, we won’t go to prison at all.

MALE PROTESTER 2:

[Speaking Cantonese] Stop crying.

NARRATOR:

Lomi and her team start planning their escape.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] There are four of us here. We must leave together.

MALE PROTESTER 3:

OK.

MALE PROTESTER 4:

[Speaking Cantonese] It might not work, but I have an idea.

NARRATOR:

They plan to use a rope to climb onto a nearby highway overpass.

MALE PROTESTER 4:

[Speaking Cantonese] I don’t know but I think we could climb up. It should work.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] How much time do we have?

MALE PROTESTER 4:

[Speaking Cantonese] Thirty minutes.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Almost time then.

Having defended against a wave of attacks, we’ve been surrounded by police since midnight. Sorry, I think I’ve got to go. He’s calling me. Please wait, should I come now?

NARRATOR:

Lomi disappears into the chaos just as another group of protesters try to get out of the campus.

FEMALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] I want to go home. Why won’t you let us go home?

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] Tear gas. Watch out. Be quick

NARRATOR:

The police continue to bombard the crowd with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] What's going on?

NARRATOR:

Suddenly, the police move in.

MALE PROTESTER:

[Speaking Cantonese] My name is Ngan Long Tin. Y7055178.

MALE RIOT POLICE 1:

[Speaking Cantonese] Smell that gas. Drag her away.

MALE RIOT POLICE 2:

[Speaking Cantonese] Don’t film anymore.

NARRATOR:

It’s a major victory for the authorities. After nearly half a year of pitched battles, much of the hard-line protest movement has been broken apart.

MALE RIOT POLICE 3:

[Speaking Cantonese] Take them away.

HONG KONG POLICE SPOKESMAN:

We strongly condemn the rioters for taking over the university and using it as a weapon factory. In the whole PolyU incident, the police arrest 1,377 people. We have zero tolerance for any violent or criminal act. The police will bring all offenders to justice.

MALE RIOT POLICE 4:

[Speaking Cantonese] Head down.

MALE RIOT POLICE 5:

[Speaking Cantonese] Get back!

NARRATOR:

After the end of the Polytechnic siege, the police arrest more protesters.

MOMO:

[Speaking Cantonese] I worry about getting arrested when I go out.

NARRATOR:

Momo is still going to the protests. She says she’s increasingly worried about the countdown to China taking full control of Hong Kong.

MOMO:

[Speaking Cantonese] China is getting more and more powerful. I never thought about it before, but now I’m thinking there’s only 20-plus years before 2047. Time will fly by. Will I get married in the future? Will I have children? How do I carry on living here in Hong Kong?

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] The world should pay close attention to Hong Kong because Hong Kong is right on the front line of the battle against the Chinese communist dictatorship.

Hong Kong border with mainland China

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] I don't think I can go back to mainland China now.

NARRATOR:

Vincent is now on bail after being arrested for unauthorized assembly. He used to regularly visit mainland China to see his father and family, but after his arrest he says he’s worried the authorities there will also punish him for being part of the protests.

VINCENT:

[Speaking Cantonese] When you pursue something you consider a just cause, it’s inevitable there will be sacrifices.

Since June, Hong Kong is no longer a safe place. In 2047 it will be even more like hell—or a hell that is scarier than hell.

Taipei, Taiwan

January 2020

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] Thank you, Mom and Dad, for giving me space to do my own thing. I know you worry about me a lot. You’ve always loved me. I can’t go back to Hong Kong, but I can’t regret. I must persist on my chosen path.

NARRATOR:

Lomi has fled Hong Kong. After escaping the campus siege eight weeks earlier, she’s taking refuge in nearby Taiwan.

LOMI:

[Speaking Cantonese] We’ve lost so much and only gained very little. I quit my job. I saw my family for the last time. I just had enough time to say goodbye to my friends. We might never see each other again, or at least not for a long time.

We take comfort knowing that we’ve woken up many more Hongkongers. But if you ask me about Hong Kong’s future, actually, I’m very scared.

If we don’t keep going, Hong Kong falls. We won’t be able to speak out. There will be complete surveillance. The Chinese communists will take over. There will be no front line. There will be no resistance. All opposition will be suppressed.

I think this movement is the beginning of opposition against this authoritarian regime, not the final battle.

Agnes is still awaiting trial for taking part and inciting others to participate in an unauthorized assembly.

Li is keeping a low profile and vows to fight on against the authorities.

The protests continue.

54:22
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NRA Under Fire
March 24, 2020