Fri, Jul 12, 2019 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

HK protest suicides

On Wednesday last week, a 28-year-old woman surnamed Mak (麥) jumped to her death from a building in the Cheung Sha Wan area of Hong Kong, the fourth person to do so in protest against a bill that would allow Hong Kong to send fugitives to China for trial.

It is hard to find any deep-reaching reports about these deaths in the media, which seem more concerned with the million-strong protest marches and the occupation on Monday last week of the [Hong Kong] Legislative Council (Legco). Little has been said about the change in Hong Kong in the course of these protests or the message conveyed by some people’s willingness to die for the cause.

Mak left a suicide note saying: “A government that is not elected by the people does not respond to their demands. What Hong Kong needs is a revolution.”

Her words confirm that young people in Hong Kong no longer have any hope in their government and will fight for democracy as long as they live.

Why have these suicides become a chain reaction that is shaking the foundation of Hong Kong’s society?

When the Hong Kong and Chinese governments denounced people who took part in the protest and occupation, calling them “rioters,” young Hong Kongers were already beginning to despair. A few of them think that their deaths as “human bombs” might spark a glimmer of conscience from those in government and wake up some ordinary people to realize where Hong Kong is headed.

The frustration, helplessness and anger that members of Hong Kong’s young generation feel about the future are what is leading them to fight tooth and nail. If you start out on the wrong foot, you will keep going wrong.

From the moment Hong Kong stepped into the “one country, two systems” trap, it was sure to lead to today’s dire situation. Under the restrictions imposed by the Chinese government in Beijing, the pace of Hong Kong’s march toward “one country” can only accelerate.

Now that the Hong Kong authorities have started to hunt down and arrest the people who took part in the Legco occupation, a wave of “white terror” is likely to follow. Hong Kongers will discover that the joy with which members of their parents’ generation welcomed Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 has long since been overshadowed by the threat of a dark and hopeless future.

Faced with the unknown, young Hong Kongers averaging about 15 years old took to the streets and broke into the Legco. As for protesters in their 20s, some of them, seeing society as uncaring and feeling powerless to change the course of events, have chosen, one by one, to make their statements with their own fallen bodies.

One difference between Taiwan and Hong Kong is that Taiwan still has its democracy, but democracy is all it has. If we do not cherish our precious ballots and if we make the wrong choices, Taiwan might well end up in an even worse situation than Hong Kong.

Fellow Taiwanese, have you seen the stream of “China-friendly agents” going to China to pay tribute? Have you seen the round-the-clock bombardment of advertisements by two political hacks who promise that everyone will “get rich” if they are elected?

The message of those Hong Kongers who have chosen to sacrifice themselves is directed at the same kind of “Chinese agent” — Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥).

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