Taiwanese should cherish their freedom, the organizer of a US fundraiser to back Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters said in an interview this week, while yesterday he warned people not to be fooled by unauthorized sales of T-shirts bearing the signature design of the campaign.
Sun Lared, who raised US$42,994 on the crowdfunding Gofundme Web site to to give away T-shirts in support of the protest movement, on Tuesday said that the campaign is to support freedom of speech.
“We want to stand up to Chinese attempts to try to get American companies to try to self-censor,” said Sun, who works at a tech company in the Bay Area of San Francisco.
“People should be able to speak their minds and it is important for Taiwanese and Americans to support Hong Kong,” he said.
“It is also important for Taiwan to understand how precious freedom is,” he added.
During the campaign, which funded T-shirts bearing the message “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” to be worn by fans at National Basketball Association matches, he received messages of support from Chinese, Sun said.
However, they were afraid to publicly express support for Hong Kong, as they were worried that doing so could put themselves, their families and their livelihoods at risk, he said.
There might only be a few people in mainland China who have sympathy for Hong Kong, as most have strong nationalistic tendencies, Sun said.
There is nothing wrong with being patriotic, but the voice of the minority who support Hong Kong are silent in China, he said.
“They are afraid to speak up,” he said. “That is a terrible situation.”
He would hate for Taiwan, Hong Kong and the US to become like China, where people are afraid to say what they think, he said.
Sun launched the fundraising campaign on Oct. 9 after the Houston Rockets drew criticism from Beijing over a tweet in support of the Hong Kong protests by the team’s general manager.
Sun had disabled donations as of last night, but as there were still T-shirts available, he wrote on the Web site.
“I am hoping to be able to send a free shirt to everyone who supported the campaign, if they are willing to pay for it to be shipped to them,” he wrote yesterday.
“If you ... want to just buy a shirt, http://freehongkongprotest.com/ is currently the only authorized source of the design,” he wrote. “They are working in partnership with https://standwithhk.org/ and proceeds are going to worthy HK causes.”
“There have been many scams out there trying to profit off the design,” he wrote.
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