Diary of a Hong Kong resident in exile: Time and space frozen

I participated in two local rallies in the past two weeks, the June 4 rally and the 612 Ruisui rally.

Regarding June 4, I really didn’t have much insistence on participating in the June 4 rallies before. Even in Hong Kong, I have only participated in one rally at most, and the only one I participated in was because I was a member of the university student union. The only turning point was when I saw the live broadcast of the June 4 rally in Hong Kong on June 4.

This year’s June 4 rally was the first time since the handover of sovereignty in 1997 that the government deemed it an illegal gathering, and the venue, Victoria Park, was even cordoned off by the police (even when people put down candles to pay their respects nearby, the police would come up and blow out the candles and ticket people. The Hong Kong government even repeatedly spread the news that it would arrest people who participated in illegal rallies. I thought that Hong Kong people would lose the courage to come out, but what I saw was that Hong Kong people abandoned their past divergent routes and continued to take to the streets to overcome fear with action.

At that time, I was very annoyed that while Hong Kong people were still fighting hard, I was still worried about residency status and tomorrow; I didn’t know what could be done. I didn’t know what I could do. In the past, when I saw something happen live, we could get on a bus or a cab and go to the scene immediately to show our support, but I couldn’t do anything since I came overseas. But since I’ve been overseas, I can’t do anything. And probably the only thing I can do now is to participate in the June 4 rallies overseas.

I got on the railroad to the London city and went to the June 4 rally. There were about a hundred to two hundred people there. I saw groups of Hong Kong people, families of young and old, and young people who came with a full set of Black Blocs, all dressed in black. In the middle of the crowd, I saw a Hong Kong Youtuber who had come to the UK earlier in the year and we talked about what was happening in Hong Kong. “I didn’t intend to participate in the rally, but I decided to come out because I saw the live broadcast.” It was only during the conversation that we realized that we all came to the rally because we saw the live broadcast from Hong Kong.

As Hong Kong people in exile and protesters, we felt powerless in every way about what was happening in Hong Kong. I still remember the last time I watched a live broadcast of Hong Kong from abroad was on June 12, 2019. I was still a journalist that day, and I missed the opportunity to witness the 612 live broadcast because I was away from Hong Kong for work. At that time, I blamed myself for missing this important moment. I spent the whole day sitting in my hotel room, watching the live foreign media broadcast on the hotel TV, and catching up with the latest news on my Telegram (anonymous cell phone communication software). I finally got what I wanted, and I made it back to Hong Kong in time for the 616 million-people march. But today, watching the live broadcast from Hong Kong, it seems that everything is no longer possible. Even if I catch a plane back to Hong Kong, I cannot participate in the demonstration because I will be arrested. How weak and powerless we were when we decided to leave Hong Kong and go into exile, but it seems that we are no longer able to touch the Chinese Communist Party and the Hong Kong Communist regime. After all, even more power is just empty words if it does not happen locally.

Speaking of the 612 rally and march, I was even more surprised by the situation on that day.

The London 612 march started at Marble Arch, right next to the famous Hyde Park. When I arrived, I realized that the number of people was as big as the rally and demonstration in Hong Kong, and some Hong Kong news said that there were about a thousand people. I couldn’t hear the speeches on stage, so I turned my attention to the crowd on the stage. I noticed that there were more hands and feet wearing Black Bloc than on the day of 64, and as the march started, I felt for a moment that the time and space of the exiles had been stuck in 2019, and that we had come to a different place with regrets, but the struggle had not stopped.

The exiles’ demonstrations overseas may seem to have the effect of “warming up around the stove”, but such “warming up around the stove” is necessary. Even Hong Kong people who are far away from home, even exiles who have not yet settled themselves, will continue to support our struggle, and continue to exert all our strength to change Hong Kong by all means. After all, we don’t work for change only when we see hope, we have hope only when we change.