Connect with us

World

From crowded streets to silence: documenting the fall of Hong Kong | Hong Kong

Published

on

From crowded streets to silence: documenting the fall of Hong Kong |  Hong Kong

I have never seen so many people before in my life. On June 9, 2019, hundreds of thousands of people dressed in white marched slowly but steadily across Hong Kong Island.

The heat and humidity were almost unbearable, but protesters from all walks of life arrived prepared with neck towels, folding fans and umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. It is never easy to capture the scale of a crowd, but the intense and palpable energy that emanates from the masses of people who had come together for common values ​​is not something that a photograph can convey.

They had gathered to protest an extradition bill that would have allowed suspected criminals to be sent to trial in mainland China. At the time, it appeared to be one of the gravest insults to “one country, two systems,” in which Hong Kong was allowed to operate in relative autonomy, since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997. Organizers estimated that Millions of people had left, or almost one in seven of the city’s population.

A few days later, the police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds at thousands of young protesters who had surrounded the city legislature before the second reading of the bill. I had just left Hong Kong to give a conference on the other side of the world, but returned on the first flight I was able to take. Although the tear gas clouds had barely settled, I knew I had to get home and do my job.

Riot police fire tear gas during a demonstration in the Sheung Wan area on July 28.

I was in time for another protest on June 16. The million-strong march on June 9 had defied expectations, but what was seen as excessive use of violence by police further prompted a week later to leave. This time, an estimated 2 million attended. I knew I was where I belonged: documenting my home and my people as they rose up en masse for shared values.

Protests on June 16, 2019 when an estimated 2 million people attended.

For those of us who are privileged to live under functioning governments, it is easy to take for granted the institutions that form the pillars of an open and just society. But in the months that followed those June protests, I witnessed Hong Kong’s rapid and terrifying descent into authoritarianism. The police force, long considered competent and trustworthy, acted with increasing impunity when it became clear that their superiors would not only condone but defend excessive use of violence and strikingly unprofessional behavior in the face of ridicule of protesters and journalists. beatings of detained citizens.

Masked protesters behind a makeshift barricade during a demonstration in Sai Wan on July 28, 2019.

It seemed that with each passing day, the rule of law faded in barely perceptible increments. It was the realization that the normal rules of urban existence no longer applied, as the police fired rubber bullets and protesters threw bricks into normally crowded streets. It was watching police officers grow bolder and increasingly violent without facing repercussions. Reading the news a year after the first extradition protests, Beijing had bypassed the Hong Kong legislature to implement a sweeping national security law criminalizing dissent. The law, along with the Covid pandemic, effectively and indefinitely put an end to street protests.

Protesters celebrate the first anniversary of the massive protest against the extradition bill in Hong Kong on June 10, 2020. The government was already undermining freedoms and the national security law introduced that month ended most of the street protests.

He had photographed marches with hundreds of thousands of people, lunchtime demonstrations in the financial heart of the city, human chains miles long, and countless arrests. I had spent a week inside the Polytechnic University, which the police besieged after the protesters took control, and I documented the violent climax of the movement with more than a thousand detained over 12 days. But in mid-2020, with national security law possibly making even the chanting of a slogan punishable by life in prison, people were too afraid to speak up.

An anti-government protester throws a gasoline bomb during a clash with police at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong in November 2019.
A woman yells at police officers in Yuen Long District on July 27, 2019.
People protest against the government's ban on face masks in Hong Kong on October 4, 2019.

With no protests to photograph, it seemed like a good idea to take a break and study for a master’s degree in the UK. But it was with a heavy heart that I saw the situation continue to deteriorate from afar.

In January 2021, authorities arrested dozens of activists under the national security law. In one fell swoop, it was as if the entire cast of characters in the history of Hong Kong’s democracy movement, one that he had been covering for years, were arrested, in jail or in exile. Just a few months after my arrival, the government announced a visa scheme for passport holders of British nationality (abroad), which were issued to those born in colonial Hong Kong. Thousands applied immediately. With waves of exiles arriving in the UK and no protests at home, I found myself photographing Hong Kongers protesting in Britain.

Protesters attend a Hong Kong democracy rally in Trafalgar Square, London, on June 12, 2021.

On June 12, hundreds of people gathered in London to mark the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. It was surreal to be surrounded by Hong Kongers again, hearing the sound of Cantonese and the familiar chants that were ubiquitous in Hong Kong in 2019 and 2020, but now prohibited by national security law. At home, thousands of policemen successfully prevented mass gatherings. A lawyer was arrested for encouraging people to protest.

Former Hong Kong legislator Nathan Law speaks at a Hong Kong democracy rally in Marble Arch on June 12, 2021.

A former Hong Kong legislator, Nathan Law, now asylum in the UK, spoke on the makeshift stage about the resilience of the Hong Kong people. He was followed by a survivor of the Tiananmen Square massacre and then a Uighur woman whose family was detained in Xinjiang. At the edge of the crowd, a group of protesters from Myanmar held banners in support of the pro-democracy movement. The atmosphere was gloomy, but the conversations were comforting and banal: we wondered how long we had been here, what food we missed the most, and what local restaurants to try.

A police officer is seen on patrol in Victoria Park in Hong Kong on June 4, 2021 amid a follow-up to protests to mark the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The protest did not attract much attention, and the attendance of so many newcomers Hong Kongers only highlighted the extent to which the political development of the city had regressed. But it didn’t seem to matter whether or not the demonstration had an impact. It was enough for the protesters to find themselves together in a foreign land, their mere presence was an act of hope and solidarity to which they could cling. while his city, 6,000 miles away, was silent.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Lifestyle

LifeStyle1 day ago

5 Tips To Write Your Essays Before the Deadline

Deadlines are not easy to deal with. When there is an approaching deadline, one tends to get overwhelmed at the...

LifeStyle2 weeks ago

How to Prioritize Self Care as a New Parent

A bundle of joy has joined you in your life and you couldn’t be happier. But, at the same time,...

LifeStyle2 weeks ago

5 Reasons Why You Can’t Stay Asleep

You have likely heard it most of your life: getting a good night’s sleep is important for your overall health....

LifeStyle2 weeks ago

4 Ways to Spread Joy This Fall

Traditionally, many people strive to spread as much joy as they can in the weeks leading up to Christmas. But...

LifeStyle1 month ago

Tips to Boost Your Energy and Ensure Life Longevity with NMN Supplements

Australia’s median age limit increased by two years recently. Higher NAD+ can improve your metabolism rates and prolong natural aging....

LifeStyle2 months ago

5 Tips on Writing APA Research Paper

When students reach college education, they understand that it won’t all be flowers and sunshine. There are different courses with...

Support group for businesses to overcome challenges Support group for businesses to overcome challenges
LifeStyle3 months ago

Support group for businesses to overcome challenges

All-day brunch and soup kitchen Cafe Coco suffered as walk-ins dwindled significantly. It’s a tourist-dependent cafe that’s nestled in the...

S’pore startup Shiok Meats acquires clean red meat company Gaia Foods S’pore startup Shiok Meats acquires clean red meat company Gaia Foods
LifeStyle3 months ago

S’pore startup Shiok Meats acquires clean red meat company Gaia Foods

According to Technology in Asia, Shiok Meats has acquired a stake of more than 90% in Gaia Foods for an...

Marianna Hewitt’s home proves that neutral decor can be full of personality Marianna Hewitt’s home proves that neutral decor can be full of personality
LifeStyle3 months ago

Marianna Hewitt’s home proves that neutral decor can be full of personality

If anyone understands the importance of maintaining your brand, it is Marianna Hewitt. The trusted influencer and founder of the...

The 16 best stuffed pepper recipes for every occasion The 16 best stuffed pepper recipes for every occasion
LifeStyle3 months ago

The 16 best stuffed pepper recipes for every occasion

Something you may not know about me is that I absolutely adore a pepper. Raw, cooked, marinated, bathed: each and...

Advertisement

Sport

Sports2 months ago

5 Tips for Setting Up Your PC for Online Gaming

Due to advances in technology, online gamers can enjoy a gaming experience that was unthinkable even a decade ago. High-resolution...

Sports3 months ago

How to Succeed in Poker Tournaments

Perhaps your first big poker tournament is coming up, or you’ve been gathering skills ready to enter – no matter...

Sports3 months ago

Is The Olympics Still Relevant?

As the Tokyo Olympics has come to a close, competitors must move on from the excitement of experiencing an Olympic...

Fernández reflects on the game against Dart: ‘Honestly, I can’t think of anything positive’ Fernández reflects on the game against Dart: ‘Honestly, I can’t think of anything positive’
Sports3 months ago

Fernández reflects on the game against Dart: ‘Honestly, I can’t think of anything positive’

var adServerUrl = “”; var $ el = $ (“# video_container-985707”); var permalink = $ el.closest (‘. snet-single-article’). data (‘permalink’);...

Tammy Abraham to Roma – Mourinho is the perfect coach for the striker Tammy Abraham to Roma – Mourinho is the perfect coach for the striker
Sports3 months ago

Tammy Abraham to Roma – Mourinho is the perfect coach for the striker

It seems that not too long ago, a young English Target Man was a troubling prospect for most Premier League...

Explanation: Why Barcelona had to let Messi go Explanation: Why Barcelona had to let Messi go
Sports3 months ago

Explanation: Why Barcelona had to let Messi go

Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi cries during a press conference at Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium on August 8, 2021. –...

Are Arsenal and Spurs left out of the top 6 in dispute as the 2021/22 season approaches? Are Arsenal and Spurs left out of the top 6 in dispute as the 2021/22 season approaches?
Sports3 months ago

Are Arsenal and Spurs left out of the top 6 in dispute as the 2021/22 season approaches?

Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal are the teams that are widely regarded as the top 6...

What should team Canada’s men’s hockey roster look like? What should team Canada’s men’s hockey roster look like?
Sports3 months ago

What should team Canada’s men’s hockey roster look like?

We have sent an email with instructions to create a new password. Your current password has not been changed. We...

Haaland, but staying in Dotmund, can BVB get the title on 21/22? Haaland, but staying in Dotmund, can BVB get the title on 21/22?
Sports3 months ago

Haaland, but staying in Dotmund, can BVB get the title on 21/22?

There are almost twenty days left in the transfer window. The window is in full swing as deals that would...

Knicks agree to deal with Dwayne Bacon: reports Knicks agree to deal with Dwayne Bacon: reports
Sports3 months ago

Knicks agree to deal with Dwayne Bacon: reports

Dwayne Bacon # 8 of the Orlando Magic shoots as John Collins # 20 of the Atlanta Hawks defends during...

Advertisement

Entertainment

Venice adds Doc ‘Ennio’;  Netflix Confirms Sanjay Leela Bhansali Series – News Block Venice adds Doc ‘Ennio’;  Netflix Confirms Sanjay Leela Bhansali Series – News Block
Entertainment3 months ago

Venice adds Doc ‘Ennio’; Netflix Confirms Sanjay Leela Bhansali Series – News Block

Venice adds Giuseppe Tornatore’s Ennio Morricone film The Venice Film Festival incorporates the Out of Competition screening of Ennio Morricone’s...

The Jeffrey Epstein Victims Fund has finished paying $ 121 million The Jeffrey Epstein Victims Fund has finished paying $ 121 million
Entertainment3 months ago

The Jeffrey Epstein Victims Fund has finished paying $ 121 million

After awarding more than $ 121 million to about 150 applicants, a compensation program for survivors of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual...

Matt Roloff and Karyn Chandler move in together, discuss marriage Matt Roloff and Karyn Chandler move in together, discuss marriage
Entertainment3 months ago

Matt Roloff and Karyn Chandler move in together, discuss marriage

Small people, big world star Matt Roloff and his girlfriend, Karyn Chandlerhave revealed their big summer plans in a new...

Mike Shouhed wants Reza Farahan to apologize for being a ‘traitor’ Mike Shouhed wants Reza Farahan to apologize for being a ‘traitor’
Entertainment3 months ago

Mike Shouhed wants Reza Farahan to apologize for being a ‘traitor’

Shouhed says his Shahs of Sunset co-star “cuts deep and says things that are hard to forgive.” While a sexting...

Joey Lawrence and Samantha Cope are engaged Joey Lawrence and Samantha Cope are engaged
Entertainment3 months ago

Joey Lawrence and Samantha Cope are engaged

He put a ring on it! Joey lawrence is engaged to the actress Samantha cope one year after filing for...

Christine Applegate was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis Christine Applegate was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis
Entertainment3 months ago

Christine Applegate was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis

August 10, 2021 Christine Applegate was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Christina Applegate The 49-year-old actress took to Twitter on...

UK advertisers form tapestry with clients Coel, Fassbender, Foy – News Block UK advertisers form tapestry with clients Coel, Fassbender, Foy – News Block
Entertainment3 months ago

UK advertisers form tapestry with clients Coel, Fassbender, Foy – News Block

EXCLUSIVE: UK advertisers Donna Mills and Emma Jackson, longtime representatives of London-based Premier Communications, have launched the new advertising agency...

Christina Applegate: actress reveals multiple sclerosis diagnosis Christina Applegate: actress reveals multiple sclerosis diagnosis
Entertainment3 months ago

Christina Applegate: actress reveals multiple sclerosis diagnosis

prime time Emmy-winning actor Christina applegate has revealed a multiple sclerosis condition through a Twitter post late on Monday night....

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wanted to move to New Zealand in 2018 Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wanted to move to New Zealand in 2018
Entertainment3 months ago

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wanted to move to New Zealand in 2018

Prince harry and Meghan Markle according to Queen Elizabeth IIRepresentative to New Zealand, Governor General Patsy Reddy… She said Associated...

Alarming new UN climate report says humanity has really screwed itself up Alarming new UN climate report says humanity has really screwed itself up
Entertainment3 months ago

Alarming new UN climate report says humanity has really screwed itself up

The last evaluation of climate science is a “code red for humanity,” the United Nations chief said on Monday, while...

Advertisement

Tech

Tech1 week ago

How to Provide Cybersecurity for Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is one of the first browsers that come to mind when thinking about the best privacy-oriented browsers available...

Tech4 weeks ago

6 Important Questions to Ask Your Internet Provider

Choosing the best internet provider can be challenging, especially when you don’t know what questions to ask. You want to...

Tech1 month ago

How Serious is Plagiarism in College?

Studying in college often demands writing essays and course papers. You may study technical subjects and do not have many...

Tech1 month ago

Three Possible Ways of How You Can Transfer Contacts from Outlook to iPhone

MS Outlook plays an important role in putting daily life in order, especially with regard to email management. If you...

Tech1 month ago

Importance of Email Validation

According to recent stats, 30% of users change their email every year. Therefore, if your mailing list is more than...

Tech1 month ago

Before Doing Virtual Staging, Here’s What You Should Know

The majority of people today go online to look for homes. When a potential buyer spots a house online that...

Tech1 month ago

What Technologies are Online Casinos Using?

Online casinos have become an ideal choice for a lot of players, especially because they let players take their games...

Tech2 months ago

Grow Your Brand With These 5 Social Media Tips

Whether you’re operating a new business or working to grow your brand, social media is an excellent place to start....

Tech2 months ago

Is Mining Ethereum Still Profitable in 2021?

Globally, there have been lots of innovations and modernization in different aspects of life. This fact has contributed to the...

Tech2 months ago

Popularity Of the Blockchain Technology: How Familiar Are You with It?

Cryptocurrencies are a form of digital currency that stands out because it is decentralized. Cryptocurrency also stands out because it...

Advertisement
Advertisement