Video messages that includes younger Hong Kongers reciting what could possibly be their final phrases earlier than becoming a member of a protest are filling up the inbox of Glacier Kwong, a digital rights activist primarily based in Germany.
Outdoors China’s Web controls, this veteran of the pro-democracy motion works late into the evening from her residence in Hamburg, providing sensible assist for protesters on the opposite aspect of the world.
She helps discover legal professionals for many who have been arrested, provides recommendation on how they need to defend themselves on-line and shops the encrypted delicate paperwork they are not looking for China to see.
These days, her correspondence has made for grim viewing.
Within the final couple of weeks, because the demonstrations turned lethal, protesters have recorded messages for posterity in case one thing ought to occur to them.
“I do not really feel snug maintaining that info however I believe at the least the Hong Kong police or the Chinese language authorities can not get to me,” Kwong shared.
Within the movies, protesters give their identify and the time and state they’d by no means commit suicide, that means that if they’re discovered useless they should have been killed.
Kwong, who’s finishing a Masters at Hamburg College and is getting ready to embark on a doctorate on information safety, is a seasoned campaigner at simply 23.
She turned politically energetic in Hong Kong as a teen in 2012 with a non-governmental organisation known as Keyboard Frontline over proposed laws that many feared would have restricted Web customers’ rights.
She went on to play a key position within the Umbrella Motion in 2014 throughout which a video by which she requested for worldwide assist garnered over one million views.
She moved to Hamburg in northern Germany in 2018.
Now, she is a component of a big community of expatriate Hong Kongers who’re supporting the protesters in addition to looking for to lift consciousness of their nations of residence and immediate overseas governments to take motion.
“Essentially the most troublesome factor is the time distinction. When issues begin to occur it is often my bedtime right here,” Kwong stated, including that she additionally felt “very annoyed” at being so distant from Hong Kong presently.
Regardless of the latest electoral success of the pro-democracy motion she is sceptical of any significant change in Hong Kong inside a “damaged system”.
Campaigners have discovered vocal assist in Germany, though they complain there was little motion and warn the nation is complacent in regards to the dangers of permitting China’s Huawei into its 5G community.
Kwong stated Germany had completed “greater than different nations” in Europe in supporting the Hong Kong pro-democracy motion, mentioning that Britain – the previous colonial energy – was at present “occupied by Brexit”.
However she stated Germany “has the capability to do much more”.
It is heart-breaking
Aware of the political oppression in its personal previous, Germany has a convention of taking in dissidents.
In 2018, it turned the primary nation on the planet to grant refugee standing to 2 Hong Kongers who have been charged with rioting in 2016 and skipped bail.
One of many two, Ray Wong, stated he selected to come back to Germany due to its report of taking in Chinese language dissidents and minorities similar to Uighurs.
“Each time I watch what’s occurring in Hong Kong, it is heart-breaking,” stated Wong, who’s at present learning politics in Goettingen in central Germany.
Wong, who led a pro-independence group known as Hong Kong Indigenous, stated he had been in contact with protest organisers however solely performed a job “not directly” and was extra energetic in lobbying the German authorities to behave.
New Chilly Battle
Hong Kong has been outstanding in Germany additionally as a result of the escalation of the protests has coincided with the 30th anniversary of the autumn of the Berlin Wall.
Throughout a go to to the once-divided metropolis earlier this 12 months, main pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong known as Hong Kong “the brand new Berlin within the new Chilly Battle”.
Final 12 months, Germany gave asylum to painter and poet Liu Xia, spouse of the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, after she spent eight years beneath home arrest.
Liu joined younger Hong Kongers at a poignant occasion in Berlin on Nov 9 – the anniversary of the wall coming down.
A banner held up on the demonstration learn merely: “Combat The Tyranny – Stand By Hong Kong”. – AFP
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