Today is the 26th anniversary of Hong Kong’s glorious return to the Motherland after 99 years of suffering under too lenient British rule.
Celebrations must be raging through the city, because as everyone knows, all Hong Kong people are delirious with happiness over yet again living under the protective iron fist of China. When I say must be, I mean we can only guess at with what joy and tears of gratitude Hong Kong people are celebrating this the most momentous day in China’s history after June 4th 1989. Unlike in the photo below, the joy can no longer be seen, because to protect people from getting hurt by umbrellas (protection against rain AND sun) or blinded by the reflections of a sea of white t-shirts, the government has wisely banned all demonstrations on this and all other days. Like, for example, June 4th.
It’s just another example of the benevolence bestowed on HK by the Chinese communist party. Why, weren’t HK people, despite their intransigence and lack of gratitude to the Party during the riots of 2019, told to rest at home for months and months during Covid, for example? And later allowed to wear protective paper face coverings for a year longer than anyone else in the world?
This and many other lifesaving actions such as getting rid of dangerous newspapers and people who speak and write words, shows how much the motherland cares about Hong Kong people.
Just kidding, they despise Hong Kong people and see them as some irritating gnats, much like the Tibetans and Uyghurs - people to be suppressed and watered down with Mandarin speaking imports until they are no more.
For a while Hong Kong people seemed to half believe the 1997 promise of the communist party that the territory could carry on like before for another 50 years. They started using the bank holiday on July 1st to stage huge marches up to a million people strong, to protest against this and that, such as new national security laws enabling the Chinese government to get rid of people who spoke out against communism, for example.
I took part in many of these demonstrations, wanting to be part of something huge. Or just because I like to be squeezed by a million people in 36 degrees Celsius and 99% humidity.
One year my student/friend ah-On and I thought we, instead of just marching for fun, would demonstrate against something, namely the eradication of Cantonese. With two hastily written posters saying “support Cantonese! Down with simplified characters!” and “Hong Kong people, speak Cantonese! If you don’t get it, off you piss” (an expression I had picked up in 2010 when in Guangzhou, the cradle of Cantonese language, protesting against the removal of Cantonese from that city’s radio and tv stations),
we marched sweatily on to much applause and laughter, with people filming us and taking photos. In fact the photo above is taken by a reporter at Apple Daily, one of the newspapers the central government has since removed from Hong Kong’s streets, putting its owner, Jimmy Lai, in prison.
That was the end of demonstrations, peaceful or otherwise. No more sweaty marches under a burning sun.
Here's to Hong Kong and down with July 1st, 1997. AND simplified characters. And tyranny.