Whither Hong Kong? / September 2014 (Issue 25)

Whither Hong Kong?: A Preface

by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, Michael O'Sullivan, Kate Rogers and Michael Tsang

"Lennon Wall Hong Kong", photo by Eddie Tay. See more pictures at Hong Kong Lucida.

In early July, we sent out a call for poems about the Chinese Government's White Paper on the "One Country, Two Systems" principle in Hong Kong. At the time, the publication of the paper, which formally precluded true democracy within the city, felt like a watershed moment in Hong Kong history and one that we wanted, in our own small way, to capture in the journal.

What we couldn't have foreseen was how the White Paper would lead to subsequent events in the city, especially the Umbrella Movement. None of us could have imagined how protest sites would blossom on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon or how determined the protesters would be in face of government resistance. Nor could we have foreseen how the protests would leave their mark on the city: the ‘Lennon Wall’ at Civic Square and its tapestry of post-its showing how voices are many and one (above); a solitary yellow umbrella on an Admiralty stage; banners with the words of Lu Xun draped from footbridges (see below).

It is within this context that we launch this special feature, which will hopefully serve as a record of our collective desire for democracy. The poems curated here are as much about the experiences of the Occupy movement and the 'on-the-ground' protests as they are about the original White Paper. They capture the emotions, reflections and hopes of people living in Hong Kong at this historic moment. This collection is perhaps another "wall" of post-its, reminding us of how the passion for poetry resonates strongly with the passion for freedom and democracy.
25 October 2014
A single yellow umbrella on an Occupy stage.

A banner with the words of Lu Xun.

'For actually the earth had no roads to begin with, but when many men pass one way, a road is made.'
Lu Xun (1881-1936)

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