The words of the Courageous
Updated: Apr 5
Let this blog present the words of Hong Kong's 47 vanguards of democracy. That's is how many activists appeared at West Kowloon court on 1st March 2021, for their first mention hearing, having been formally charged the day before, all being prosecuted under CCP's heinous National Security Law (NSL). One Twitter user said their words were 'poems of courage'.
The police said that each of the 47 people had been charged with a single count of “conspiracy to commit subversion.” They include Benny Tai, a former University of Hong Kong law professor and leading strategist for the pro-democracy camp. That number will be indelibly branded in my psyche from this day forth, although an even larger number of democracy activists were initially arrested in relation to the electoral primary earlier in January.
Benny Tai addresses media outside the HK police station on Sunday
(Credit: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images/NYTimes)
Clearly the well-publicised actions of the activists in holding a primary election in 2020 for the selection of candidates to stand for office in the September Legislative Council (LegCo) elections upset CCP. The Chinese Communist Party still deny the people of HK democratic elections even though universal suffrage stands as a plank in the city's Basic Law that acts like a constitution. Those September 2020 LegCo elections were ultimately postponed by the HK government citing pandemic restrictions (see blogs listed below).
Pro-democracy activists said the delay was more likely an effort to stave off the defeat of pro-establishment candidates, who lost badly in neighborhood-level elections in 2019. The push for greater democracy in HK has been going on for years, and was one of protesters' "Five Demands" in 2019.
Before entering the Police station where the pro-Democracy activists had been asked to report on Sunday 28 February for the processing of charges, many of the defendents made poignant speeches, offering their thoughts on the politics of the day, on their commitment, and about those they love.
Lester Shum, was one of the activists charged. He said the road to Sunday’s arrests had begun with the mass antigovernment protests that convulsed the city in 2019. “We have long before decided that we would not bow to authoritarianism,” he said. “I hope that everyone will carry this decision in the very difficult days ahead.” (The New York Times, 28 February 2021)
The government of the United States has been one of many nations to respond to events. In a Tweet, top U.S. Diplomat Secretary Antony Blinken wrote: "We condemn the detention of and charges filed against pan-democratic candidates in Hong Kong's elections and call for their immediate release. Political participation and freedom of expression should not be crimes. The U.S. stands with the people of Hong Kong." (1 March, 2021)
We have to thank Eliot Chen on Twitter (@eliotchen97) for working to translate these words for the benefit of social media users:
As we note there may be factual errors in these tweets, may we offer sincere apologies to the Democrats for any misreporting or misrepresentation of your words, or for incorrectly crediting them to another vanguard of Democracy.
Eddi Chu Hoi-dick, former LegCo member for New Territories East, prominent environmental activist, founder of the Land Justice League:
"Today, to be guilty of our common ideals, I am deeply honored. I have received your well-wishes, and I wish everyone fulfillment each day. No matter the situation, fill everyone around you with love and with hope."
Henry Wong Pak-yu, District Counsellor for the Tin Leng (Yuen Long) district:
"To have a clear conscience is not to be agreeable, but to be good; to prevent misdeeds from happening."
Jeremy Tam Man-ho, Civic Party member, former LegCo member for the Kowloon East district, former pilot;
"Go peacefully, and be upright - sometimes it's hard to do both, and we can only work hard to practice the latter, and wish for peace in our hearts. History will stand on the side of justice, so sit straight, drink water, and dawn will eventually come."
Gwyneth Ho Kwai-lam, Former Stand News reporter, prominent for her work on 7/21, intended to run in 2020 LegCo election for New Territories East:
"Many people probably didn't start thinking about exile until after @nathanlawkc. But for me, I knew by 7/1/19 that the cost of exile was more unbearable for me than anything else...So a decision that, to you, looks like caging a lion, to me, is a trade off that I am willing to bear. I want peace of mind more than peace, and the two are sometimes opposites. I wish that you all may find peace, and then to press forward."
Lester Shum Ngo-fair, District Counsellor for the Hoi Bun (Tsuen Wan) district, disqualified from LegCo in July 2020, was a prominent organiser in both 2014 and 2019:
"Do not feel demoralised, this road is our own. It is for Hong Kong people to choose together, it is the one we must walk together. History has no turn back points, only predecessors."
Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Barrister, Leader of the Civic Party and former LegCo member for New Territories East, intended to run in LegCo 2020, disqualified:
"Press on within, and press on together."
Prince Wong Ji-Yuet, Former Scholarism member, prominent in 2014, intended to run during the 2020 LegCo Election for New Territories West:
"If tomorrow I am no longer able to resist the oppression of totalitarianism, I will practice well, and hope to be a person who can find peace in my heart one day. But I am crying, because I still have so much and am so happy, which is why I am resistant and sad. People in the mountains are self-righteous, but the road there is full of danger. Thank you for your concern. If I am remanded, I hope that when I come out, you will all still be there, continuing to endure."
Ng Kin-wai, District Councillor for the Kingswood North (Yuen Long) District, Member of Tin Shui Wai Connection:
"Remember to pay close attention to the nameless brothers, to the Hong Kongers sent to China, relatives and friends. This land needs your support more than ever, remember not to bury your conscience, remember to come back to fight."
Tiffany Yuen Ka-wai, District Counsellor for Tin Wan (Southern) District, intended to run in 2020 LegCo election for Hong Kong Island, former Demosisto member:
"Take care of Tin Wan for me and for yourselves, please. (Smiley face) I love you all....(Regarding the primary) We can't talk in terms of having or not having regrets. Since it was our choice and the choice of Hong Kong people, there is no reason to turn back."
Andrew Wan Siu-kin, Democratic Party member, former LegCo member for New Territories West, District Councillor for the Shek Yam (Kwai Ching) District:
"I have no fears, facing up to difficulties, I have hoped to demonstrate the strength of the wind. Respect yourselves! Remember your original intentions, no matter what may suppress them, be safe, take care!"
Lam Cheuk-ting, Democratic Party chief executive, former ICAC investigator and LegCo member for New Territories East, District Councillor for the Shek Wu Hui (North) District:
"Maybe I'll be walking back out here in a little bit."
Fergus Leung Fong-wai, District counsellor for the Kwun Lung (Central and Western) District, Biomedical student at HKU:
"Continue to hold on. Remember the reasons why we chose to stand out."
"In the face of constant suppression and entering this political winter, we can only rely on mutual support and care, and work hard amid adversity. Prison can isolate us, but it cannot prevent us from communicating with each other and taking care of each other; iron chains can lock up our bodies but it cannot lock up our minds and souls. Stay calm and carry on. This too shall pass!"
Carol Ng Man-yee, President of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), Labour Party member:
"To the very edge, you must stick to your ideals. The pursuit of a better society and the pursuit of democracy will never die, the labor movement will endure forever."
Lee Yue-shun, Social worker, Civic Party member, District Councillor for the Kam Ping (Eastern ) District:
"No matter the absurdity that they face, Hong Kongers must live well and live in the truth. I am proud to be a Hong Konger, I have no regrets. If anyone in North Point needs help please contact during office hours...the office of Lee-Yue-shun will serve until the very last moment."
Hendrick Lui Chi-hang, Social worker, was a candidate for the Shin Fuk (Northern) District Council elections, sadly lost but intended to run for the 2020 LegCo elections as part of the Social Welfare constituency:
"Hiu-yan, this time it's my turn to say goodbye to you. The first time 'May Glory Be to Hong Kong' was played here, was in a memorial for another frontline victim. Might tonight be the last time it's played? I hope everyone will not forget Hiu-yan and all the other sacrificed kids of the same age. I'm so glad to have gotten to know so many brothers, I will definitely think of you :) I hope you all live well. I wish you peace. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (Timothy 4:7)."
Leung Kwok-hung (Long hair), founding member of the League of Social Democrats (LSD), prominent left-wing activist, former LegCo member for New Territories East, disqualified in 2017:
"The National Security Law is without basis in law or in heaven, release all political prisoners."
Owen Chow Ka-shing, Ran in the District Elections for Tai Wai (Sha Tin) District, previously announced intention to run for LegCo 2020:
"Whether we are in the streets, in prison or overseas, hope will always be needed for us to keep fighting this endless battle....Good luck to all of you out there."
Ray Chan Chi-chuen, Former LegCo member for the New Territories East District, member of People Power, LGBT actvist, first openly gay politician in Hong Kong:
"I'm not labelling this 'my final post' because I still believe that I'll see you all tonight. Life doesn't turn out how we intend, misfortune happens all the time. To live a life of peace, first you must have inner peace."
Andy Chui Chi-kin, District Councillor for Yue Wan (Eastern) District:
"Only on the evening did I realize the glasses I wear can't be worn in custody. Fortunately there's a spectacle company that provides service within an hour. I rushed to choose my first ever pair of fibreglass glasses...which are much lighter than my current pair. But my myopia is deep, and it was kind of expensive to choose the thinnest fiber lens. (The current glasses lenses are new, they hurt...) After going home to have dinner with my mother to celebrate her birthday, I think...I ended up worrying my family. No matter what, we don't forget our original ideals and I hope you all face them bravely."
Frankie Fung Tat-chun, Ran for district councillor for Lung Shing (Kowloon City) District, unfortunately lost narrowly, intended to run in 2020 LegCo election for Kowloon West:
"With a clear mind, you have your own justice.
Fight hard and to the end.
I do not fear my own affairs.
I only fear that there will be nobody to replace me."
On 1st March, as hearings begun against the 47, hundreds protested the political persecution.
On Elections and Politics
On District Councils
On the Heroes
On the NSL & Rule of Law
We should not forget those political activists who are already imprisoned in HK.
Hong Kong democrats facing security law charges still in court after seven hours as police arrest lawyer outside, (HKFP, 1 March 2021)
'Endure, everyone': final messages from Hong Kong democracy figures before detention, (The Guardian, 1 March 2021)