Hong Kong — home and memory: nostalgic and aspiring

During the 10-day quarantine in Edinburgh, I have been spending quite a lot of time reminiscing my time in Hong Kong, my hometown. The internet has tremendously shortened the virtual distance with my family and my friends in Hong Kong. Watching Japanese and Korean TV dramas also make me feel that it doesn’t make much difference where I am.

Time and space might have been diminished with the frequent use of social media. Before I left Hong Kong, I kind of tried to convince my family the little meaning of distance…

While the world is looking at how people are physically attacked by the military in Myanmar, we also see here in Hong Kong how people are psychologically and mentally attacked in the courtroom.

As we continue to see the marathon bail hearings for some of the 47 defendants, including former legislators, politicians, lawyers, businessmen and journalists, who are facing the charge of so-called “conspiracy to subvert the state power”, we also saw the drama of how four of them being eventually granted bail following the decision of the Department of Justice to withdraw their appeal against the magistrate’s decision to…

After the Beijing and Hong Kong governments forcibly imposed the so-called “National Security Law” on us on 30 June 2020, I have been feeling more and more difficult to breathe. I bet other Hongkongers (at least those who treasure free speech) might feel the same.

When I started my career in journalism and then in the NGOs, I repeatedly heard from mainland activists exclaiming “Finally, I can breathe some air of freedom” when they first visited Hong Kong.

Now, that’s all gone. The pride of having a sound rule of law system, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and many…

Is the “National Security Law” for Hong Kong really a “law”?

The “National Security Law” for Hong Kong was announced and drafted by the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress. While the text was not made public until the last minutes when the National People’s Congress passed the “law”, there is simply no more discussion on the legitimacy of such a “law”.

Some legal academics have been enthusiastically discussing the content of the “law” and ignore the fact about the odd procedure of passing such a “law”, as if procedural justice is no longer an issue in the rule…

Activists from Kazakh human rights organisation Nagiz Atajurt, that has been documenting cases of Kazakhs and other ethnic groups being detained in the internment camps in the so-called Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (which is recognised among Kazakhs and other ethnic groups as “East Turkistan”), have demanded an explanation from a Kazakh academic who supported the Chinese government’s persecution of Kazakhs in China and has been recently appointed as the head of a Kazakh government-backed research institute.

Duken Masimhanuly, who was appointed to be the director of R.B.Suleimenov Institute of Oriental Studies in Kazakhstan on 2 June 2020, defended the Chinese…

Published in Hong Kong Free Press on 4 June 2020

By Patrick Poon

I still remember an evening sometime in November 2008 when I received a Skype message from Liu Xiaobo — “Do you have time to have a brief chat?”.

I was a bit surprised that somebody I read about from the 1989 Tiananmen protests and crackdown suddenly sent me that message. I said: “Sure. Thanks, Mr Liu.” Then, we had a brief conversation, the first time and the only time I had a private conversation with him. …

Published in Hong Kong Free Press on 20 May 2020

By Patrick Poon

Nobody really likes to endure the heat and humidity of Hong Kong’s streets when staging a protest, not to mention the potential risk of arrest and harsh treatment nowadays.

I believe most young people may have preferred to be playing video games and using Instagram before Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam attempted to pass the controversial Anti-Extradition Bill in June 2019. But the Hong Kong government and the police managed to ensure the political awakening of the city’s young and middle-aged people who were previously perhaps…



中國政府對武漢肺炎(後官方改為新冠病毒) 提供給國際社會的資料非常有限,至今仍不承認瞞報導致疫情禍延世界各地。中國一些關注疫情的公民,以自己不同的方式記錄,以求拼出真相,但卻受到各種打壓。

中國政府於一月時仍堅稱沒有武漢肺炎,而且更否認有人傳人的情況, 李文亮醫生最初是提醒他的好朋友和舊同學他的擔憂,後來訊息被洩露出去, 結果他被訓戒,然後到了武漢和其他湖北省出現越來越多個案,中國政府無法再忍暪真相,才承認有武漢肺炎(武漢肺炎這說法也是出現在中國官方的資料,後來玻璃心驅使改稱新冠狀病毒和更難令一般人明白的學名COVID- 19)。


北京三名九十後年輕人陳玫、蔡偉和其女友小唐先後被公安帶走。陳玫和蔡偉是「端點星」網站的志願者,該網站建立在軟件開發平台Github上,備份微信、微博等中國大陸的社交媒體上因為被官方認為是敏感的文章和報導, 以「對抗網絡封鎖和審查」。自新冠狀病毒在大陸爆發之後,有不少大陸媒體關於追查病毒來源和追究官方防疫做法的報導,但很多很快被審查和刪除。「端點星」所做的就是備份這些報導, 「保存疫情記憶」。中國政府的態度當然是不想有人繼續紀錄這些質疑官方做法的報導,更明顯不想再有關於追查病毒來源的報導,這些熱心的年輕人不幸成為犧牲品。蔡偉及小唐的家屬分別於四月二十三日和二十四日收到北京公安朝陽分局「指定居所監視居住」的通知書,蔡偉被指「涉嫌尋釁滋事罪」,小唐同樣被指「涉嫌尋釁滋事罪」而更被指「涉嫌包庇罪」。陳玫則至今下落不明,家屬沒有收到任何通知。


天主教正義和平委員會 www.hkjp.org

Ten years ago, I co-drafted a statement about the revocation of legal practice licenses of Tang Jitian and Liu Wei, two prominent human rights lawyers in China, with the New York-based Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers when I was working at the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group. The Committee for Human Rights Protection of Taipei Bar Association also co-signed the statement.

Ten years on, surprisingly (or in fact not surprisingly), many of the concerns we raised in the statement, especially the relevant provisions of the PRC Law on Lawyers and other related regulations of the All-China Lawyers Association, remain…

As I’m writing the chapter on culture and freedom of expression in Hong Kong for my thesis, I’m writing this short passage to study the ridiculous nature and lawlessness of the Hong Kong police’s move today to arrest 15 pro-democracy activists for “illegal assembly”.

Amid the pandemic of COVID-19 (which evidently known to originate from Wuhan city in Hubei province in China), the Hong Kong government, obviously aided and abetted by the Chinese government, once again shocked the world to arrest organisers and participants of protests in Hong Kong. This time, Apple Daily’s founder Jimmy Lai, Martin Lee, veteran pro-democracy…

Patrick Poon 潘嘉偉

Hongkonger|pursuing PhD at Université Jean Moulin (Lyon III)|Visiting Scholar at University of St. Andrews|NGO consultant|Twitter: @patrickpoon

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