Free Speech and Academic Freedom signature campaign

Dear all,

Please note the signature campaign, titled “In Defence of Free Speech and Academic Freedom — Support Conscientious Scholar Professor Benny Tai” (捍衛言論及學術自由 支持良心學者戴耀廷) has been launched.  A copy of the statement is provided herein for your easy reference. Please visit this link (https://sites.google.com/site/hksaaf/academic-freedom-freedom-of-speech-ch) for details, including the names of initiators and signatories.

Please join and help spread this among your colleagues. This signature campaign targets at local and international academics only instead of students or administrative staff.

Regards,

學術自由學者聯盟
Scholars’ Alliance for Academic Freedom
(On behalf of the initiators) Continue reading

Poster confrontation at CUHK

Source: Sup China (9/7/17)
Woman confronted by Hong Kong students after ripping off pro-independence posters at CUHK
By Jiayun Feng

After days of escalating tensions between the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s (CUHK) student union and school officials over pro-independence banners and posters spotted on the campus, a video surfaced on the internet on September 6 showing a woman being confronted by several Hong Kong students in front of the Democracy Wall, where controversial posts were clustered.

At the beginning of the three-minute video clip, the female student seemed surprised to find she was being filmed while holding a few torn posters, which read, “Fight for our homeland. Fight for Hong Kong independence.” Questioned by a male student in Cantonese, the woman replied in Mandarin, “I don’t understand what you are saying, but I know these things are not allowed to be posted.” Another female Hong Kong student then approached, explaining that they are members of the student union, and that Cultural Plaza, where the wall is located, is managed by the student organization. “If you don’t agree with the stuff we put on, you should put something that is against this on the wall,” she said in English. Continue reading

HK cinema mooc “rerun”

We are doing a “rerun” of our MOOC on Hong Kong cinema beginning on September 12.  This is a great opportunity for your students to participate for free in our online course.  If it fits, consider putting it on your syllabus.  The students do not need to complete the course or even start at the beginning, so feel free to ask them to drop in for one or two units.  They can do all the online activities as well as participate in the forum discussions.  If you would like us to do something specifically for your students, please let us know.  We can consider special activities or online forum questions to stimulate discussion.  Also, if you have any feedback on the MOOC, feel free to share your thoughts with us.  We are grateful for your support. Continue reading

HK signature campaign

Dear all,

Please note the signature campaign, titled “Heavy Prison Sentences for Social Activists Regrettable, Beware of the Arrival of Authoritarian Rule in the SAR” (遺憾重判社運人士入獄 警惕特區威權管治來臨) has been launched.  Please visit this link (https://sites.google.com/site/hksaaf/) for details, including the names of initiators and signatories.

Please join and help spread this among your colleagues. This signature campaign targets local and international academics only instead of students or administrative staff.

Regards,

學術自由學者聯盟
Scholars’ Alliance for Academic Freedom

Heavy Prison Sentences for Social Activists Regrettable
Beware of the Arrival of Authoritarian Rule in the SAR
(Joint Statement by Tertiary Institution Teaching Staff on the Appeal Court’s Ruling)

On appeal by the government, the Court of Appeal recently handed down heavier punishments in a row for two groups of young social activists, totaling 16, changing their sentences from suspended imprisonment and community service to immediate imprisonment for variously between six and thirteen months. We think the matter is very serious and are deeply disturbed. The following is our joint statement to set the record straight: Continue reading

Critics cry foul as Joshua Wong and other get jail

Source: Reuters (8/17/17)
Critics cry foul as Joshua Wong and other young Hong Kong democracy leaders get jail
By Venus Wu and James Pomfret

Student leaders Nathan Law and Joshua Wong walk into the High Court to face verdict on charges relating to the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, also known as Occupy Central protests, in Hong Kong, China August 17, 2017.Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG (Reuters) – A Hong Kong appeals court jailed three leaders of the Chinese-ruled city’s democracy movement for six to eight months on Thursday, dealing a blow to the youth-led push for universal suffrage and prompting accusations of political interference.

Joshua Wong, 20, Alex Chow, 26, and Nathan Law, 24, were sentenced last year to non-jail terms including community service for unlawful assembly, but the Department of Justice in the former British colony applied for a review, seeking imprisonment.

Continue reading

HK activist abducted (1)

The recent abduction case/claim in Hong Kong has taken an interesting turn: The HK police arrested the man, and seem to be accusing him of fabricating the incident. (But why would he do that? The whole case is unclear. There is of course no dearth of evidence on torture and mistreatment of people abducted by the Chinese authorities, on the mainland. Fabricating some, in HK, would seem to serve only to sow doubt about such matters, including about the recent several abductions from HK. So the possibility that generating such doubts itself is the purpose, should probably not be discounted. ). See too: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-40932772 –Magnus Fiskesjö, nf42@cornell.edu

Source: Hong Kong Free Press (8/16/17)
Democrat ‘abduction’: Police consider formally charging activist Howard Lam with misleading officers
By Kris Cheng

Acting Police Commissioner Alan Lau. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

Acting Police Commissioner Alan Lau has said the police will consider charging Democratic Party member Howard Lam with misleading police officers.

Last Friday, Lam said he was abducted and assaulted by suspected mainland agents in Hong Kong. He claimed that he was falsely imprisoned, interrogated and assaulted by men who inserted 21 staples into his legs. Continue reading

HK activist abducted

See the BBC article online, for pictures of the staples inserted into Mr Lam’s legs. (Also see: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/world/asia/hong-kong-democracy-activist-attack-china-.html). The identity of his assailants is unknown but it fits the general pattern of the well-known mainland police-hired thug enforcers who operate in civilian clothes to harrass people, close down events, beat up journalists, and so on. Fwd by: Magnus Fiskesjö <nf42@cornell.edu>

Source: BBC News (8/11/17)
Hong Kong activist ‘abducted by Chinese agents’
By Juliana Liu, Hong Kong correspondent, BBC News

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Howard Lam (L), who claims he was abducted, blindfolded and beaten by mainland China agents, shows his stapled thighs and injuries to the media in Hong Kong on 11 August 2017. Image copyright AFP.

A veteran democracy activist in Hong Kong says he was kidnapped, beaten and tortured by agents of mainland China after trying to get in touch with Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

The activist, Howard Lam, said on his Facebook page in late July that he had obtained a signed photo of the Barcelona football player Lionel Messi, and that he intended to send it to Ms Liu as a condolence gift. Continue reading

HK in Transition programme

Hong Kong in Transition: Asian City-to-City Collaboration and Performing Arts Exchange, 1997-2017
9-10 September 2017, SOAS University of London

This two-day programme co-presented by the SOAS China Institute and Zuni Icosahedron marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from the UK to China with a series of events focusing on intercultural exchange and city-to-city collaboration in the performing arts. Participants will reflect on Hong Kong’s cultural exchanges with London and several Asian cities over the past twenty years, as well as discuss proposals, opportunities, strategies, and challenges for the next two decades.

Academic Symposium – Hong Kong Theatre in Transnational Perspective: New Directions and Discourses since 1997

Saturday 9 September, Senate House Lecture Theatre (SALT), 9am – 5pm.

  • This symposium will explore aspects of theatre production in Hong Kong in the post-1997 period from a transnational perspective, including intercultural and cross-genre collaborations with other Sinophone and Asian performance cultures from Singapore, Taiwan, China, and Japan, Cantonese opera in the diaspora, experimental and political performance, and intersections between indigenous and foreign theatrical forms.

Continue reading

Freedom of expression under attack in HK

Posted by Jeff Wasserstrom <wasserstromjeff@gmail.com>
Source: Dissent (7/4/17)
Freedom of Expression Under Attack in Hong Kong
By Louisa Lim

“Enthusiastically Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Hong Kong’s Return to the Motherland…” (courtesy Sampson Wong)

Late last week, as Hong Kong celebrated the twentieth anniversary of its return to Chinese sovereignty, pixels of white flickered on the slick glass façade of Hong Kong’s second-tallest skyscraper. The Chinese characters gliding up the building’s 108 stories bore a staunch Communist-style exhortation: “Enthusiastically Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Hong Kong’s Return to the Motherland, Fervently Welcome President Xi Jinping’s Inspection of Hong Kong.” This greeting—coinciding with President Xi’s first visit to Hong Kong since taking power—is now raising fears about the freedom of artistic expression in Hong Kong, calling into question its future as an international arts hub. Continue reading

making fun of Xi Jinping in HK

For a look at some of the media memes making fun of Xi Jinping’s visit to HK, see the article below (too many images, screen shots, and videos to post in full here)–Kirk <denton.2@osu.edu>

Source: Quartz (6/30/17)
Hong Kong is relentless in its memes making fun of Chinese president Xi Jinping and his followers
By Nicole Kwok

Hong Kongers are known to have a good sense of humor. And with Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to Hong Kong for the 20th anniversary of the territory’s handover, locals have been laughing off the tense political environment. There’s been no shortage of memes surrounding Xi’s trip…

Growing hopelessness in HK

Source: SCMP (6/25/17)
Beijing cannot wish away the growing sense of hopelessness in Hong Kong
Alice Wu says rather than the big political rows, it is the day-to-day frictions with the mainland that lead many Hongkongers to feel a sense of alienation in their own hometown, and the central government must address this problem
By Alice Wu

Commercial buildings in the business district of Central in Hong Kong. Runaway home prices exacerbated by cross-border capital flight have made home ownership an increasingly unattainable dream for many Hongkongers. Photo: EPA

Calls for Hong Kong independence are a non-starter. But here we are being hammered by a seeming avalanche of talk on the subject by those who don’t want us to talk about it. This isn’t exactly how I imagined we would be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the handover.

Such tough talk is worrisome. It widens the already wide gulf of distrust between Beijing and Hong Kong. With emotions running high, it is time to call for pause and caution. Continue reading

Joint Declaration ‘no longer has any realistic meaning’

Source: SCMP (6/30/17)
Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong ‘no longer has any realistic meaning’, Chinese Foreign Ministry says
Ministry spokesman issues retort to foreign countries’ statements on the political condition of the city, as it marks 20 years since the handover
By Joyce Ng

Lu also said that what made Hong Kong a success ‘was not up to any outsider to comment on’. Photo: Kyodo

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has declared the Sino-British Joint Declaration, that laid the groundwork for Hong Kong’s handover, a “historical document that no longer has any realistic meaning”, after Britain and the United States spoke of the binding effect of the 1984 treaty on China and the city.

Ministry spokesman Lu Kang hit back at remarks from the two countries on Friday, hours after they issued statements on the political condition of the city, as it marks 20 years since that handover, from British rule to Chinese. Continue reading

All the president’s men

Source: SCMP (6/29/17)
All the president’s men – the key players at Xi Jinping’s side in Hong Kong
The handful of trusted officials include party big shots and close companions, such as the PLA’s top general, who are rarely seen during the leader’s trips
By Jun Mai

President Xi Jinping waits to meet Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying after arriving in the city on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

As President Xi Jinping landed in Hong Kong for the first time as the country’s top leader on Thursday, he and his wife were accompanied by a pool of officials in charge of Beijing’s policies for the city.

The handful of officials, most of them Xi’s trusted aides, include party big shots involved in top-level policymaking, government and foreign affairs. They include companions rarely seen in Xi’s domestic and overseas trips, such as the PLA’s top general, and those who run the nerve hubs of China’s legislature and consultation body that ensure the loyalty of social elites.

The offices involved cover all channels of command between Beijing and Hong Kong. So who are they and what do they do? Continue reading

HK youth identity survey

Source: China Scope (6/25/17)
Survey Results Reveal Hong Kong Youths Do Not Want to Be Identified as “Chinese” Citizens

According to an article that Radio Free Asia published, Hong Kong University released the results of a recent survey reporting that the percentage of Hong Kong youths who acknowledged their identity as “Chinese” was only 3.1 percent, the lowest number in history. At the same time, the percentage of those who identify themselves as “Hong Kongese” was 65 percent, 3 percent higher than in the previous survey. The article quoted an interview with a few residents in Hong Kong. They felt that the political milieu and the livelihood in Hong Kong have worsened since its return to the mainland 20 years ago and that Beijing has never kept its promises. One professor from Hong Kong University said that Beijing constantly interferes with Hong Kong policy. Meanwhile Hong Kong youths are not happy with the uncivilized behavior that the tourists from the mainland display while they shop in Hong Kong or tour in foreign countries. The Hong Kong government didn’t bother to understand the dissatisfaction from the Hong Kong youths whose wish to have Hong Kong be independent continues to rise but is being suppressed.

Hong Kong University has conducted the survey once every two years since 1997. The “Chinese Citizen Identity” result was growing in the first 10 years from 1997 to 2006 but dropped sharply starting in 2008 and fell below 10 percent in 2012, two years before the “Occupy Central” movement took place.

Source: Radio Free Asia, June 21, 2017
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/gangtai/yf1-06212017113643.html

Our Seventeen review

Source: SCMP (6/20/17)
Film review: Our Seventeen – Angela Yuen makes impressive star turn in Macau youth drama
Playing a mean-spirited teen who channels her family problems into music and schoolyard bullying, Yuen’s uncannily natural performance alongside singer-songwriter Sean Pang shows she could be a star in the making
By Edmund Lee

From left: Kyle Li, Mary Ma, Angela Yuen, Sean Pang and King Wu in the film Our Seventeen (category IIB; Cantonese, Putonghua), directed by Emily Chan.

A group of troubled high-school students look to rise above their broken family backgrounds and pursue their music dreams in the diverting, if haphazardly scripted, Our Seventeen.

The second narrative film by Macau writer-director Emily Chan Nga-lei – and a full-length spin-off from her eponymous short film from 2014 – it shows a marked improvement over Chan’s first feature, Timing, also from 2014, which was screened at a Hong Kong “premiere” but never received a proper release in the city.

Continue reading