Awaiting a Democratic Hong Kong,
One of the things that happened after the interview is that I asked my friend, "Why won't you believe that this is an example of self-censorship. Why can't you accept that this is happening. Why can't you call it what it is? About how much more will you and other Hong Kong people are willing to lose until you're all going to start seeing what is going on? How much more do you want to lose before you realize it's gone? You know they are erasing Hong Kong as we speak. One more reinterpretation of the Basic Law is going on. Where is everybody. This is more important than Article 23!!"
"No, it's not," she said,
"Really, what the fuck do you think makes Hong Kong, Hong Kong? What do you think makes this the special administrative region and not mainland china? It's the Basic Law. That is all it is. The Basic Law is Hong Kong and that is all. Without it then we don't have Hong Kong."
"But article 23 is about free speech and it's important. They wanted to change the Basic Law then as well."
"No they didn't. Article 23 was provisioned by the Basic Law and that there was always a plan to implement an anti-subversion bill in Hong Kong, it was the actual content of it that was problematic, and even if it did pass and that we still have a independent judiciary system we could still have fought the unfair aspects of it in court but we don't anymore!"
Silence because I know I am right in this, and I was angry my friend had not realized this before. Freaked out because if she doesn't know then that means most people don't know because she's one of the better read people I know in the world. Silence because what just happened on TV is exactly why people don't know about it because at this current climate with the erasing the Basic Law, Cable News Channel ones News and Culture Show called "Discussion Point," is discussing "What is a Blog?" and having professors of Hong Kong University wax poetic about how it's a good place to talk about one's feelings for about ten minutes.
Like really. Now I think about it, there is far more important things to talk about on a "news and culture" show at this juncture than asking me to come on to talk about how "I don't think that you can ask what is distinctive about blogging culture in relation to Hong Kong because blogging is a global culture, we are all talking on the Internet.' (or something like that).
You would think if you really really have to ask me to come on to talk about something, you would at least cut the part where I talk about what "The Freedom Blog Awards is," and what I feel about free speech and why I am doing this, "Because I am afraid that if we don't talk about it now, if we don't fight for and protect our freedom of press and freedom of speech, we will not have it anymore, and we can't protest every day nor is Hong Kong a democracy, so we have to work towards this goal in as many channels possible."
And none of that is the worse part of this situation in my mind. The worse part is I don't know if my friend refuses or didn't or couldn't see what was happening because she really never watched TV shows where politics are right out in the open, and people don't water down what people have to say in such an intense way, or she can't see because she no longer wants to see.
She doesn't want to see because there isn't that much we can all do about it.
And seeing what I was seeing meant admitting that the battle is practically over because when my interview can be co-opted to CCP approved rhetoric maybe there isn't much more we can say and do and reach the already apolitical and reverting to apathetic public.
And it is easier to say the journalist is crap, the editor is crap, or that there is no political content in Blogging and I was making it into an issue that is off topic then to say, "My friend just got censored right in front of my eyes and it was so well edited that unless she happened to be here telling it to me you would never notice. Which means we don't know how many hundred of times this happens in Hong Kong everyday. Maybe Hong Kong people really do care about politics but we will never know because every time someone talks about it, it ends up in the cutting room floor."
And so what can we do?
I already decided I am leaving. I am going to have a passport in my back pocket, and an exit strategy before i am willing to come back to live here. I know that if needs be I can and will grow old else where in places that my personal and political freedoms will be greater than what we have in Hong Kong now, let alone what we have in the future.
But that's not the choice my friend wants to make and maybe doesn't have the kind of access to the choices I have. So she will remain. And to remain, is it easier to hope that what is happening is not or not see it until one has to. Maybe it's easier to not see your home being erased, and let it all slide by as much as one can and focus only on the day to day. Slowly one will get used to the atmosphere, slowly one will forget that there are things we no longer have. Humans adjust to the environment to survive. And to survive here in the long term is to not even admit defeat, but not admit we lost anything. To just accept it as is and as it will be.
But I don't want to leave. I never wanted to. But I know I want my freedoms more than I want my home. So I fight. So I want to see. Because if what I fear doesn't happen I get to stay, I get to come back. I get to have babies and watch them grown on the same street I live on now that my great grandmother also lived on. But if it doesn't happen, then I will be like all those Hong Kong people who live elsewhere, always trying to recreate a home that no longer exists, practically refusing to admit they have moved away. I will have the kids who wonder or reject that place their parents came from. Have a hazy to obsessive fascination of their real "home," one that they are not part of partly because it won't even be there anymore. And maybe they rather like the idea of the old home than the new home, because really America or Australia will never really be theres either.
I see it so often it's just a cliche that I probably will have to suffer in the future.
But people's who homes are erased have no choice but be displaced.