We approached a lawyer shortly after our detention at a peaceful Tibet protest during the HK Olympic Torch Relay in May 2008. Christina Chan and I wanted to make a statement about civil liberties in Hong Kong and defend free speech.
The 1997 Basic Law states that HK police must facilitate protest and all residents have the right to do so. We hoped the case would highlight the drip-drip erosion of freedoms in the territory by Beijing, but I had to drop out due to prohibative legal aid costs. Christina’s means test was lower so she pressed on with the judicial review.
The videos clearly show heavy-handed policing. If the judge admits others present were breaking the law, then police were surely obliged to control/arrest them, rather than removing the victim. Instead, moments before the torch and world’s media passed by, Chan found herself bundled into a van.
Coverage from various local outlets below…
On Buy Nothing Day, 2008, I joined Christian Chan to distribute anti-consumerism flyers amongst shoppers in Times Square. The leaflets encouraged people to question consumerism and its environmental, psychological and social effects.
I experienced one of those gut-wrenchingly cringe worthy moments tonight. The kind which torment you for years to come, just as you’re trying to get to sleep… Out and about on Temple Street with some visiting friends I bumped into Tim, the noodle restaurant owner next to our flat – a lovely chap. I happily bounced up to him and introduced my French friend, complimented his entrepreneurial wizardry and told his wife how wonderful his cooking was. “This is Tim, he’s a legend, you’ll have to go and visit him” etc..etc… I trotted off, ignoring the fact that he did seem quite perplexed by the chance encounter. A full 5 hours later, I realised why. It wasn’t the noodle guy, his name wasn’t even Tim – it was fucking Steve, our laundry dude – who I’m on equally good terms with. We’ve chatted every weekend for over a year, I know both of their names and see them several times a week…
It would’ve been less worse if I’d gone up to a random – at least that would’ve produced a hilarious anecdote on both sides – this just resulted in me reinforcing the somewhat racist notion that the Chinese ‘all look the same’ to foreigners.