CPIFC Briefing Series*Communication Between Young People in Hong Kong and Mainland
Editor’s Note: Amid escalating protests in Hong Kong and as Beijing fans the mainland Chinese nationalist sentiment against the Hong Kong democracy movement, a young Hong Kong protester has written and published an open letter to mainland compatriots. The writer is seeking to engage in a heart-to-heart communication with them, the people who might have been misled by Beijing propaganda about Hong Kong or might have not at all been aware of what is going on in Hong Kong due to Beijing’s control of information. The letter has gone viral online in the past a few days. Today, a young mainlander responded with a letter which is also widely circulated. CPIFC has translated the two letters and is now publishing them together. It is our belief that these two letters will help readers better understand the intertwined aspirations of the young people in both Hong Kong and the Mainland.
1. A Letter to the Mainland Chinese Compatriots
from Hong Kong Protesters
Dear compatriots in mainland China,
In the protests convulsing Hong Kong like a storm since June, I am one of the negligible protesters. Maybe I am unqualified to speak on behalf of other protesters, but this storm was precipitated by a group of negligible protesters like me. Therefore, please allow me to explain the truth the Hong Kong people have witnessed during this storm.
Before I start, I would like to apologize for not offering any explanations about the protests since June. Actually, from the beginning of the protests, no one had expected that it would heighten to the scale it has today. Therefore, we had never thought of providing explanations to you, our compatriots in mainland China.
However, now is the time for us to speak about our defiance and resistance, because it concerns not only the future and fate of Hong Kong people, but also the freedom and future of the 1.4 billion people in mainland China.
This is not a fight for Hong Kong’s independence or Hong Kong’s separation from the mainland, but a struggle irrigated by the remorse, blood and tears left by a group of brave, upright and kind mainland Chinese people at Tiananmen Square 30 years ago.
“I’m going to join the parade, Tiananmen Square.”
“Because this is my duty.”
This is a scene recorded by a camera 30 years ago of a Beijing university student speaking to reporter while riding his bicycle.
This scene is still remembered by the people of Hong Kong and is widely circulated among Hong Kong protesters. Hong Kong people have never been separated from the people in mainland China since the night of June 4, 1989.
However, the totalitarian government has always intended to separate us. Therefore, in all the news reports, WeChat and other information platforms in mainland China, you could only see a group of black rioters destroying the national flag or attacking the police.
You would not see that the Hong Kong people were deliberately targeted by the police and were seriously injured in the peaceful demonstrations. You would not see the uniformed policemen whispering with the triads who attacked the public. You would not see our chief executive’s indifference to the death of a young man. You would not see that a mob, holding the banner of supporting the government, attacked civilians but finally were not subject to legal punishment. You would not see the young people in Hong Kong that were beaten heavily by the underworld people. You would not see the officials of the central government’s liaison office inciting the underworld people to attack civilians in the protests. All of this is the real reason why the protests are getting more and more out of control.
Hong Kong’s silent majority and many people of conscience have gradually understood the tactics of the totalitarian government. They understand that the rule of law, democracy and freedom are just the lies the rulers use to take control of power. A totalitarian government only knows how to use lies, fears and violence to control the society and maintain order. This is also why the people of Hong Kong continue their uprisings in every district of the city. Our enemy has never been China, nor our compatriots in the mainland, but the totalitarian government.
The protests have exposed the corruption, the uncontrollable public power and the collapse of the rule of law in the Hong Kong society. The silent majority of Hong Kong people have begun to understand how depraved and decadent Hong Kong has become.
Most people in the mainland may believe what I say above is a lie and what has happened in Hong Kong as an anti-China conspiracy planned by foreign forces. Although, I cannot convince you to change your mind immediately, I do believe that one day you will change your mind and will recall the protests in Hong Kong in 2019 as a struggle initiated by young people in Hong Kong against totalitarianism. In history, this “storm” will be like a small ripple in a lake; or this will most likely be a failed struggle, just like that night at Tiananmen Square thirty years ago. All the protesters in Hong Kong are aware that this is a fight between the strongest and the weakest, which makes the situation more chilling and desperate than 30 years ago.
Then you may ask, “Why do you still rise up?”
Our answer is the same as what the young man riding his bicycle said in 1989:
“Because this is my duty.”
It may be the last struggle for Hong Kong people. After the protests, Hong Kong people may no longer be able to work together for freedom with the liberal-minded people in mainland China. The identity and the ethnic group of Hong Kongers may soon disappear into the long river of history after this struggle. However, I hope that the people in mainland China remember that the protesters in Hong Kong will never be your enemy.
I would like to express our sincere gratitude to those who are in the mainland but still take great risks supporting Hong Kong. Words cannot express our gratitude. I hope that you can continue to hold on to your faith until the “cage” imprisoning you is opened. For those who dare not speak out to support us under the totalitarian rule, we also fully understand your difficult situation. With your understanding and kindness, the Hong Kong protesters will never be alone.
Finally, I would like to share with you a statement that is widely circulated among Hong Kong protesters:
“I hope that one day after the success of the protests, we will be able to take off our masks and hug each other at Baodi (the Demonstration Zone of Hong Kong Legislative Council).”
For the brave liberal-minded people in the mainland and all mainland Chinese people I sincerely wish:
“I hope that one day we will be able to embrace and rejoin in a truly free China.”
All of this may be our fate when we decide to continue the unfulfilled wish of the courageous, upright and kind Chinese heroes at Tiananmen Square 30 years ago.
But this fate is not a curse, but a torch that will continue to be passed on.
This summer Hong Kong people will leave a mark on history.
If this mark can bring a little positive impact to the freedom of seven million Hong Kong people and 1.4 billion Chinese people, we are already satisfied as protesters in Hong Kong!
In the moment of writing this letter, the protest is still in process. Although I do not know what lies in the future, I pray God will bless all people with truth and happiness.
A negligible Hong Kong protester
(Translated by Eileen Liping Wang)
一名微不足道的香港抗争者 上二零一九年 盛夏
2. A Letter to Hong Kong Compatriots From Mainland Chinese People
Author: Zhong Min Translator: Eileen Liping Wang
A few days ago, “A Letter to the Mainland Chinese Compatriots from Hong Kong Protesters” was widely circulated in mainland China. After reading this letter, we feel very gratified but also very guilty. What is gratifying is that the Hong Kong protesters are deeply aware that the people who pursue freedom and democracy in mainland China and in Hong Kong should be united. The Communist totalitarian dictatorship is our common enemy that obstructs and undermines the cause of freedom and democracy of the Chinese people. However, the people in the mainland have not been as concerned and organized as the Hong Kong compatriots because the Communist totalitarian dictatorship blocks real information from Hong Kong with the Great Firewall. The leadership brainwashes and incites mainlanders to hate Hong Kong protesters and severely punishes the mainland citizens of conscience who spread the truth. Although some activists in the mainland are spreading the true voices from Hong Kong compatriots, they dare not publicly declare their support for Hong Kong compatriots, nor do they dare organize to support the struggle of the Hong Kong people because of their fears.
However, we truly understand that this democracy movement in Hong Kong is a rebellion against the CCP’s regime from Deng Xiaoping’s authoritarian rule to the restoration of Mao Zedong’s totalitarian autocracy. It is a heroic struggle against a series of illegal acts of the CCP. The CCP has torn up the Sino-British Joint Declaration which has the binding force as the international law. The CCP also tries to overturn the Basic Law with the core principles of Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong and “one country, two systems”. Therefore, this movement has won wide support and solidarity of the democratic countries and people of the world.
We deeply know that this evil regime which relied on violence and lies to rule China for 70 years has always smeared the legitimate and just actions of the people of Hong Kong who defend and fight for constitutionalism, democracy and the rule of law. The CCP has maliciously branded the protests in Hong Kong as riots and treason activities planned by foreign forces. The CCP also systematically created violent conflicts in various despicable ways to make a high-sounding excuse for sending troops to suppress the protests. Although the Chinese Communist regime has also assessed the risks and costs of making the second June 4th Massacre, we must not underestimate the possibility that it will carry out bloody suppression of the democracy movement once again. We would like to remind Hong Kong compatriots to continue to “Be Water” to flow and penetrate into the entire Hong Kong society. The brave warriors and the non-violent protesters must unite to work together and to form an unbreakable united front. You must avoid direct violent confrontation and bloodshed and fully mobilize and integrate all liberal and democratic forces from all over the world to fight against the totalitarian autocracy.
Mainland citizens will never give up our pursuit of freedom and democracy. We pursued this in the 1989 Democracy Movement, in the rights movement that began in 2003, in the Charter 08 Campaign and in the Jasmine Movement. In doing so, we participated in the New Citizen Movement, the Southern Street Movement, the Christian Movement, the Labor Movement, the Feminist Movement, the Environmental Movement and other social movements. All these efforts have echoed with the protests and activities in Hong Kong, including the June 4th vigil and the July 1st march, the Anti-legislation of Article 23 in 2003, the Occupy Central Campaign in 2014, and the Anti-extradition bill protests in 2019. In particular, we always remember the generous donations and humanitarian assistance provided by Hong Kong compatriots during the catastrophes the mainland people suffered during the June 4th crackdown and the Wenchuan earthquake.
We are delighted to see that our compatriots in Hong Kong have already stood the forefront of the great struggle for freedom and democracy throughout China and the whole world. This is a great inspiration and promotion of the democracy movement in the mainland. The mainland is full of victims. They are in every field and every corner of the country, including education victims, religious victims, land seizure victims, victims suffering from toxic air, poisonous water, foods and poisonous vaccines, etc. We believe that all mainland victims will eventually realize that the root of all these disasters is the one-party dictatorship and together we will fight against the totalitarian autocratic regime and its dictators!
Freedom and equality, constitutionalism and democracy are the trend of the world! No one can stop this trend! Go Hong Kong! Go China! Unite for humanity!
* Citizen Power Initiatives for China’s research arm Citizen Power Institute publishes CPIFC Briefing Series and CPIFC Monograph Series. The former are short essays or succinct scholarly articles that spontaneously reflect the realities of China while the latter are research reports on China’s politics, economics, culture, ethnicity, religion, civil society, human rights and strategies for its transition to democracy.