Reflection: Diaspora Dialogues (Hong Kong)
January 11, 2021
By: Cherie Wong - OTTAWA
In June 2019, hundreds and thousands of Hong Kong youths flooded the streets outside of the Legislative Council. Similar to the Umbrella Movement in 2014, Hong Kongers occupied the space surrounding the city’s legislature as a desperate attempt to change the minds of those in power. Unfortunately, there were few reasons for the Hong Kong or central Chinese government to listen.
For many Hong Kongers who live overseas, we knew that we cannot be idle. Though we have left our home behind, we know we have a duty to protect our home and the future of Hong Kong. Many of the diasporic community organizations were founded The diaspora across the globe mobilized to host sister marches, art shows, exhibitions in solidarity of the movement at home. In August of 2019, Hong Kongers organized our first global solidarity rally. We were met with hostility, Hong Konger activists were met with harassment and intimidation from Australia to Taiwan to Canada to Germany. It was clear that the Chinese Communist Party wanted not only to crush our movement in Hong Kong, but also to silence dissidents across the globe. While diasporic Hong Kongers mobilized and organized in solidarity, it felt superficial to the crisis we are faced with. It was meaningless to appeal to the regime who is responsible for the suppression and oppression of Hong Kongers, but the diasporic Hong Kongers saw the opportunity to advocate the global community to take action against the authoritarian regime in Beijing. However, many of these advocacy organizations are not reflective of the demographics and ideologies of the Hong Kong youths. Like many other spaces, youths are neglected and tokenized for the appearance of youth engagement.
In discussion with fellow organizers across the country, we shared a vision of grassroots community engagement, but also a willingness to actively engage and recruit youth activists. At the beginning stages of our planning, I was even discouraged from organizing independently outside of the existing Canada-Hong Kong networks. Despite the barriers and lateral violence we encountered, we founded Alliance Canada Hong Kong in January 2020. We created a safe space, both from community members and through workshops, we encouraged them to take action. In turn, we created a network of diversely skilled volunteers that is the backbone of our organization. Youth engagement came naturally, as we strived for inclusion and empowerment. From coast to coast, Canadian-Hong Kongers are tired of our colonial government, who chose to appease the Beijing government at the expense of human rights and the safety of diasporic communities. Collectively, we can exercise our civil rights to advocate and change the minds of political leaders and policy makers. It will be a long journey for us to create a democratic Hong Kong.
Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our times.