Hong Kong’s fight for freedom is increasingly fading into the background. While the coronavirus captures the world’s attention, China is coming ever closer to its goal: to subjugate the citizens of Hong Kong to the power of the communist regime.

The Hongkongers are threatened with something that is already a reality for most people in the rest of China. They live in a country in which more than a million Muslims are forced into labour camps, in which an app controls citizens’ behaviour, and in which human rights activists are incarcerated by the hundreds.

We,  17 young journalists from Germany, have found a way to catch images and voices from the heart of the city that have become rare. This is why we started this project.

We won the confidence of eight Hong Kongers, among them artists, activists, and politicians, who take us with them into their reality at considerable risk to themselves. We equipped them with “clean” smartphones, microphones and further film equipment and accompanied them for two weeks around the clock. Under strict security measures, they gave us a glimpse of their everyday life, their thoughts and their feelings.

They showed us what losing freedom feels like.

While the international media reports about Hong Kong only when there are major events happening, like the passing of the National Security LawThe National Security Law went into effect in Hong Kong on June 30, 2020. It is intended to “prevent, stop and punish” everything that the Chinese government believes could threaten national security. Due to the vaguely worded text of the law, it has caused great uncertainty among the population since its implementation., we were there when politicians were under surveillance or artists were harassed by policemen. But we were also there when activists practice yoga with a teddy bear to come down from the stress of protesting. We wanted to get close to the Hong Kong protest movement.

Furthermore, an interactive map (“Map the Movement”) will be added to the “Hong Kong Diaries” in the coming weeks. This feature will enable the user to understand better the temporal and spatial dimensions of the protests. The map is currently being realized by the first tech students of the new academy, who have already worked together with the journalism students in joint brainstorming sessions.

The “Hong Kong Diaries” also include a 20-minute documentary and eight multimedia diaries about completely different characters. The chat messages have been curated by us and shortened for better readability while the context of the messages has been retained. The stories are supposed to stir you up. Because we should not stop paying attention to places where freedom is lost.