Clara Cheung is a district councillor in the district of Wan Chai, Hong Kong. The mother of two daughters was elected last year when the pro-democracy camp won the majority for the first time. She is also an artist and fights passionately for the freedom of expression in Hong Kong.
On the 28th of September some protestors gather in the Pacific Mall to celebrate the 6th anniversary of the Umbrella MovementThe umbrella protests took place in Hong Kong from September to mid-December 2014. The protests were triggered by a decision of the Chinese People’s Congress to select the candidates for the Hong Kong administrative chief post through a preliminary selection process. The movement got its name because the protesters used umbrellas to protect themselves from the tear gas used by the police. . Clara, a local politician, went there.
This thing in the mall is insane, don’t you think? Dozens of journalists monitoring each other, wow
Yup there are large numbers of journalists
Journalists are in great danger nowadays and the police has recently announced that they only would allow “certified” journalists to report on site – certified by police
Thanks for the footage from the mall. Do you remember where you were on this day six years ago?
I just finished a whole day meeting.
Clara is a district councillor in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Since 1997 the pro-China partys had a clear and stable majority in those local parliaments. But after the protest movement in 2019 the pro-democracy camp won most of the seats in all districts in the elections in November 2019. Clara got one of those seats.
Thanks! What are these activists protesting for?
“There was a petition by an activist group who wanted to raise the awareness about an upcoming government project, the “Tomorrow Lantau Project”. The government plans to build a new island, next to Lantau. This will destroy a lot of lives in the ocean. We had a long discussion with the council. The idea to make another island is to send out the Hong Kong people’s money to the mainland by contracting these projects to companies closely cooperating with mainland Chinese companies. During the meeting I repeated what the activist group’s members talked about – all the reasonable arguments about the best way to make use of the land left over in the city.”
My colleague helped me to prepare the street sets in Happy Valley. I ordered fruits in the wholesale market yesterday and now transporting them to Happy Valley.
Clara is located in the area Happy Valley in the District of Wan Chai. For the Mid-Autumn Festival she provides fruits to the local residents to come in contact.
“The Mong Kok police station is located in Prince Edward. During the anti-extradition law movement, some protesters were arrested and sent to that station. So other protesters would come to Prince Edward police station to support them, chanting outside the station. Besides that, there was an incident last year in August where we suspended the MTR station which is the subway company. The MTR company collaborated with the Hong Kong police to shut down the MTR, the subway that night in order for the police to beat up and arrest a lot of protesters. After that incident the subway company did not publicly reveal the CCTV footage. And from some of the news footage, we saw really violent scenes of people wearing police officers uniforms, beating up civilians. That was the first time for Hong Kong people to witness so many violent actions toward the civilians by the police forces. And then later on we don’t really have hope or trust on the police officers in Hong Kong anymore. Because of that incident a lot of protesters gathered at Prince Edward almost every night and day to try to urge the subway company to reveal all the footages of 31st of August. Some people started to set up ritualistic installation’s for the spirits for the ghosts and some put flowers around the station in order to form a memorial for those who may be dead at the subway at night and also for those who died during the whole movement. The gathering at a metro station in Prince Edward got smaller and smaller after a period of time. But a lot of the people still would come back to send white flowers and put them around the exits at the subway station.”
Are you still in Happy Valley?
I’m heading to the Prince Edward Station now
At Prince Edward Station there was an escalation of the violence during the protests in 2019. The police attacked a lot of people, even those who didn’t protest. Every month since then people remember the attack at the station.
How many people do you expect there?
Real hard Thunder storm now
Oh no, take care
But police cars are around
The heaven must be angry, real angry
On the 1st of OctoberThe umbrella protests took place in Hong Kong from September to mid-December 2014. The protests were triggered by a decision of the Chinese People’s Congress to select the candidates for the Hong Kong administrative chief post through a preliminary selection process. The movement got its name because the protesters used umbrellas to protect themselves from the tear gas used by the police. there were pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. Clara is going there in her role as a local politician to cover situation.
How is the demonstration going?
Not too much happened. People walking around. Police are already stationed all over the streets since the morning and separating crowds. Some people were arrested for illegal assembly. No teargas
It is very difficult nowadays to have street actions
“1st of October is a public holiday for Hong Kong people because it is the National Day for the Chinese Communist Parties nation and this year it is also the Mid-Autumn Festival day. A lot of Hong Kong people take to the streets to show their demand for democracy. At the same time police set up a lot of different stations all around town. You can see a lot of police vehicles and a lot of the PTU units from police force patrolling. It is very difficult nowadays for people to gather in public space for any political actions. It is sort of impossible. Because of two reasons: One is because of this pandemic situation. The second one is the NSL which provides more excuses for the authorities to charge people. The Hong Kong police is targeting the young people in Hong Kong. It is ridiculous. The authority is trying to shut the mouths of the young generation because they are the future of Hong Kong. It is insane.”
Before Clara was elected as a district councillor, she worked as an artist. Until today she makes art in every spare moment.
I worked at studio a bit and now on my way to Happy Valley to check out a TV program interview about a community art project about pets. Since this project was initiated and coordinated by my colleague at my councilor’s office, I wanna go to support anyway
Thanks. Good to see you doing art!
* This material was originally sent on the 6th of October.
I read, that on the 1st of October, some District Councilors were arrested. Is that true? Do you know them?
Yes, four district councilors were arrested along with other civilians
Unfortunately, it is normal nowadays
I’m prepared (psychologically) for this as well
For recent occasions, like 1st of October, the arrest is about so called “illegal assembly”. Depending on what evidence the cops get, the arrested people will be charged or not. If the cops can’t find evidence to support the arrest and the arrested person does not choose to bail out himself, then it would turn out to be cops catching people to the police stations for 48 hours and then letting them go home
Although the cops can later on, after a period of time, come back to you to say that they finally get enough evidence and have to arrest you again
Most of the Hong Kong people arrested on the 1st of October went to north point police station. Some district councilors in that area stationed outside the police station to assist the family members of the arrested ones that night
Where have you been at that time?
I asked a councilor friend that day to see if they needed help but they said, they were doing fine. Therefore I didn’t head to north point
Honestly speaking, Hong Kong police’s behaviors are less violent on the 1st of October, 1st of July or 31st of August this year, compared with how they treated Protesters last year
There may be several different reasons
Pressures from international society and the enacted sanction
Some suspected that the HK police attacked brutally last year in order to make Hong Kong people so angry that the protesters would react in an extreme way — so that the government can enact the National Security Law. But I am not too sure about that
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