This is the title for a series of documentaries on the 2019 Anti-extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement, produced by British director Malcolm Clarke, two-time Oscar winner for Best Documentary Short Film and a 16-time Emmy award winner. Malcolm said in the first episode that he was producing ten short films to document what he saw personally in 2019 in Hong Kong and witnessed how a world class city was on the road to self-destruction, beginning with the anti-extradition protests. His documentaries were in sharp contrast to the mainstream narrative about Hong Kong in the West, and have won applause from netizens and observers in the city for presenting what happened three years ago with an unbiased perspective.
The first two episodes of the documentary – “Hong Kong People Take to the streets” and “The Problem of British Colonial History” – were uploaded to the Hong Kong 01 (HK01) website on 23 June 2022 and were however immediately labeled by some film critic as propaganda repackaged to whitewash Chinese Communist Party malfeasance. So far, HK01 had uploaded four of the ten episodes, all of which I have watched on my desktop. In a recent interview with HK01, Clarke said he was angry and disappointed at the biased coverage of the riots in the West. The European and US media outlets had typically simplified the chaos as “a group of courageous young people seeking democracy against an authoritarian China.” Clarke had categorically said that they were untrue and inaccurate, which could be his primary motivation to make the documentaries, to tell the world how the riots and violence had ruined Hong Kong’s law and order three years ago, but which facts were at the time routinely ignored by the Western media which had chosen not to report such violence even in the face of testimonials from articulate witnesses.
Such is the time we are living in – that we are often bombarded with an avalanche of information and disinformation from different sources, each with their specific objective and intention, often not of their own, so that the individual must exercise judgement and discernment on most issues, particularly when they have geopolitical or economic implications. Here are the links to the first two episodes, and I leave you to see it for yourself before you take a view.
Some of us would by now be sick and tired of the double standards routinely displayed by politicians and governments in the West on anything related to China. Even small Canada recently had seen it fit to speak along the vein of Johnson and Patten and make irrelevant and irreverent remarks on the One Country, Two Systems. Which is why we in Hong Kong owe it to ourselves to understand the thrust of One Country, Two Systems policy, and to be prepared to defend Hong Kong against any such uncalled-for comments and action. I have said before in my blogs and I would say it again that Hong Kong is not for the faint hearted or people with little faith.
There will always be people seeking to emigrate and it has been fashionable for the young and impressionable to go to UK under the impression that they would have a better life in UK. I wish them well. Indeed, for more than half a century, Hong Kong people have been emigrating and many had since returned. I would never spend time to talk to people wanting to leave. I don’t have the patience or the conviction that I can instill any sense in them or to change their mind. Hong Kong would probably be the better without them. Looking back, and looking at what we are today, I can’t see any dis-similarities. Half a century ago, people left because they were worried what would happen to Hong Kong come 1997. Quite a few of them were my classmates and friends. I would send them off at dinners, often over a few Black Label on the rocks, with the guarantee that I would receive them at the airport if they ever return. Some did, for various reasons. Today, people are leaving, most of whom I don’t know, for they are younger, which boggles the mind, without the 1997 deadline, but under the impression that 2047 is the new deadline. President Xi has just given us assurance that the One Country, Two Systems would stay, forever. It is not easy to talk to people with little or no faith. Those who are familiar with St Paul’s would recognize that, “For Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hong Kong has been written off so many times before 1997, but its resilience has become its hallmark.
The Post – SCMP – issued a special edition to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of the HKSAR, which it billed as “Reflections on a city’s transformation. It invited 25 people to sum up, in a word, how they would describe the city. The 25 people came from a wide spectrum, ranging from the very likeable Uncle Ray to the rather obnoxious Chris Patten, from a household figure Allan Zeman to another household character called Frederick Ma, from homegrown Olympic medalist Siobhan Haughey to seasoned politician Emily Lau, and from local actor and TV host Eric Tsang Chi Wai to fortune teller Mak Ling-ling. Five of them – or 20% – had chosen “resilient” which is rather telling and which I would approve. Hong Kong is indeed a typical come-back kid. It is unique, as Patten said, as the only city in the world enjoying all the freedoms of an open society under the rule of law. I won’t agree however with what Patten went on to say about Hong Kong having had its freedoms taken away by China, which he described as also being unique, but I won’t dwell on that. I am confident that Hong Kong would always bounce back, and come out stronger, as it had done so many times before.
On that optimistic note, I would sign off, and wish everyone a happy and bouncing start to the next 25 years, and beyond.