I am a graduate student in political science and a democracy activist. I am either in a café reading piles of books and writing essays to answer big questions, such as why certain countries can get rich and democratic, but some can’t. Or I am in the street chanting slogans for freedom and democracy.
What do you want to change and why is it so important to you to speak up?
Talented_clementine, Portobello High School
Thanks for the question, Talented_clementine. Many Hongkongers and I think that the government of Hong Kong is undemocratic, because our Chief Executive and half of the Legislative Council members are not directly elected by the people. In other words, we are still far away from the ideal of “one person, one vote”.
One problem when you cannot elect your leader and representatives is that they can start to limit people’s freedom and you have no way to stop them. For example, our Chief Executive just forbade people from wearing masks in public rallies, while it keeps using the police force to suppress our right to assembly.
I think in a democratic society, everyone should have a say and make their voices heard. If you do not frequently exercise your freedom of speech, it will eventually be taken away. So, it is important to me, and you too, to speak up all the time.
How did you feel when the extradition rule wasn't going to be a rule any more?
Mindblowing_clarinet, Boutcher C of E Primary School
Hi, Mindblowing_clarinet. When I heard the extradition rule was no longer going to be a rule, I felt sad honestly. If a government were truly responsive to the people, it shouldn’t take almost three months of protests before our voices were finally listened. It took many sacrifices – sweat, blood, and loss of freedom – before we can achieve this small step. This is grossly unjust. That is why Hongkoners have continued to insist on reforming our government, to make it more in line with what the people need and demand.
When I heard the extradition rule was no longer going to be a rule, I felt sad honestly. If a government were truly responsive to the people, it shouldn’t take almost three months of protests before our voices were finally listened.Kai Ping Leung
Could this possibly be the start of a war? Or is it a way of getting your voices heard and not anything too serious?
Content_lemon, Boutcher C of E Primary School
Thanks for the question, Content_lemon. At the moment, a war might be a remote possibility, although the police abusing protestors is a very concerning issue. China benefits from the fact that Hong Kong is an internationally recognized financial city. If China uses the military troops to suppress peaceful protestors, it will a lot of pushback and criticism from other countries. So our city’s stability is still in the best interest of China.
That also speaks to how valuable a democratic system is – that you can manage conflicts peacefully, not through force but through the ballot box. This is one of the best ways to allow our voices heard. But unfortunately, Hong Kong is still far from being a democratic society. That is why we keep protesting for a better government.
Do you think that it is good that people in other countries are getting involved?
easygoing_weaver, Brompton Westbrook Primary School
Hi, easygoing_weaver! Absolutely! I think it is great that friends around the globe get involved in Hong Kong movements for freedom and democracy. Freedom and democracy are universal values that humans aspire to. We should be building more bridges between societies and raise awareness about issues that are happening in our neighbours. If we do not speak up for neighbours who are losing their freedom, there will be no one speaking up for us when, one day, we are in trouble. So, it is important to build a global alliance for people who treasure freedom and democracy.
Keeping an eye on the news of Hong Kong, spreading our messages to your friends, and asking your government to pay attention to the issue are all great ways to get involved.
If we do not speak up for neighbours who are losing their freedom, there will be no one speaking up for us when, one day, we are in trouble.Kai Ping Leung
How does it feel to not be listened to when you’re asking for your rights but no-one that you’re asking is listening?
eager_tiger, Brompton Westbrook Primary School
Hi, Eager_tiger. Thanks for the great question. It hurts to be left unheard. It feels unjust. A government is built to make people’s lives happier and more dignified. It should not be used as a tool to shut down the voices of the people. They deserve to form their own democratic government to make sure their rights and interests are best protected. That is why we have to take to the streets to make our demands heard.
We are glad that people around the world, including you, are listening to our messages and want to know more. Keep finding out and speaking up for issues that interest you!