TravelA Vancouver ‘Hong Kong Silver-Haired’ Protester Reviews the 2019...

A Vancouver ‘Hong Kong Silver-Haired’ Protester Reviews the 2019 Hong Kong Protests

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Auntie Chun is a 63 years old single mother, living on alimony, and her child is already grown up. Before 2019, she would travel alone, including travel to the mainland because it was cheaper. She arranged a lot of interesting things to do in her leisure time. She sold her flat and paid off all of her loans in 2019.

In May 2019, she used the remaining money to travel to Canada.

Unexpectedly, Hong Kong underwent drastic changes in June. Eventually, two million Hongkongers took to the streets to protest peacefully. As a result, Hong Kong was completely changed.

Auntie Chun always participated in social movements in Hong Kong, such as June 4 the memorials for the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre, July 1 marches, the anti-moral and civic education protest in 2012, the Umbrella Movement in 2014, and so on. She also participated in the commemoration of June 4 in Vancouver. She missed Hong Kong very much. So she returned to Hong Kong and participated in the protests.

Visit Prisoners and Farewell to Prisoners

Since the siege of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University at the end of 2019, large protests started to die down. When the authorities started arresting people, she went to observe court proceedings, say farewell to the prisoners who were being transported from court to jail, and wrote letters to support them.

She and the others would try to fill the court auditorium as much as possible.

Auntie Chun explained, “why did I go to see the prisoners? First of all, I read in some reports, that those young people said, ‘I was arrested and imprisoned without anyone’s attention, it seems I did not exist.’ I was very distressed.”

Auntie Chun said that in general, she went to the protests alone. In fact, during these years of social movements, she met many Hongkongers. Although usually, they did not exchange any information, they just nodded when they met, but they would chit chat when they went to the courts.

Auntie Chun pointed out that the High Court in Admiralty, Hong Kong, allows the ordering of private meals for those Hongkongers who are on remand and waiting for trial.

When people found out, they would go to the designated restaurant nearby to order and pay for lunches at 8:00 a.m. in the morning, so that the protesters in custody could have a private meal at noon.

The prison transport vehicle came out from the court after the hearings, and she would wave to them to say goodbye. Every day after the trial, the prisoner transport vehicle would come out. The “master of farewelling prisoners” estimated from which part of the court the prison transport vehicle would come out and which direction it would go to, and they would then chase the vehicle and see prisoners off.

They usually say to the convicted persons, “hang in there! We’ll take care of you. Let’s hang in there! Drink more water in the prison during hot weather, and we will write letters to you.”

Later, more people were sentenced to prison, so she started to visit them in prison. She visited the prisoners every day, and she carefully arranged her itinerary so that she did not waste visiting opportunities.

After that, she began to buy supplies for prisoners. They felt happier when people visited them and chatted with them, so she tried to meet them once a week.

Every time she visited the prisoners, she had to wait for more than an hour, but they could only chit-chat for ten minutes. For example, if you go to Stanley Prison, you can only visit two people from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

During the remand period, they are allowed only two visitors each day for a total of 15 minutes. Some family members do not have time to visit, so they will notify the “master of visiting prisoners” to go. People can visit them every day during the remand period. However, if someone is officially sentenced to imprisonment, people can visit them twice a month. The two visits are of course reserved for their family and friends, but they can apply for two more visits for their immediate family. Auntie Chun would buy supplies for them continuously.

Auntie Chun observed that when young people appeared in court, like those arrested from the PolyU siege, more students would come to support them, and some of them really came to the hearings in school uniforms.

Some people did not know their children had been arrested, so therefore no one visited them.

Auntie Chun said that if the protesters needed help, she would contact them. “I just did what needed to be done without asking too many questions.”

Auntie Chun said, “Actually, I’m not the only one.”

Children Being Abused in Prisons

After the anti-extradition law bill movement started, police officers were seen beating up children. The senior citizens would persuade the police officers to stop beating the youngsters.

When she started to observe court proceedings, she found out some protesters could not come to the court because they had been badly beaten. One appeared finally at the fourth hearing, using a walking stick or cradle, which made the onlookers cry. How could the police beat them so badly!

Auntie Chun said that some told the truth through their lawyers that they had been beaten by the police. The judge said that you could complain to the Complaints Against Police Office, but it was useless to tell us this.

Some people confessed because they had been beaten.

It was obvious that these protesters were not injured when they were arrested, because there were media reports to prove that.

But after they were taken into custody by the police, they could not appear in court for a few days, and some had to stay in hospital for a week. Then the police officers became more and more presumptuous because they wanted to force young people to confess.

Observing court proceedings was miserable, and really required a high EQ. If you object, the judge will charge you with contempt of court.

Seeing and knowing that the protesters had been abused but you could not speak up. Sometimes the heart really could not bear the feelings,

Some of the teenage protesters cried the moment the judge handed out the sentence,

There are also people who plead guilty because if you plead guilty, one-third of the sentence will be subtracted. Some young people would choose to do that so they can get out earlier and move on with their lives.

The Feeling of Receiving Farewells

Auntie Chun, master of farewelling prisoners, had also experienced the moment of being sent off.

On Sept. 7, 2020, she was arrested at the “Lunch with You” protest at the Landmark, When she arrived at the Central District Police Station, it was about 2 p.m. Due to high blood pressure and heart problems, the lawyer helped her to get into the hospital at about 6 p.m.

She was released on bail on Sept. 7. Then she appeared in court in February 2021 and was sentenced to prison for 21 days.

The people outside the prison transport vehicle could not see inside, but she could see outside clearly and could hear their voices. She burst into tears. She was also moved and worried.

Without Fear of Danger

Auntie Chun had been a “master of farewelling prisoners” for more than a year and she had visited many prisons, all of which were men’s prisons. Because there were not too many female protesters, and their families visited them.

San Uk Ling Holding Centre was one of the first places to hold the protesters in the very early stages, and no one knew where to go at the beginning.

During the visit, Auntie Chun left her contact number to the prisoners. When they were released, they kept in contact by letter or phone, and she continued to meet them to see if she could help them.

For Auntie Chun, one of the most touching visits was one to a protester in his twenties. He said to Auntie Chun, “Auntie Chun, you don’t have to visit me so often, you should visit those young people more.” He was trapped in prison but he still cared about other people, which moved Auntie Chun very much.

“During the adversity in 2019 Hong Kong, everyone took the initiative to do their own thing, and there were happy and caring moments,” Auntie Chun said, with mixed emotion.

Because she visited prisoners very often, the Correctional Service Department’s staff were familiar with Auntie Chun. When they saw her, they would greet her. They said to her “you are here again?” They thought that she was paid for visiting. She explained to them that she was a volunteer and she used her own money for visiting.

Auntie Chun said that the quality of her sleep was very poor, and she would dream of those scenes, and she often woke up suddenly.

Auntie Chun is not rich. She needed to save some money to buy things for the imprisoned protesters. Besides the necessary living expenses, the rest of the money was used for these things.

Most Memorable Experience

Many unforgettable things happened during the entire social movement.

Auntie Chun recalled meeting a 14-year-old boy. The skin on his entire body was red and was obviously injured. She was startled and asked him if he needed any help. For sure he felt very painful, but instead of crying, the teenager asked her, “why has Hong Kong become like this?” Auntie Chun helped him and replied to him, “Don’t worry, you are not alone.”

Auntie Chun said, “I couldn’t sleep that night. This incident was the most unforgettable experience for me. The teenager was so brave! The Hong Kong government hurt our young people this way. I can’t give up.”

End CCP

After what happened in 2019, and knowing that the Communist Party had done so many bad things such as division, infiltration, and theft in the world, it made Auntie Chun realize finally: that the Communist Party is the root cause of the disaster in Hong Kong!

She said that the Communist Party has no humanity. It has killed countless people. When it comes to the 2019 Hong Kong Protest, in fact, they want to eliminate Hongkongers. “So we must end the CCP! We can return to Hong Kong only when CCP is eradicated.”

Soon after arriving in Vancouver, Auntie Chun watched two Hong Kong films: “The Revolution of the Times” and “Blue Island.” Auntie Chun said, “I was really moved when I saw the movies, because they (reproduced) many scenes, and I feel sorry for the Hongkongers.” The things mentioned in the movies are very consistent with what she had experienced.

When she arrived in Vancouver, she used her savings for promotion, such as printing messages on some clothes and stickers to promote the ending of the CCP.

Continue to Fight

Although depressing news comes from Hong Kong every day, Auntie Chun said: “I see the international situation, and I have confidence, I will stand firm no matter what, although I may not see the day when Hong Kong is free because I am not healthy. At least people have classified it [the CCP] as a terrorist. The most important thing is that we are united and not afraid of it.”

Auntie Chun is also worried that in a few years, Hong Kong people might lose that enthusiasm and forget about things in Hong Kong.

In a society with freedom, it is even more necessary to tell the CCP, “we are not afraid, we must do more.”

Auntie Chun hoped that like-minded people who have left Hong Kong can be brave, and participate more, speak out more for the eradication of the CCP. What we used to do in the past can continue. If we work together with the same goal, things will be accomplished and the CCP will be afraid.

Joyce Yang

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