As I have been following the news about Hong Kong citizen and bookseller Lee Bo, who is also a British passport holder, what I can see worry myself and many other fellow Hongkongers the most is whether the freedoms of expression and publication which we take for granted are vanishing.
As I have been working on human rights issues about China, mainly about harassment of human rights defenders and human rights lawyers, for the past decade, it is understandable that my family and friends always ask if I’m worried about my own safety and warn me not to go to Mainland China.
Am I worried? I’m still not too worried about my own safety but it’s worrying to see how we Hongkongers are only worried about whether our safety will be affected when we see news like Lee Bo and harassment of human rights defenders in China.
Imagine, if one day, we can no longer talk about any freely. Imagine, if one day, we can no longer express our anger towards how government officials fail their policies. Imagine, if one day, we can no longer question what we believe to be wrong. Imagine, if one day, anybody close to us is suddenly taken away just because he or she says something or writes something criticizing the government. Imagine, if one day, if your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your cousin, your son, your daughter, your friend or your colleague is “abducted” and “forced” to say “I’m safe”. How would you feel?
Do we want to prepare what we should say and what we should say if any of the above happens one day? Or, do we want to prevent any of the above happens?
I have never thought about ‘what if I’m “abducted” and “forced” to say “I’m safe”, as I believe it won’t happen if we can stand firm to our values. If we treasure our freedoms, I don’t think we need to worry about any of the above.
I am a Hongkonger and I believe in my fellow Hongkongers.