What if I’m “abducted” and “forced” to say “I’m safe”?

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.


Can we trust Microsoft any more?

There are certainly many imminent issues around the world that need attention. However, I have decided to write my first blog post on email security as it’s not just about our privacy but also about why we simply let such a company deal with our communication data without any intention to respect consumers’ rights.

I’m not an IT expert but as a user, I think I have much justification to say why we should all question Microsoft about the security of its email service and its position on not warning users that their email accounts have been hacked. If you are still not convinced and believe that there’s nothing to worry about our email communication, please read these reports about how Microsoft decided not to inform Tibetan and Uighur hack victims.

Like many people, I have many email accounts for communicating with different people – colleagues, friends, activists and others. However, I decided to stop using my Hotmail accounts after reading various reports about the email service’s security issues a few years ago. Of course, all email service can also be subjected to the risk of being hacked. But a company’s attitude in handling such problem speaks for itself. If you finds out the problem but you don’t even bother to inform your customers, how can we still trust that company any more?

As mentioned above, the recent reports about the hack victims are Tibetans and Uighurs. But what about users in Hong Kong and the rest of the world? Can Microsoft disclose more information to users and to the public?

I do feel that it’s legitimate for us to ask Microsoft these questions.

Heunggongyan, Hongkonger – an introduction to this blog

I have thought about opening this blog for some time and have decided to make up my mind to do it at the beginning of 2016.

As a heunggongyan (Hongkonger), I have asked myself if I should just write my own thoughts about what’s happening in my hometown Hong Kong and other issues around the world in my mother tongue – Cantonese. However, I have decided to write in English, my second language. It’s not because how much I miss the British colonial period when I was born in Hong Kong. Instead, I do feel the need to write in a language which I can communicate with most people in the world which happens to be English in our time.

I consider this blog as a platform for communications, and therefore I would like to learn from others about the issues I would like to discuss instead of presenting myself as any kind of expert.

I’m sure I will learn a lot in this journey of writing.