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Challenges and possibilities: Reflections on coalition building and the Hong Kong movement

Hong Kong. A roundtable on localism, transnational solidarity, and political education.

Editor’s note: Promise Li’s critique of the right-wing turn in Hong Kong and the diaspora since the 2019 movement garnered a wide spectrum of opinions. In response, Lausan held a closed roundtable among several of its members to discuss points of contention and opinions related to the critique. The different positionalities that the panelists occupy—their respective social locations informed by their race, class, and gender—allowed them to reflect on the Hong Kong movement and Li’s critique from various angles. While based in the US, Samuel and Alex share close relationships with local Hong Kong activists. Also based in the US, Kate’s perspective is informed by her experience living in Hong Kong as someone from mainland China, and by her research on labor and politics. Yehua participated in labor organizing in London, and currently works in Hong Kong. As a diasporic Hongkonger in Canada, Vince works closely with other marginalized and racialized groups there to combat human rights violations, carceral politics, and racism through a transnational lens.

Using Li’s article as the springboard, the four panelists explored the different connotations of Hong Kong localism in a two-hour long conversation, reflecting on obstacles that challenge transnational solidarity between local Hongkongers and oppressed and racialized groups in the West. Under the unprecedented scale of government suppression in Hong Kong, we must continue to ponder and enact organizing strategies that can sustain both local and transnational anti-authoritarian struggles. This conversation prompts us to reflect critically on how we can more effectively cultivate and support a grassroots movement that does not only focus on a singular issue, but can connect marginalized people from different social locations to build power collectively.

The transcript of the roundtable has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Roundtable participants: Alex, Kate, Samuel, Vince, YehuaModerator: Shui-yin Sharon Yam

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It’s time for Hong Kong to reckon with its far-right

In the midst of the U.S. election, Hong Kong has found itself again in the international spotlight—this time implicated in the middle of a far-right disinformation campaign. The inner circles of the city’s popular newspaper Apple Daily have fabricated and promoted false allegations of Hunter Biden being under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a claim that has made the rounds in East Asian media, helping to turn public sentiment against the Biden campaign beyond Hong Kong. While the xenophobic right-wing element is still unorganized, the influence of its discourse grows day by day in the city. Pro-democracy channels from LIHKG to Stand News comment sections went from tolerating right-wing ideas to having to deal with them as the norm. The upgrowth of Trump supporters in both Hong Kong and its diaspora provides the biggest reality check for the city’s movement yet: How did a fanatic right-wing pole emerge from a movement seemingly committed to the avoidance of ideological discussions, and up until last year, has shown little interest in global politics? 

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Hong Kong: Reflecting on an insurrection – An interview with Au Loong-Yu

To celebrate the publication of his new book, Au Loong-Yu joins Roar Mag to talk about the origins, scope and legacy of last year’s Hong Kong rebellion.

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How the ‘Lion Rock Spirit’ crushed Hong Kong’s calls for strikes

‘Liberate Hong Kong, The Revolution of Our Times’ is not just any chant; it is an idea rooted in a decolonial politics.

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The Final Straw: We Need To Spread This Freely: JN On #HongKong Under National Security Law

This week, I speak with JN, an anarchist who works with the decolonial, leftist HongKonger platform, Lausan, talks about where the uprising against Chinese integration in Hong Kong stands, the National Security Law, tankie and rightwing narratives and international anti-authoritarian solidarity and resistance.

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Hong Kong: 11 articles on police abolition

Hong Kong. July 21. 2020. Today is the anniversary of the Yuen Long attacks. On July 21, 2019, a group of men in white shirts, wielding wooden canes and steel rods, laid violent siege to commuters on their way home from a protest. For 35 minutes, the police were nowhere to be found. The attacks revealed the collusion between the government, the police, and land owning triads benefitting from colonial land policies. Above all, it was a moment of collective trauma—a warning of the violence that was yet to come.

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Welcome to the Frontlines: Beyond Violence and Nonviolence

Over the past two weeks, the US has seen some of the largest, most militant protests and riots in decades. The now nationwide movement began in Minneapolis following the police murder of George Floyd. The anger that followed led to mass demonstrations, confrontations with the police, arson and looting, mourning and rebellion that spread across the country within a matter of hours. The Minneapolis Third Precinct station house, where the murderers had worked, was burned to the ground, and police cars were set aflame from New York to LA in the most widespread damage to the punitive edifices of the US state seen in this century, fueled by decades of anger at racist policing and the ceaseless stream of police murders of Black people. Now, even the reform-oriented electoral left is seriously discussing a softened version of police abolition on a national level, re-imagined as “defunding,” and the Minneapolis City Council has pledged to “disband” the city’s police department. Not long ago, such a demand would have been considered utopian.

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Hong Kong: Water, fire and the wind – The battle for #PolyU

The following report on the siege and battle of the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong, written by the “Cafardnaüm Collective”, describes the events of November 14-19, 2019 and is as impressive as it is poetic, testifying to the ingenuity and determination of the occupiers. In other words, it may do justice to the dimensions of the event. A German version appeared on Non Copy Riot, from which this analogous translation was made.

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