Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A story about Hong Kong police and March 18 rally


Notes: This is a small story told by a participant of the rally on March 18. I keep him/her anonymous. On March 18, a group of people called "Local Action" launched a campaign for preserving our homes from government's and developers' bulldozers. They also advocated "People's Planning". This group has been formed since after the government demolished the Star Ferry Pier by the end of last year.


Local Action joined the mass rally on March 18. It inserted the issue of community into the mainstream opposition. Please forgive my laziness. I didn't participate in the preparation. The
number of the emails circulated among activists is so huge that I could not be able to read all of
them. I just marked this event on my planner and roughly knew that we would leave the "licensed" (police's non-rejection notice) rally of Civil Front of Human Rights. Local action attempts to make a difference in local issue.

Holding the colorful and eye-catching banner designed by Kith and students, we set off from the
Victoria Park. I believe it is the most well designed and prepared banner in Hong Kong's history of rally. Feeling happy, I walked in the front of the rally. Local Action is a loose alliance emerging
out of the struggle of "Star Ferry Pier". It is hardly called organization. Membership is not stable but we are all kind and active people despite difference in action style. But more or less we agree that "local" is the way out. Although I'm not a devoted activist, I am a concerned participant. I brought water and food for friends, held microphone, and played different roles if necessary. I also bought and used needle and threat to repair the "Hundred Families' Blanket" torn by over-stretching.

We told the public about our decision to leave the mainstream rally before. Shadowed by the evil laws, we walked into the Wanchai Market and tried to draw public attention to the stalls about to be cleared by The Zenith which will be occupied by owners soon and the Blue House which will be discussed by the Planning Board on Friday. Of course, we also went to the emptied Lei Tung Street. We were escorted by uniform police officers and stalked by a lot of plainclothesmen. We are ordinary citizens holding a "Hundred Families' Blanket". Some of us were walking with their children and some were elderly. I had the habit of carrying cutter in my pencase. In order to show my innocence, I kept it at home when I left. I don't understand what I, as a citizen, was afraid of?

Surrounded by police, we had walked for three hours and arrived at the Queen's Pier. There was a concert with singing and dancing. It was similiar to the activities of foreign domestic helpers on Sunday, except having a loudspeaker. I felt tired. I leaned towards W's shoulder and sat down. Feeling the sea wind, I listened to Chan Mit's recitation and He Li's singing. I wanted to go home to have dinner. I left the people and walked towards the bus stop. There were two men coming to me.

"Miss, I'm police. I have reasonable doubt that you had just joined an illegal assembly. I want to write down your ID information for record," said one of the police officers.

"Ha! Holding banner and dancing are subject to penalty? Why didn't you ask for my ID in the crowd? Now there are so few people. You come to ask for it? Why are you so stingy?" said I.

"Why don't you write down all people's ID?" said W.

"We already have their records," said a police.

I don't know if I am able to get access to my file in police station according to the Privacy Bill. Perhaps, I would find out the photos me and W in the pier taken by "Ah Sir" (police officer)! Now I realize that the so-called "evil law" is just stingy. Walking back to the crowd who were about to leave, two officers from Police Laison Office came out to negotiate. Two plainclothes still insisted on checking my ID at the very beginning. Later on, more people came together and we left in chaos. The two laison officers told us that those two plainclothesmen came from the "Central Crime Unit". My friend MD laughed, "He is not even taller than my chest! What qualifies him to ask for my ID?" To honest, this is the first time for me to be threatened by police. My intuition is not to show my ID. I thought that if they really had to arrest us, what I could do is to refuse to cooperate. YW was attentive. She wrote down our names in order to inform each other of the situation. In less than one minute conversation, you know that you are already identified by the police. I already felt terrified and furious for a whole night. For cracking down minority movement, this kind of psychological pressure is already very successful.

This reminds me of what I learnt from the Buddhist lesson this morning: "No Fear and terror". What a realm one could reach! It also reminds me of those people who are willing to act as human shield not for self interest. They are really Buddha in the human world!

Photo: psychosteria

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