Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Headline

Before I tell you about my Christmas niceties in HK, allow me to draw your attention to this utter disgrace that happened today in China. One of the country's most prominent dissidents Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in jail this morning for 'inciting subversion of state power'. Jail is no alien place to Liu - he served a long sentence after his involvement in the pro-democracy protests in 1989. Yet he has remained an outspoke critic of the Communist Party; this time his crime was to have organized 'Charter 08', which called for political reforms in the country. The document was signed by many other intellectuals in the mainland and they've faced persecution to various degrees since. For details, read this article on Reuters.

It's no surprise that Communists would jail (if not gun down) anyone for advocating democracy. My feelings for China are complicated--I call her 'China' rather than 'mainland' since I can't emotionally identify my hometown as a Chinese city. China is a beautiful country to see, but I never want to go there because 1. it's close and it wouldn't feel like traveling; 2. I just don't want to embrace her. For three years I held a feature writer job at the HK branch of a state-owned English paper as 1. I needed a job; 2. contrary to what most people imagined, my job gave me plenty of freedom and editorial autonomy. All the while I continued to join rallies against totalitarian moves by the Chinese and HK governments.

That I'm out of the Castle now doesn't put me on a higher moral ground than I was. I'm a HK citizen who follows the news, goes on protests and whines in front of friends and on her blog about acts of injustice like the persecution of Liu Xiaobo. If you ask me how I truly feel though, I must say that one day if I got banned from visiting China for whatever reasons - dream of becoming a famous writer! - I don't think I'd care. Calling China my motherland sent a wave of confusion and anger up my spine and I cannot, will not concede. Give it another few hundred years and the country might open up. But for as long as the commies would arrest, shut away and erase dissidents and their families, I won't call her home.

* * *

In HK people celebrate Christmas with friends and lovers rather than families, and the main celebration falls on Christmas Eve. Crowds gather at popular spots like Star Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui for the countdown--it can take a couple hours just to get out of the area since most of the roads are closed. My Christmas holidays have always been quiet. This year I met my friend Amy and her boyfriend Solomon for some adventures on Temple Street.

Amy is a final year English major in HKU (which I also went to). Amy read my story 'Luke' over two years ago and got in touch. Since then we've become good friends. Or it's another way of saying we confide in each other a lot and share the same crazy streaks.

Marcus and me at a dessert place. Marcus is an aspiring filmmaker and he gave me a book for Christmas--The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Marcus is fascinated with my cat and loves to play with him. I said he could have Taro for a few days next time I go away.

1 comment:

  1. When is it a good time to use the sovereignty card?

    When is it a good time for a leader of a country to use that word to do what he/she wants to his/her citizens?

    That word, like peace has been manipulated and abused to fit whatever mold that's needed for a particular time. It has become an excuse, not a reason to do the ghastly things that are been reported.

    Why has the lack of democracy gone on so long in China? Perhaps they know there's nothing that any other country can do to cause any serious harm. They've become a country needed, not necessarily wanted.