Yesterday I picked up It's Not an All Night Fair by Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer at a book store, before I headed off to my 4.30pm doctor appointment. In the introduction, editor and translator C. W. Watson included this apt reminder: 'Realism's question is: you've seen this, haven't you? But have you ever thought about it in this way?'
At the same time, an absurd incident was happening at the Lo Wu border crossing in HK. A group of 21 Hong Kongers - who signed the Charter 08 - staged a protest in support of Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident who's jailed for 11 years for subversion (as mentioned in my last entry). The group was to enter the mainland to 'turn themselves in', since everyone who's involved with the charter should be arrested and tried if that's what happened to Liu. The protesters are mostly young people, including a 16-year-old student, and they kept live updates of their movements on Twitter for the public to follow. The local media was also shooting the procession.
Just as they're lining up to go through immigration - they're still in HK territory - the mainland cops crossed the control point, grabbed a few of the protesters by the neck, dragged them into Shenzhen territory where they were detained for four hours along with two HK reporters. According to the One Country Two Systems, the mainland cops' action was illegal - they're not allowed to do their job cross border - though of course their HK peers did nothing but watch yesterday. The protesters and reporters had their 'Return to Motherland' cards confiscated, while the pictures and video clips were erased. The HK police wouldn't entertain any of the Hong Kongers' complaints.
I take back what I said in my last entry about getting banned from entering China: I don't have to become a famous writer at all. I've also signed the Charter 08 and I only have to turn up at the border crossing with a protest sign, flash my Return to Motherland card and that'd be it. Whether this happens or not, I would continue to write and protest. For those of you who may be interested, go take a look at the online text of Charter 08. There's also the English version. As of today over 10,400 people have signed it. You can send an email with your name, location and profession to: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com