Tonight there's a candlelight vigil in support of Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident who's jailed for 11 years for 'inciting subversion of state power'. I wrote about his persecution in an earlier post and Hong Kong people's reaction here.
I arrived at the open area outside the Legislative Council, the popular site of protests in recent days in HK, at 7pm as the vigil was about to begin. The participating organizations included the Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Amnesty International, a local independent media group, China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group and HKU Students' Union among others.
With former student Samuel
A number of poets took turns to recite poetry written by and for Liu--on the June 4 massacre, loss of freedom, love and faith and hopes for distant liberation for the Chinese people. Oswald Chan, a supporter of Liu, translated three of Liu's poems into English. Here's a short one titled 'When I'm gone--to My Sleeping Wife':
When you took my heart,
I was already gone.
On this clear Autumn day
The shining handcuffs burnt in the sun.
I was being taken far away
To a place you could never find.
But when you woke up, your glance was
Scorching my shadow.
The scar of your wound,
Was torn again and again.
I was astonished at your delicate body.
How could it endure such unexpected and persistent pain?
Even as the knife broke,
You gripped it.
Liu's story you've heard over and over by now. One thing that may elude you is that in China, these victims of political persecution are slave labor in 're-education camps'. Besides intellectuals like Liu and other activists, human rights lawyers, reporters who break 'sensitive' stories (e.g. Sichuan earthquake) or even ordinary citizens, who've been illegally evicted from their homes and gone up to Beijing to complain can get locked up real quick.
It's not only the freedom of Liu we're fighting for--it's the dignity of the Chinese people that is at stake. Tonight about 500 Hong Kong people gathered to sing the sacrifice made by Liu and other individuals in advocating a more fair and democratic China. Again I'm proud of my hometown: here in HK we still have liberty, justice and we can openly voice our opinions and our support for dissidents who rebel out of love for their country.