Originally published by LCSA. Republished with permission.
Read the original version for a list of further readings and resources.
反抗香港和中国政治压迫的声明 / 反抗香港和中國政治壓迫的聲明
A new wave of repression
Following the last wave of protests in China, the party-state has brutally cracked down on protesters. Those who went on the streets, and workers who continued to protest for wages, pensions and better working conditions despite heavy state repression, were threatened, detained, interrogated and prosecuted.
At the same time, the largest national security trial Hong Kong has seen to date is underway. Activists have been charged both under colonial-era sedition laws and the newly introduced National Security Law, and some face up to a lifetime in prison. Since the National Security Law went into effect in 2021, many Hongkongers, both high-profile social movement figures and rank-and-file protesters, have already been sentenced under its charges. Many more still await trial while being remanded in custody or on bail, and the newly-formed National Security division of the Hong Kong police continue to make new arrests.
As Hong Kong and Chinese diasporic activists, we stand together against political repression and demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, in Hong Kong or in China. Every person fighting for their economic and political rights should be free from fears of persecution. We stand with workers and students, with feminist activists and labour organisers, with human rights lawyers, civil journalists and democracy activists, with all oppressed people against the regime.
We are acutely aware that in China, many minority ethnic groups (“shaoshuminzu“) are facing multiple forms of oppression hidden from the public view: Turkic groups such as Uyghurs and Kazakhs as well as Tibetans, Mongols and other minorities have been confronting and resisting digital surveillance, labour exploitation, mass displacement, mass incarceration, cultural disenfranchisement and more, all of which have a history long before the pandemic.
From protestors gathering at Ürümchi Road (“Wulumuqi Rd.”) in Shanghai, to vigils held in the diaspora explicitly demanding the closure of camps, we see encouraging signs that Chinese protesters are finally reckoning with the oppression of “minority minzu” in the state’s periphery, albeit with heavy limitations. Despite authentic desires to address the injustice, many Han Chinese struggled to grapple with the full extent of the violence, to understand the multiple forms of oppression, to find an inclusive language of solidarity beyond the constraints of state narratives, or to articulate the vision of an anti-colonial and abolitionist movement in China. Chinese-language discourses surrounding “minzu” are deeply inadequate: our everyday language on race and ethnicity is steeped in Han-centric ignorance and racist assumptions, which reflects and reinforces long under-examined structures of domination in China.
Without confronting the patriarchal Han chauvinist and capitalist domination of minority ethnic groups in China, a social movement about China’s political future cannot be truly liberatory.
Without confronting the patriarchal Han chauvinist and capitalist domination of minority ethnic groups in China, a social movement about China’s political future cannot be truly liberatory. We continue to demand the abolition of prison camps, an end to settler-colonial violence, full economic, political and cultural rights for minority ethnic groups and for their right to self-determination; we need continued discussions on the realities in the Uyghur region, Tibet and other places, to address urgent humanitarian crises, counter sinister denialism and critically engage with different visions for our political future in China and the diasporas.
When people raised sheets of blank paper in Chinese cities to protest the draconian “zero-Covid” lockdowns, the gesture of defiance echoed with Hongkongers protesting the National Security Law in 2020. People who took collective actions were brutally beaten up and dragged away by riot police, we could hear a protester in Shanghai shouting “fuck the police,” and many who were used to staying away from the stability-maintenance machine were confronted with naked state violence for the first time. Many started to connect the two social movements under the rule of the same party-state, if not already.
当人们在各城市举起白纸反抗严苛的“清零”政策时，这一违抗的符号与香港人在2020年反抗《国安法》时的行动遥相呼应。集体反抗的人们被警察野蛮殴打和逮捕，我们听到一位抗议者在上海街头发出“fuck the police”的呼喊，许多平日与维稳机器保持距离的人们首次与赤裸的国家暴力直接碰撞，很多人（或许并非首次）在同一政权统治下的两地社会运动之间建立起联系。
當人們在各城市舉起白紙反抗嚴苛的“清零”政策時，這一違抗的符號與香港人在2020年反抗《國安法》時的行動遙相呼應。集體反抗的人們被警察野蠻毆打和逮捕，我們聽到一位抗議者在上海街頭發出「fuck the police」的呼喊，許多平日與維穩機器保持距離的人們首次與赤裸的國家暴力直接碰撞，很多人（或許並非首次）在同一政權統治下的兩地社會運動之間建立起聯系。
Hong Kong has long been a crucial site of support for Chinese labour and democratic movements, as people moved across the border, sought economic opportunities or political refuge, and became part of the local and transnational struggles. Hong Kong civil society has been a committed supporter of social movements in China: Hong Kong activists were imprisoned in the mainland for their activism, many currently awaiting trial have been charged precisely for their support for mainland democracy movements including Tiananmen.
Political movements and radicalism also spread to Hong Kong from elsewhere. Despite heavy political defeat, workers and activists, many of whom migrants from China and the rest of Asia, continue to supply political vitality and shape the landscape of Hong Kong’s social movements. They challenge the logic of border control, demand a pluralistic Hong Kong identity, and foster an inclusive social movement in solidarity with the most marginalised and invisiblised.
During last years’ overseas protests, many Hongkongers joined Chinese activists and passed on their knowledge from past struggles on how to protest safely, how to organise effectively, and how to look after each other. Conversations began to replace scepticism, many who used to regard mass movements in Hong Kong and their prospects in China with pessimism or cynicism are now changing their minds.
The possibilities of internationalism and diaspora
We are fighting globalised systems of oppression in which the Chinese state is thoroughly complicit and offers no better alternative. Hong Kong was made to maintain its executive-led political system and neoliberal economic system precisely for its role as a bridge between Chinese and Western capital. After the handover in 1997, its new rulers in Beijing inherited and continued to improve upon colonial governance infrastructures and further facilitated the penetration of corporate power into the political system, while mobilising nationalist forces to create a new political identity obedient to Beijing. The UK and the Hong Kong governments continued to collaborate on police training, while China took direct inspirations from global counterinsurgency and produced a “Xinjiang Mode” of policing which continues to terrorise Uyghur people to this day.
We are fighting globalised systems of oppression in which the Chinese state is thoroughly complicit and offers no better alternative.
Political activism in the diaspora will continue to play a crucial role for resisting interlinking chains of global capitalism, for building communities where people from different movements can recognise each others’ struggles. Solidarity is not to be taken for granted but forged through common struggles. Only through standing together can we overcome chauvinism, bigotry and historical resentments, to unite and fight for our common liberation.