One year after siege of CUHK: Censored commemorative exhibition

A commemorative event of the siege of the Chinese University of Hong Kong kicked off yesterday at the university's Cultural Square. However, the school censored the exhibition, including some of the most chanted slogans in protests.  The one-week event was to serve as a reminder of the fire and blaze of the CUHK siege last year. The host, CUHK Joint Student Unions, said they hope people still remember what they've experienced and stand in solidarity with the CUHK students arrested for defending their campus. Right on their poster is the slogan "Never Forget, Never Forgive."  Security has tried to block non-CUHK visitors from entering campus and going to the exhibition, despite the exhibition open to the public.  "I think it's a must for everyone to remember this history, not only for CUHK students, we should not forget the efforts made by others," said Cho Ning, 19, a student from CUHK who gave an alias as she was one of the protesters at the scene last year.   The exhibition shows photographs and placards displaying the timeline of last year's clash with police. Also, there are street booths that collect letters and cards from the public to CUHK students who were arrested, including some CUHK students who received asylum in Germany recently. However, some sentences are being censored. Common protest slogans such as "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Time" are covered by black paper. The Student Union of CUHK said they are being requested to remove such sensitive lines before the exhibition by the school administration.  "The school office reminds us a few times. We can only cover those sensitive words with black tape," said Au Cheuk-Hei, chairperson of the Provisional Executive Committees of CUHK. The censored lines are deemed by the government as a possible breach of the national …


US 2020 Election Result: Joe Biden beats Donald Trump to be the 46th president of the United States

Biden has won more than 73 million votes, which hit a record high in US elections. He is now projected to have 290 Electoral College votes which the presidential hopeful only needs more than 270 votes to be elected.  Biden still won the battleground Pennsylvania by a margin of 49.7% to 49.2% over Trump after Trump requested a recount. Biden also took over another competitive swing-state, Georgia, winning the 16 electoral votes.  After announcing the latest result, Biden stated, "Americans, I'm honoured that you have chosen me to lead our great country." He declared that he would restore political normalcy and a spirit of national unity to confront raging health and economic crises.  He also promised to be the president for "all Americans" and calls for "American unity" in his later speech. Joe Biden, a 77-year-old man who has served the government for more than half a century, has been previously 47th vice president in the Obama administration for eight year. His term of being the president is expected to last for four years till 2024.


Biden’s victory frustrates Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was elected the 46th president of the United States on Sunday, with more than 74 million votes nationwide, surpassing Obama's 2008 record of 69,498,516, setting a new record for the popular vote. Millions of people have kept their eyes fixed on the battle between the Republican US President, Donald Trump, and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. And people in Hong Kong are no exception, yet the result has disappointed many Hong Kong pro-democracy supporters. As Trump had openly taken his stance to support Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters, many have been rooting for Trump and have even actively promoted Trump across social media platforms.  "I support Trump, for sure, his policies are tough. I believe Trump would definitely bring benefits to Hong Kong when we are on the path of fighting for democracy," said Lo Ho Yin, 21, a pro-democracy university student.  Mr Lo said he has nothing to do but to accept the reality. "I mean it's the decision of the US citizens. They certainly have the right to vote for what they think is best for the country," said Mr Lo.  "And now Biden wins, he will stop the US-China trade war for sure, and it will only help China to gain more power," said Mr Lo, adding that Biden winning will only help China rise. He said that Hong Kong is just a small part of the US's concern, and Hongkongers should broaden their perspectives on what Biden would do to benefit different races and change the world.  In response to the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, Trump had launched a series of boycotting policies toward China. He cancelled 1,000 China students' visas and banned members of the Chinese Communist Party from entering the US, in support of the Hong …


Hong Kong celebrates 'Once In a Blue Moon' Halloween amid COVID-19

Traditionally, Halloween has been a festival for people to dress up as different characters and go trick-or-treating. But, the Halloween of 2020 has been a different one: Hong Kong is celebrating the festival under COVID-19, along with a 'blue moon'. The blue moon phenomenon, which refers to the second full moon in the same calendar month, is also the origin of the English phrase 'once in a blue moon'. The first blue moon appeared during the Mid-Autumn festival in early October.  "We are excited to see what everybody is talking about, and also looking forward to seeing it [the blue moon]," said Alex Nathan, 45, who came to the West Kowloon Cultural District to take part in Halloween activities such as face painting. Mr. Nathan also brought four other children to the District, with all of them dressed up as different characters, including a vampire and ballerina.   "The blue moon is making the day more special," said Will Mok To-Wing, 31, and Rebecca Cho Miu-Kwan, 24. Mr. Mok and Ms. Cho decorated their gathering venue with outdoor chairs and pumpkin lanterns, while also sharing food with their friends. Under the blue moon were a group of adults and children dressed as the hit Japanese game character Mario, which were bought from an online shopping platform for less than HK$500.  "We wanted to dress up at a low cost and with clothes that can have different recognizable colours, so we chose Mario," said Cuby Lau Pui-Yu, 32, who put on a green Mario costume, along with her former classmates and their children. Apart from the costumes, Mr. Nathan, Mr. Mok, Ms. Cho, and Ms. Lau also carried face masks and hand sanitizers in their bags, with the pandemic still looming large in the city.  Due to COVID-19 and unstable weather in …


Halloween brings large crowds to Lan Kwai Fong amid COVID-19

Hundreds dressed in costumes gathered at Lan Kwai Fong for a night of partying on Halloween, with packed streets and long queues accumulating for bars and nightclubs, amid the city's on-again, off-again social distancing measures.  "We can't take off our masks at all, take proper photos or completely enjoy ourselves," said Sparsh Goyal, 20, a university student in Hong Kong who came to celebrate Halloween with her friends, while having to sanitize her hands frequently to enforce self-hygiene and remain safe. Up until Friday, bars, restaurants, and clubs were only allowed to operate at a half-full capacity, with a maximum of four people per table allowed at restaurants, two at bars, and a required midnight closing time.  On Friday, the government announced it would ease measures with the limit of people at restaurants raised from four to six and from two to four at bars. Clubs and bars were also allowed to operate at a 75% capacity till 2am, a two-hour increase for party-goers.  Police took extensive measures to ensure crowd control. Signs were hung at every corner to guide people through designated entrances and exits, as well as to make sure they were following social distancing measures. Some were not so worried about the risk of contracting the disease even while being present amongst such a large crowd. "There is not a big chance of catching COVID while just walking around [Lan Kwai Fong]," said Chan Yu-Hon, 34, who said it was his first time celebrating Halloween at the city's prime party street. Most bars and clubs followed anti-epidemic measures such as temperature checks upon entry and providing hand sanitizing gel.  "It's kind of surprising and unusual to see this many people together now," said Aidan Cheung, 23, referring to the large crowds. Since the start of the pandemic, …


Pro-democracy Office Avengers opens first physical store in Mong Kok on Saturday

Office Avengers, Pro-democracy online shop selling artworks related to Hong Kong social movement, opened its first physical store in Mong Kok on Saturday afternoon with the purpose to facilitate the movement. Passing through the queueing line and into the store, one can see designs of Pepe the frog and LIHKG pig, both the symbolic cartoons in Hong Kong social movements, on keychain, T-shirts, etc. The store also sells products with mottos and quotes from the social movement. Part of the profit goes to young adults in need and designers. "Places to purchase these unique products are sparse. We wish to provide a platform for them to sell their creative products and contribute to the social movement at the same time" said a volunteer for Office Avengers and its collaborator HMarket who wished to stay anonymous. Part of the reason why Office Avenger branches out offline is to provide a more convenient space both for young adults to showcase their creativity and for the public to purchase products as a contribution to the social movement. "Not only do I get to purchase pro-democracy products designed by people who hold the same political stance as I do, but I also get to contribute to the movement even though it's little," Ms Cheung, who refused to give her full name, said in the queue before opening hours.  Both Office Avengers and its collaborator HMarket have promoted pro-democracy information and taken an active role in raising money for young adults who have become estranged from their family due to the social movements. They provide funding to teenagers for them to creatively design their own products, which will then be sold in the stores. The store owners are expecting to provide job opportunities to young adults in the future. "Hope they could earn a living …


Art exhibition disCONNECT HK takes over tenement building to reflect on COVID-19

Fourteen artists will showcase their works in an exhibition about connection, belonging, isolation, and the role of technology under the pandemic by taking over a restored 1950s Hong Kong historic tenement building. Local non-profit arts organisation, HKwalls is collaborating with Schoeni Projects, a contemporary art project based in Hong Kong and London to launch disCONNECT HK from October 11 to November 29, featuring artists from Hong Kong, the UK, Germany, Italy, Iran, Portugal, and Spain.  "Everyone needs a bit of art and everyone is craving it, especially when we are having such a hard time now," said Jason Dembski, 39, founder of HKwalls.  Organisers decided to hold disCONNECT HK at a rehabilitated tenement building to inherit most of disCONNECT LDN, the original project which took place at an 1850s Victorian townhouse in South West London from July to August this year.  The three-floor exhibition in Causeway Bay is open to the public for free, but appointments have to be made online in advance. To further allow the public to access the exhibition, HKwalls is also offering a 3D virtual tour at Hysan Place, which enables visitors to revisit disCONNECT LDN digitally. Despite the exhibition situated in the centre of the city, it has not been capturing much attention.  "When we invite visitors to the 3D tour,  people usually hesitate," said Hui Wai-sze, 28, an assistant curator from the Schoeni Projects.  Ms Hui believes that education in Hong Kong has a huge impact on how people view art, in particular, street art. “A lot of us were educated that street art is not as presentable as other forms of art, and is not a proper medium to express our feelings and thoughts,” she added.  She hopes through holding more family-friendly arts events like disCONNECT HK, the general public could have a …


Civil Human Right Front demands release of 12 detained protesters and freedom of assembly

Civil Human Right Front's proposal to demand the release of 12 anti-extradition bill protesters detained in Shenzhen was met with an objection letter from the police on Sep 25. The police mentioned that past parades held by CHRF usually turned into violence that damaged buildings and hurt people, citing also from the current social distancing rules that public gatherings of more than four people are not allowed. "Commissioner of Police believes that it is necessary to oppose the protest, so as to maintain public safety, public order and protect others rights and freedom," the letter of objection read. Upon the decision of the police, parade convenor Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit replied that the police have exhausted all their powers to prohibit the holding of parades and assemblies. The two sides held a meeting on Sep 24 on details of the protest. "The meeting only took 15 minutes. I could not feel any sincerity from the police," said Mr Sham. "Hong Kong has not had a legal parade for seven months since February," Mr Sham said. "Freedom of assembly is the right of Hong Kong people but it has been severely exploited these days." CHRF later announced on social media that they would appeal against the decision. Chan Ngai-chung, an anti-government Hong Kong citizen, said that the action of police is not surprising. He said, since social unrest occurred last year, the government has started to limit the freedom of assembly and speech, and most demonstrations have been restricted or prohibited. "This is expected but doesn't mean it is right, for a democratic society, freedom of assembly is essential," Mr Chan said. Chan Kwok-cheong, supporter of police, said that the police are responsible to maintain social order and public safety. He believed that it is understandable to ban the rally as some …


Hongkongers celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival in a socially distanced way 

For the first time ever, the city celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day with social distancing measures, which includes compulsory mask-wearing in public areas and no more than four people in a group gathering.  Despite the social distancing measures, people gather around without keeping a distance of at least 1.5 meters apart.  Traditional celebrations including the National Day Fireworks, Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance and the public Lantern Festivals have been cancelled. While several districts' festive events are still available in town.   MTR cancels overnight services on Mid-Autumn Festival for the second year in a row, train services are provided within normal time.  The Leisure and Cultural Services Department warns Hongkongers to strictly follow the social distancing rules and not to enter prohibited areas such as beach and barbecue sites during the holidays.  The new social distancing measures in place will be maintained until October 7, while bars, restaurants and karaoke clubs are allowed to open until 12 am.  Hong Kong records 12 local COVID-19 cases in the past seven days, a 71-year-old woman of elderly home tested positive and 61 co-residents were sent to Asia-World Expo for quarantine.     A black rainstorm signal was issued on Wednesday night before the Mid-Autumn Festival.  Mr Chuang Ka-ming, 14, and a secondary school student says this year's Mid-Autumn Festival is unprecedentedly joyless and less exciting, "I can't feel the festival mood, wearing masks while playing outside." He gathers with another three classmates at Shatin Park, playing glow sticks and lanterns. Miss Kan Tsz-lok, 16, also a secondary school student who admires the moon with her family after the reunion dinner. She feels disappointed that her sister cannot enjoy the festival games,"Many Mid-Autumn Festival carnival and lantern riddle games have been cancelled this year. For me, I'm less affected by the cancellation as …


VPN: Chinese people's window to the outside world

Turning on the laptop, connecting to Shadowsocks, and then accessing Google. These are the necessary steps for some students in mainland China to complete their homework every day. During the outbreak of the coronavirus, many mainland students enrolled in colleges in Hong Kong have to stay in the mainland. In order to take online classes and complete course assignments, they need to scale the so-called Great Firewall, a virtual online barrier that keeps people in China out of specific foreign websites. Using Virtual Private Networks such as Shadowsocks, is a way to gain access to the uncensored Internet. Since the early 2000s, China has gradually blocked a large number of overseas websites including Google and Facebook. In recent years, the government has turned up the heat in its  control of the network so that VPNs have become more and more vital for people to cross the Great Firewall. Here is a guide to what you may want to know about VPN in China. What is VPN? VPN routes your device's internet connection through a private server rather than your Internet Service Provider. That way, it masks the identity of your device because all of your data will appear to come from a private server and enables you to operate data that can only be operated through the private network. By using VPN, software running on a computer or a mobile phone can gain some rights that only a private network has, such as security and some specific function such as internal resources of an organization. Take The Young Reporter for example, as a student publication the portal of TYR can only be logged in and managed when the user's device is connected to the university's network. In order to operate the portal remotely, editors need to use a VPN so …