Living in Dark Mode

from NYTs

THE LIGHTS IN MY ROOM ARE OFF, and the autumn air is trickling in through the window. It is my favorite season in Hong Kong, finally cool enough to get by without air-conditioning. I’m listening to meditation music a friend sent me to ease my persistent insomnia. My partner is staying up late, hunched over his desk with a tall can of beer, tweeting updates for a local media outlet.

Outside, a revolution is raging.

I check my phone to see whether my ex-flatmate, who has gone out to pick up protesters in his car, has responded to my messages; I haven’t heard from him in two hours. I turned off notifications on my phone a few weeks ago after the news alerts started seeping into my dreams. In one of them, I was on the train heading to a rally when a voice announced that the next stop was China.

This was Nov. 17, when the police rounded up students at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and threatened to use lethal force if protesters occupying the campus refused to leave. But it could have been any other night. Some protesters are stranded on the streets, trying to find a way home and avoid arrest after a long day out. The rest of us wrestle with anxiety. We hold our breaths, praying this won’t turn into a brutal crackdown. Months ago, if anyone had said this, I would have laughed at them for being melodramatic.

Now these are the headlines we wake up to:

More here.

Posted in Ideas, International, Leadership and tagged , , , , , .


  1. It is a shame this does not get national attention. Chinese government is running an oppressive regime over their citizens, and Hong Kong is trying to break free from it. This article gives a HUMAN perspective rather than the news which China allows to be accessed by American readers. Hong Kong offers a less oppressive government, and is much more welcoming than the mainland. That is what we thought at first separation. However, Hong Kong is in scary times. At first, I thought this article would be about the dark mode on new iPhones. That shows how disconnected an average American citizen is from events that really matter.In a totally different message, Hong Kong citizen Karen Cheung is scared of the world around her. She describes her “depression.” I thought this part of the article was odd, because she explains depression as “a restlessness, an inability to feel at peace.” In American society, we associate depression with sadness or a life without hope or joy. And the way the author puts it, that is not even the worst of the consequences of living in Hong Kong at the time being. Mrs. Cheung feels stuck in the middle: not brave enough to risk her life for rights, but too dedicated to not care at all. The most powerful quote in this article is: “An American journalist once asked me, what if this went on for 30 years? But that isn’t the most terrifying outcome. It is the world that we would live in if we stopped resisting.” I find this quote truly powerful because there are many citizens in Hong Kong who have not had access to the civil rights they deserve, and which could be easily accessible to them. There are too many people in China for the oppression to continue, and they have to keep fighting. This article also exemplifies how good we have it as American citizens. We truly are one of the few countries that enjoy total freedom, liberty, and justice.

  2. I’ll be honest here and say that when I clicked this article, my first thought was that it was going to discuss the new dark mode on iOS and how people are enjoying it. I know that the only reason I downloaded the new system within minutes of its release was so that my phone was finally dark, like my messages, and it was easier for the eyes. I was confused when I realized we were discussing Hong Kong and what is going on there currently. I just recently wrote my senior thesis and in my analysis portion of it, I discussed Hong Kong and how Americans, or more specifically, some athletes, are supporting the protests going on there. When I was writing my senior thesis on athletes’ opinions, I decided to include the China protests because before my paper, I had no idea what was going on.
    I spent a few days learning everything there is to know about why the people of Hong Kong are protesting and what us Americans feel about the protest. I originally heard about it because of Daryl Morey, the general manager for the Houston Rockets. He tweeted about his support for the people of Hong Kong and it inspired my analysis and research of these protests. Following this, basketball fans began showing up to games with signs saying “Free Hong Kong” and showing their support for the Hong Kong protestors. People in the seats at the games began wearing shirts and bringing posters with sayings like “Human Rights Matter Here + There!” Over 300 activists showed up at a Houston Raptors game to show their support for Hong Kong.
    As a political science major, we’ve discussed Hong Kong protests in my IR classes and our responses to it. One athlete’s tweet lead to awareness on the protests and it opened up a lot of eyes on what is happening. Our first thought here in America seeing “dark mode” is completely different from what someone in Hong Kong is experiencing. I think it’s important people familiarize themselves with the protests and learn about what is happening because we don’t live in a bubble. As a political science major, it’s opened my eyes to our foreign relationships and thinks happening outside of the country and I think this is a major event that people need to hear about and lend their support to.

  3. Honestly, from just reading the title alone I though the article was going to be about the dark mode update that recently launched with the latest IOS update for Apple iPhones. Then to my surprise, as I’m reading it, I am getting an emotional first account of a writer in Hong Kong who is torn because she feels that she is losing the very city she created memories and lived in. I am not the type to delve into politics let alone outside country politics, but this article really kept me hooked onto to what she was saying. This writer in Hong Kong is giving a very personal account that does not include graphs, statistics, political jargon, or a significance stance. This writer is writing purely from what they feel, and she is giving a platform for people who feel the same way she feels. One line that stuck out to me was when she said, “Not brave enough to dedicate my life to this movement, not detached enough to not care.” This line is what I fell like a lot of people can identify with. Many people are on in the middle of the spectrum of life when it comes to controversy and tribulations that go on nationally/globally. Many people feel like their struggles do not compare to the struggles of others and that they should have nothing to complain about. While others struggle within themselves on whether they should participate or stay neutral. The fact that I though the article was going to cover the recent iPhone update speaks volumes to how little coverage this topic is getting. It also speaks volume to what we as a society pay attention to. I believe Hong Kong came into the spotlight after an athlete and GM of the Houston Rockets spoke out against the mistreatment of the Hong Kong citizens. This article has intrigued me enough to research further about the protests in Hong Kong.

  4. The protests in Hong Kong have been ongoing for close to a year now. The Chinese Government is continuing their oppressive ways and lessening the rights of their citizens one bill at a time. After reading Karen Cheung’s first hand experience of the potential loss of the city she grew up in, made me realize the lives that citizens endour under such powerful regimes. By doing research on why the protests occur, I quickly learned how Hong Kong’s citizens want to protect their autonomy. Hong Kong wants their own civil liberties separate of China and recognize their oppressive ways. Protesters are now asking for the United States help with China because large portions of citizens want to adopt our ways of government and freedom. President Trump and the rest of Washington has shown their support for the Hong Kong protesters by recently signing the “Hong Kong Humans Rights and Democracy Act.” The bill would allow the United States to pose sanctions on Hong Kong for human rights violations. As the United States we should want to help not just Hong Kong citizens suffering, but people across the world wishing to live in a Democracy like ours. I hope we continue our support for the Hong Kong citizens and help them to freedom.

  5. What I found to be so discomforting about this article is the feeling of helplessness that seems to be looming over the citizens of Hong Kong, like a dark rain cloud that threatens to strike at anyone, anywhere, at any time.

    I had thought about the situation in Hong Kong as one that only affected the protestors, who one might also call agitators – but this article makes it clear that even people sitting inside their homes are shaken with fear by what is happening outside – and those who are on the front lines face imminent danger from an oppressive regime that seems to be more and more willing to use deadly force to maintain the order.

    I won’t pretend to be an expert on the matter, because I’m not. But if we look at what is happening in Hong Kong, and even China generally, we see the consequences of excessive authoritarianism and surveillance. Free thought is suppressed and people advocating against the status quo, peacefully or not, are met with violence.

    Just a few days ago, I came across a video on Twitter of a Chinese citizen being interrogated for making remarks against the police on a social media platform called WeChat. The man was restrained in a seat and the ominous government representatives sat across from him, pressing him to explain what he said and why he said it.

    The man, clearly afraid, admitted he spoke negatively about the police because of their confiscation of motorcycles. He apologized excessively throughout his explanation and said he had a bit too much to drink. He added that he would never, in the right mind, question the Chinese police because of all the good they do in the world.

    Now, being quite critical of the police myself, and sometimes in more inflammatory ways, I’ve never felt afraid to speak my mind. I’ve never felt afraid to call a powerful person a stupid idiot, because I live in America and I have a First Amendment. Obviously that right is being encroached upon more and more, but I can at least feel lucky that I do not live in a place like China where I have to figuratively prostrate myself before the state and pledge my undying fidelity.

    The protestors in Hong Kong are not even citizens of China, so we can only imagine the extent of oppression the Chinese are willing to subject them to.

    I generally favor anti-interventionism in foreign affairs unless it favors the interests of the U.S., but there is a cogent argument to be made that we can check two boxes by protecting Hong Kong’s citizens while more strongly opposing China on fronts other than international trade.

    Whether intervening (militarily or otherwise) is a good idea is certainly up for debate, but we should call to mind the American Revolution, and the fact that a victory over the British may not have been possible without the help of the French.

  6. As I have friends online who are either from Hong Kong, or have family who live there, I have been following the developments there since June. It saddens me that there is so little Western coverage/concern for this. That being said just recently congress unanimously passed a Hong Kong rights bill, with the house passing it in October, and the Senate passing it early last week. Surprisingly, to some, President Trump also signed off on the bill, despite being in the middle of trade negotiations with China. However, many have criticized this bill as being symbolic, as it does little to effectively stop China from putting pressure on Hong Kong officials to quash protests. Without even the U.S. government able to stand up to the CCP, it’s hard to imagine that things won’t just continue to escalate in Hong Kong. This article was heartbreaking to read because I just think things will get worse from this point on. I hope that major newspapers like the Times continue to have pieces like this in them because people need to know what’s going on from first hand sources. I hope that America can wake up and figure out a way to stand up to the Chinese and help Hong Kong.

  7. I’ve been attempting to follow the internal conflict Hong Kong has been suffering through but nothing puts it into perspective like hearing what life feels like as a resident of the city. Reading about the chaos and terror in Hong Kong makes me with now more than ever that the United States could somehow swoop in and save the day, protecting Hong Kong from a hostile Chinese take over and maintaining their prized democracy. But the reality is that the United states has barely taken a stance on the issue and likely will remain uninvolved for a multitude of reasons. First being the US’s already strained relationship with China and attempts to bring the trade war to an end and second being the fact that there is no significant advantage for the US to stabilizing the region. Hong Kong holds no mass of oil fields like Iraq and if it were to fall to the Chinese there would be little to no consequence to the USA. While I can logically understand this is is immensely frustrating to be a citizen of a country which prides itself as the guardian of democracy and see its inaction in the face of such injustice. But such is the nature of the current international climate, self interest drives the actions of states and unless some international force such as the UN or a NATO coalition were to step in there will likely be no foreign assistance for the protesters in Hong Kong, and with China’s major presence in the UN and the United States reluctance to be at further odds with China neither of those alternatives are likely to happen in the near future. All we can do as Americans is pray for the protesters and witness their struggle as they fight for the fate of their city.

  8. Living in Dark Mode by New York Times details the perspective of a young protestor in Hong Kong describing her experience and her life in the unrest in Hong Kong where millions of young Hong Kongers take out to the streets and defy the government; protesting for democracy among many other demands. In the article, she writes about how she constantly battles insomnia due to being constantly worried about the declining situation in the city through the news alerts she receives as well as her “contacts” (her partner and an ex-flatmate) whom also participate in the revolt.

    The protests in Hong Kong originated from China’s ever-tightening grip on the city’s freedom as what Hong Kongers feel that China is trying to “integrate” Hong Kong back to the Communist nation which this generation would not allow. Many of the citizens in Hong Kong now are constantly battling for what remaining freedoms they have for if they don’t, they believe that Hong Kong wouldn’t “exist” in the next decade.

    I feel that I have the need to voice my support for the youngsters risking their lives, career, and future for fighting what’s left of the autonomy in Hong Kong along with many politicians, celebrities and nations also voicing their support. Some may feel that it’s completely wrong and unjustified to take the issue out onto the streets; vandalizing and marching across busy roads, paralyzing the daily lives of many while others feel the police and the government are wrong for police brutality and the government being bias and be controlled (in other words, being puppets) by Mainland China. The youngster’s determination at fighting for what’s left of their democracy by occupying the streets, rebelling orders from the government and police indicates to us that we should not take democracy for granted as there are those who desperately try to achieve through drastic means such as occupying a University, risking their futures or even risking death.

  9. When I read the title of this article, my first impression was that it would be about someone who noticed that social media was ruining society and just turned off their phone and tried to live without it. To my surprise, I was kind of in the right direction because the narrator did turn her notifications off, but for separate reasons than just not wanting to interact with social media. The article was about the oppression faced by Chinese students and by the Chinese people. The Communist government of China has a stranglehold on the entire country. The people that live there do not get to choose what they want to do or how they want to do it. Everything is done exactly how the government wants. The government sees their success as a success for the entire country, but what they do not like to show is that the government will screw out anyone if it helps them get what they think is there’s. They control everyone’s lives and decide what they can say or see. The worst part is that the government of China is not afraid to use deadly force for those who disagree with their views or opinions. I mean the government threatened students with lethal force just because they were protesting and refused to leave the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Hearing the narrator explain the different anxieties felt by the student present was breathtaking. I cannot imagine the fear of hearing that your government, the system that supposed to make you feel safe and secure, is threatening college students that they will kill them for protesting is just mind-blowing to me.
    Another factor that shocked me is that Hong Kong is in scary times and I did not even know about this. I mean I thought the article was just going to be on using cell phones less or something. This shows how disconnected we are from the news that matters. Nowadays when we see the news we just see who is dating who and what’s going on with celebrities, but we don’t get the real news and this is all coming from those who are supposed to be telling us the truth. That what this article did that was different. This came from someone who was there and is experiencing the traumatic situations placed upon them by the Communist government of China.

  10. For a long time, I have been asking myself, “What is it like living through a revolution?” Stories from the great revolutions of the past make it sound exhilarating to live through such events, from the storming of the Bastille to the toppling of the Czarist Russia it seems that everyone in the past participated in their respective revolutions. Recent events in Hong Kong have made me question this notation. In the era of instant messaging and social media we now have even better insight into the various protest movements and revolutions around the world. No longer is it just the most important events from protests that are being shown, but rather we get to see the ongoing struggle from the perspective of the people participating in these movements.

    One of the things that shocked me the most from observing these events, is whether they be Free Hong Kong, the Yellow Vests, or even older movements such as Occupy Wall Street, most people are either passively supporting a movement or neutral bystanders on the sidelines. The history books always make it seem that protests are fill with activities who will dedicate their lives to see their movements succeed, but reality seems to differ. As Karen Cheung describes in her article,Living in Dark Mode, the protests in Hong Kong, are filled with people like her that will support the movement, but will not show up to get arrested or get into violent confrontations with law enforcement.

    Observing the events taking place in Hong Kong makes one wonder what he or she would do in the same situation. Everyone likes to think he or she would be some valiant protester standing up to the powers that be, but the price that people pay for protesting regimes such as the People’s Republic of China is a heavy one. I myself would like to think that if faced by the same circumstances as the people of Hong Kong, I too would go out and protest daily, and perhaps become a martyr for the movement by getting arrested. Sadly, I know myself all too well. I would probably go out to the big events the same as everyone else, but I would not dedicate my life to the movement, nor would I be willing to serve a 10 year prison sentence for throwing a Molotov cocktail at police, like the article states. I will probably be another keyboard warrior sharing posts on the internet and proclaiming my support to all those that would listen, while the protesters on the front lines would be getting killed by what every jackbooted thugs the ruling party and our “dear leader” sent out to face them.

    I believe that life would be a challenge to live through such events. How would one be able to live a normal life while the world around them was exploding into violence? Would bystanders be able to ride out the storm and go about my normal routine while others carried on the struggle against the authoritarian regime? How many protesters will die at the hands of police? Thankfully I don’t have to deal with these questions in my life because I live in a country where people can legally challenge the government through the legal system and nonviolent protests.

  11. It is chilling to think about what protesters in some of the more hostile parts of the world have to go through on a daily basis, and Karen Cheung makes us realize that the weight of the issues around them keeps them from enjoying even the most gratifying things in their lives. Not being able to genuinely congratulate your friends on their wedding because you are guilty for being happy, or days feeling stolen from you when you are not completely overwhelmed is an eye opening view of how these conflicts really impact the daily lives of citizens in Hong Kong. When the author says “What is the point of doing anything when you don’t know whether your city has a future?” you get an unfortunate window into the helplessness and deteriorating mental health of the average protester. It is baffling to me how this goes ignored by the Chinese government, because it is one of the most detrimental things for the future of their nation along with the fact it is despicable that they would treat these human beings this badly. One of the major problems with a governmental system that doesn’t just allow, but actively advocates and enforces heavy surveillance and oversight on everything is that it directly comes in conflict with the human nature of every single person in a society. When you do not allow collaborative efforts to make your nation better, you are asking for a population that feels so helpless that they must resort to protests so that they can just have suitable living conditions. With no sign of stopping anytime soon, protesters will continue to fight for their rights to live as humans should, and the fight may never stop in a government structured to treat its citizens as inferior to themselves.

    Living in a developed nation that has ironed out most of its major social issues has made this type of reality unfathomable to someone like me. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have to put your desire to pursue what you love on the back burner as you are forced to fight the government of your home, and my heart sincerely goes out to these people. The protests make me think Kent State University protests of the Vietnam War where kids were murdered for expressing what they thought to be a horrible wrong-doing, and I cannot even imagine how much worse the humanitarian issues must be in this situation.

    The author’s take on mourning was particularly moving to me because it allowed me to put into perspective the feeling of losing your home by “comparing” it to losing a loved one. Watching your childhood memories be actively defaced (like the Festival Walk mall, in the author’s case) as riot police and irate activists engage in hostile and many times fatal protests must be absolutely shocking. I am confident that because of the actions of these men and women, Hong Kong will become a place that values the rights of it people more than the authority of the government, and I commend the protesters for their bravery that will facilitate this change.

  12. This piece is one of the more emotional things that I have read in a while on the internet. What make it even more moving is the fact that this isn’t just a made up story and is the reality that a lot of individuals are facing in Hong Kong. The people of China, and specifically what we have been seeing in the news are tired of the Chinese government. It is completely oppressive over the people in which they have little right and the government has complete power over everything that happens in China. Hong Kong has had the most coverage of protests because of how vast a city it is and how it is much easier to create a massive protest with how densely populated the area is. The issue with these protests is that the Chinese government has not taken kindly too it and is using lethal force in some cases on their citizens. We have also seen in videos; people being taken away on trains by police to which no one really knows where they are going. The author talks about this when she says that her flat mate goes out for a bit to pick up protestors, and she has been out longer than she usually is. She doesn’t know what happened to them a long with the other protestors on the street struggling to get home safely without getting arrested without their family hearing from them. This author capture the truly depressing feelings that the citizens are facing in yearning for change in their government. When the author is talking about these depressing feelings that everyone has, it made me think. I thought of how the government is relentlessly going at the people and trying to make them feel like all hope is lost, and there is nothing to fight for. They would rather deal with being slaves of the government than losing loved ones. This is how the government is trying to suppress them. If they can overcome that feeling and keep fighting, there might be a good chance of their success. The only problem is that the Chinese people do not have any firearms to put up a fight for their freedom. We have seen pictures of citizens lining street with bamboo because this is one of their only ways to fight back. This is why I question how ignorant the people of The United States of America are to see that those helpless people can’t fight back against their government because they do not have weapons, and people in our country are fighting to take them away from us. If the people of China had weapons, it would be a completely different narrative this lady is writing.

  13. After China tried to pass a bill, riots were obviously going to happen. The bill would’ve taken away some autonomy power from Hong Kong. “The Extradition bill” would’ve allowed to criminals from Hong Kong to be prosecuted in Mainland China. I said obviously because in my opinion, autonomy will not work, unless the country/region under the autonomy is dependent of their external authority. In this case, Hong Kong his highly independent and the fact that China tries to gain more power over it would not go well. My homeland was also an autonomy to USSR for over 100 years. Anyway, another reason I thought that riots in Hong Kong were going to happen was the huge difference in the political views. China is somewhat communist country(dumped part of the communist economic system) while Hong Kong have their own constitution and parliament. China trying to get a tighter grip over an autonomic area was not going to end well. I firmly believe that there will be some changes in China/Hong Kong autonomy agreement soon. It even could be a spark to something even bigger.

    More about the article. I think it is amazing how far people are willing to go to fight for their freedom and their rights. It is awful what happened in Hong Kong, but their fighting spirit was very inspiring. Now that the bill is finally declined, I hope that Hong Kong gets back on its feet quickly.
    I think that the international media did a good job covering over this issue, but I mostly follow Finnish media outlets so I am not sure how well it was covered here. I think it was getting a lot more media attention compared to some other issues around the world. This could be because Hong Kong is a significant location to the western countries and it is very civilized region.

  14. At first, I thought this was going to be an article about the newly released dark made on IOS. I was surprised to learn the dark mode being implied was that of the lives of Hong Kong citizens. I have been trying to follow the Hong Kong situation for quite some time now. I find it fascinating how the citizens of the city are finally standing up to the oppressive Chinese government, which has always tried to take control over the highly populated island. This conflict dates back decades, when he English originally had control of Hong Kong. As the city progressed both economically and technologically, the Chinese government was simultaneously overrun by Communist policies. Today it remains one of the few remaining countries to still accept the Communist agenda. The people of Hong Kong on the other hand want nothing to do with the barbaric ways of the government, and as a result we see the ongoing protests.
    It is extremely interesting to get the perspective of actual Hong Kong citizens regarding this issue. While there are thousands of people passionate about maintaining their freedom, it would seem there are just as many that are complacent. It isn’t that the author of this article was complacent, so much as it seemed she was indifferent to what was going on around her. To me she came across as pessimistic, as if she were accepting this to be her new way of life. Then I realized she was actually deeply saddened by the thought of losing the city which she grew up in. I couldn’t imagine living in Hong Kong right now and not wanting to be part of this movement. It’s as important as it is exciting. That’s not to say that we as Americans shouldn’t be expressing our opinions on the matter. I’m sure many others like myself were tricked into reading this article because they thought it would be about Apple and iPhones. Ironic considering Apple makes its phones in China, where there are hardly any labor laws put into place. But there are so many complacent people, ignorant to the fact that there iPhones are made virtually by slaves, or to the fact Hong Kong is facing one of its’ most critical hours. There needs to be more awareness on our part.

  15. Articles such as this one are essential in bringing about awareness and enlightenment to those who are lucky enough to not have to go through such traumatic times. Taking the time to truly understand the feelings of fearfulness and restlessness those living in Hong Kong must endure on a daily basis is vital in seeing how the world truly works. Many Americans have never and will never have to live through anything like this, nor do we ever want to. But helping those who have no choice but to survive in such unthinkable conditions is the least we can do.
    The Hong Kong protests started in June as peaceful rallies, but no longer seem to be ending without a brutal fight. The extradition bill, which allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to China, was the first spark of the protests. Although the bill has been withdrawn there have been many more protests, and the Hong Kong government is taking extremely brutal measures in order to try and end them.
    From what I understand, at the core of the protests are the protestors attempt to resist the intrusions of their natural rights and fight for a more democratic system. They are relentless in their beliefs and will not stop until their needs are met. I do not blame them for revolting against their oppressive government, and Karen Cheung, the author of the article, does an amazing job at describing her guilt, yet undying support of the protests. She explains how she feels she is not brave enough to dedicate her life to the movement as many of her friends have, in which she commends them. But she also describes her hope and care for the movement.
    I feel as though many people can relate to her way of thinking because not everyone can fit into a specific category. People react differently to these kinds of things, and what she does best in the article is describing the way those living in these unchanging conditions feel. This article did an outstanding job at shedding light to the repercussions of oppression, and quite frankly, there should be many more of these kinds of stories on the media.

  16. I have so many mixed emotions as I write this. Not only am I lost for words I am heartbroken. The empathy that I feel for Ms. Karen Cheung and the residence of Hong Kong runs within me. I cannot believe the amount of hostility of its government as well as the lack of civil right. The fact that it has escalated to this extreme. In as little as just a few mouths even more terrifying. However, I am aware that things are a little different within Hong Kong as well as China compared to the U.S. I was under the impression that Hong Kong relatively enjoyed a above lower level of civil liberties compared to the US. I do believe that the citizen should have the right to fight for as well as defend laws that nourish their quality of life. Without enduring the amount of anxiety that Karen is experiencing. Nor should protesters have to fear for their lives. Just makes you think how things can change. I am surely thankful for all the fruits and freedom of my country although it is not perfect, we do have laws in place. Thanks to the brave who took a stand. Thank you, Ms. Karen Cheung, for sharing your moments of anxiety you are enduring in the moments of unethical actions against protesters. I do hope that you and the citizens of Hong Kong someday get to enjoy the freedoms that I am blessed with.

  17. This article perfectly captures the essence of what living under the rule of a communist regime is like. What’s taking place in China feels like the build up to the development of a dystopian society that reflects Oceania in George Orwell’s novel 1984, especially when the author discusses how this history may be erased from public record if the communist government in China continues to rule. The one thing that continues to bother me about the several issues going on in China, is the lack of intervention from other countries. With the western world’s access to a mostly unfiltered internet, anyone can go on the internet and hear about the human rights violations committed by the Chinese communist government, yet why even bother with human rights laws if there is a complete lack of enforcement by groups such as the UN. Doing half of the job is a waste of time if you are not going to follow through with the binding resolutions constantly debated whenever the UN convenes. I take serious issue with the hypocrisy of global governments constantly talking about how vile and cruel the acts committed by the Chinese are, yet they continue to just let it happen. That is the equivalent to giving your “thoughts and prayers” after a mass shooting. Your thoughts and prayers are not going to undo what happened or prevent it from happening again, similarly to how these leaders in governments around the globe “condemn” the atrocities committed in China but continue to let it happen out of fear of conflict. With most of the world’s powerful governments are allied forces, and with the US having one of the most advanced militaries in the world, if these governments around the globe were willing to finally enforce the human rights resolutions everyone agreed to, including the Chinese, the Chinese would either back off knowing they could not take on everyone, or they would lose a conflict by miles, and have a new, proper government installed to prevent issues like this from happening again in the near future. Between a genocide of Uighur Muslims and the oppression and murder of citizens fighting for basic human rights, there needs to be some action into handling this situation.

  18. Wow that is tough, I cannot act like I know how they feel, or I know what it’s like to go through something like that. I had a vague idea of what was happening in Hong Kong but after reading this article from someone who is experiencing it firsthand it opens your eyes to the severity of the situation. There were some things that shocked me like when the author said she was with her friend who said that he had just come back from a vigil of a 22 year old who had just died and then she asked him how he is coping, so he responds with I am from Pakistan there was once a time when a bomb went off in the shop next to me and I did not even notice because you just get used to these things. Nobody wants to just get used to such violence that is ridiculous. I cannot even imagine what it must be like to plan escape routes and think for ways to survive incase you encounter police, just because you wanted to go out and eat out with your friends. What was interesting was when the author was talking about how some of her friends are on the front line of the protest and fighting then she has some other friends who could not care less about what is going and then you have her who is in between because she does not have the courage to be in the front line and fight with the protesters be she is not heartless enough to just ignore it like nothing is going on. I think that is very tough because she feels the pressure from both sides but does not know what to do or how to respond to it, the author once spoke about how she joined a protest but was tired after walking for an hour and knew that if the police had to show up she did not have the energy to run away and also how just by seeing the police she becomes filled with fear. It must be extremely difficult to be living in that situation but while she’s living in the situation, she’s also thought about how history will remember this and how the future will be too. It is extremely different when you read what’s happening from a firsthand account and from the news, it just makes you see the situation in a whole new light.

  19. Personally, I was kind of taken off guard by this article and judging by the title, I went in thinking that it was related to something entirely different. As it has already been mentioned, many of us believed that this article was regarding the dark mode option within Apple’s iphones. However, to my surprise I encountered something that perhaps I needed. I believe that as a society (generally speaking) we choose to live under general ignorance. It is our way of coping with situations that we can’t necessarily handle or that overwhelm us as a consequence. You see, it is much easier to go about your daily activities when you make the conscious decision to block the rest of the world out. Does it make us bad people? No, I don’t believe it does. However, countless of us are guilty of doing this and I won’t deny the fact that I am as well.
    As I said before, I went in thinking that the focus of this article steered in a different direction and for all we know, that could have been the intent. It has forced us to remove the lenses that obstruct our vision from the rest of the world and quite frankly, enough is enough. We can no longer ignore what has happened and is currently happening at this instance. How can we turn our heads when there are others out there that have been unjustly treated by their own country for simply exercising their reputed rights. Not only is it inequitable, but it is also disheartening to know that they are fighting a battle that may possibly not end the way we all hoped for, in which these protesters prevail. However, what we can do is make it known that we as a country know what is occurring outside our borders. It is our time to put faces onto those who have passed doing only what gave them passion and notability. Will we continue to live in ignorance or will we finally remove the shackles and masks that we have voluntarily accepted?

  20. No one in my generation knows first hand what a revolution can do to a country. Karen Cheung recounts her experience as a resident of Hong Kong amidst great turmoil. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to live in a city wear your just as likely to get harrassed by police as you are to have a quiet walk home. Citizens in Hong Kong are given an ultimatum, where they can either stand up for what they believe in and be punished, or ignore the problems facing their city and be safe. Protesters risk their freedom every time they take a stand against the police oppression. Karen Cheung recalls a conversation she had with protesters when they talked about getting arrested as if it was an inevitability. They knew the consequences, but they were willing to protest anyway. This begs the question of are you a coward, if you don’t put your body on the line like everyone else. The author of this article expresses her profound guilt for not doing as much as some others in Hong Kong. Among other reasons she doesn’t protest, is that she is scared. From where im sitting (my bed), I do not think their is a cowardly bone in Karens body. She compares herself to the protesters who risked their lives, but there are billions of other people in the world who have no idea what its like to be in her shoes. It is a natural human instinct to think about life preservation. Even though she evidently doesn’t realize, her work recounting life in Hong Kong, has made a positive impact. If I didn’t read this article, I would have no idea what was truly going on in Japan. Spreading awareness is vital in search of a resolution.

    The author also spoke about how she had trouble finishing her writing. She feels that in order to wrap up a paper about trauma, she would need closure. The issues still haunt her, preventing her from concluding her thoughts. However, I think she finds a small amount of closure every day, because there are still people fighting the fight. As long as the citizens of Hong Kong refuse to become subjugated, there is hope. In her talks with protesters, none of them give any indication they are thinking about quitting. The citizens of Hong Kong love their city, and will always protect it.

  21. There’s a lot to unpack from this piece. From the constant sense of gloom that the writer portrays, to the horrors of the brutality towards the protesters. But something I want to focus on, and something I can personally relate to is the way the author struggles with her sense of what is important. In the article, Karen Cheung recounts how when she heard people casually coming from a party, it angered her, because it was like they weren’t aware of the current crisis that was in her country. However, she was also sidetracked and intrigued by the language that they spoke; French. She then goes into a bout where she says she would love to pick up a third language, citing French as one of her choices. But then, she snaps back to her current situation, and seems angry with herself that she could possibly be thinking of picking up another language at this time. Personally, I can relate to her anger in this situation — and I think many of us could possibly identify with this anger as well. There are many times, where in our life, there is something bigger happening right around us. But instead of confronting that issue, we look to other sources to keep our minds away from it. However, we can also wonder — is this truly bad? To focus on something else that makes us happy in tough times? In fact, I wouldn’t blame the writer at all for her actions; I wouldn’t blame anyone in Hong Kong who tried to thing of something else to take their minds off of their dilemma. In my opinion, there is a balance that must be achieved. I think the Cheung realizes this struggle as well — later in the article, she writes about how she can’t determine whether she is a coward for not doing more to help. I don’t think she is a coward; if I were in her situation, who knows how I would deal with it?

  22. Although this article clearly comes from the perspective of a student and journalist in Hong Kong, we get a clear portrayal of the situation that is being experienced. Protests started in June of last year in rejection to a bill agreed between Hong Kong and primarily mainland China for extradition of convicted citizens, which was received as an attempt to dissolve Hong Kong’s rights as an independent administrative region which has its own government separated from the communist regime in mainland China. It is well known that the Communist party in mainland China is obsessively controlling and oppressed the Chinese citizens by depriving them from freedoms of speech and access to information. The strict control of the Communist party, with all the negative consequences that it has brought to mainland China, is something from which Hong Kong wants to stay as far away as possible. The threat against the individuality of Hong Kong as a separate state from China and the poor performance of the military forces, which have turned violent against protesters, are the main reasons for this dilemma. It is interesting how this article provides a refreshing perspective from the eyes of a civilian who seems to be in constant fear for their life and for the life of others. The author, although trying to stay away from getting involved, acknowledges that even if one is distanced from the conflict, it is scary to be in the midst of a collapsing society. The media, mainly in China, portrays the protesters as the villains, this article conveys the reality that is usually hidden from us by the mainstream media outlets. I hope the conflict gets resolved soon.

  23. This article is very interesting in the sense that I had no idea that these riots or protests were even happening. It is amazing what makes the front page and what does not. The writer, Karen Cheung, is expressing her emotions about what is occurring in Hong Kong and there are people, like myself, who had no idea this happened. It’s interesting because the author compares what her friends are doing amid the political violence and what she wants to do is learn French. It really shows how people’s mindsets can differ even while experiencing the same problem. The Chinese government has been controlling its citizens and the people are rebelling, standing up for the rights that are being denied to them. The people of Hong Kong want to completely separate themselves from China. As I recall 2019 I believe that it is very saddening that I had no idea that this was going on. I could blame the media for my lack of knowledge but in actuality, it is my fault that I am not aware of what is going on in the world beyond the United States. This article was written in November 2019 and currently, the protests are still happening. I also had no idea that the Chinese government kept such a tight grip on its citizens that it had the potential of creating such violent events. This does make me wonder how the issues with the Coronavirus and the riots are impacting one another. After doing some quick research I found out that the virus is creating an even deeper political divide. There are even people fleeing from the city due to the heavy burden of the disease and the protests. The living environment has probably gotten worse. Another thing to consider is what if the protestors get what they want. The people there want to become more like the United States and judging from its geography Hong Kong can’t really separate itself from China. Hong Kong most likely isn’t the only place in China where the people feel as though the government has a tight hold on their lives. Hopefully, the government is willing to recognize what they are doing is wrong before things turn extremely violent and warlike.

  24. In all honesty when I saw dark mode I thought this article was going to promote using dark mode at night on twitter for a more enjoyable time on the social media app. After reading this article however I am left with the question: Where is America? America being a nation founded on the father’s dream of a democracy has yet to extend anything more to the hong kong protesters than sympathy and a word of luck. College students are in the streets of Hong Kong protesting and fighting for their freedom with American Flags and Uncle Sam costumes, and yet American media is failing to promote this around the world. With the current dispute between American and the Iranians it is understandable to not get involved with the military in Hong Kong, however just like America donated to notre dame, the government can find the funding to give money to these students who are fighting the same battle Americans were when they feigned for the liberation from England. American students who attend universities have the luxury of enjoying a safe education and all of the opportunities for sports, parties, and professional opportunities along with the education while still expressing freedom of opinions and speech. American youth turn to the streets to protest and get to live the experience of fighting for a cause while still safe from government force, while teens in Hong Kong are getting shot and beaten into identifiable people.
    This article made me feel very contradicted: on the one hand I am grateful for my freedoms and would protect that at all costs on the other hand i want to help those in Hong Kong at all costs no matter the cost to me. People look at the world and see others by the country they came from; I look at the world and see other human beings just like me who happened to be born in a less fortunate place than I was but, were all human. I stand on the ground of morality if people are having to map out safe routes to date or drink to numb the fear of stepping out of their front door something needs to be done to help the people suffering. The issue with this is that the Hong Kong people confuse Americans sympathy with them having intentions to help them achieve liberation which America has no intention of doing so.
    How does this affect me? After reading this article I am so grateful for the country I live in, even with the current president because at least I know I am safe. When I go to the movies with my friends and order too much popcorn it is not because I am trying to distract myself from my fellow classmates being shot outside on the streets, it’s because I want to see a movie. That statement alone holds so much trauma and disjustice as I could just as easily have been born into a country that kills 18 year olds for voicing a desperate cry for freedom.
    When listening to stories of mass destruction of universities which educate the citizens, and tear gas on people I still consider children in a real world sense aspect, it drags down my etic view on humanity of other regions. However, as an American it is hard to pass judgement with the dark reality of a lot of Americas interventions with other nations and even quietly within its own.

  25. 14. It’s one thing to hear from a reporter about what is going on in another country, but it is an entirely different experience to hear a firsthand account from someone who lives there. What is happening in Hong Kong is quite honestly terrifying. Though I do not have extensive knowledge on the situation, I have seen videos of people protesting with umbrellas in which the police are using tear gas and threatening to harm them if they do not stop. A lot of the videos have been violent, and I have read several articles, including this one, in which people are killed. The writer behind this article does an incredible job of painting the picture of what it is like to actually be living in Hong Kong right now and being able to hear the clashes between protesters and the police happening from her home. Her life seems paralyzing. Nothing is the same and she carries guilt for trying to pretend that normal things can resume when there is so much violence happening all around, and she feels unsure of the future of her city. Even now with the coronavirus and the uncertainty of what will happen, this is not the same as what people are facing in Hong Kong; we know that eventually, things will get better even if it might take longer than we think and we are just waiting it out. In Hong Kong, people are trying to make a difference by protesting and people are dying as a result from the violence that ensues, and they have no idea how long this will last with predictions of up to 30 years. What saddened me the most about this article was the way that it was finished in how one activist took off his mask and told a reporter that the one thing uniting everyone was pain. These protesters know that if they keep protesting, they will continue to be arrested and beaten and even killed, but they also know that if they stop protesting, much of their autonomy will be lost and the world they face would be even worse.

  26. Before reading this article, I was completely unaware of the protests that occurred at Hong Kong University in November of 2019. I did a little research and I learned that protests were going on for months before the warzone broke out on the campus. Hong Kong is an autonomous zone that was trying to prevent China’s influence on its government. When a bill regarding extradition was trying to be passed, that is when the resistance began. This law would allow any person residing in Hong Kong to be taken by the Chinese government and be put on trial with a judge who has to take orders from the Chinese Communist Party.

    The author, Karen Cheung, describes her emotions as she would get updates about people she knew being detained by police or seeing citizens be murdered by police officers. She recalls the memories she has from before the protests when she was at school or the mall. Now, all she sees is the violence that takes place at those locations. She almost seems like she feels guilty of not participating more like she is afraid of what could happen to her if she were more public about her intolerance of the bill. It is important to recognize that there are many direct effects of violence that are not physical. For example, Cheung explains how being depressed is a small price to pay instead of being arrested or killed. But the depression she has now will only last longer if she is reminded every day of the prevalent violence in her neighborhood.

    We are extremely fortunate in America that we are legally able to protest without the fear of being arrested or killed. However, a lot of what was said in this article seems familiar with the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred over the summer. Obviously, the conditions were nowhere near the same level, but we saw a level of violence and intolerance in this country that I personally have never seen before. I never thought that I would see the national guard in neighborhoods throwing tear gas at protestors, detaining them without legal cause, or firing rubber bullets at them. That was something I learned about in school that was used overseas when the US was at war. Cheung also asks a question regarding tear gas and why has the use of it gotten so normalized, when it was used for chemical warfare in the Vietnam War. I agree – when did we start believing it was okay to use this on our own citizens (or just any human being in general)? People would not be protesting if there was not some for of injustice occurring. By using chemical warfare, personally, I cannot see how that would make the situation better.

    Cheung also mentions what the city would be like if people were to stop resisting. If that were the case in Hong Kong, the Communist Party in China would slowly start to implement laws where the rights of the Hong Kong citizens’ would be infringed upon (like with the extradition bill). It also made me think about what would happen in the US if people were to stop protesting racial injustice. There would continue to be racial profiling and murders of BIPOC, for example, where the families and communities would continue to not receive justice. The problem with protests is that there is never a way to tell when they are going to end or if they are going to be successful, however, there is only one way to find out.

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