一場「生死攸關」的戰鬥:香港年輕人為何走上街頭

撰文:MIKE IVES, KATHERINE LI - 2019年6月18日 《紐約時報》

018

香港 ── 他們穿著黑色T恤,揮舞拳頭,走在香港悶熱的街道上,站在每一場遊行的前線。他們通過加密的信息群組織起來,在集會上分發頭盔和護目鏡。當警察向他們發射催淚瓦斯時,他們追上釋放著煙霧的瓦斯罐,用水澆滅它們。

對於許多湧上街頭的高中生和大學生來說,這個問題比引渡本身要重要得多。在他們看來,他們正在為從中國政府手中獲得某種表面上的自治而進行一場「最後的戰鬥」。

「引渡法案對我們的生活是一種威脅,」17歲的高中生扎克·何(Zach Ho)說。「一旦法案通過,我們的法治將受到無法修復的破壞。」

他們這一代人沒有在英國統治下生活的記憶,但他們的成長伴隨著一種擔憂,即中共——以及大量湧入的中國大陸人——會改變香港以及他們心目中香港的特別之處。

這種擔憂源於反對派議員被罷免,多人在香港失蹤後被關押在大陸,以及就業和住房的競爭在這個日益不平等的城市不斷加劇。許多年輕的抗議者認為,引渡法案損害了香港的司法獨立——在他們看來,這是他們與北京影響之間的最後一道隔離帶。

近年來,香港青年的維權活動有所減弱。2014年,要求直接參与香港特首選舉的抗議活動以失敗告終。這場後來被稱為「雨傘運動」或「佔中」的運動中最知名的領導者被判入獄,他們的年輕支持者們陷入悲哀的幻滅。

019

黃之鋒在五年前的雨傘抗議活動中成了青年運動的代言人,週一他在香港獲釋。

但香港行政長官林鄭月娥推動的引渡立法,讓年輕人重新活躍起來。居民們表示擔心北京會利用新的引渡權,將異見者和其他與大陸共產黨官員發生衝突的人作為目標。

香港教育大學學生會會長梁耀霆表示,推動雨傘運動的年輕人為爭取普選權而奮鬥。但是他說,關於引渡法案的戰鬥則是「生死攸關的問題」。

與老一輩人相比,香港年輕人與中國大陸的關係不那麼密切,他們更有可能認為自己擁有獨特的香港人身份,而不是中國人的身份。北京試圖解決這一問題的努力適得其反:2012年,當政府試圖在學校推行愛國主義教育課程時,年輕人發起了抗議。

這是這一代人政治覺醒的開始,隨著1997年香港回歸中國政府時承諾的公民自由受到侵蝕,政治覺醒也在加速。長期以來,這些自由一直將香港與大陸區分開,隨著這些自由開始受到衝擊,年輕人說,他們感覺到了更大的威脅。

最突出的莫過於黃之鋒(Joshua Wong),在五年前的雨傘抗議活動中,當時17歲的他成了青年運動的代言人。(獲刑兩個月的黃之鋒在服刑一個月後於週一獲釋。)

至少有部分原因是恐懼。「誰會願意以公開接受六年監禁作為抗議活動的獎勵?」支持民主的香港立法會委員毛孟靜(Claudia Mo)表示。她指的是香港維權人士梁天琦(Edward Leung)去年因在2016年抗議者與警方的衝突中起到的作用而被判刑。

相反,組織者通過社群媒體、口口相傳和Telegram等安全通訊應用,在幕後傳播有關抗議和其他公民不服從行動的信息。

020

週一,學生們在香港添馬公園參加罷工。

結果是一週前的週日,大批高中生和大學生參加了基本上和平的遊行,週三還佔領了立法會外的一條路。醫學院學生和其他志願者在臨時搭建的帳篷中提供急救和免費物資。

「他們在損害我們的未來,為什麼?」週三,剛從大學畢業的特倫斯·梁(Terrence Leung)在談到支持引渡法案的親北京議員時說,他和其他許多人一樣,穿著黑色T恤,戴著口罩參加了示威活動。

但在兩次抗議中,一些年輕的示威者對當局發起武力挑戰。示威者試圖用武力佔領立法會外的區域,在週三的示威中,還試圖衝擊立法會大樓,他們推倒金屬柵欄,向防暴警察投擲磚頭、瓶子和棍棒。

021

週日的群眾集會。組織者通過社群媒體、口口相傳和Telegram等安全通訊應用,傳播有關抗議和其他公民不服從行動的信息。

警方用胡椒噴霧和警棍回應。週三,警方發射了150罐催淚瓦斯,幾十年來首次發射了橡皮子彈。警察毆打抗議者和發射催淚瓦斯的影片引發了整個城市的廣泛譴責。

而面對抵制的聲音,林鄭月娥將自己的回應比作一個母親在對付任性的孩子,從而進一步激化了情緒。

在大律師黃瑞紅(Linda Wong)組織的一場女性集會中,與會者表示她們作為母親不認同警方對待年輕抗議者的方式,也不同意林鄭月娥的比喻。

「他們出來不是為了個人利益,而是為了香港更大的理想,」黃瑞紅說。「一個好母親應該傾聽孩子的心聲,但是林鄭月娥顯然拒絕這麼做。」

警方於週一表示,自週三的事件以來,已有32人被捕,其中五人是因暴亂。

學生會會長梁耀霆在談到被起訴的可能時說,「我們所有人都覺得害怕。」

另一個風險是,這場運動群龍無首的性質,增加了更多流血事件發生的可能性。分析人士說,如果示威演變成暴力,當局就有了一個方便的藉口來起訴年輕的抗議者,詆毀他們是激進分子,或者對他們進行更嚴厲的打擊。

「如果我是他們,我會謹慎行事,乘勝追擊不要過了頭,」研究雨傘運動的香港中文大學社會學家楊安卓(Andrew Junker)表示。

面對週日的又一場大規模抗議,林鄭月娥公開對引渡法案引發了如此之大的憤怒表示道歉。她在之前一天承諾無限期擱置該計劃,但不會撤銷。

她的道歉被認為太少也太遲,尤其激怒了年輕的抗議者,他們感到困惑的是,林鄭月娥似乎對100多萬名示威者的擔憂充耳不聞。

「有時候我自己想,是不是因為我做得還不夠?我們還能做什麼呢?」16歲的高中生蘇曉青說。週一上午,她參加了在政府大樓附近一個公園舉行的學生罷課。

「我回家後哭了一場,」她說,「但是哭完之後,我必須站起來,努力團結更多的人。」

000

For Hong Kong’s Youth,

Protests Are ‘a Matter of Life and Death’

HONG KONG — They are on the front lines of every demonstration, dressed in black T-shirts and pumping their fists as they march through Hong Kong’s sweltering streets. They organize on encrypted messaging groups and hand out helmets and goggles at rallies. When the police fired tear gas at them, they chased the smoke-emitting canisters and doused them with water.

Hong Kong’s youth are at the forefront of protests this month that have thrown the city into a political crisis, including a vast rally on Sunday that was perhaps the largest in its history. Organizers contend that close to two million of the territory’s seven million people participated, calling on the government to withdraw proposed legislation that would allow extraditions to mainland China.

For the many high-school and university-age students who flooded the streets, the issue is much bigger than extradition alone. As they see it, they are fighting a “final battle” for some semblance of autonomy from the Chinese government.

“The extradition law is a danger to our lives,” said Zack Ho, 17, a high school student who helped organize a boycott of classes. “Once this passes, our rule of law would be damaged beyond repair.”

They are a generation that has no memory of life under British rule, but they have come of age amid growing fears about how the encroachment of China’s ruling Communist Party — and an influx of people from mainland China — are transforming Hong Kong and what they believe is special about it.

Such fears stem from the ousting of opposition lawmakers, the disappearance of several individuals from Hong Kong into custody in the mainland and the intensifying competition for jobs and housing in a city with soaring inequality. Many young protesters see the extradition bill as hurting the territory’s judicial independence — in their view, the last vestige of insulation they now have from Beijing’s influence.

Youth activism in Hong Kong had ebbed in recent years, after protests demanding a direct say in the election of the territory’s chief executive ended in failure in 2014. The most prominent leaders of what became known as the Umbrella Movement or Occupy Central were jailed, and their legions of young supporters were left bitterly disenchanted.

But the extradition legislation pushed by Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has re-energized young people. Residents express worry that Beijing will use new extradition powers to target dissidents and others who run afoul of Communist Party officials on the mainland.

The young people driving the Umbrella Movement fought for the cause of universal suffrage, said Leung Yiu-ting, the student union president of Hong Kong Education University. But the extradition fight, he added, is “a matter of life and death.”

Compared with older generations, young people in Hong Kong feel less affinity with mainland China and are more likely to see themselves as having a distinct Hong Kong — as opposed to Chinese — identity. Beijing’s efforts to grapple with this have backfired; when officials tried to impose a patriotic education curriculum in schools in 2012, young people led the protests against it.

That was the beginning of this generation’s political awakening, which has accelerated along with the erosion of the civil liberties promised to Hong Kong upon its return to Chinese government in 1997. Those freedoms have long set Hong Kong apart from the mainland, and as they have begun to fray, young people say they feel the threat more sharply.

No one has emerged as the face of the current youth movement as Joshua Wong, then 17, did during the Umbrella protests five years ago. (Mr. Wong was released from prison Monday after serving a month of his two-month prison sentence.)

That is at least in part because of fear. “Who’s going to be quite so willing, openly, to take six years of jail as the prize for the protests?” said Claudia Mo, a pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker, referring to a sentence handed down last year to Edward Leung, a local activist, for his role in a 2016 clash between protesters and the police.

Instead, organizers have operated behind the scenes by spreading messages about protests and other acts of civil disobedience through social media, word of mouth and secure messaging apps like Telegram.

One result was that high schoolers and university students turned out in large numbers at a mostly peaceful march one week ago Sunday, and also occupied a highway on Wednesday outside the Legislative Council. Medical students and other volunteers provided first aid and free supplies from makeshift tents.

“They are compromising our future, and for what?” Terrence Leung, a recent college graduate, who like many others was demonstrating on Wednesday in a black T-shirt and a surgical mask, said of the pro-Beijing lawmakers who championed the extradition bill.

But in both protests, some among the young demonstrators challenged the authorities with force. The demonstrators tried to occupy the area outside the Legislative Council — or, in Wednesday’s case, tried to storm the complex — with force, pushing metal barriers and tossing bricks, bottles and sticks at riot police officers.

The police responded with pepper spray and batons. On Wednesday, police also fired 150 canisters of tear gas and, for the first time in decades, rubber bullets. Videos of officers beating protesters and firing volleys of tear gas that sent thousands fleeing drew wide condemnation across the city.

Public anger only grew when Mrs. Lam compared her response to the opposition with that of a mother with a willful child.

Linda Wong, a barrister who organized a rally attended by women who described themselves as mothers opposed to how the police had responded to the young protesters, disagreed with Mrs. Lam’s characterization.

“They came out not for personal interests but for the greater ideal of Hong Kong,” said Ms. Wong. “A good mother shall listen to her own child, and apparently Carrie Lam refuses to do so.”

The police said Monday that 32 people have been arrested since Wednesday’s event, including five for rioting.

“Fear is striking in all of our hearts,” said Mr. Leung, the student union president, referring to the possibility of being prosecuted.

Another risk is that the leaderless nature of the movement raises the possibility of more bloodshed. Analysts say that if demonstrations descend into violence, the authorities would have an easy excuse to prosecute young protesters, discredit them as radicals or attack them with a vengeance.

“If I were them, I would be cautious not to press the advantage too far,” said Andrew Junker, a sociologist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who has studied the Umbrella Movement.

Faced with another enormous protest on Sunday, Mrs. Lam issued a public apology for causing so much anger over the extradition law. Her apology came a day after she promised to shelve the plan indefinitely, but not withdraw it.

This was perceived as too little, too late, and it especially enraged younger protesters, who were bewildered that Mrs. Lam seemed deaf to the concerns of more than a million demonstrators.

“Sometimes I think to myself, is it because I have not done enough? What else could have been done?” said So Hiu-ching, a 16-year-old high schooler who attended a student strike at a park near government offices on Monday morning.

“I go home and cry,” she said, “but after that, I have to get up and try to rally more people.”

015

發表迴響

在下方填入你的資料或按右方圖示以社群網站登入:

WordPress.com 標誌

您的留言將使用 WordPress.com 帳號。 登出 /  變更 )

Google photo

您的留言將使用 Google 帳號。 登出 /  變更 )

Twitter picture

您的留言將使用 Twitter 帳號。 登出 /  變更 )

Facebook照片

您的留言將使用 Facebook 帳號。 登出 /  變更 )

連結到 %s