government

Hong Kongers are Showing Us their Power by Jahan Sharif

KAI PFAFFENBACH / REUTERS

KAI PFAFFENBACH / REUTERS

Few sights elicit emotion in me like huge masses of people coming together to make a single point. I’m thinking about events like the March on Washington, Hands Across America, Black Panther, the Stonewall Riots, and now Hong Kong.

For the last three months, millions of peaceful Hong Kongers have taken to the streets to protest their Beijing-backed government’s proposed extradition law. Yesterday, in what is in my opinion their most powerful statement yet, more than 135,000 people linked arms to make a 28-mile long human chain across the city.

We should take notice.

Last year, my Hong Kong trip coincided with the Parkland shooting massacre. At that time, the city was in turmoil because a reckless bus driver flipped his bus and caused the deaths of 19 people, injuring 65 more. In response, the government declared national days of morning, placed the bus company under federal investigation, and cancelled the annual fireworks show in celebration of Chinese New Year.

The contrast in our countries respective reactions to tragedy struck me, and inspired me to write.

We are both, again, embroiled in similar dilemmas. And again, I’m asking myself the same question. We see how Hong Kongers behave when confronted with a government not working in their service. What will we choose to do in the face of ours?

New York City, NY, USA
August 2019