In early July, we sent out a call for poems about the Chinese Government’s White Paper on the “One Country, Two Systems” principle in Hong Kong. At the time, the publication of the paper, which formally precluded true democracy within the city, felt like a watershed moment in Hong Kong history and one that we wanted, in our own small way, to capture in the journal.
What we couldn’t have foreseen was how the White Paper would lead to subsequent events in the city, especially the Umbrella Revolution. None of us could have imagined how protest sites would blossom on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon or how determined the protesters would be in face of government resistance. Nor could we have foreseen how the protests would leave their mark on the city: the ‘Lennon Wall’ at Civic Square and it’s tapestry of post-its showing how voices are many and one; a solitary yellow umbrella on an Admiralty stage; banners with the words of Lu Xun draped from footbridges.
It is within this context that we launch this special feature, which will hopefully serve as a record of our collective desire for democracy. The poems curated here are as much about the experiences of the Occupy movement and the ‘on-the-ground’ protests as they are about the original White Paper. They capture the emotions, reflections and hopes of people living in Hong Kong at this historic moment. This collection is perhaps another “wall” of post-its, reminding us of how the passion for poetry resonates strongly with the passion for freedom and democracy.
Poets featured: Kit Fan, Mary Jean Chan, Jason S Polley, Wendy Gan, Andrew S. Guthrie, Ruth Lee, Aaron Chan, Stephanie Han, Peter Gordon, Antony Huen, Natalie Liu, Marco Yan, Emily Cheung, Henry W. Leung
(Pictured above: “試問誰還未發聲”, seen on the campus of Hong Kong Baptist University. Photo by Jason S Polley. Friday 24 October, 2014.)