“Umbrella Movement Five Years On and Beyond”: A Special Feature (September 2019)—Call for Submissions

Freedom is Not Given.jpg

“FREEDOM IS NEVER GIVEN”, it is won. (Photo: Hong Kong Lucida)

In September 2014 and September 2016, we published special features on the Umbrella Movement in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. This year, again, we will be publishing a feature on the movement, five years on.

We are looking for poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, photography & art, literary criticisms, and literary translations about the Umbrella Movement and its aftermath, including the recent ‘controversy’ surrounding the proposed extradition bill and the protests. Let’s continue the spirit of fighting for democracy and freedom through words and images.

Please send your submissions—no more than FOUR poems, TWO prose pieces (each no more than 5000 words), and photography & art (any number) to editors@asiancha.com before Saturday 31 August 2019 for consideration. Please include the words “Umbrella Movement” in the subject line.


From Tammy Lai-Ming Ho’s editorial for the September 2014 issue of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal.

Over the last week, Hong Kong has transformed—gone from a city that, while not politically apathetic, was generally willing to put prosperity and business first. But Beijing’s refusal to allow Hong Kong open elections and the growing unease among its residents about the SAR’s future in China have finally come to a head. The Umbrella Revolution has shown that Hong Kong is no longer content to allow Beijing to dictate its fate. The city has decided to stand up and fight. And it has brought umbrellas.

The struggle for free elections is nothing new—the pro-democracy camp has for decades been determined in its efforts to bring self-rule to the city. But something changed this week: the passion and energy of youth. Young people, yellow-ribboned, faces covered with cling film and goggles, and equipped only with umbrellas to fend off the fierce sun, rain and tear gas, have fought peacefully, proudly and insistently, for genuine democracy in their—my—beloved city. It is their efforts—nonviolent but still resolute and resourceful—that have not only captured the attention of the city, but of the world.

Like many people who care about Hong Kong’s political future, I have been able to focus on very little else over the past few days. At times, I have been worried—worried about the safety of the protestors; worried that their efforts will fail to bring change; worried about the future of the city that I love. But I have also been deeply moved and inspired. I have never been so proud of Hong Kong. It has never been so determined.

For those of us who support democratic change, we realise that the time has come, that we have to fight now, before it’s too, too late. We are uncertain of what the outcome might be, but we are nevertheless united, hearts with one purpose, and we are fighting.

Will we succeed? We already have. Hong Kong will never be the same again. A valiant beauty has been born.


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