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Emergence of the Post-1980s Generation in Hong Kong:

Protests Against Express Rail Link to China

THEY HAVE LOST AND WON

2010

香港80後的年青一代反對建造高鐵

高鐵撥款真的通過,政府明贏暗輸,我們數百人卻是明輸暗贏。
以後,我們一定會 咬著不放,長期抗爭。」
司徒薇說...(信報16.01.10)

 

This group of young people or the so-called post-1980s generation in the Hong Kong SAR of China—who first started the campaigns to preserve some Hong Kong historical landmarks from demolition for new projects of the city, such as the Star Ferry clock tower and the Queen's Pier—have now morphed into new people power that has surprised many people in Hong Kong. These young people are well-educated, enthusiastic, energetic and caring about the poor and under-represented in Hong Kong. Their emergence has also changed forever the image of Hong Kong young people being apolitical and indifferent to social justice. From 2009 to early 2010, they have been protesting against the construction of the express rail link to China's express train network and called for stopping the project. Why ? The new high-speed railway project will cost HK$ 66.9 billion, probably the world's most costly project for a 26-km railway. The post-1980s have been supporting those villagers whose homes will have to be destroyed to make way for the construction, as well as other citizens along the way who will be affected in one way or another. The post-1980s also opposed the project for many other reasons.

From January 15 to 16, as many as ten thousand protesters including many of these post-80s surrounded the Legislative Council (Legco) Building in their protests. Some of them were on hunger strike for over several days. They failed. The lawmakers approved the funding in the evening of January 16 after very long meetings. As reported by the media, after this controversial HK$66.9 billion high-speed railway project was approved, about 1,000 protesters staged a sit-in outside the Legco building and some of them even scuffled with the police to force their way to the building and some refused to let the transport chief Eva Cheng to leave the building although on the whole the crowds were still rather peaceful. The headline of the South China Morning Post on 17 January 2010 reads: "Hundreds clash with police in siege of legislature, trapping officials inside for hours: Rail cash approved amid protests" , while the Chinese language newspaper Apple Daily comments on the front page under the headline "Look ! People are Arm in Arm ! High-speed Railway Funding Forcibly Approved - Outbreak of Clashes (看吧! 人民在挽手: 高鐵撥款強行通過-爆發衝突)" and that the government and pro-government lawmakers pushed for high-speed railway project funding approval despite people's opposition to this project and sparked the most violent protests of the local demonstrators since the return of Hong Kong to China..."

The post-1980s failed in making their voices heard in this campaign to stop the funding of the express rail link project but they have proved themselves to be a new group of activists—young, enthusiastic, strong-minded, organised and well-educated although they do not belong to any political parties.

These young people should not be overlooked. Will they become new allies of the pan-democratic camp demanding universal suffrage as early as possible in Hong Kong?

The following images I captured in Statue Square on January 15 and 16 tell part of the story (a few extra images were from my friend).

Please click an image to view the enlarged version

 

Post-1980s Generation

and People's Voices

香港80後的年青一代

與人民的聲音

 

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© 2010 CY Tsui

Last updated on 17 January 2010