[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: The struggle isn't over

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The struggle isn't over

With temperatures dropping dramatically once again, 12 (out of 14) farmers on trial for unlawful action during the protests have staged a hunger strike since yesterday afternoon. 11 were Korean farmers accompanied by a Japanese. The current status of the other Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese is unknown. It was certainly a bad time staging a hunger strike in the blistering cold, with temperatures dropping to 9 degrees celcius at night. Tea and meditation will be their nutrition for an indefinite time. Their demands, immediate release so they can go back to their families. Their struggle has been a particularly sympathetic cause since they were not able to spend Christmas and New Year with family, instead they ate dinner in their cold cells.
It attracted local commuters and tourists alike but the atmosphere I observed was apathetic. Some even loudly declared the futility of their cause and 'don't deserve our sympathies.' This has been the general consenus I've been realising from local people and it's hardly surprising since they regard the WTO as old news. But even more baffling to me was when foreigners didn't even know what 'WTO' was. An Australian mother and son told me that all they saw on the news were short clips of violence- pretty standard in the Western media at that time.
'I find it quite regrettable' says Elizabeth Tsang, co-ordinator of the Hong Kong People's Alliance, 'but the protestors have made their decision. This is a very critical week as their hearing will take place on the 11th so they really want their charges dropped.'
The 11th will make or break their struggle and optimists claim Chief Inspector Dick Lee Ming-Kwai and the Police haven't found any solid evidence aswell as compounded with rumors of their bad handling of protestors, it seems likely to me they will be released soon enough.
Tsang continues, 'I really hope more people will come out to support to increase the impact so their demands will be met.'
A solidarty rally will take place on the 8th 3pm from the Boys & Girls Club (Wan Chai) to the Central Government Offices.