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‘We’re just a bunch of kids who want to change Hong Kong’: activists keep protest spirit alive

Three Hong Kong student activists have set up a new organization to carry on the spirit of the 2019 protest movement, though they acknowledge that the national security law has made their work difficult and risky.

The new group, Local Youth Will, is planning an exhibition to mark the second anniversary of the 2019 pro-democracy protests. The event will be themed around history, hope and collective action, and “provide a public political space for mutual exchange,” said Law Tsz-wai, the group’s convenor.

The event will display photos from the protest movement, and allow participants to exchange objects related to that time. The event was meant to focus on “practical” ways to spread political beliefs, as opposed to theory, Law added.

Law was part of the CUHK student union cabinet that resigned in early March after being subject to political pressure from the school. Other members of Local Youth Will include Miko Cheung, external vice-president of the student union at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Chu Wai-ying, former spokesperson of Student Politicism.

“We just want to discuss some universal values and our political views. Why has this become dangerous and incorrect in the eyes of the government?” Chu said. “We’re just a bunch of kids who want to change Hong Kong.”

Cheung said she co-founded the group after facing pushback from PolyU administrators over politics. “I believe there is more space outside the system, when we use our own name and organization to mobilize people,” she said.

Asked why the group still wanted to operate in the public eye, Law said it was a risk worth taking. The group hopes to fill the gap left by the disbanded student and activist groups following Beijing’s imposition of the sweeping national security law, he added.

“Anyone taking part in youth groups must be mentally prepared [to face consequences.] It’s tragic, really. No matter what trumped-up charges they create, there’s nothing we can do,” he said. However, he added that he had no intention of becoming a martyr.

On a rainy day earlier this month, the trio set up a street booth at the Mong Kok East pedestrian footbridge to speak about their ideals. Through his microphone, Law tried to explain his mission to the public.

“When we all return to the public sphere to talk about politics, then we won’t be afraid of the national security law, we will resist the white terror.”

Click here for Chinese version.

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