¥2,137,000raised of ¥2,000,000.00 goal
In February 2019, the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance Amendment Bill, commonly known as the Extradition Bill, sparked waves of protests in Hong Kong, which soon evolved into a massive pro-democracy movement rallying tremendous global support. Abruptly, the start of 2020 saw ongoing momentum ground to a halt, as the world plunged into unprecedented challenges brought on by the novel coronavirus outbreak. Under the perfect cover of the pandemic, Hong Kong’s oppressive government continues to covertly weaponise the law by issuing unjustifiable social gathering bans, and further suppress the fight for freedom and democracy in the city.
We have to stand up against the tyranny and brutality of the Hong Kong government and its police force, we cannot yield and be silenced. Facing the current circumstances, in which citizens are prosecuted for merely showing slogans and even something as trivial as holding up a blank piece of paper, it becomes more and more challenging to fight for democracy. In light of the ever worsening situation in our beloved home Hong Kong, we are preparing for an exhibition to rally for support.
Image: Shibata Noriyoshi
Hong Kong’s Fight for Democracy
Since the Handover of Hong Kong from Great Britain to China in 1997, the Hong Kong government has repeatedly brushed aside its citizens’ demands for promised democracy and liberal rights. From the first disputes of Article 23 in 2003, the National Education Controversy in 2012, to the setting up of an ingenuine universal suffrage, the extradition bill was the final straw that triggered the massive pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong’s summer 2019, which unyieldingly continues to the present day.
What fed the flame was the blindingly loyal police force which was supposed to serve the people, yet has become the very tool that serves the opposite. Police officers have continuously and indiscriminately used excessive force to crack down on dissidents and should be held accountable for numerous bloodied clashes as well as a large number of unlawful arrests.
In breach of the Basic Law that should grant Hong Kong legislative autonomy from mainland China, the Chinese Communist Party has just recently imposed the draconian National Security Law that effectively erodes the freedom of speech, assembly, and press in Hong Kong.
At 23:00 on June 30, the Chinese Communist Party imposed the National Security Law on Hong Kong in violation of international law and by bypassing Hong Kong’s government and Legislative Council.
On July 1, the Hong Kong Police Force made ten swift arrests under the controversial new law.
On July 31, the Hong Kong government postponed the Legislative Council elections originally scheduled for September without any legal basis, all under the excuse of coronavirus outbreak control.
On August 10, ten people were arrested under the National Security Law. Among them were Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai, his two sons, and a few of the newspaper’s high ranking employees, as well as Agnes Chow, an ex-member of the pro-democracy party Demosistō. These arrests drew unprecedented attention from the Japanese and international media outlets and communities.
On August 23, Chinese coast guard intercepted a boat heading towards Taiwan, and arrested twelve Hong Kong citizens onboard. The passengers were subsequently detained in mainland China for alleged illegal border crossing. Chinese authorities have so far refused all visitation requests by the detainees’ families as well as human rights lawyers. The twelve’s safety and health conditions remain unknown.
On September 6, thousands of protesters returned to the streets of Hong Kong for the first time after the implementation of the National Security Law. Nearly 300 people were arrested for ‘unlawful assembly’ and for violating the social gathering ban.
As HongKongers abroad, we are determined to contribute to the movement in whatever ways we can. The ‘Be Water, My Friend’ exhibition is a manifestation of all HongKongers’ hopes, fervour, perseverance, and above all, unwavering belief in our fight for freedom and democracy. Other than footage and imagery, the exhibition will also incorporate interactive elements that allow visitors to immerse in the tumultuous experience of the Hong Kong protests—both physically and emotionally.
We believe in the collective power of individuals. Droplets converge into rivers; protests grow into revolution. Through the ‘Be Water, My Friend’ exhibition, we are aiming to inform, involve, and inspire. Visitors can discover more about the ongoing developments in Hong Kong, and are encouraged to explore the role that Japan and international communities plays in our movement. Through the experiences and dialogues we create, we ultimately strive to inspire everyone to join and stand with us on the international frontier of Hong Kong’s ongoing fight for democracy, freedom, and justice.
Confronted by tyranny and oppression, how do HongKongers evolve and resist?
We, Stand with [email protected], are organising the exhibition ‘Be Water, My Friend’ in Tokyo, Japan from 15th to 20th of December, 2020. The exhibition is going to showcase how the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement embraces the ‘Be Water’ philosophy—a guiding tenet originating in the famous quote of Hong Kong’s martial arts legend Bruce Lee:
Be water, my friend.
In this exhibition, we are going to recount how Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement adapts and progresses. Like water, the leaderless revolution is fluid, flexible, and fast-moving. Demonstrators ‘gather like dew’ in city-wide flash-mob protests to stay ahead of riot police, and ‘scatter like mists’ to avoid arrest so they can fight yet another day. As protestors ebb, flow, and converge on the city’s streets and alleyways, local marches grew into a revolution, rallying outpouring support from all corners of the world.
Immerse yourself in Hong Kong’s water movement in this exhibition. Witness the historic march where two millions took to the streets. Learn how simple everyday items such as pot lids and badminton rackets can be used to diffuse tear gas. Share our grief in emotional vigils for protestors who lost their lives. Last but not least, participate in the ‘yellow economy’ and purchase movement-related goods and merchandise.
Budget & Financials
We are launching a one-month crowdfunding campaign in preparation for the exhibition. Amounts raised will go towards our expenses, including venue rental, exhibition design and curation, marketing, merchandise production, etc.
Our fundraising goal is JPY 2 million (approximately HKD 148,000). Please take a look at a breakdown of our exhibition budget below.
Examples of expenditure items:
- Venue: Gallery rental, equipment rental and purchase, insurance, etc.
- Exhibits design and curation: Printing, gallery fittings and decoration, transportation etc.
- Marketing: Social media paid ads, printed promotional materials, ad campaign in Apple Daily (pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong)
- Merchandise production: T-shirts, postcards, pins, stickers, etc.
Raised amounts exceeding our fundraising target will go towards further marketing campaigns in order to reach a wider and more diverse Japanese audience.
- If funds raised are 5% above target (¥100,000 excess fund), we are going to publish an ad in a local magazine or newspaper.
- If funds raised are 12% above target (¥240,000 excess fund), in addition to a local magazine / newspaper ad mentioned above, we will also launch a week-long ad campaign in a frequented train station in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
Our fight is far from over! Transcending oceans and borders, HongKongers all over the world will continue fighting alongside our friends and families back home. We will not cease until our fellow freedom fighters are freed, until justice is served, until we liberate Hong Kong, and bring glory to this revolution of our times. Wherever you’re from and whatever your political stance may be, please join us if you share our belief in true freedom and justice. Any contribution goes a long way. Thank you very much for standing with us!
Stand with [email protected] is an organisation founded by HongKongers currently residing in Japan. Fighting alongside fellow HongKongers at the international frontier of the pro-democracy movement, we’ve been rallying support in Tokyo since June 2019. Our activities include demonstrations, awareness campaigns, seminars, media interviews, lobbying with politicians in Japan, and much more.
To our fellow HongKongers — May freedom ring from every mountain top. Till we meet again under the pot.*
*‘The pot’ refers to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council Complex, whose architecture resembles a giant pot. The expression ‘to meet under the pot’ refers to HongKongers’ vow to stay safe and keep fighting until we triumph over tyranny, and gain victory in our fight for freedom and democracy.
Image: Wanda Proft
Exhibition ReportUpdate posted by Stand with HK at JPN at 05:24 pm
Thanks to your support, we saw a tumultuous 2020 off with “A HongKongers’ Exhibition: Be Water, My Friend”. Held at The Meguro Museum of Art in Tokyo, the exhibition was a manifestation of HongKongers’ hopes, fervour, perseverance, and above all, unwavering belief in our fight for freedom and democracy. We. . . . .
"Be Water, My Friend - A Hongkongers' Exhibition" has finally come to an end.Update posted by Stand with HK at JPN at 04:22 am
After an eventful and emotional 5 days, the "Be Water, My Friend - A Hongkongers' Exhibition" has finally come to an end. We cannot be more thankful to all of you who've been paying attention to and supporting the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Special thanks to those who've kindly. . . . .
COVID-19: Crowd Control MeasuresUpdate posted by Stand with HK at JPN at 04:43 pm
In response to the recent surge in new COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, crowd control measures will be put in place during busy times on Saturday Dec 19 and Sunday Dec 20 to avoid the exhibition from overcrowding. Numbered tickets will be distributed and we ask for your cooperation to follow. . . . .
Exhibition GoodsUpdate posted by Stand with HK at JPN at 04:24 pm
In A HongKongers’ Exhibition: Be Water, My Friend (12/16 - 12/20), a wide range of protest-themed books and accessories will be available for purchase. From small ornaments such as LIGHK character charms and Liberate Hong Kong badges, to protest-themed documentary; we’re sure that you’ll find something you like. For anyone. . . . .
Grand opening of A HongKongers’ exhibition: Be Water, My Friend!Update posted by Stand with HK at JPN at 03:45 pm
The long wait is finally over! We are pleased to announce the grand opening of A HongKongers’ exhibition: Be Water, My Friend. You may have heard the saying “Be Water, My friend”, but do you know its meaning in this pro-democracy movement? And what are the “Valiants” and “PRNs”? Come. . . . .
Exhibits introduction - Outpouring Support Around from the WorldUpdate posted by Stand with HK at JPN at 12:10 pm
Hongkongers’ determination for freedom and democracy has attracted profound attention from international society.At the Ripple Zone, we will exhibit a world map displaying the international activities related to Hong Kong’s protest and the outpouring of support Hongkongers received worldwide.Come and discover how overseas Hongkongers have played an important role in
Exhibits introduction - Protest ArtsUpdate posted by Stand with HK at JPN at 03:51 pm
From the virtual world to the reality, from the echo chamber of Hongkongers to the international world, the variety of protest arts bring the democratic movement to life. In our exhibition, the stunning artwork produced by Siukins, Gau Lung Park, Heavy Metal Comic, Planet Sponge and more will be showcased
Exhibits introduction - Origami CranesUpdate posted by Stand with HK at JPN at 12:14 pm
Every month, HongKongers gather at where their companions sacrificed, leaving flowers and Origami cranes to mourn the dead.In our exhibition, a Origami crane curtain will be decorating the entrance of the Downpour zone. Hidden inside the paper cranes are some of the deceased’s last wishes.“This fight might be long and
Exhibits introduction - Umbrella FormationUpdate posted by Stand with HK at JPN at 11:55 am
During the many stand-offs with Hong Kong police, frontline protesters would wield their umbrellas to form shields, protecting themselves from the clouds of tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray fired by the police. In A HongKongers’ Exhibition: Be Water, My Friend, we will recreate the umbrella formation in Zone
Exhibits Introduction - The Hong Kong WayUpdate posted by Stand with HK at JPN at 04:26 pm
On 23rd August 2019, inspired by the Baltic Way which happened 30 years ago, 210,000 HongKongers hold their hands to form a human chain.In the "Purling creek" zone of the "Be Water, My Friend" exhibition, visitors could take photos with illustrations of Hong Kong protesters and feel the atmosphere!