At 6:00 a.m. in at dawn when the quietness of the night still enveloped the city, Mrs. Yip was scared to tears by a team of noisy police officers standing tall at the door claiming to arrest her 32-year-old son, district councilor Sam Yip Kam-lung, for the alleged “assaulting police” 13 months ago.
Yip was not at home then, the police would not leave. They marched into the apartment and hanged on for more than an hour—Gestapo-like harassment meant more to scare the well-educated senior lady than deploy a legal arrest. Mrs. Yip was extremely perplexed and angry as she, like most of the law-abiding Hongkongers, once trusted the policemen before the outbreak of the Protest Movement in June 2019.
Five hours later at noon, Councilor Yip reported to the police with his lawyer and was informed to a trail 4 days later although he was released unconditionally last year.
The Yips are not the only family who was threatened by the “Gestapos” in Hong Kong. Sources revealed that some 26000 residents in Hong Kong were arrested during the 16-month-long movement, and the number keeps rising without arising adequate notice from the public because of the self-censorship in local media. People are arrested each and every day, but only social media release the news of arrests, which is so far the only way to help the “missing population” in Hong Kong, once the world’s safest city.
Hong Kong Police Force revealed that the missing population numbered around 3000 in 2016 and 3046 in 2018. However, in the seven months from June to December in 2019 when the protest movement remained its strong momentum, the missing population was reportedly more than 6000. Some local organizations have joined their hands to collect the information and attempted to report and find the missing ones, but the result is disappointing for obvious reasons.
A proportion of the missing population was categorized as “committing suicide” although they might have been murdered before felling from a building or throwing to the sea. A domestic helper videoed on January 13 that a man, who was apparently unconscious and possibly broken the legs, was thrown out of a building housing married police officers. The video clip was circulated widely two days later, but no investigation was followed. The public has remained in dark on both the identity of the deceased man and the situation of the helper.
Although most of the deaths that claimed to be “unsuspicious suicide cases”, it has been an open secret that Hongkongers are arrested or killed by authorities in a secret way—only the neighbors or onlookers came across to the case knew something weird has happened. Media, however, tend to avoid reporting such cases for censorship.
In September for example, a senior editor of a prestigious Hong Kong media heard a huge sound at home late at night. He rushed out and found a man lying on the ground, obviously fell from above. Only a few neighbors were at the site but none of them was of the dead man’s acquaintance. Soon a middle-aged man ran to the crowd and cured the deceased person “bastard” viciously! The senior editor spared no time to report the case to the news desk but, senior as he was, the news was not published. The police claimed the death to be an “unsuspicious suicide”, the editor sensed the curse a suspicious might be a clue to a possible murder relevant to a colluded action associated with the police.
No figure can be released or fathomed on the actual missing population in Hong Kong since the government, police force, and media have “successfully” blocked the news and distracted the public to livelihood issues including housing and employment rate. The state media in the city, as well as pro-Beijing newspapers and TV stations, feel obliged to follow the orders from “the Beijing authorities” to focus on “economic development”, especially the so-called “dual cities development plan” aiming to integrate Hong Kong with abutting Shenzhen.
As Beijing and its proxies in Hong Kong are sparing no effort to terminate the liberate civil society and transform it into a police state, the new normal of tyranny is taking shape in Hong Kong. The Protest Movement takes a new form of legal “daily practices” including finding newsfeed from independent media, exchanging words and printed materials on protests during mealtime, and purchasing their daily necessities in small groceries announced to support protesters.
Resilient as Hongkongers are, the room for resisting the tyranny is shrinking quickly. Twitter, for example, has intentionally blocked the information of Hong Kong, especially those revealing the severity of police brutality and injustice of the city’s judicial system. Even the virtual community of the “brothers and sisters of protesters” is falling apart because of Beijing’s sabotages of Twitter and LIHKG, an on-line platform of young protesters.
Hongkongers are wise and brave to resist the Chinese Communist Party’s occupation of the land, but the protest demands a wide alliance of the world. Otherwise, the new normal will quickly turn to a new reality. The descending Hong Kong rings an alarming call to the world: Action! Now or never.