On March 2019, the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region proposed the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 primarily to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance (Cap. 503) and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance (Cap. 525). Once the bill is passed, not only the Hongkongers but also the Taiwanese people and other foreigners in transit through Hong Kong will possibly be arrested by the Chinese authorities according to the law.
The bill was strongly opposed by the Hongkongers as soon as it was announced; nevertheless, the government refused further discussion on this issue. Despite the fact that the waves of large-scale "anti-extradition bill" protests had broken out since June 2019, the authorities assumed a more unyielding attitude by condemning and suppressing the protesters. This overbearing response inevitably fomented a new surge of public discontent as the mass demonstrations became more frequent and constant over time, usually attended by more than 1 million people. These peaceful demonstrations were later defined by the government as "riots" which needed to be quelled with violence. The police began to attack the citizens indiscriminately; protesters were consistently arrested and tear-gassed, while some of them were even "fixed" on the subway train due to the conspiracy of the authorities and criminal organizations. Moreover, with the soaring cases of enforced disappearance and suspicious suicide, it seems that the Hong Kong government's power no longer protects the people but suppresses their voice instead.
It has been more than 2 years since the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement erupted in Hong Kong. Now the newspapers are either censored or banned; the opinion leaders arrested and the protesters purged. The increasingly stern atmosphere witnesses the city's enforced silence, reminding us of what happened in Taiwan after the 228 Incident in 1947. It is hard to believe that the same tragedy would ever occur once again after more than 70 years. As COVID-19 began to spread around the world since 2020, the erosion of Hong Kong's democracy and freedom has been gradually taking place. Emigration becomes the main choice for those who are able to flee the country; and for those who are not, the only way to survive is to keep silent and live humbly in despair.
In order to arouse more attention to Hong Kong's human rights problems as well as keep supporting its pro-democracy movement, we invite the Malaysian printmaker Tekkhean Lee to display his works on the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement. This exhibition consists of more than 100 prints based on his close observations of the protests, thus revealing the real circumstances of the Hongkoners to the democratic Taiwan.
"Since it is impossible for people in Hong Kong, I feel the need to do as much as I can on this free land."
After visiting Hong Kong during the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement, Tekkhean Lee brought back a series of black and white woodcuts filled with dramatic tension. Inspired by the artists of China's New Woodcut Movement during the 1920s and 30s, Lee employed the concept of the then-prevailing "left-wing woodcut prints" while creating his own works. Using pieces of plywood readily available as temporary printing plates, these artworks not only reflect the situation of Hong Kong society at that time but also express the artist's unique ideology.
Subject: Re: Invitation to exhibit from Hong Kong XXXX
Date: Friday, 17 July 2020 at 3:35 PM
Dear Mr. Lee,
Hope this email finds you well.
We believe that you have already learned about the news that the Hong Kong National Security Law was passed not long ago. After carefully examining its details, we consider that it will be perilous to exhibit the "Important Times" series which contains scenes and slogans of protests. Needless to say, we are also enraged by this restriction of artistic freedom; however, the most important thing for us is to ensure your safety as well as that of other exhibitors and the staff. As a result, we will manage to respond to the law's influences on art and education without violating the law itself.
We were wondering if it would be possible to exhibit your artworks in this way: while keeping the original explanatory labels, brochures and exhibition space next to the entrance, we plan to replace the original exhibits with the same amount and size of blank paper to reveal the reason why these works cannot be displayed.
We would appreciate hearing your opinion on this. Any and all suggestions are welcome.
Subject: Tokyo Art Exhibition Cancellation
Date: Friday, 4 Sep 2020
Hi Tekkhean Lee
Thank you for previously submitting your artwork to participate in the exhibition originally scheduled to be held this fall in Tokyo.
I am sorry to let you know that due to the rising political tension in the region, the hosting university has unfortunately decided to cancel the said event in consideration of security reasons and risk management.
However, we will still continue to explore for alternative venues to host the exhibition under a different framework, and we will notify you again once we've found a viable solution. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused, but please be assured that we will not give up in our cause.
A Letter to Hong Kong
written by Hsiao Wu
June 28, 2021
With a heavy heart, I could not set pen to paper for a long time…probably either because of the word "home" or the word "family." I feel so emotional and so lost. I have tons of love for many people and lots of hatred toward some. There are many unforgettable moments, faces and fragments of memories; however, there are also many things I wish to forget…sometimes I feel so powerful, sometimes so weak and fragile. Sometimes I feel like crying, and I am really capable of it. Sometimes I cannot help laughing so heartily to the extent of shedding tears of joy, just because of a little happiness which is so adorable. Sometimes I hate myself, since it seems that either there's nothing I can do or it feels like I'm not doing enough. Sometimes I do like myself for being a member of the "fraternity," for being able to "see" though the reality, the emotion, the fragility of myself and others, the hope in adversity… these are what Hong Kong brings to me in these 2 years as my "home."
I have so much to say to my "family," but do not know how to say and where to start with. How I wish I could take a good look at my "family," to hug every one of you!
I hope that all my "family" members can take good care of yourselves and embrace yourselves. If you can, please also take good care of your "family" members by your side, and tell them to take good care of themselves, too. We are like a family running in a marathon: some of the members are tired and need a rest, while others are waiting at the finish line. We need to take turns as if we are running a relay race; it is ok either to take a rest when feeling tired, or take our time to restart after crying. Whatever it takes, we are fighting for our own goals; no matter fast or slow, as long as we are on our way, everything will be fine!
Whether there will be a rainbow after the rain, we are family and always have each other. I like Goh-goh*, and I love the way he says the famous line of the movie Days of Being Wild, "I remember what should be remembered"
*"Goh-goh"(which means elder brother) is the nickname of the late Hong Kong movie star Leslie Cheung.
Source by Taiwan Hong Kong Association - Island Lennon Project