Teenagers, Smoke and Umbrellas: Printmaking Artworks on Hong Kong's Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement
Date: Oct. 23, 2021 – Feb. 13, 2022
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 17:00, from Tuesday to Sunday／Closed Day: Every Monday
Venue: National 228 Memorial Museum（No.54, Nanhai Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 100, Taiwan）
Curator: Tekkhean Lee
Advised by the Ministry of the Interior, Taiwan
Organized by the Memorial Foundation of 228, National 228 Memorial Museum
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.