Whatever its intended purpose, the current objective of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law is to rebrand democracy as “subversion” and to eliminate any genuine opposition from the political landscape, a move in accord with the increasingly authoritarian mindset.
Former Democratic Party chairperson 胡志偉 Wu Chi Wai was arrested on 6 January in connection with an alleged unauthorised assembly on 1 July 2020. He was denied bail after failing to surrender a British National (Overseas) passport to authorities and is being held at the 荔枝角收押所 Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre, a maximum security institution. The following letter was written from there, and is dated 19 January. It was posted on the HK01 website here. Some background in English on Wu’s arrest can be found on the Hong Kong Free Press website here.
● 街坊 gāai1 fōng1 = neighbourhood | ● 逆境 yihk6 gíng2 = adverse circumstances; adversity | ● 强心針 kèuhng4 sām1 jām1 = (?) perhaps something like “a shot in the arm; a boost” in English cf. 强心劑 = cardiac stimulant (a medical term)| ● 愛護 oi3 wuh6 = to cherish; to treasure; to take good care of
Dear neighbourhood friends,
As I face adversity, the blessings, concern and support I have received from you all has been a real shot in the arm [强心針] and warmth [暖氣] in this frigid winter. Please allow me to thank you all for [the way] you have cherished me [對我的愛護].
● 演譯 yín2 yihk6 = usu. “deduction” but also “to interpret; to expound; to develop” & written 演繹 | ● 無言以對 mòuh4 yìhn4 yíh5 deui3 = words fail one
People act and Heaven watches. What is clearly [明明] written down in the articles of the Basic Law can be arbitrarily interpreted [so that it] leaves behind the world known to the run of common people [大衆]. [But on the subject of] who is right and who is wrong, words fail me.
● 賜予 chi3 yúh5 = to grant; to bestow | ● 應付 ying3 fuh6 = to deal with; to cope with; to handle | ● 預料 yuh6 liuh6 = to expect; to predict; to anticipate | ● 珍惜 jān1 sīk1 = to treasure; to value; to cherish | ● 親情 chān1 chìhng4 = affection (perhaps generally, more specifically, between blood relations)
Democracy has never been bestowed [on anyone]. Compared to other friends who have made many more sacrifices [付出更多的], I can cope with things, even though I am faced with not a few difficulties. Who can tell [未可預料] whether the future is likely to bring longer days without freedom as well as more losses of freedom (?). [Let us] treasure the present moment, as well as family affection, love, friendship and good health.
To [all] good people, I wish a lifetime of peace! “Add oil” to the people of Hong Kong!
There are some wonderful people in Hong Kong working to uphold the rights of the natural world. In this video from RTHK, another in the series entitled 《生態人》 or People of the Environment, we are introduced to 宋亦希 Dr Sung Yik-hei, an Assistant Professor of the Science Unit at Lingnan University. Sung, an expert on the 大頭龜Big-headed Turtle, helped to discover a new species of gecko, and is also doing work to help preserve a unique species of Hong Kong frog, 盧氏小樹蛙 Romer’s Tree Frog. In addition, he is passionate about educating future generations about the vital importance of accurate ecological knowledge.
Most of the grammar in this presentation is fairly straightforward, and shouldn’t cause you too many problems. There is, however, an interesting use of the aspect marker use of 咗 jó2 in the phrase 將呢啲溫室蟾去移除咗 for a future action which has not yet been realized. There is a discussion of this in Colloquial Cantonese, Chapter 9 (1997): “Sometimes when we ask people to do a favour we can use the aspect marker -jó2 with the verb to indicate anticipation of some action being completed soon. This use is not unlike the notion of ‘getting something done’ in English.”
As you watch the video, listen out for the following worth-getting-to-know vocabulary items: 緊連 gán2 lìhn4 = (?) to adjoin; 體型 tái2 yìhng4 = type of build or figure; 蝌蚪 fō1 dáu2 = a tadpole; 白蟻 baahk6 ngáih5 = a white ant; termite; 奇妙 kèih4 miuh6 = marvellous; wonderful; intriguing; 氣餒 hei3 néuih5 = to become dejected; to be discouraged; to lose heart; and 灌輸 gun3 syū1 = to instil into; to inculcate; to imbue with.
There is also some very relevant vocabulary to do with the idea of being enlightened or inspired to do something. In the first instance, the reporter uses the phrase 佢對保育議題嘅啓蒙, in which 啓蒙 kái2 mùhng4 = “to enlighten” is spoken. A bit later, Sung uses the verb 啓發kái2 faat3 = to rouse; to inspire; to enlighten while, right at the end, he employs 開啓 hōi1 kái2 = usually “to open”; also “to inaugurate” in the statement 大學先有機會真係去野外接觸動物 | 先令到我開啓咗做到呢啲生態研究呀 = It wasn’t till I went to university that I really had the chance to go into the wild and get a taste of [it]. Only then did I open to the idea [開啓] of doing this ecological research. At one point, he also uses a more figurative expression to indicate this idea of being inspired to do something. The expression is 著咗個燈膽, which literally means “to switch on the light-bulb”, equivalent to the English “a light went on inside my head”.
This video has recently (September 2021) been removed from the RTHK website. However, you can listen to the audio here:
● 緊連 gán2 lìhn4 = (?) to adjoin (lit. “to closely connect”) | ● 尋找 chàhm4 jáau2 = to seek; to look for
Reporter: Sung Yik-hei, Assistant Professor of the Science Unit at Lingnan University has come to this small [patch of] forest adjoining an urban district today, the main objective being to find two kinds of frog.
宋亦希：呢度地方呢，其實有我哋香港特有一種青蛙 | 就係 *jai 叫盧氏小樹蛙嘅分佈
● 盧氏小樹蛙 lòuh4 sih6 síu2 syuh6 wāa1 = Romer’s Tree Frog | ● 分佈 fān1 bou3 = to be distributed (over an area); be dispersed
Sung Yik-hei: Actually, here in this place, in fact, a kind of frog unique to Hong Kong called Romer’s Tree Frog is dispersed [分佈]
Caption: 宋亦希：嶺南大學科學教研組助理教授| Sung Yik-Hei: Assistant Professor, Science Unit, Lingnan University
● 外來種 ngoih6 lòih4 júng2 = (?) a foreign species; an introduced species | ● 溫室蟾 wān1 sāt 1 sìhm4 = 溫室蟾 = Greenhouse Toad, Eleutherodactylus planirostris | ● 體型 tái2 yìhng4 = type of build or figure | ● 需求 sēui1 kàuh4 = a requirement; a demand | ● 相似 sēung1 chíh5 = to resemble; to be similar to | ● 競爭 jihng6 jāng1 = to compete; competition | ● 密度 maht6 douh6 = density; thickness
Sung Yik-hei: Several years ago, a kind of foreign species was, in fact, discovered here, the Greenhouse Toad. All along, we have been worried that this Greenhouse Toad is competing with Romer’s Tree Frog because their body-type [體型] is similar as well as their food and living requirements. [My] coming here today is to do a bit of investigation to see whether what their numbers and density [密度] are like [係點樣] today. I will also collect a few samples and take a few frogs back to the laboratory. Then [I] will take a look at just how big the competition between them is.
● 中美洲 jūng1 méih5 jāu1 = Central America | ● 巴拿馬 bāa1 nàah4 máah5 = Panama | ● 盆栽 pùhn4 jōi1 = potted plants | ● 蝌蚪 fō1 dáu2 = a tadpole | ● 資源 jī1 yùhn4 = natural resources; resources | ● 移除 yìh4 chuèih4 = (?) to move or to eliminate | ● 傷害 sēung1 hoih6 = to injure; to harm; to hurt
Note: 仔 jái2 is a common diminutive suffix. We see it in 青蛙仔 = “little frog; froglet”
Sung Yik-hei: This one is a Greenhouse Toad. Its body-type is very small. It comes from Central America, from the countries in the vicinity of Panama. People have conjectured [估計呢] that they came to Hong Kong in potted plants, possibly as adult frogs or . . . They are very special in that they do not go through [冇] a tadpole-stage. Their eggs can turn into little frogs directly [that is, without an intermediary stage]. Perhaps they laid an egg in a potted plant, they don’t necessarily need water, and so all they need is some moist dirt [潮濕嘅泥]. Those eggs of theirs may have already turned into froglets. If we discover that there is a lot of competition between this Greenhouse Toad and Romer’s Tree Frog, then possibly we will commit some funding resources to actively remove these toads in order to reduce the harm [done] to our very own tree frog.
記者：尋蛙係主要目的 | 不過細心留意就會發現 | 呢個窄長嘅小樹林 | 本身住咗好多其他生物
● 窄長 jaak3 chèuhng4 = long & narrow
Reporter: The main objective is looking for frogs. However, pay careful attention and [you] will discover that [in] this long, narrow [strip] of little forest, many other creatures exist.
Sung Yik-hei: This place, for example: take one look and you’ll see all these termites. As for the animals in this soil, the density is actually quite high. There is the possibility that it will enable a place close to an urban area to support [有] so many different species, [species which are] able to exist here. It can be said that Hong Kong is also, in fact, a place with a very high bio-diversity, even if it is only a place near an urban area (?).
● 夜探 yeh6 taam3 = (?) night visit | ● 尋常 chàhm4 sèuhng4 = ordinary; usual; common | ● 年級 nìhn4 kāp1 = grade; year | ● 啓蒙 kái2 mùhng4 = to enlighten; to free someone from prejudice or superstition
Reporter: For Sung Yik-hei, this night visit [夜探] is a perfectly ordinary investigation, but the same experience [事] during his years at university meant [a kind of] enlightenment [for him] with regard to the issue of environmental protection.
● 旅程 léuih5 chìhng4 = route; itinerary; journey | ● 著燈膽 jeuhk6 dāng1 dáam2 = lit. to light the lamp/electric bulb (the subtitles have 燃起我的興趣 = to ignite my interest) | ● 啓發kái2 faat3 = to rouse; to inspire; to enlighten | ● 奇妙 kèih4 miuh6 = marvellous; wonderful; intriguing
Sung Yik-hei: At uni, during my first year, I had the chance to go to the island of Hainan on exchange. On just about the final evening of the trip [旅程], we went to look at frogs, at snakes, and to search for snakes. On that night, I saw many different kinds of frogs and I saw lots and lots of snakes and if was like a light went on [in my head] and I was switched on [啓發] [to the notion that] apart from being interested in animals you can keep indoors [室内入便嘅動物], I discovered that the feeling I got observing them [ = animals] out in nature was more wonderful, more enjoyable.
● 至 ji3 = extremely; very; to indicate the superlative degree; the most | ● 大頭龜 daaih6 tàuh4 gwāi1 = Big-headed Turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) | ● 順暢 seuhn6 cheung3 = smooth; unhindered
Reporter: Sung Yik-hei researches a number of different reptiles and amphibians, but the ones he loves the most are the Big-headed Turtle as well as other kinds of turtle. He has been researching [them] continuously for more than ten years, but this road has not been a smooth one by any means.
● 氣餒 hei3 néuih5 = to become dejected; to be discouraged; to lose heart | ● 淡水 táahm5 séui2 = fresh water | ● 種群 júng2 kwàhn4 = ? cf. 族群juhk6 kwàhn4= (?) group (of animals belonging to the same species) | ● 學術界 hohk6 seuht6 gaai3 = the academic world
Sung Yik-hei: In fact, there were many times when [I felt] discouraged, especially [in the case of] doing [research on] freshwater turtles [I felt] extremely discouraged. [In] the investigation I carried out for more than ten years, what we saw in fact was that some groups [種群] continuously declined. Very rarely, alas, did any good news appear. [I] hope that I can continue to do my academic research; in addition, I hope that these research [projects] can really help with preservation. But another aspect is most certainly [一定] education. It’s just that much of the time [通常] people are apt to worry whether the speed [of decline] can be caught up with or not [可唔可以追得上]. But if you don’t do [both research and education (?)], then you will never have any way of knowing. So, for this reason, [I] will go on doing [these things].
Sung Yik-hei: We have brought this class of kindergarten children to Kowloon Tsai Park. Although this is not exactly a place as natural as, say, a country park, it counts as a green environment close to an urban centre. The ecological value is not too bad. Today, what we have mainly come to see is birds. One reason for this is that birds are actually quite easy to come into contact with, quite large in [terms of size], and easy to see. Even though [we] are in a park, a place close to an urban area, there are actually many different species.
● 灌輸 gun3 syū1 = to instil into; to inculcate; to imbue with | ● 土生土長 tóu2 sāng1 tóu2 jéung2 = born and bred | ● 開啓 hōi1 kái2 = usually “to open”; also “to inaugurate”
Note: The example here of 更加好，更有效 = better, more effective demonstrates the kind of constant stylistic micro-adjustments (here between the comparative adjective markers 更加 and its shortened form 更) that Cantonese makes for the sake of rhythmic balance and completeness. I do not know whether it is even possible to formulate any guidelines about this aspect of the language . . .
Sung Yik-hei: Good, now step to one side. Next, please. [I] hope to give to children, especially [those] at kindergarten . . . The younger they are when they come into contact with bio-diversity and ecology, I think that this may be the biggest influence on them. Firstly, I hope to take them into the wild to come into contact with the natural world. The second thing is to understand that those places in Hong Kong close to urban areas can have a high [level of] ecology. Thirdly, I hope that while they are [still] young [於細], I can imbue them with some correct environmental concepts. In actual fact, I am a Hongkonger, born and bred, and there was never much opportunity actually in our education to come into contact with the natural world. It wasn’t till I went to university that I really had the chance to go into the wild and get a taste of [it] [去野外接觸]. Only then did I open to the idea [(?)] of doing this ecological research. Perhaps the opportunity of coming into contact with the natural world, if one is still a child . . . if one is still little, and has already had some contact with the green [綠色], with nature, then I think this could be quite important, and could be a way to do a better and more effective job with our environmental education.
● Ocean Park videoon Romer’s Tree Frog in Cantonese (8 January 2015) ● Article on Dr Sung Yik-hei in English (18 May 2017) ● RTHK video in the People of the Environment series on 劉彥芹 Anthony Lau Yin-Kun and the Hong Kong Newt (I have provided a transcript & an English translation for this)
You may be familiar with major Taoist classics such as the Tao Te Ching or Chuang Tzu, but there are many others which are less well known, especially in English translation. One of them is the 《清靜經》 or “Classic of Purity”, a short text of 391 Chinese characters. In this brief overview created by Taoist TV, we are introduced to the main message of the Classic: the more we reduce unnecessary wants and desires, the more we are able to reconnect with our original nature.
The video opens with a discussion of the character 靜 jihng6. The written form suggests that the meaning has a lot to do with 爭, meaning “to contend; to vie; to strive”, or its absence. Three compound words are used containing 靜: 靜止 jihng6 jí2 = “static”, 寧靜 nìhng4 jihng6 = “tranquil”, and finally 清靜 chīng1 jihng6, a word that usually means “peace and quiet” in the contemporary language, but which seems to carry connotations of “purity” in this Taoist context, and “mental stillness”.
There are some memorable grammatical moments in this video presentation. The first involves the potential structure 得到 dāk1 dóu2, added to verbs to suggest ability to do sth. successfully (here, 得 dāk 1 means “to be able”): 買得到 = “to be able to buy; to manage to buy” (my sense is that the English “to manage to do sth.” can often be handled by means of 得到). There is also an example of the more idiomatic 買得起 máaih5 dāk1 héi2, another kind of potential structure which means “to be able to afford”. What we get in the video, though, is the negative “to be unable to afford”, expressed by 買唔起. In the following passage, we encounter these structures in close proximity: 諗吓買唔買 | 買唔起又會唔開心 | 即使買得到 . . . (“When we consider whether to buy it or not, we are liable to feel unhappy if we cannot afford it. And even if are able to buy it . . .”)
There is also plenty in this presentation to give your vocabulary a real boost: 物質嘅世界 maht6 jāt1 ge3 sai3 gaai3 = the material/physical world; 無窮無盡 mòuh4 kùhng4 mòuh4 jeuhn6 = inexhaustible; 恍惚 fóng2 fāt1 = ① in a trance- absentminded ② dimly; faintly; seemingly; 妄想 móhng5 séung2 = a vain hope; wishful thinking | ● 貪求 tāam1 kàuh4 = to seek (sth. pleasurable); to covet; 過眼雲煙 gwo3 ngáahn5 wàhn4 yīn1 = as transient as a fleeting cloud; 復古 fuhk6 gú2 = to restore ancient ways; retro-styled; 衣食住行 yī1-sihk6-jyuh6-hàhng4 = food, clothing, shelter and transportation — basic necessities of life; and 逐樣逐樣 juhk6 yeuhng6 juhk6 yeuhng6 = item by item; one by one.
You can view the video here. Since it is on YouTube, you can slow down the playback speed if you wish: at 0.75 and 0.5, the sound quality is still good. And remember, if you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.
You might also like to make use the Ekho Text to Speech Converter if you have trouble matching any part of the transcribed Chinese text to the spoken version. Just make sure you select “Cantonese” under the language menu before you paste cut and text into the relevant box.
● 靜止 jihng6 jí2 = static; motionless; at a standstill | ● 寧靜 nìhng4 jihng6 = peaceful; tranquil; quiet | ● 何謂 hòh4 waih6 = what is meant by? what is the meaning of? | ● 清靜 chīng1 jihng6 = quiet
Have [you] ever wondered what jing (to be still, quiet, calm, etc.) is? When a thing comes to a stop and does not move, it can be described as jing ji or “motionless”, and when there is a complete absence of sound, it can be said to be ning jing or “tranquil”. But what is meant by ching jing or “purity”?
● 經典 gīng1 dín2 = ① classics ② scriptures (Measure word: 部 bouh6) | ● 《清靜經》Chīng1 Jihng6 Gīng1 = The Classic of Purity | ● 《太上老君說常清靜妙經》Taai3 Seuhng6 Lóuh5 Gwān1 Syut3 Sèuhng4 Chīng1 Jihng6 Miuh6 Gīng1 = The Wondrous Scripture of Constant Clarity and Stillness, as Spoken by the Most High Lord Lao | ● 煩惱 fàahn4 nóuh5 = to be vexed; to be worried; to fret
Note: The noun 内容 noih6 yùhng4 usually means “contents”, but the Cantonese use often calls for something else in English: here, important “element” or “theme” or “subject matter” would be perhaps more natural.
An extremely important Taoist text [經典] is the Classic of Purity or The Wondrous Scripture of Constant Clarity and Stillness, as Spoken by the Most High Lord Lao, to give it its full title. This classic is only 391 words [字] long, and the most import subject matter in it concerns [就係] something we are always meeting with in our everyday lives: vexation.
● 元神 yùhn4 sàhn4 = (?) original spirit | ● 心神 sām1 sàhn4 = usu. ① a mood; the state of mind ② attention | ● 嗅覺 chau3 gok3 = the sense of smell | ● 物質嘅世界 maht6 jāt1 ge3 sai3 gaai3 = the material/physical world | ● 無窮無盡 mòuh4 kùhng4 mòuh4 jeuhn6 = inexhaustible | ● 慾望 yuhk6 mohng6 = a desire; a wish
Note: According to Sheik Cantonese, in the noun 嗅覺 chau3 gok3, 嗅 is always pronounced chau3, but the colloquial reading hung3 is used for this character in other contexts.
Why would I use “restore our purity” to describe [this situation]? In the Classic of Purity it states that from the moment we are born [一出世], our original spirit [元神] and our state of mind [心神] exist [處於] in a realm [境界] of purity, but unfortunately as we gradually grow older, our sense of sight, of hearing, of smell, of taste and of touch bring us into contact with [令我哋接觸到] the material world and, accordingly [亦都因爲咁樣], give rise to endless desires.
● 慾念 yuhk6 nihm6 = a desire; a longing; a craving | ● 念頭 nihm6 tàuh4 = ① thought, idea ② intention | ● 止境 jí2 gíng2 = an end; a limit
When our eyes see a beautiful item of clothing in the latest fashion, our desire to buy things arises as a result. When we consider whether to buy it or not, we are liable to feel unhappy if we cannot afford it. And even if are able to buy it, before too long [過咗冇幾耐] we will probably see yet another beautiful item of clothing in the latest fashion. One thought is followed by another, and one desire is followed by another, forever without an end.
● 去除 heui3 chèuih4 = to get rid of; to remove | ● 妄想 móhng5 séung2 = a vain hope; wishful thinking | ● 貪求 tāam1 kàuh4 = to seek (sth. pleasurable); to covet| ● 相應 sēung1 ying3 = corresponding; relevant; here, the sense seems to be “correspondingly; in equal measure”
This work, the Classic of Purity, points out that if you wish to achieve purity of mind, it is not in the least bit difficult. This is because it is simply [a matter of] restoring the mind’s [心神] original state. Just as long as we are willing to get rid of wishful thinking and covetousness, vexation will also decrease correspondingly, as a matter of course [自自然然]. What we have to understand is that Taoism believes [認爲] there is no one absolute standard for anything in this world [世界萬事萬物].
● 重視 juhng6 sih6 = to attach importance to; to think highly of; to value| ● 評價 pìhng4 gaa3 = to appraise; to evaluate | ● 過眼雲煙 gwo3 ngáahn5 wàhn4 yīn1 = as transient as a fleeting cloud | ● 過咗一排 gwo3 jó2 yāt1 pàaih4/páai4*2 = (?) after a while (a matter of years is implied by the context) | ● 舊款 gauh6 fún2 = an outdated fashion, model or design | ● 丟抌 dīu1 dám2 = (?) to throw away; to discard | ● 復古 fuhk6 gú2 = to restore ancient ways; retro-styled
Note: The verb 興 hīng1 is used in Cantonese to mean “popular” or “fashionable”. With the addition of the aspect marker 返 fāan, we get the sense of something coming back into fashion after a period of neglect.
Values that we consider important, or [other] peoples’ appraisal of us, are actually nothing more than fleeting clouds, transient [by nature]. What you think of as the latest style in this moment will, after a time, become outdated, but one day, all the outdated [clothes] you once threw away will come back into fashion because of a revival of retro fashions [復古].
● 衣食住行 yī1-sihk6-jyuh6-hàhng4 = food, clothing, shelter and transportation — basic necessities of life; the bare necessities of everyday life | ● 物質 maht6 jāt1 = matter; substance; material | ● 巴結 bāa1 git3 = to curry favour with; perhaps “to suck up to” is closer to contemporary English | ● 捧到天上 púng2 dou3 tīn1 seuhng6 = to praise sb. to the skies
It isn’t [just a matter of] material things [such as] food, clothing, shelter and transportation. The way people relate to one another [人與人之間嘅相處 = lit. “the getting on between person and person”] is the same. One moment, others are singing your praises, perhaps in order to get something from you, but in the next moment they pull you back down, probably for some even greater benefit.
● 名譽 mìhng4 yuh6 = fame; reputation | ● 安定 [ng]ōn1 dihng6 = ① stable; quiet; settled ② to stabilize | ● 逐樣逐樣 juhk6 yeuhng6 juhk6 yeuhng6 = item by item; one by one
In the end, you will come to understand that we can never settle the mind [安定 . . . 心神] by going after fame, power and wealth day and night. If we know how to put [such pursuits] aside, one by one, our mind may gradually regain [its] purity, and, in this way [咁樣], the distance between us and the Great Tao will get smaller, too.
The recent arrest of 53 people connected with the democratic movement continues the sustained effort to establish an authoritarian style of government in Hong Kong and to criminalize dissent of any kind.
In July 2020, 戴耀廷 Benny Tai and others organized a primary election for people associated with the democratic camp. Identifying the most popular candidates, he hoped, would enable the democrats to win a majority of seats in the Legislative Council (click here to see a brief report on this by HK01). According to the Secretary for Security 李家超John Lee Ka-chiu, himself a former policeman, these primary elections constituted “a malicious plan to paralyse the SAR government”. The man largely responsible for implementing the National Security Law in Hong Kong, 李桂華Steve Li Kwai-wah used the phrase “to bring our government to a complete standstill” with regard to the primaries and then compared Tai’s actions to that of a person intending to commit robbery. The idea that a government is not a fixed entity but one that evolves in response to the wishes of the people it governs is absent from both views.
You can view the HK01 video by an unnamed reporter here, but scroll down if you want the Cantonese transcript, notes and translation. For interest’s sake, I have also added the official English translation of Article 22 of the National Security Law dealing with “subversion” [顛覆國家政權罪]. If you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.
You might also like to make use the Ekho Text to Speech Converter if you have trouble matching any part of the transcribed Chinese text to the spoken version. Just make sure you select “Cantonese” under the language menu before you paste cut and text into the relevant box.
● 活躍份子 = active element; activist| ● 圖謀 = to plot; to scheme; to conspire | ● 歹毒 = malicious | ● 得逞 = (pejorative) to have one’s way; to succeed; to prevail | ● 萬劫不復 = beyond redemption; never to be recovered or restored | ● 深淵 = abyss
John Lee Ka-chiu (Secretary for Security): . . . activists suspected of the crime of subverting state power and plotting with a malicious plan to paralyze the SAR government. Had this malicious plot succeeded, Hong Kong could possibly have experienced yet another abyss, never to be recovered from (?).
● 發起 = to start; to launch | ● 「35+民主派初選」= The 35+ Primaries for the Democrats | ● 干犯 = to offend; to encroach upon; to break (the law) | ● 板塊 = main parts; sector | ● 濫捕 = (?) to arrest people excessively/indiscriminately
Reporter: The police Office for Safeguarding National Security dispatched over a thousand police officers and arrested 53 individuals who had initiated or taken part in last year’s 35+ Primaries for the Democrats, claiming [話] that they were under suspicion of having violated Article 22 of the National Security Law, [dealing with] subversion. (Democrats chanting slogans.) Members from the democratic groups [民主派唔同板塊] criticized [the action] as “an excessive use of arrests” [濫捕] during a meeting with the press.
● 初選 = a primary election | ● 生案白造 saang1 on1 baahk6 jouh6 = to fabricate; to cook up a story; to make up without evidence | ● 危害 = to harm; to jeopardize; to endanger | ● 萬能 key (or 萬能鑰匙) maahn6 nahng4 (yeuhk6 sih4) = a master key; a skeleton key; a passkey | ● 白色恐怖 = white terror
Lo Kin-hei (Chairperson of the Hong Kong Democrats): Primary elections are something that any (political) camp can freely undertake. Any camp or any party having to do a primary election to choose candidates is perfectly reasonable, perfectly normal, something completely devoid of anything inappropriate. To cook up some story and say that it jeopardizes national security. After the National Security Law became a master key, what we have all seen is white terror.
● 人選 = a candidate | ● 並非如此 = not at all like this | ● 停擺 = (of a pendulum) to come to a standstill; stop | ● 打劫 = to rob; to plunder; to loot
Steve Li Kwai-wah (Senior Superintendent of the National Security Division): . . . is it that we aren’t letting people hold primary elections? As everyone knows, primary elections are also held in other countries, but such events [運動] are usually for the selection of suitable candidates and the choosing of desirable candidates to become members of parliament [參加佢哋嘅議會]. But this is not what we have in this instance. They only have one aim: to bring our government to a complete standstill. [If] a person drives off in a car to commit robbery, the driving of the car is no problem, but if that person was doing so in order to rob someone, for this reason it is against the law.
Raphael Wong (Chairperson of the League of Social Democrats): I mean, now it’s not me grabbing a gun and [heading off] to commit robbery but a cheque issued [俾咗] by the government to the people. What we want is for the representatives of the will of the people [民意代表] to go and cash the cheque, to use what was written down in the Basic Law right from the start [一早], a right that for ever so many years no one has ever challenged. But at this time (?) when we want to go and get our money, you tell us that we are committing robbery.
● 無限 = infinite; limitless; boundless | ●上綱 = to raise to the higher plane of principle; elevate an issue to the level of principle | ● 不容 = not tolerate; not allow; not brook | ● 檢控 = to prosecute | ● 作爲 = conduct; a deed; an action 法制 = legal institution; legal system; legality
Alan Leong Kah-kit (Chairperson of the Civic Party): Steve Li Kwai-wah [and (?)] John Lee Ka-chiu have been elevating without limit his [that is, Benny Tai’s] essays to the level of principle. In my view, this is not allowed under our common law in any shape or form [完全]. It is merely a legality for prosecuting [certain] criminal acts or behaviours.
[A list of some of the major people arrested is given. For the list in English, see this report on the Hong Kong Free Press website]
Reporter: The police say they do not rule out [the possibility] of further arrests.
The Law of the People’s Republic of China onSafeguarding National Security in theHong Kong Special Administrative Region
Part 2 Subversion
Article 22 A person who organises, plans, commits or participates in any of the following acts by force or threat of force or other unlawful means with a view to subverting the State power shall be guilty of an offence:
(1) overthrowing or undermining the basic system of the People’s Republic of China established by the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China; (2) overthrowing the body of central power of the People’s Republic of China or the body of power of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; (3) seriously interfering in, disrupting, or undermining the performance of duties and functions in accordance with the law by the body of central power of the People’s Republic of China or the body of power of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; or (4) attacking or damaging the premises and facilities used by the body of power of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to perform its duties and functions, rendering it incapable of performing its normal duties and functions.
A person who is a principal offender or a person who commits an offence of a grave nature shall be sentenced to life imprisonment or fixed-term imprisonment of not less than ten years; a person who actively participates in the offence shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years but not more than ten years; and other participants shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, short-term detention or restriction.
But there he was, kissing the footpath with his knees, precisely motionless against the stop-start traffic’s kick-the-curb impatience beside the heart-lifting red and blue, and green of the patterned Chinese memorial gateway — Earth’s short arch to Heaven — near Russell Street. Steeply bent over a basin half-filled with kitchen water, as predictably chill Melbourne rain began to spit through storey-tall gaps in the sky-line, his intensity tingled the low-key atmosphere, but it wasn’t the touch of the rain he needed: the coins submerged in his liquid offering spelt a different, more drastic prayer, here drowning far out the white-hot-shortness of debt.
The Lennon Walls that appeared as a spontaneous form of protest across Hong Kong were dismantled in the latter half of 2020, but on Day 1 of 2021 they have come back to us in a new form: the Lennon Banner. The one featured in the photograph bears the words 釋放政治犯 (“Release Political Prisoners”) and references the Lennon Walls with its orange and purple post-it note squares.
The report, from 劉錦華 Làuh4 Gám2 Wàah4 at HK01 provides some of the background to the banners. As one of the councillors of the Kwai Tsing District said in a speech, the main thing is 並指希望藉行動表達過去一年港人雖受打壓，但依然人心不死的訊息 — to express the message that the will of the people will never die, despite the repression Hongkongers have endured over the past year.
For the original report and extra photographs of the Lennon Banners, just click here.
● 發起 faat3 héi2 = to start; to launch | ● 巡遊 chèuhn4 yàuh4 = usu. to make an inspection circuit | ● 連儂布 Lìhn4 Nùhng4 Bou3 = a Lennon (Fabric) Banner cf. Lennon Wall | ● 響應 héung2 ying3 = to respond; to answer | ● 聲援 sīng1 wùhn4 = to express support for; to support
Today (1 January) the Civil Human Rights Front launched a kind of touring protest [巡遊] in many districts, to display to the public [inscribed] “Lennon Banners”, [featuring] signatures and short written messages [字句] previously collected in a number of districts. As part of this [當中], democratic councillors in the Kwai Tsing District also responded with an action, expressing support for the 12 Hong Kongers at the Kwai Chung Plaza.
● 輪流 lèuhn4 láu4*2 = to take turns; to do sth. in turn | ● 在囚 joih6 chàuh4 = (?) in prison; imprisoned | ● 人心不死 yàhn4 sām1 bāt1 séi2 = (?) the will of the people will never die | ● 訊息 seun3 sīk1 = message
Quite a number of councillors in the Kwai Tsing District took it in turns to make speeches, calling on citizens to continue to be concerned about Hong Kong people in prison or in exile, and called on China to release all political prisoners. They also hoped that, by means of this action, they could express the message that the will of the people will never die, despite the repression Hongkongers have endured over the past year.
展示 jín2 sih6 = to display | ● 衝鋒車 chūng1 fūng1 chē1 = (?) assault vehicle | ● 戒備 gaai3 beih6 = to be on standby; to guard; to be on guard
While councillors in the Kwai Tsing District were displaying the “Lennon Banner”, three assault vehicles and more than ten police officers were on stand-by in the vicinity, observing [proceedings]. However, they did not interfere with the carrying out of the action.
單仲偕 Sihn6 Juhng6 Gāai1 = Sin Chung-kai | ● 權益 kyùhn4 yīk1 = rights and interests | ● 612基金 is short for 612人道支援基金 yàhn4 douh6 jī1 wùhn4 gēi1 gām1 = 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund | ● 捐贈 gyūn1 jahng6 = to contribute (as a gift); to donate | ● 審判 sám2 pun3 = to bring to trial; to try
Chairperson of the Kwai Tsing District Council Sin Chung-kai said that democratic councillors of the District will continue to show concern for the rights and interests of political prisoners in jail in Hong Kong or abroad. Sin also appealed to citizens to donate to the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, saying that at present the Fund had only ten and a bit million [Hong Kong] dollars left [in it], and could not necessarily cover [應付] cases the hearing of which had not yet been completed. He called on citizens to actively support the Fund.
● 梁錦威 Lèuhng4 Gám2 Wāi1= Leung Kam Wai (Simon) | ● 日前 yaht6 chìhn4 = a few days ago; the other day | ● 不獲起訴 bāt1 wohk6 héi2 sou3 = cf. 起訴 = to bring an action against sb.; to prosecute | ●「冤枉監」yūn1 wóng2 gāam1 = ? cf. 冤枉 = to treat unjustly
Leung Kam Wai, a Kwai Tsing District councillor, said that many democratic councillors in the Kwai Tsing District had, during the Christmas period [在聖誕節前後], collected comments from residents in Tai Wo Hau, Tsing Yi and Kwai Chung in order to make this “Lennon Banner”, and had put it on display on New Year’s Day. A few days ago, the Twelve Hongkongers had been sentenced by a Mainland court, [but] no action was brought against two of them who are under-aged. Despite this being the case, Leung Kam Wai said, they still had to spend 130 days in “unjust imprisonment” [「冤枉監」] and he appealed to citizens to continue to be concerned about the other ten Hong Kong people [still] in prison on the Mainland. He also added that, if local residents take no interest [in this case], it won’t bear thinking about [難以想像] how they might be treated.
張文龍 Chēung1 Màhn4 Lùhng4 = Cheung Man-lung (Dennis) | ● 與生俱來 yúh5 sāng1 kēui1 lòih4 = to be born with; inherent; innate | ● 處境 chú2 gíng2 = unfavourable situation; plight | ● 剝奪 mōk1 dyuht6 = to deprive; to expropriate; to strip
Cheung Man-lung, another Kwai Tsing District councillor, appealed to the people of Hong Kong to go on showing concern for political prisoners. In Cheung’s opinion, the law-breakers should be the government and not the political prisoners, since the government has not given Hong Kong people their human rights in accordance with the Basic Law. Moreover, the pursuit of democracy and freedom should not be [regarded as] criminal behaviour but as a natural human right. Cheung also expressed the hope that political prisoners might find themselves in a less unfavourable situation in the new year rather than be stripped of their rights.