Hong Kong to Shanghai

After a little more than a week in China (with most of it in the more liberal and free Hong Kong), my research is coming along pretty nicely. I am going to have more face to face interviews soon, but my observations have served me fairly well so far. One of the most interesting events I observed was a Candlelight vigil remembering Tienanmen Square 22 years later in Victoria Park in Central Hong Kong. Here is what I wrote shortly after attending:

“On the relationship between the government and the citizen after seeing the 4/6 vigil – It seems to me like there is lots of push for change in China. Supposedly around 150,000 people were supposed to attend, and at least 30,000 were there in Victoria Park. People sang, called out slogans, listened, and called for the government to release dissidents and for Democracy (from what Erica and Chris told me about what they were saying). There was no overt call for going against the government that I heard. It seemed to me as if they sincerely wanted change, but that something like revolution would be unlikely (especially with the economy the way it is – Hong Kong people are devoted to their work (LONG days), and as long as the trade and money continue, it seems unlikely that change will occur outside the government. There was some feeling of rights consciousness as people peacefully rallied, but it felt very fragile, like it was merely being sanctioned by the government in order to keep the peace, with policemen all around (really to keep order, but it made the government presence felt). It will be interesting to hear about thoughts from the mainland.”

Just a quick note following that – while the police presence during the vigil was certainly noticeable, it was nothing compared to the presence I have felt after just a day of exploring Shanghai. Not only are there more policemen who are more noticeable, they walk with a certain sort of cocky authority (this is a generalization) that was generally absent in the policemen of Hong Kong. That’s all for now,

Dylan Kolhoff