Brothers and sisters in arms, we form the Hong Kong Nation

Jun 24, 2020

If you have read the previous two articles, we believe that you would be somewhat acquainted with the idea of the Hong Kong Nation. Yet we ask, do you realise that the Hong Kong Nation has already taken form earlier on? Complemented by its sister article entitled Definitions and Clarifications, we hope that the following will allow readers to understand how the Hong Kong Nation concept is put into practice.

“Comrade! Have they used TG at the front?” Having been in the resistance for most of this year, protestors normally address each other as “comrade”. Whilst this term sounds somewhat ordinary, it carries special significance to the Hong Kong Nation.

“Comrade”: the meaning behind the name

In the current movement, this term was first used by LegCo member Kwong Chun Yu. He once said at the start of June: “I don’t want any of my comrades to bleed; I don’t want any of them to be injured. My comrades are those right here now.” Kwong insists on using the term “comrades” for all protestors: in Chinese, the term literally means “hands and feet”, which points to the importance of every protestor in the movement. We are equally hurt if any of our fellow protestors are hurt. Addressing each other as comrades also alludes to Hongkongers being a united whole, where there is no distinction between us as individuals, for we make up one common body.

Our resistance ideology transcends all universal values and morals

Right after the first tear gas canister was fired on 28 September five years ago, you might have joined the Umbrella Revolution in Admiralty because you could empathise with the students suffering in the front lines. Then on 12 June last year, many of us joined the resistance because we felt for our comrades protesting in the frontlines. Hongkongers have used universal values like democracy to define this movement because this would draw the world’s support. However in truth, is our motivation simply a matter of idealistic concepts such as democracy? Many supporters of the movement would attribute their support to their conscience, yet there is so much more suffering in this world—so why should our conscience not equally apply to the hungry or those suffering because of war? You may well help hungry children around the world, but would you die for them like you would for Hong Kong? Ultimately, our movement is grounded in the fact that the Hong Kong Nation is one body sharing a united fate.

Seemingly foreign, but strangely familiar

The great nationalist Benedict Anderson conceptualises the nation as an imagined united body: one which might be inherently limited, yet enjoys political independence. 1 We often mention there being two million comrades, yet none of us has seen every single comrade. Instead, we have constructed the concept of a nation by thinking of Hongkongers as a common group. Such thinking is evident in different aspects of our everyday life: pro-democracy stickers on shop windows, people wearing protest masks in the street, and the song Chandelier that reminds us of the show Maria Has Something To Say. These symbols of our culture and language bond us emotionally and define who our comrades are. While we may not have met, we are connected nonetheless as comrades.

A nation forged out of hardship

In the words of Leung Kai Ping, LegCo comrade of 1 July and author of Hong Kong Nationalism, “a common body refers to a group that could empathise with the suffering of others and is willing to bear the burden of it.” Leung then describes a slogan that embodies this: “I am willing to block bullets off for you, but would you go on strike for me?” The fact of the matter is, neither is there any obligation for those in the frontlines to block bullets for you, nor do you need to go on strike for them. But we need to see the suffering and sacrifice of others as ours. We need to treat each protest as a recognition of the effort of previous protestors. Only then could a true collective group emerge. 2 The spirit of the Hong Kong Nation has long been within our hearts, and we are moment by moment living this out in our lives. We would lose sleep worrying for our fellow comrades’ safety, and we grieve for them when we hear that they have sacrificed themselves for the cause. Receiving news of our comrades winning the district council elections, we rejoiced with them. We rejoice and suffer together precisely because we all belong to the Hong Kong Nation. Even though we have not necessarily seen our fellow protestors’ identities, we see them as our comrades nonetheless. Even though we might not have been introduced to those protestors standing in the dock of a criminal court, we see them nonetheless as our family. Advancing together, the Hong Kong Nation has already evolved into a social phenomenon—no longer are we simply a concept.

The Hong Kong Nation represents hope for the movement

The nationalist spirit, having been unleashed, will not be silenced, and the Hong Kong Nation has now been awakened. Over the past two centuries, millions have sacrificed their sweat and blood to build up their nation. For the entire populace to be valiant and to participate in the strike, we need to have a spirit of sacrifice and a strong national awareness. Facing up to the CCP’s oppressive colonialism, no longer can we only restrict ourselves to universal values as our motivation to resist. We ought instead to acknowledge the existence of the Hong Kong Nation with bravery and honesty, and embrace this sense of identity. With our empathy for suffering and willingness to bear the burden of others, victory will be ours.

You can call me your fellow comrade, and that is because we form part of the Hong Kong Nation.

1 Benedict Anderson (1983). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism.
2 Leung Kai Ping (2019). Speech made at the Power to the People Rally.

原文:你我情同手足 就係香港民族
Translated by: HKIA
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