We talked to a couple of people directly affected by the pro-democracy protests to find out their views on what’s been happening in Hong Kong recently.
Jessica is in her forties, and works for a business situated in the Occupy Central area.
How do you imagine the situation getting resolved—what would it look like to you?
“It’s turned from a student movement into the Umbrella Movement because the government used force in its handling of the students. That upset us. We don’t want to see young students getting hurt by our armed police.
“This is very big call for Hong Kongers people to stand up and protect our freedom. We must voice our opinion to have universal suffrage. If we don’t, we’ll never have the chance to get our voices heard.”
What do you think is going to happen next?
“The court issued a notice to clear the site. We’ve tried not to have confrontations with police. Some may stay til they get arrested. Police and some cleaning workers and some pro-Beijing people will come. So it’s a very complicated situation.
We don’t want violence. We were taught not use violence, but we will stay til they come.
What has been the best thing for you about this protest? And the worst?
“I never would’ve thought that the Umbrella Movement could have such an impact on Hong Kong. Hong Kongers had a reputation for being money-oriented, selfish, and untrusting. But this situation has changed the relationships between us.
“People come here bringing hot coffee or home-cooked soup; some buy water or biscuits. They’re willing to offer help whenever needed; money and food keep being sent over here. Someone bought two sets of equipment for those who need to recharge their phones. People just leave their phones there, and pick them up later, without worrying about losing their stuff.
“People help each other without asking for a reward. Some come here to clean public toilets and put out toiletries. The relationship between people has never been so harmonious. You can always see touching things here, like hairdressers giving free haircuts, a nurse visiting to see if anyone is sick.
“Students also mark out maps advising protesters where to buy things from people whose shop doors are blocked so their businesses don’t suffer during the occupation. People have the heart to think of others which is really unusual for Hong Kong.
“The worst thing is that government officials fail to see this and oppose these wonderful people.”
Julia is a fourth-year university student who’s been taking part in Occupy Central.
“It’s been over 40 days since we started. The government is getting the site cleared. We’ll withdraw from here, but we won’t stop our fight for justice. We have many ways to achieve our goal. We’ll figure it out soon.”
What has been the best thing for you about this protest, and the worst?
“We came together with a clear aim and got our voices heard all over the world. We’re not doing this for ourselves. We’re stepping forward for a better Hong Kong and for Hong Kongers to have the right for universal suffrage. We’re grateful to the people who’ve been supporting us in many ways so that we can still be here.
“We were chosen by our era to stand up for Hong Kong, even if we have to sacrifice our lives. This is our mission, so I don’t mind giving up my time and energy for this.
“The worst thing is we don’t see success in sight. What we face is uncertainty.”