Protests in Hong Kong, Artivism, and Migration Matters Festival

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Today China issued a warning to the Hong Kong people, "Those who play with fire will perish by it."

Which is ominous, and almost hilarious how villainous that sounds... Yet, the precedent of human rights violations instigated in the name of “public harmony” has been set, and whether you look at Tibet, the “reeducation” of the Muslim population, surveillance and censorship to name a few problematic things, we see a storm coming for Hong Kong. We have to hope that Beijing’s desire to avoid an international scene that might make business leave the island is stronger than it’s penchant for harmony.

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As artists and people we must inspire each other, and in our own small way with Wayward Thread we ask you to play with fire, even in.. no, especially because we live in a world of endless political fatigue. It’s tough, here in the UK, Brexit is the sound of white noise, or the sound of the European Union slowly munching away at our rights to have prawn cocktail crisps. Thankfully, we have Boris now.

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For Hong Kong - gone are the glory days of being the dominant international hub of China. With mega-cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen now with economies as large as entire countries like The Philippines and Sweden respectively, Hong Kong is just not as vital as it used to be. Beijing, like a very slightly less delightful Marie Kondo, is now asking itself whether Hong Kong still sparks joy… Marie Kondo has never shot students for protesting so I think we’re alright.

These photos are from our show at Migration Matters Festival in June, we performed the same day of one of the fiercest protests in Hong Kong, and it was a moving experience for us.

Right now, all over the world our future is being threatened by the self interest of power, and our apathy in response. For Hong Kongers the fear of what might be lost has inspired enough people for flames to catch, hundreds of thousands have been protesting regularly since April, and there are more protests planned for this weekend, there will be more after that. We are not powerless, but only if we risk getting burned.

Photo credit Al-Hussein Abutaleb.

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Si Rawlinson