On Sunday, 47 Hong Kong pro-democracy figures were charged with conspiracy to commit subversion over accusations they organised unofficial primary elections aiming to “paralyse” the government by winning a majority and blocking legislation. The election was ultimately postponed for a year, purportedly because of the pandemic. All face terms of up to life in prison if convicted. Before they reported to police stations across the city to be detained, some sent messages to their supporters about justice, hope and endurance.
Here are some of their messages, translated and compiled by independent researcher Eliot Chen:
Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, 43, former LegCo member who resigned in protest in September 2020.
“Today, to be guilty of our common ideals, I am deeply honoured. I have received your well-wishes, and I wish everyone fulfilment each day. No matter the situation, fill everyone around you with love and with hope.”
Henry Wong Pak-yu, 39, district councillor.
“To have a clear conscience, is not to be agreeable, but to be good; to prevent misdeeds from happening.”
Jeremy Tam Man-ho, 45, Civic party member, former LegCo member who resigned with colleagues in November 2020.
“Go peacefully, and be upright – sometimes it’s hard to do both, and we can only work hard to practise the latter, and wish for peace in our hearts. History will stand on the side of justice, so sit straight, drink water, and dawn will eventually come.”
Gwyneth Ho Kwai-lam, 30, intended to run in the elections.
“Many people probably didn’t start thinking about exile until after [Nathan Law, politician and activist who was leader of Demosistō from 2016 to 2018, he later fled to the UK]. But for me, I knew by 7/1/19 that the cost of exile was more unbearable for me than anything else. So a decision that, to you, looks like caging a lion, to me, is a trade off that I am willing to bear. I want peace of mind more than peace, and the two are sometimes opposites. I wish that you all may find peace of mind, and then, to press forward.”
Claudia Mo, 64, pan-democrat LegCo member who resigned with colleagues in November 2020.
“I may be physically feeble, but I’m mentally sturdy. No worries. We all love Hong Kong yah.”
Lester Shum Ngo-fai, 27, district councillor, disqualified in July 2020.
“Do not feel demoralised, this road is our own. It is for Hong Kong people to choose together, it is the one we must walk together. History has no turnback points, only predecessors.”
Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, 39, leader of the Civic party, disqualified from LegCo in November 2020. Intended to run in the elections.
“Press on within, and press on together.”
Prince Wong Ji-yuet, 23, intended to run in the elections.
“If tomorrow I am no longer able to resist the oppression of totalitarianism, I will practise well, and hope to be a person who can find peace in my heart one day. But I’m crying, because I still have so much, and am so happy, which is why I’m resistant and sad. People in the mountains are self-righteous, but the road there is full of danger. Thank you for your concern. If I am remanded, I hope that when I come out, you will all still be there, continuing to endure.”
Ng Kin-wai, 25, district councillor.
“Remember to pay attention to the nameless brothers, to the Hongkongers sent to China, relatives and friends. This land needs your support more than ever, remember not to bury your conscience, remember to come back to fight.”
Tiffany Yuen Ka-wai, 27, district councillor for Tin Wan. Former Demosisto member.
“Take care of Tin Wan for me and for yourselves, please. I love you all.”
Andrew Wan Siu-kin, 51, Democratic party member and district councillor.
“I have no fears, facing up to difficulties, I have hoped to demonstrate the strength of the wind. Respect yourselves! Remember your original intentions, no matter what may suppress them, be safe, and take care!”
Lam Cheuk-ting, 43, Democratic party chief executive and district councillor.
“Maybe I’ll be walking back out here in a little bit.”
Fergus Leung Fong-wai, 23, district councillor and student.
“Continue to hold on. Remember the reasons why we chose to stand out.”
“In the face of constant suppression and entering this political winter, we can only rely on mutual support and care, and work hard amid adversity. Prison can isolate us, but it cannot prevent us from communicating with each other and taking care of each other; iron chains can lock up our bodies but it cannot lock up our minds and souls. Stay calm and carry on. This too shall pass!”
Carol Ng Man-yee, 50, president of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) and Labour party member.
“To the very edge, you must stick to your ideals. The pursuit of a better society and the pursuit of democracy will never die, the labor movement will endure forever.”
Lee Yue-shun, 27, Civic party member and district councillor.
“No matter the absurdity that they face, Hongkongers must live well and live in the truth. I am proud to be a Hongkonger, I have no regrets. If anyone in North Point needs help, please contact during office hours. The office of Lee Yue-shun will serve until the very last moment.”
Hendrick Lui Chi-hang, 39, intended to run in the elections.
“Hiu-yan, this time it’s my turn to say goodbye to you. The first time ‘May Glory Be to Hong Kong’ was played here, was in a memorial for another frontline victim. Might tonight be the last time it’s played? I hope everyone will not forget Hiu-yan & all the other sacrificed kids of the same age. I’m so glad to have gotten to know so many brothers, I will definitely think of you :) I hope you all live well. I wish you peace. ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ (Timothy 4:7)”.
Leung Kwok-hung, 64, founding member of the League of Social Democrats (LSD), former LegCo member.
“The National Security Law is without basis in law or heaven, release all political prisoners.”
Owen Chow Ka-shing, 24, intended to run in the elections.
“Whether we are in the streets, in prison or overseas, hope will always be needed for us to keep fighting this endless battle ... Good luck to all of you out there.”
Ray Chan Chi-chuen, 48, former LegCo member who resigned with colleagues in November 2020, and the first openly gay politician in Hong Kong.
“I’m not labelling this ‘my final post’ because I still believe that I’ll see you all tonight. Life doesn’t turn out how we intend, misfortune happens all the time. To live a life of peace, first you must have inner peace!”
Andy Chui Chi-kin, 54, district councillor.
“Only in the evening did I realise the glasses I wear can’t be worn in custody. Fortunately, there’s a spectacle company that provides service within an hour. I rushed to choose my first ever pair of fibreglass glasses which are much lighter than my current pair. But by myopia is deep, and it was kind of expensive to choose the thinnest fibre lens. (The current glass lenses are new, they hurt ...) After going home to have dinner with my mother to celebrate her birthday, I think I ended up worrying my family. No matter what, we don’t forget our original ideals, and I hope you all face them bravely.”
Frankie Fung Tat-chun, 25, intended to run in the elections.
“With a clear mind, you have your own justice
Fight hard and to the end
I do not fear my own affairs
I only fear that there will be nobody to replace me”
Lawrence Lau Wai-chung, 53, district councillor.
“Perhaps in the afternoon you won’t see the blue sky. Time is limited so I have to say my goodbyes in a hurry but I hope there will be time later. ‘I may never see the world again!’ I thought of the familiar words by the great Turkish writer Ahmet Altan.”
Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying, 34, district councillor.
“Things happen in a hurry, so I’m very grateful to friends from all sides for their ready support. Today I have my two cats by my side (a handful of cat hair), so I am calm, please rest assured, I have enough courage to face what may come.”
Mike Lam King-nam, 33, intended to run in the elections.
“I have been comforting my family for several days. The most important thing is that I did nothing wrong and I did nothing illegal, so even if I will be prosecuted or imprisoned, in the end, my conscience is clear.”
Roy Tam Hoi-pong, 40, district councillor.
“Last week, I presided over the meeting of the Environmental Committee, which may be the last time I appear in the District Council chamber. My original intention in politics was to bring environmental protection into Hong Kong’s political agenda. The road to environmental protection, democracy, and freedom, is equally rugged in Hong Kong, and I have tried my best, and I am grateful to all of you for your company. I have already had friends and volunteers by my side. Now that my career of a councillor is almost over, many things are out of control. One can only be upright and honest, and never forget your original ideals and maintain a clear conscience. For our love of Hong Kong, we sweat together, laugh together, and shout together. Endure, everyone, we are all Hongkongers!”