The protest in Hong Kong continues on for the 3rd-month. The footage gathered shows that Hong Kong truly is one of the most cyberpunk settings in the world.
Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that tends to focus on a “combination of lowlife and high tech“ featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpunk
The recent protests in HK have involved all of the aspects of the cyberpunk setting.
- For one, the protesters have utilized modern technology (internet & gadgets) and social media networks to stay connected. They are using technology to plan and organize their protest.
- Secondly, they have developed science-based methods of dealing with tear gas (see below). And they are gearing up with protective armor.
- Thirdly, the social order in the city is going through a radical change. These authorities have started to be seen as oppressors, making the protesters express a sense of rebellion.
Both reporters and photographers are capturing every movement of the protests. Part of the reason why Hong Kong is receiving so much attention is because it’s one of the worlds largest financial hubs.
Protestors dealing with tear gas
Laser pen party
The protesters have even organized a laser pen party in the city center in order to show the harmlessness of the laser pens. This happened after the police accused them of trying to blind the police with the laser pens. The protesters have been using laser pens to hide their faces and identities from cameras.
Background to the protests
Britain colonized Hong Kong in 1841 but handed the city back to China in 1997. China agreed to let Hong Kong continue to be under its own rule (a democracy) for 50 more years – “One country – two systems”. This 50 year period isn’t over yet but China has tried to gain more and more control over the city.
This year, China proposed a bill that would allow China (among other countries) to detain and extradite people from Hong Kong. Many fear that if this bill gets passed, Hong Kong will be under mainland China’s jurisdiction. It would mean that Hong Kong would no longer be a democracy and that the people would no longer have free speech as they have today.
And understandably, the people, especially the young generations, who have enjoyed the freedom of democracy, want to keep it as it is today. And that’s why the people of Hong Kong are protesting against the extradition bill.
Why are the protesters hiding their identities?
Standing up against the Chinese government isn’t something to be taken lightly. China has many times before in history treated anti-governmental actions with extreme methods like massacres (see 1989 Tianmen Square protest massacre) and making people mysteriously “disappear”, taken from their homes, work, school or the streets to never be seen again.
Because of China’s extreme methods of dealing with anti-government actions, the protesters are trying to hide their identities out of fear of what the Chinese government will do to them and their families. That is why they are wearing facial masks during peaceful protests and speeches, using laser pens against police cameras and recently also cutting down street lamps that supposedly has facial recognition software.
Disclaimer: While one can appreciate the cyberpunk-ness of the protests it’s important to keep in mind that it’s about real people fighting for their democracy and future. I wish the people of Hong Kong success in their protest and that the protesters receive their five demands.
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More cyberpunk articles
Make sure to check out my other articles on cyberpunk if you’re interested in seeing more.