Lavender Au

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Alda Tsang/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images. A participant displaying images on a tablet device at a vigil in Victoria Park linking pro-democracy protests with the 1989 Tiananmen Square in China, Hong Kong, June 4, 2020

Hong Kong has long been haunted by the thought of its future. Many of its citizens worry that it will become just another mainland Chinese city. This fear is often voiced as though to ward it off. But it is also spoken of as if it is already a reality.

That future, for many, was brought closer on Thursday May 21. The sky was clear, VPNs were jammed. China’s political elite entered the Great Hall of the People for the Two Sessions, the country’s most important annual political event. The fifth item on the agenda was a document, known in China as a “decision,” that stated the official intent to draw up a National Security Law for Hong Kong.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images. A neighborhood committee member guarding the entrance of a residential building as efforts continued to control the spread of coronavirus infection, Beijing, China, February 28, 2020

I got a message in the back seat of a black sedan, a car that usually drives local officials: “It’s good you left. There’s a case on the seventeenth floor.” The sender was Ningning, whose family I had stayed with for over two weeks, and whom I had left, clutching a water bottle in hand, back at her family’s complex on Danjiang Road in Shiyan. Her uncle had procured the car for me to take me to Wuhan’s Tianhe airport. She messaged me two hours into my trip away from her, and from quarantine in Hubei province.

I had missed the first British evacuation when my embassy didn’t get me a permit for the checkpoints in time, but I was trying to make the second.…  Seguir leyendo »

Getty Images. A street-cleaner working in a virtually deserted shopping precinct during the coronavirus lockdown of Wuhan, Hubei province, China, February 3, 2020

Before Shiyan, a city in Hubei province, went into quarantine, the sum of thirty yuan (about $4) could buy two cabbages, enough spring onions for two soups, a large white radish, two lettuces, a potato, and ten eggs. Not any more. Wanting to record the hiked prices, I took two photos of price cards in my local district’s largest supermarket. Immediately, a shop assistant approached. “You can’t do that,” she said. “Please delete them.” Even after I agreed, she stood peering over my shoulder to see my phone, to make sure that the images were gone. “You could report her,” a local resident told me later: national orders have forbidden merchants to raise their prices.…  Seguir leyendo »