Drawing on tactics employed in protests in the past 10 years, including the 2014 Umbrella Movement (Hong Kong) and the 2011 Occupy Wall Street (United States), protesters in Hong Kong have adopted a fluid resistance strategy against the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 (2019年逃犯及刑事事宜相互法律協助法例（修訂）條例草案). Proposed by the Hong Kong government, the bill sought to close a legal gap that prevents the extradition of fugitives to Taiwan, Macao and the Mainland as laid out in the Foreign Offenders Ordinance, which was negotiated in 1997 when the United Kingdom returned the territory to the People’s Republic of China. Policymakers made the decision at the time due to perceived fundamental differences in the criminal justice system of the mainland, especially as regards to the protection of fundamental rights.
The tabling of this bill resulted in a large-scale rally on 9 June 2019 when over one million people took the streets in protest. In the months that followed, a decentralized civil movement with no dominating leaders and no blind followers has evolved into a humanitarian crisis. Protesters and ordinary citizens accuse the Hong Kong Police Force of the brutal suppression of the right to protest in the defence of democratic rights.
The 2019 Hong Kong Protests provide not only rich content for various academic disciplines in the study of civil movements, but has also generated a spectacular volume of creative protest arts based on the evolution of the situation in this city of over seven million inhabitants. With its foundation in the examination of the creative pedagogy of visual communication design, the curator has selected and analyzed works created during the Protests and collected from the demonstration sites or shared on social media. These contemporary pieces help to tell the story of this significant period in Hong Kong’s history, acknowledging how this medium can be used as an effective and an evocative tactic to communicate, publicize and share activities in Hong Kong and around the world.
*For more information about the five events comprising the 2019 Hong Kong Forum see: https://ycar.apps01.yorku.ca/hkforum2019/