Singing in one voice

Over­seas Chi­nese stu­dents form ‘street cho­rus’ to fight sep­a­ratist forces

Global Times US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Hu Yuwei Page Editor: li­[email protected]­al­

Over­seas Chi­nese stu­dents spon­ta­neously gath­ered on streets re­cently to sing pa­tri­otic songs to pro­tect na­tional sovereignt­y and de­nounce mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Hong Kong af­fairs re­sult­ing from bi­ased or one-sided me­dia cov­er­age

Some stu­dents’ over­seas so­cial me­dia ac­counts were tagged with spite­ful com­ments from rad­i­cal in­di­vid­u­als

Street en­coun­ters be­tween pa­tri­otic Chi­nese stu­dents and se­ces­sion­ist pro­test­ers in some West­ern coun­tries have drawn global at­ten­tion re­cently.

Over­seas Chi­nese liv­ing in major West­ern cities in­clud­ing Ed­in­burgh, Vancouver, Syd­ney, and Auck­land, vol­un­tar­ily gath­ered on streets chant­ing the Chi­nese na­tional an­them and other pa­tri­otic songs to show their sup­port for sol­i­dar­ity and unity in Hong Kong amid on­go­ing protests or­ga­nized by over­seas sep­a­ratists over the past weeks.

Th­ese stu­dent groups, which have been nick­named “Over­seas Stu­dent Cho­ruses” by Chi­nese ne­ti­zens, have been hailed for their ef­forts in fight­ing back against over­seas sep­a­ratist forces’ ac­tions that have smeared China’s im­age.

Th­ese teenagers have come un­der a con­stant bar­rage of at­tack and pres­sure from the op­po­si­tion, in­clud­ing death

threats against them and their par­ents, some stu­dents said.

Stu­dents’ cho­rus

“Mom is the Best in the World,” a famous Chi­nese lul­laby, “Lis­ten to Mother’s Words,” a pop song by Jay Chou from Tai­wan, and “De­scen­dants of the Dragon,” a pa­tri­otic song by singer Wang Lee­hom are among the songs used by stu­dents to show their sup­port and loy­alty.

“Guo Huo (Gone Too Far),” a love song by Chi­nese pop singer Jeff Chang, was cho­sen by a stu­dent group in Ed­in­burgh dur­ing their gath­er­ing on Au­gust 17 to con­demn the ac­tions of sep­a­ratists from Hong Kong. “Have I promised you too much? Or I’ve never given you enough. I in­dulged you, al­lowed you to do ev­ery­thing you wanted to, and thought one day you would be moved.

How could I ever blame you for mak­ing a mis­take?

It was I who gave you too much freedom.”

The lyrics sug­gest that some rad­i­cal pro­test­ers are too greedy to be sat­is­fied.

“We want to ex­press our con­dem­na­tion against sep­a­ratist forces in a civ­i­lized and rel­a­tively gen­tle way. We don’t want to ag­gra­vate the con­flict, but to make the sep­a­ratists aware of how ‘far they have gone,’” Yan, a main­land stu­dent at Glas­gow Univer­sity who trav­eled more than one hour to join the rally in Ed­in­burgh, told the Global Times.

“We’re re­ally con­cerned about the vi­o­lence in Hong Kong, even though we’re quite far away from the moth­er­land. We can do noth­ing but spon­ta­neously get to­gether to cheer for our moth­er­land through songs and mu­sic,” said Yan.

Like Yan, more than 100 stu­dents and over­seas Chi­nese came from other cities to gather in Ed­in­burgh to make their voices heard, car­ry­ing posters they had made overnight.

Stu­dents have also shown their pa­tri­o­tism by writ­ing songs, which have quickly be­come hits on­line.

A three-and-a-half-minute song ti­tled “Red” writ­ten by Chi­nese rap­per “Kinder­garten Killer,” who has more than 300,000 fol­low­ers on Sina Weibo, at­tracted tens of thou­sands of ‘likes’ across China’s so­cial me­dia.

Oth­ers have made videos in an at­tempt to re­veal some of the lies and mis­lead­ing in­for­ma­tion dis­sem­i­nated by the ri­ot­ers in Hong Kong and bi­ased me­dia, com­pil­ing clips of street vi­o­lence and air­port mayhem caused by rad­i­cal pro­test­ers.

Spon­ta­neous gath­er­ing

“I’m an or­di­nary stu­dent. I’m nei­ther a Party mem­ber nor a mem­ber of the Com­mu­nist Youth League. We did not or­ga­nize it nor did any­one in­sti­gate us,” Louie, 18, who joined the cho­rus in Toronto on Au­gust 17, told the Global Times.

“Many el­derly Chi­nese in Toronto turned up to show sup­port when they passed by. Many of them mi­grated to Canada decades ago, but what moved us

most is that they didn’t show any tol­er­ance for the sep­a­ratist forces.”

“The air­port abuse and tor­ture of the main­land jour­nal­ist and tourist an­gered so many Chi­nese stu­dents in Aus­tralia. When we heard of the protests by sep­a­ratists [Stand with HK Rally] across Aus­tralia, I felt it was time for us to say some­thing,” Chen, a col­lege stu­dent in Ade­laide, Aus­tralia, told the Global Times.

Chi­nese stu­dents were la­belled by ABC News as per­pe­tra­tors of the street con­flict who “yelled, booed, and hurled insults.”

The cov­er­age did not men­tion any of the provoca­tive words or ac­tions by some rad­i­cal Hong Kong pro­test­ers.

Nine News, a na­tional news ser­vice on the Nine Net­work in Aus­tralia, only in­cluded the voices of anti-china pro­test­ers in their video clip about clashes in Syd­ney, and used a frag­ment of a Chi­nese stu­dent’s com­ments out of con­text to de­lib­er­ately re­verse his po­si­tion.

In a comment on his Wechat ac­count, the male stu­dent said he told Nine News that it is ridicu­lous that some ag­gres­sive people from Hong Kong said that “the Chi­nese govern­ment is hurt­ing Hong Kong people.”

But his re­marks were changed to take on the op­po­site mean­ing by the me­dia.

Death threats

The ac­tions of some main­land stu­dents have been boy­cotted by some stu­dent groups over con­cerns that they may bring China into dis­re­pute.

Many stu­dents in Bris­bane, Queens­land, posted a state­ment on so­cial me­dia on Au­gust 20 af­ter learn­ing that an in­dig­nant main­land stu­dent had ripped down posters with con­tro­ver­sial con­tent on the Len­non Wall set up by some Hong Kong stu­dents on cam­pus.

“We do not ap­pre­ci­ate such emo­tional and vi­o­lent be­hav­ior. Such be­hav­ior is an act of vi­o­lence and is against the laws and val­ues of Aus­tralia. We re­gret such an un­pleas­ant is­sue hap­pened and we apol­o­gize to the owner of the wall and hope such events will not happen again at the Univer­sity of Queens­land. Democ­racy and freedom of speech need to be re­spected,” reads the state­ment.

“Most of us en­joy civ­i­lized dis­cus­sions and ex­change of ideas if you are also will­ing to gen­uinely en­gage with us in­stead of dis­miss­ing us as ‘CCP shills/ brain­washed ul­tra-na­tion­al­ist/ccp thugs’ for in­stance,” stu­dents stressed at the end of the state­ment.

How­ever, their calm and re­straint at­ti­tude did not bring more re­spect, but insults and per­sonal at­tacks on so­cial me­dia in­stead.

Keane Wang, who was in­volved in pa­tri­otic ac­tiv­i­ties at the Univer­sity of Queens­land, told the Global Times that a photo of his mother posted on his Face­book page was tagged with spite­ful com­ments by rad­i­cal in­di­vid­u­als.

“They sent a mes­sage to my Mom on Face­book, threat­en­ing to beat me up, and that I would be repa­tri­ated if I fight back,” Keane Wang told the Global Times.

“They sent her bloody and hor­rific pic­tures of some­one who had been cut, telling her that’s what would happen to me.”

“Even worse, they opened a Face­book group spe­cially for col­lect­ing and ex­pos­ing the per­sonal in­for­ma­tion of many stu­dents from the main­land, in­clud­ing me, who strive for ‘One-china’ or dis­agreed with them, and they gave the group page a name ‘UQ [Univer­sity of Queens­land] Thugs,’” he said. “That’s how they are in­cit­ing ha­tred,” Keane Wang said.

Un­for­tu­nately, many more Face­book pages like this are still up, and have not been suspended or in­ves­ti­gated, said Wang.

“We’re re­ally con­cerned about the vi­o­lence in Hong Kong, even though we’re quite far away from the moth­er­land. We can do noth­ing but spon­ta­neously get to­gether to cheer for our moth­er­land through songs and mu­sic.”

Yan a main­land stu­dent at Glas­gow Univer­sity

Photo: VCG

Chi­nese over­seas stu­dents gather in Lon­don to fight against sep­a­ratist forces on Au­gust 17.

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