A Hong Konger-Canadian’s Journey from Political-Indifference to Awaking

伊鈴 reporting from Toronto, Epoch Times, October 14, 2020

Original article in Chinese: https://www.epochtimes.com/b5/20/10/13/n12473320.htm

Since the outbreak of Hong Kong’s anti-Extradition movement last year, Ricker Choi has not only participated in the local protests in Toronto in support of the Hong Kong, but also began to paint and compose music to express his support.

The summer of 2019 Hong Kong is destined to be extraordinary. Large-scale demonstrations of millions, police violent suppression, rain of bullets and gunpowder on the streets shocked the world and also awakened many Hong Kong people overseas. Canadian financial risk management consultant Ricker Choi is one of them.

Since the outbreak of movement last year, Ricker Choi has not only participated in the local protests in Toronto in support of the Hong Kong, but also began to paint and compose music to express support.

Ricker’s painting in support of Hong Kong。(provided by Ricker Choi)

At present, Ricker has painted over 24 acrylic paintings, and also wrote a piano composition called "Hong Kong Rhapsody", which used four representative tunes in the Hong Kong democratic protest movement: "Glory to Hong Kong", "Below the Lion’s Rock", "Vast Sky and Boundless Sea", "Do You hear the people sing", to express the immensity and tragedy of Hong Kong's struggle; at the same time, he hopes it will also encourages Hong Kong people to continue their will to fight.

 

The Shock of Summer 2019

In 1988, the 13-year-old Ricker Choi immigrated to Canada with his parents, and since then he has almost no contact with Hong Kong. It was not until 2000 that he returned to Hong Kong to contact with some elementary and middle school classmates, but he still never paid attention to the current situation in Hong Kong. He didn't even know who the chief executive of Hong Kong was, so he was derided by friends from Hong Kong.

 

In 2014, the Umbrella Movement broke out in Hong Kong, attracting global attention. The Umbrella Movement eventually failed and leaders were arrested. At this time, Ricker began paying some attention to the situation in Hong Kong, but he became deeply concerned with Hong Kong in the summer of 2019.

Ricker’s painting in support of Hong Kong。(provided by Ricker Choi)

June 9, 2019, 1.03 million Hong Kongers came out in protest against the draft of the Extradition Law, where Hong Kongers can be sent to mainland for trial, thereby completely destroying the promises of Sino-British agreement. China's human rights violations are rampant, and being extradited to China means torture, completely cutoff contact with the outside, forced confessions, or even killed. 

 

However, after the demonstration, the Hong Kong government continued to insist on not withdrawing the draft, which triggered a long and sustained struggle afterwards.

 

Starting on June 9, 2019, one million and two million Hong Kong citizens continued to march out, shocking the world.  At this time, Ricker began to pay attention to Hong Kong seriously. "The more I watched, the more I realized that many things the Chinese Communist government and the Hong Kong government have done are deep injustice. They treat Hong Kong and people in the interior of China extremely cruelly."

 

Chinese Communist Party is the source of all evil

Ricker said that after the transfer of sovereignty in 1997, CCP has increasingly eroded Hong Kong's freedom and democracy. 150 new immigrants from mainland China migrate to Hong Kong every day.  In addition allowing massive number of mainlanders to come to Hong Kong to study and work, allow mainland mother-to-be to deliver babies in Hong Kong causing severe shortage of hospital beds, and so on:  all to dilute the ethnic identity of Hong Kongers. Since 2000, more and more interventions have come from Beijing: real estate, commerce, retail business etc., causing monopoly of power concentrated in a few pro-CCP business elites, crowding out Hong Kong local businesses, and force Hong Kong to integrate with Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Macao. The purpose is to absorb Hong Kong into China and completely undermine Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and one country, two systems as promised in the Sino-British agreement.

"CCP also commits gross violations of basic human rights.  According to various news sources, some mainland teachers have not received wages for 10 years. The CCP local government oppresses the citizens, demolishes houses and forcibly evicts civilians, and ignores the lives and deaths of humans." Ricker said that there are already 180,000 unrest incidents in China every year.   Also genocide committed against the Uighurs, Tibetans, and now Mongolians.

Ricker’s painting in support of Hong Kong。(provided by Ricker Choi)

Ricker said that if Hong Kongers did not fight, Hong Kong would become like mainland China immediately. It is not just that there is no democracy and freedom, but that one day, you can only sleep on the street as CCP will forcibly confiscate your assets and residence. It's that simple. Even the basic people's livelihood is not guaranteed, so we must resist.

Why do you want to be free? Doesn't it work without freedom? Ricker said: "Under this evil regime, you just wear a yellow dress on the street, and CCP would say that you are a yellow revolutionary. You never know what the red line is. Tomorrow may be at home you have a book that the CCP doesn't like, and police will arrest you for being a separatist!”

If an ethnic group is oppressed, its people will definitely wants independence. The more you suppress, the more they resist. If you respect their language, culture, and give Hong Kongers a high degree of autonomy, they will not be like this.

Ricker talked about Agnes Chow, who was arrested because of Hong Kong's "National Security Law". She is just an ordinary girl, like to read Japanese manga and talk about beauty tips. But she is actually a devoted activist, who comes out on the streets to advocate for Hong Kong's resistance against the government.

Ricker’s painting in support of Hong Kong。(provided by Ricker Choi)

Ricker believes that Agnes Chow is representative of many Hong Kongers. "Most in Hong Kong are often so-called "Hong Kong pig" as people say. They don’t care much about politics and like shopping, eating, and reading manga. Isn’t that Agnes Chow? If Hong Kong isn’t Hong Kong, she may never be a political activist and just be another Hong Kong girl. But because of the situation in Hong Kong, she decides to stand up."

Ricker said that after CCP has implemented the “National Security Law" in Hong Kong, Hong Kong is now just like the mainland. He gave, for example, a TV station in Hong Kong had a TV drama with a yellow rubber glove. Some people said that this was the "Five Demands" of the protest, ​​and it might have violated the " National Security Law".  The staff who worked in the show were immediately investigated.

 

Chinese Communist Party infringes on Canadian democracy and freedom

Jonathan Manthorpe, a foreign affairs columnist and commentator, wrote the book "The Claws of the Panda: Beijing’s Influence and Intimidation Movement in Canada". Ricker learned from this book how CCP’s has infiltrated into our Canadian academics, the government, high schools, our media, and local communities, etc., carrying out comprehensive espionage activities, and used the Chinese Student Associations in Canadian universities to conduct United Front activities. Ricker then started to think about what is happening around himself.

 

Ricker found that many of his “friends” were sending false news in social media, that likely originates from Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda machine. Two years ago, near Yonge St./Sheppard Ave. in North York, someone drove and killed 10 people. A “friend” said in a social media group: our Chinese community knows that this is a terrorist action. Ricker was stunned at the time, as the government did not say that this was a terrorist action.  (in fact it was done by a man with sexual and social rejection – “incel”.)

Ricker’s painting in support of Hong Kong。(provided by Ricker Choi)

Ricker discovered that this person also sent messages from time to time praising how strong is China, that China is the safest country in the world, etc. The purpose is to make him believe that China is much safer and stronger than Canada.

 

In June last year, Ricker posted about China's organ harvesting on Facebook. An old colleague of his from China immediately said: This is a rumor, there is no such thing in China. Another old colleague said this was fake news.

 

When Ricker posted about "re-education camps" in Xinjiang, the old colleague said: Have you ever been to Xinjiang? I didn't hear these news when I lived in Xinjiang; these were just teaching people in Xinjiang to speak Mandarin and life skills so that they could easily find work.

 

As soon as Ricker posts something, this old colleague will send him long articles, telling him how much China has done for these remote areas and tell him not to talk nonsense. Ricker realized then that the people around him who he thought were just ordinary friends were actually "speaking on behalf of CCP and used the CCP's big propaganda to influence my view of the CCP."

In mid-August 2019, Ricker participated in a protest in Toronto in support of Hong Kong. Five or six hundred little pinks (CCP Loyalists) came to the scene. They raised the Chinese flag, sang Chinese national anthem, and attempted to provoke us into fights. But after that time, Ricker had not seen them again.

Ricker says these little pinks were organized by Canadian university’s Chinese Student Associations and other CCP-affiliated organizations, all to work on behalf of CCP’s United Front. Because if they are truly spontaneous (as CCP claims), some of them should come out every time we Hong Kongers protest. But because the world has changed its direction now and anti-CCP sentiments are strong, CCP never asked them to come out again.


Ricker questioned whether the Canadian government has met its responsibility and obligation to check these little pink’s background? Are they affiliated to CCP? If so, should legal actions be taken? There is no news in Canada so far about passing the type of laws that Australian government has done to halt CCP infiltration and espionage activities.

 

Seeing Through the Evil of CCP

Ricker said that on July 21 last year, the Hong Kong police colluded with gangsters and beat citizens in Yuen Long to punish the citizens for protesting. This is what the CCP often does in the mainland. For example, during forced demolition, local government has to drive away citizens who refuse to leave.  The government wants to confiscate the residences, rebuild then resell for huge profits. If the residents do not want to leave, the CCP will have gangsters beat them and drive them away. The Yuen Long incident is similar to the CCP’s usual practice.

 

On the evening of August 31, 2019, the police attacked passengers indiscriminately at Prince Edward Station in Mong Kok, Kowloon, an incident that shocked many foreign countries. And recently there was a 12-year-old girl who went to buy painting supplies, and when she saw the police, she was scared and ran away. Four or five police officers jumped on her just because she was scared.

Ricker’s painting in support of Hong Kong。(provided by Ricker Choi)

Ricker said: "The 8.31 incident shows that the police have become gangsters. Just like how mainland police treat the mainland people no differently."

Hong Kong recently issued a "two-person restriction order." Ricker said that if two people are walking on the street, they do not break the law.  But the police will randomly pull one person over and say that the three of you have gathered, and then give them ticket. "Now the police are in chaos, they are not police anymore, they are thugs."

 

Use music and painting to encourage Hong Kongers in the struggle

Ricker wishes to support the struggle of Hong Kong people. He himself often participated in demonstrations in support of Hong Kong held in Toronto. And began to compose and paint to express support. He hopes these works can inspire Hong Kong people to continue their will to fight.

 

Ricker wrote "Hong Kong Rhapsody", which used four representative tunes in the Hong Kong’s democratic protest movement: "Glory to Hong Kong", "Below the Lion’s Rock", "Vast Sky and Boundless Sea", "Do You hear the people sing", to express the immensity and tragedy of Hong Kong's struggle.

Ricker says he belong to the peaceful protest camp, but he admires the brave valiants. They have done many deeds of brave resistance.  Many of them have disappeared, injured, arrested, and killed. Ricker used "Hong Kong Rhapsody" to honor them.

Ricker also uses acrylic paintings to express Hong Kong's struggle. On "July 1st" the CCP implemented the " National Security Law" in Hong Kong. People cannot go to the streets to shout slogans. Even if there is only a Hong Kong independence flag in their schoolbags, or the slogan "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time ", they will be arrested. So people began to protest with a blank sheet of paper.  Ricker did a painting in which a person stretched out five fingers on her left hand, representing the "five demands", and holding a blank piece of paper in her right hand.  This means that Hong Kong people will continue to fight even if they cannot speak.

Ricker’s painting in support of Hong Kong。(provided by Ricker Choi)

Ricker has done a lot of paintings about the valiants. He very much agrees with the valiants’ approach. "Because when an evil regime oppresses your ethnic group, what else can you do besides resisting? So I really appreciate that they can stand up and resist."

 

Ricker believes that Hong Kong people have awakened the world to CCP's threat, and Hong Kong people have achieved at least this success.

 

Ricker said that in the past year, Hong Kong people have used many innovative ways to tell the world what happened in Hong Kong. For example: they engaged in human chain activities, went to the Lion Rock; they published ads in newspapers of more than 10 countries; one or two million people came out to march, and the scenes were world shattering.

The anti-extradition movement is a great improvement over the umbrella movement. During the umbrella movement, they stayed in one place and didn’t leave, and they get tired soon. Now they gather and disperse like water, disperse and gather, they are not fixed in one place, so they persisted for a whole year, much more successful.

Currently, Ricker has done 24 paintings. He will continue to paint and hopefully inspire Hong Kong people to continue to fight.