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‘Journos Abroad’ The Occupation Camp in the Belly of the Beast

Submitted by on May 31, 2012 – 6:00 pmNo Comment

Occupy Hong Kong has secured itself a most ironic location, inside the Asia headquarters of HSCB. While the bank has stated they are happy for them to be there and support everyone’s right to protest, the camp state it’s just a hypocritical way of avoiding bad publicity.

While protests in Hong Kong have been met with police brutality and pepper sprayings, the camp itself hasn’t experienced any trouble. Since it started in early October the camp has enjoyed its protection from the weather inside the bank building’s open ground floor, setting up a living room and kitchen next to their tents.

Life on the inside of the bank's occupation.

Cat (not real name), a teacher from Hong Kong who is part of the thirty man strong permanent group are more concerned with the media coverage of the struggle than being evicted by the police:

“It can feel like being a zoo attraction at times. Tourists will stroll in and photograph everything while doing silly poses, though they aren’t as bad as most news channels here. So many times, they have interviewed us, filmed us, one time even bringing in a fire truck to use its ladder for an air view picture and then gone away and used only what they liked of the quotes out of context. Sometimes they don’t even tell us they’re journalists. There have been very little good reporting of us and what we do here.”

The camp, while strongest in the beginning with over a hundred participants, has settled in solidly and sees no immediate threats of disbanding or being removed. Every evening their numbers grow as students, activists or members of the public who share their passion join in or sit in on their bi-weekly meetings. They also have a good flow of international visitors; some who have been travelling from occupy camp to occupy camp.

The camp has created a forum for the more politically active Hong Kongers, a place to meet where heavy discussions about socio-politics and resistance are aired freely. Something we in the west many times take for granted, but in the more traditional and society focused east, it can be hard to get projects of the ground that can be deemed “un-harmonious”.

Jojo (not real name), 21, from Central Hong Kong, emphasised the importance of the camp:

One of the Occupy members, 21 year old Jojo (not real name).

“We don’t have a lot of grassroot organisations in Hong Kong, there’s the Left21 and the v-artivists, but it’s simply not enough. Most people don’t have any way of raising their concerns and voices to the government. We are one of the longest surviving camps in the world, and every day we stay here is a little victory for political freedom.

We don’t have any real plan for the future. We arrange some concerts and join in if there are protests other places in Hong Kong, but we haven’t issued any statements or political demands. Us just being here is a very strong statement and for now that’s all we are focusing on, surviving as a political presence, a reminder to the big people upstairs.”

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