By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief
To give you all a break from your daily readings about coronavirus and all the anxiety, fearmongering, and frustration it produces—and in theme with our non-COVID related feature story this week—I want to talk about something that’s not the thing that’s forcing us all to stay inside.
I’d like to transport you now to a mere two to three months ago when the only thing on people’s minds were Kobe Bryant’s death, the controversial pipeline, and the Hong Kong protests. Many people have since forgotten about the protests in the face of a global pandemic, but many others have never stopped protesting. Just because the public demonstrations have stopped doesn’t mean the fight is over.
About a year ago, the Hong Kong protests were triggered by a extradition bill introduced in China that would allow criminals suspects to be sent to mainland China under special conditions. The people of Hong Kong protested this because they believed the bill would give China more power over Hong Kong and put people in risk of unfair trials and violence and could potentially be used against journalists and activists. The bill was eventually withdrawn in September, but that wasn’t the end of the demonstrations, nor did it meet all of the protestors’ demands. Asking for the protests not be considered riots, an investigation into police brutality, freedom for protestors who have been arrested, and universal suffrage are the demands protestors are still making—and are the demands some people have died for.
Just recently Animal Crossing: New Horizons was banned from China’s game stores as people were using the game as a platform to stage pro-democracy protests. The game was not officially released yet as video games in China go through censors before being released. The only three Nintendo Switch games available in China are all Super Mario titles. “Animal Crossing is Fast Becoming a New Way for Hong Kong Protestors to Fight for Democracy,” reads popular Hong Kong activist and student Joshua Wong’s Tweet. However, as a result of the protests seen on the virtual platform, the game may now never be released in China.
Players have made banners and designs with words like “Free Hong Kong Revolution Now” as well as photos of the Chinese President and Hong Kong Chief Executive. Despite the video game ban from Chinese censors though, players have been able to buy foreign copies from the internet.
While we all stay inside and worry about this virus, Hong Kong protestors must grapple with the current pandemic while also worrying about the future of their country.