Public lynching of George Floyd “hauntingly familiar”: activists call for Black Lives Matter action in Hong Kong

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In light of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, Black Lives Matter advocates and organizations are bringing attention to police brutality and racial injustice in Hong Kong.

Photo: Black Lives Matter Protest courtesy of Johnny Silvercloud / CC BY-SA 2.0.

No more than a week ago, Max Percy, a white Hongkonger started a Facebook group detailing a Black Lives Matter protest march from Chater Garden to the American Consulate. Taking place this Sunday, it is one of the few Black Lives Matter protests in Hong Kong.

“I felt very strongly [that] I wanted to do something,” said Percy, “The focus for this event is the systematic racism… Not only in America but also in Hong Kong”

He described the presence of tear gas and riot police across America as “hauntingly familiar” but found few official events in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Originally, Percy planned on the possibility of protesting by himself.

“I was going to go alone with a sign and plaque,” said Percy, “Until I realised that wouldn’t do much”.

He was soon joined by co-host Jayne Jeje, an African American living in Hong Kong with experience organising events for social causes.

Together, they reached out to the African community of Hong Kong. The event quickly gained popularity, and despite the fact that it started as a personal project, it now has over 500 registered attendees on Facebook.

Jeje believes that there is support for Black Lives Matter in Hong Kong, but hopes that the event can further raise awareness in a city without a significant black minority. 

“I’m sure there is a lot of knowledge about BLM’s existence among our local population,”  said Jeje.

“However, I’m not so sure what it is known about BLM past the current protests. We hope to raise more awareness and knowledge about BLM in part through this rally.”

Aside from Percy and Jeje, Africa Centre Hong Kong also stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, calling the death of George Floyd a “public lynching” that has caused significant mental damage to their members.

Black Lives Matter protest in Montreal, Canada. May 2020.

“It was traumatic to many of us … We have seen an emotional/mental health breakdown among a significant number of people within the black community… Many of [who] have had a hard time focusing on anything else,” a spokesperson for the organisation told Harbour Times.

In response, the centre has planned weekly talks in Tsim Sha Tsui on topics of policing, slavery, justice and black history. The first talk entitled “US Race Relations 101 / Policing”. will take place tomorrow night. 

“In light of the brutal murder of George Floyd by the US police, many people in Hong Kong are interested in joining the ongoing conversation on the experiences of African Americans in the US,” the spokesperson for Africa Centre HK said.

“[W]e are putting together this series to help equip allies and skeptics with the necessary background knowledge as well as an opportunity to develop a more nuanced understanding which is paramount to addressing the issue in the long term.”

The Africa Centre hopes that through dialogue and education, Hongkongers can better understand and sympathise with the black experience.

Disclaimer: Although the events in this article are all in support of Black Lives Matter; note that Hong Kongers for Black Lives Matter and The Africa Centre are not related.

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