1 August 2019
Public Letter from the Staff of HKADC Administration Office
We are a group of staff from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC). As members of the arts community, we believe that the freedom of artistic expression is the foundation for creating a vibrant and diverse habitat for arts, and we have sought different ways to further the arts development in Hong Kong. In light of recent movements against the Extradition Law Amendment Bill, we urge the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to respond to the 5 public demands in order to mend the ever-widening social division and safeguard justice and freedom.
In the two months since the movements broke out, the government’s approach to the people has only sparked deep concern and despair. The arts sector and many other sectors across society have repeated pleaded to the government to withdraw the bill, but all pleas fell on deaf ears. Ongoing large scale protests were initiated, Lennon Walls were constructed, protesters took their own lives, appalling conflicts arose between the people and the police, blood was shed, and yet the government has remained adamantly indifferent to the concerns and needs of the society, hindering what little trust that remains between the people and the government. On the other hand, increasingly violent suppressions are harming innocent people and aggravating public discontent, while the Yuen Long vigilante assaults, the police’s arbitrary conduct in law enforcement and the government’s disregard for police misconduct have combined to spread white terror in society.
A government that cannot tolerate more than one voice, that suppresses other voices through isolation and violence, only does harm to a multifaceted, international cultural metropolis. If a city is silenced, no amount of resources invested in cultural infrastructures and artistic development can ever mend an era’s brokenness and bring a wilted history and culture back to life.
We firmly believe that arts and culture trace back to the people and their lives. They are reflections of a general state of mind. Over the course of events, the people of Hong Kong have exhibited astonishing creativity, proactiveness and tenacity in their democratic expressions both online and in the real world – and these are precisely the kind of energy that engenders social diversity and artistic brilliance.
Therefore, we hereby reiterate the 5 public demands:
1. Complete withdrawal of the Extradition Law Amendment Bill
2. Withdrawal of the “riot” characterisation of the protests
3. Setting up an Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the police’s handling of protests and abuse of power
4. Unconditional release of all arrested protesters
5. Universal suffrage at once
We will walk alongside arts practitioners across the field and the people of Hong Kong and we will not quit until the demands are met. Hong Kongers, add oil.
A group of staff from HKADC
Note: This public letter does not represent the views and stance of HKADC and only represents HKADC staff members who endorse this letter.