In early August, I met Zoe at an art community in Los Angeles. Three weeks ago, she left Hong Kong for a special effects makeup course in LA. Before coming to LA, Zoe participated in the legal protest in Hong Kong. She told me about her experience.
摄影 & 编辑：Nox
I was in the first-aid team in the protest. It was terrible.
Police kept taking our supplies. Some of my friends went to the frontline.
On the first day, the police were surrounding us, and they were throwing tear gas in the middle of the crowd. But people had nowhere to go. They crowded into the building but there's bullet-proof glass. So they kept smashing on the glass. My friends were there. They didn’t know where to go. They kept calling us, and at the same time, we were following on the news. But they had no where to go.
We know they were totally surrounded.
They ran back to first-aid station, and we were handing them water. They were hugging and crying, saying "OMG, I thought I was gonna die." A lot of people asked for asthma inhalers, but we didn’t have any stock of it. There's only one and we had to use it.
They also had rashes because of the gas.
It was the first day, 12th of July, I think.
In the past, the police were not like this. Last time they only used a couple of the tear gas, like 18 or something. But now they are using thousands and thousands.
Usually the protests in Hong Kong were peaceful. People just walk. Police would come, but they would not attack the people. And afterwards we would just go home.
They didn’t use pepper spray in the past, but now they are shooting rubber bullets at people’s faces. I think all the police are controlled by the Chinese government.
A lot of pressure has been building up. You know, people in Hong Kong have a lot of problems with mainland China.
Most people in mainland have been misled and think we hate them because we think we are above them.
In fact, my grandparents are from mainland China. In the old days, people from the mainland came to HK, they appreciated our value. We don’t do corruption, we don’t do bribing, we don’t just follow our government. We used to have some kind of freedom. I mean, we were a colony, so we were not totally free, but we had at least some kind of freedom, comparatively speaking.
Now people from mainland China come over here, pushing their values on us. That’s what we hate, that’s why we have the anger to China.
Trading is happening more frequently, so we are having more interaction with people from the mainland, and the tension has been escalating.
So basically they just don’t want to be totally controlled by the Chinese government.
I don’t know where this is going.
When I’m done with the course here and go back to HK, I don’t know if it’s gonna be the home I know.
Photographer & Editor: Nox
【About i See LA Project】
A photography project started by Nox Yang in June 2019
A collection of stories from people in Los Angeles
【About Nox Yang】