July 2019

After the excitement of the high speed train trip to Beijing in early May, the rest of the month was pretty quiet. I did have a final meeting with the beautiful eye doctor who confirmed that all was well. I also gave a lecture on public speaking to a bunch of aspiring politicians at HKU Space. My nephew Andy Reid, who I haven’t seen for many years, suddenly visited Hong Kong for one day, so we took the opportunity to have a beer. At brother Tim’s request, I entertained a friend of his during an all-day visit to Hong Kong Disneyland. All pretty bland but it prepared the ground for a dramatic June.

On 9 June I took part in a million-citizen protest march to object to proposed changes to Hong Kong’s extradition arrangements (see Op Ed). That was the largest turnout here since the 1989 ones after the Tiananmen Square incident, and easily the biggest since 1997. It was generally peaceful except for a few minor scuffles at the end. It was followed a few days later by 50,000 or so students surrounding the Legislative Council building and blocking major roads nearby to make sure the new legislation could not be passed. The effort was successful but only after some students had thrown bricks and some police had responded over-aggressively. The government abandoned the bill, but just to make sure, almost two million people marched on 16 June entirely without incident and with no visible police presence.

The students then spent a couple of weeks doing young people things like surrounding government offices (including the police headquarters), all a bit OTT, but just a warm-up for the major incident on 1 July. More on that next month.