“We can celebrate later”: Hong Kongers pen Christmas cards to protesters

Hong Kong has been embroiled in more than six months of anti-government protests which show no sign of abating. (File/AFP)
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Updated 17 December 2019

“We can celebrate later”: Hong Kongers pen Christmas cards to protesters

  • Volunteers in black masks and baseball caps collected Christmas cards for the injured protesters
  • Police have arrested 6,060 people since the unrest began, ages ranging from 11 to 84

HONG KONG: Hong Kong residents have been gathering across the city on weekends and in lunch breaks to write Christmas cards to injured protesters and those in detention as anti-government demonstrations grind on through the holiday season.
“I don’t even want to celebrate because so many people are seriously injured,” said office worker Felix Wong, 35, choking up in tears as she spoke.
“We didn’t forget about them. We’re not partying ... ‘We can celebrate later, not now’,” she said when asked what she had written in her cards.
Wong was one of a dozen office workers and residents who dropped by a central shopping area on Monday to drop off their Christmas cards.
Volunteers in black masks and baseball caps collected them in boxes as tourists walked by, passing shop windows decorated with gingerbread houses, Christmas presents and tinsel.
Hong Kong has been embroiled in more than six months of anti-government protests which show no sign of abating. Police have arrested 6,060 people since the unrest began, with 977 charged with various offenses including unlawful assembly, common assault and criminal damage, as of Dec. 12.
The ages of those arrested range from 11 to 84, according to police. Police do not say how many of them are in detention.
On the weekend, a line of people waited at the entrance of the train station in the Mong Kok district to drop off their cards at a booth manned by volunteers and equipped with screens showing videos of clashes with police.
Bonnie Lock, a 52-year old housewife, dropped off her card with a crowd of her neighbors.
“As Christmas and Chinese New Year approach, I want to show some support, to let them know that we, the peaceful protesters ... miss them very much,” Lock said.
“We hope they can feel some warmth and won’t feel that lonely.”
The protesters are angry about what they see as an encroachment by China on wide ranging autonomy Hong Kong was guaranteed under a “one country, two systems” framework which governs the former British colony.
China has rejected the complaints.
Protests are scheduled to continue across the city through the rest of the week and into Christmas.


Singapore closing workplaces, schools in latest coronavirus measures

Updated 10 min 23 sec ago

Singapore closing workplaces, schools in latest coronavirus measures

  • Singapore’s infections, both imported and domestic, have been rising sharply in recent weeks and topped 1,000 this week
SINGAPORE: Singapore will close schools and most workplaces, except for essential services and key economic sectors, for a month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday, as part of stricter measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Singapore’s infections, both imported and domestic, have been rising sharply in recent weeks and topped 1,000 this week. It reported its fifth death on Friday.
“We have decided that instead of tightening incrementally over the next few weeks, we should make a decisive move now, to pre-empt escalating infections,” Lee said in a speech.
Food establishments, markets and supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, utilities, transport and key banking services will remain open. The city-state will also move to full home-based learning in its schools and universities.
Lee urged everyone to stay home as much as possible and to avoid socialising with others beyond their own household.
He said the country had enough food supplies to last through this period and beyond.
The city-state will also announce additional support for households and businesses on Monday, he added.
The Southeast Asian nation has adopted some social distancing measures to curb the spread of the virus, but had let schools, offices and restaurants remain open.