The Unusual Protest

Before I go further, I have mentioned in my previous blog post that I try to only discuss photography related issue in my blog, but rules are meant to be broken right? However, don’t expect great political views in this blog (and maybe more) from me as I’m not really good at current affairs, I’m just going to share my views as an observer at this protest held in Melbourne on 23 July 2016.

If you follow news in Asia regularly, it’s not hard to miss the headline on the decision in The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, which ruled against much of Beijing’s historic and economic claims over much of the South China Sea, known as the “nine dash line”, While China refuse to participate in the arbitration case and ignored the ruling, Australia supported the arbitration process and findings. I will leave the ruling to the court and not comment on whether the ruling is right or wrong.

Australian Chinese

It’s difficult to define the word “Chinese” here. Chinese can be a nationality, race and language. I am a Chinese by race and I was born in Singapore, second generation. At times it’s difficult to explain to people on the street that you were not from China and it has nothing to do with me in every sense. So when I saw the long red banner with the opening words “Australian Chinese”, I knew it was misrepresented. We are descendants but that doesn’t necessary mean we are patriotic towards China and it’s policies, especially when you were not even born in “Mainland China”, a term used by Hong Kongers. So the participants at this protest were mainly the Mainland Chinese who have migrated to Australia.

Why bother photographing this protest?

I only received the news of the protest a day before, when a friend sent me a link on WeChat. I checked the venue and time, 9:30am!?!?! Gosh! That’s early for a protest! But as I read on, the article stated that the organiser is expecting more than 3000 Chinese participating in the protest, it even used stock images to show how 3000 participants looks like in a rally. There will be a march through the city from Queens Victoria Garden to State Library of Victoria along Swanston Street. Wow! That will be interesting, I thought. You can read the article here, which was published by Melbourne Today, rumoured to have close working ties with the Chinese regime. 

I have been in Australia for coming to 5 years and might not have attended or photographed as many rallies, protests or demonstrations compare to many others, but I have never seen a huge number of Mainland Chinese involved in any of them. It’s mainly due to their upbringing, education and regime’s strict control on freedom of expression and public gathering, the Chinese people just don’t bother about these activities. So yes, it was very unusual and I would be surprise if 30 of them turn up at the protest. So I pack up my gear, charged all batteries and go to bed early hoping to be proven wrong the very next day.

To be continued……………………………

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