written by Yi Xiaocuo
There is a vast difference between Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, and Taiwan, including differences in geography, demography, history, cultural linguistics… the list goes on; we also know so little about each other, living in a paternalistic state that filters information for us all the time. Visiting is also physically challenging with various security clearances and permission paperwork, even for PRC citizens. Today, the perceived commonality between these places is more apparent under state violence, and we see increasing gestures of solidarity to advocate for each other’s plight.
Here is a Taiwanese friend’s reminder for people who are privileged to celebrate Mid-Autumn Day festival with their family members. Though some disagree by saying Tibetans and Uyghurs don’t celebrate this traditional Chinese festival, or problematize the politically charged word “unity,” these posters are visceral and empathic. Bloody eyes are a direct result of police brutality in Hong Kong and experiencing inhumane treatment in Xinjiang and Tibet. A few very prevalent propaganda slogans in Xinjiang (very often written on bloody red banners all over public space), go like this: “All ethnic group embrace each other tightly like pomegranate seeds,” or “Please protect ethnic unity like you would protect your eyes.” However, when the “ethnic integration” (民族融合) comes after suppressive assimilation like Xinjiang and Tibet, the pomegranate seeds bleed and turn to gunk. Borrowing Fatimah Seyyah‘s poetic line, “bloodied like a pomegranate,” I share this Taiwanese artist’s empathic work.
“Remember there are many people who cannot reunite with their loved ones, there are many people who are drowning in pain and struggle… those who are arrested for no reason. —- Stand with Hong Kong.
“Also, those who have been disappeared… We cannot forget them, because one day we might become them. We hold democracy and freedom and hope one day we can all reunite with our families. —- Uyghur Human Rights.
“And those who are forced into exiled life, those who put themselves on fire for ideals. —- Free Tibet.”