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The Fifteen-Year Old Boy Who Vowed Not to Yield

{Editor’s Note: The Hong Kong people are continuing their protests into the 7th month against the Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to destroy democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong. A Hong Konger, whose account name is Lady Nan, posted an article telling the story of a young protester who had no food for dinner and nowhere to sleep at night. However, this fifteen-year old boy said he would keep fighting for Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong has loved me for 15 years, I will use my next 15 years to fight for her. I believe that when I come out of prison at the age of 30, I will still feel Hong Kong is my dearest love! I vow not to yield!”

The translation of the article follows.} {1}

The Fifteen-Year Old Boy Who Vowed Not to Yield

October 16, 2019

“Can you come over to take care of him?” a call broke my rare-to-obtain serenity on a late September night. My friend told me that he found a boy sleeping on a bench on the roof of a housing complex.

It was 3 a.m., but I had trained myself that I would move swiftly after receiving the message, “some kids need help.” Taking a set of clothes and towels, I ran out of the door.

My friend sent me the picture. It was heartbreaking. A boy curled on his side to sleep, as if trying not to disturb others, with his arm as the pillow, in just a thin layer of shirt and shorts, and with only a backpack next to him.

After getting out of the car, I ran to the roof. My friend handed the responsibility of taking care of the body over to me and left. Sitting down quietly next to him, I started observing him. Very soon, he woke up. The hard and cold stone was not a good bed for him.

He seemed a little confused. I handed him a drink of tea so he could awaken himself more. He sat up slowly and answered my simple inquiries. Then our conversation moved quickly to why he did not go home.

“My parents added another lock to our door, so I can’t get in with my key. I have to stay here for the night and go to school in the morning.”

As I kept listening to him, I found that things were not that simple. He grew up in domestic violence and learned to keep a distance from strangers.

Our conversation grew deeper. He shared with me many stories about his family, classmates, and Hong Kong protests. I came back to the lock. He bit his mouth and did not want to talk. I could tell that it was related to the protest.

He opened up, “I wanted to be an emergency medical technician. In a July protest, there was a lot of smoke. An elder brother (he called students older than him elder brothers and elder sisters) came to me, asking me if I could wash his eyes. I was very happy that I could help him.”

He showed me his backpack. There were some limited medical supplies, most of them were bought with the money he saved from his meals.

“In summer, dinner was my only meal for the day. Once school started, (the school provided) lunch was my main food source and I for sure would eat the entire lunch because I might not get anything for dinner. Since summer, my patriotic parents no longer gave me my allowance. Sometimes my sister, who has a part-time job gave me HK$40 (US$5.20). Then I would be fortunate for a week: I can buy Vitasoy (a popular drink in Hong Kong) to fill my stomach.”

His experience moved me. Hong Kong, though however glorious its surface may look, is going through internal corruption. Adults think only about the “shareholders’ interests,” while ignoring this petty, humble boy’s critical needs. No wonder the government officials have never taken a serious look at the youngsters’ movement for the freedom of Hong Kong!

The 7/21 event awaked the boy’s “revolution awareness.” He moved forward from the medical aid position to the front lines.

“I used my injured hand to drag back a brother from the police Special Tactic Squad (STS). I saved him.” The boy told me the details of each fight. I knew he still had pain in his hand, but his determination kept him holding the umbrella up front.

Welcoming the morning light, I invited him for breakfast. Sitting in a crowded cafeteria, he was a bit nervous. When I was placing the order, he kept saying softly, “Please don’t order for me. I can only eat a little bit. A piece of bread is good enough.”

Still, I ordered a full meal for him, hoping it could let him feel some warmth. The sun was also shining on him.

I told him, “Go ahead, don’t wait for me.”

But no matter what I said, he insisted on waiting for my food to come. He was polite and respectful of the elderly. As he said, even if he didn’t have dinner last night, he could only eat half the size of a breakfast. I kept encouraging him to eat more, but he gave a heart-broken answer, “Eating one meal a day, my stomach gets used to a small volume of food. This is a super breakfast. It’s a pity that I can’t keep the rest for dinner (he didn’t have a place or freezer to put them).”

I doubted that I heard him right. How could we find in Hong Kong that some youngsters lived worse than those from poor countries? More shamefully, we were taking away their future. These Hong Kong youngsters were forced to fight for their future. We ignored these skinny, weak bodies that stood in front of the totalitarian regime and let them face the fully-equipped police on their own. Some of them were pushed out of their homes and struggled for food, but during each protest they always stood up like a giant!

The human body can always be pushed down, but their determination to reclaim Hong Kong’s freedom would not waver at all. How fortune Hong Kong is, with such a generation that is not afraid of hardship and still lives a meaningful life!

We went to the school and he was the first to arrive, waiting for the door to open. Walking step by step into the school, he kept turning back and waving good-bye to me. I knew that, though he was lonely, he didn’t want his classmates to see the injury on his face and in his heart.

Kid, I know that you will only trust yourself, but please do not reject me. Please give me an opportunity to accompany you and walk around, so that I can shield you from a piece of darkness.

A few days later, after another protest, he became homeless again. I took him to a temporary place to stay. Seeing that he started sleeping with a quilt over him, I was about to leave. But he held tightly to the quilt, curled his body, and frowned severely. I knew he was having a bad nightmare. I patted him on his back but that didn’t comfort him. Then I tried my own secret: surrounding myself with all sorts of things. I put a pillow into his arms, and clothes and bags on his back. He seemed to relax a bit and started snoring.

Quietly leaving the room, I went to a café for dinner and thought about going home to change and then coming back to accompany him, but he called me when I was about to finish my food. Maybe he awakened from the nightmare? Pretending he didn’t want me to stay with him, he asked me to go home to rest, but, how could I ignore your suffering? Though you walked in front of us at each protest, after all, you were just a 15-year old boy.

We had many experiences in common, not only the fight for Hong Kong, but also our own lives. We cared about each other.

I couldn’t contact him one day. Checking with his only few friends proved to be in vain. What I worried about the most happened: He was on the list of those who had been arrested.

I immediately called a volunteer attorney to help. For the following 48 hours, while waiting for the results, my heart could not be at ease. Scenes of police abusing their power kept showing up in my mind. Would the boy become another arrested protester who the police abused? Would his firm attitude irritate the police and lead to police beatings? Would his 15-year old body stand the  torture of the police? Would he come back safely?

“I am out! I will continue my fight!” He borrowed the attorney’s phone to call me, after being bailed out. Holding back my tears, I asked him if he was okay and whether he was tortured. Though he promised that he was not hurt, I insisted on seeing him. Luckily, he was only slightly injured during the arrest and not harassed while in police’s custody. My worry was temporarily relieved, but he still faced two charges.

I will never forget his vows to himself and to Hong Kong when he called me.

“I will not stop out of the fear of the possible criminal punishment (from the government). I will chip in my youth to stop the totalitarian regime from swallowing Hong Kong. However more criminal charges they give me, they will not scare me off. Hong Kong has loved me for 15 years, I will use my next 15 years to fight for her. I believe that when I come out of prison at the age of 30, I will still feel Hong Kong is my dearest love! I vow not to yield!”

Youngsters use their way to express their love of Hong Kong. They are much more direct and deeper than we adults. They are willing to use themselves to safeguard Hong Kong. How many youngsters will we burden with carrying the responsibilities that we adults are supposed to carry? How much longer will we wait and how many more tears will people shed before we learn not to bow down from them?

For the people of Hong Kong, to resist is a lot more than words.

End Note:

{1} The Stand News, “The Fifteen-Year Old Boy Who Vowed Not to Yield,” October 16, 2019.誓不低頭的15歲少年/.