Hong Kong's democratic uprising has been a long masterclass in high-tech protest tactics (and the hits keep coming).
But Beijing and the HK police force aren't sitting idly by: they've started bombing protestors with fluorescent powder that can be identified later with UV lights.
Hong Kong police dropped fluorescent powder from a helicopter to people who rally for democracy. It's visible under UV light, and useful to tag protesterspic.twitter.com/EFOYmoIDJ4
— Alfons López Tena #FBPE (@alfonslopeztena) September 2, 2019
These authoritarian measures are backfiring. new research from Samson Yuen at The Conversation reveals that protesters — overwhelmingly well-educated professionals — are becoming radicalized, specifically citing police violence as their reason for turning out.
The protesters want city administrator/Beijing figurehead Carrie Lam to resign, but that's just for starters. They view Lam as the visible symbol of deep structural problems with Hong Kong's relationship with mainland China.
The Umbrella Revolution — HK's last uprising — was deeply divided over tactics, specifically whether militant tactics including property damage and self-defense against police beatings were acceptable.
That division has largely vanished: the protesters have seen the police respond to nonviolent protest with all-out violent attacks, and they've largely abandoned hope that nonviolence will get them the reforms they're seeking.
Protesters overwhelmingly identify themselves as being in solidarity with one another, and they also overwhelmingly favor more militant, intense tactics for future demonstrations. They do not expect the government to make any meaningful concessions, either.
In the meantime, artists like Oliver Chang are reviving the iconography of Tiananmen Square (Thanks, Matteo!).
And the city is making its own iconography, from Deacon Lui's cyberpunk af "mash-up of skyscrapers, smoke, trees, barricades, umbrellas, laser, and masked protesters in the backdrop":
Probably the most riveting picture tonight, the kind you can only take in #HongKong: an odd mash-up of skyscrapers, smoke, trees, barricades, umbrellas, laser, and masked protesters in the backdrop. This is revolution in our 21st-century postmodern metropolis ????☂️????? pic.twitter.com/a7SL0m4Mtu
— Jeffrey Ngo 敖卓軒 ?♂️??? (@jeffreychngo) August 31, 2019
To the brutal, viral images of police brutalizing protesters caught in a subway car:
Sorry, this was not the most riveting picture. It is the live video stream and image of the police led rampage on unarmed civilians inside a subway carriage pic.twitter.com/DSdtZ7vOwt
— Tear-gaslit cockroach ?? (@ChunLei21771889) August 31, 2019