Our features in 2021 documented Hong Kong’s transformation under the shadow of the Beijing-enacted national security law. We spoke with people who left the city for the UK, filmmakers and book publishers who grappled with censorship fears, and local and mainland Chinese Wikipedia administrators fighting to set the narrative of key events in the 2019 protests.
We also told the story of Hong Kong’s diminishing manufacturing sector, siu mai fanatics who paid tribute to their favourite street food by launching its own encyclopaedia, and couples experimenting with the controversial lifestyle of polyamory.
1. Exclusive: Inside the Hong Kong govt’s multi-million dollar US lobbying operation
As pro-democracy figures face ongoing criticism over their connections to powerful figures in Washington, an investigation by HKFP revealed the extent to which the Hong Kong government used its considerable financial clout – and latitude granted under the Basic Law – to fund an extensive lobbying effort in the United States.
2. Skin in the game: Hong Kong protesters facing security law see banned slogan tattoos as ‘last inch of freedom’
Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters Eugene and Hong are determined to keep their tattoos depicting the now-illegal slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.” They see their skin as the “last inch of freedom” remaining under the Beijing-enacted national security law.
3. How directors, distributors and devotees are struggling to keep Hong Kong cinema alive
The national security law has created major uncertainties for film-makers: “I just wanted to tell a story. I didn’t know it would become illegal,” documentary maker Nora Lam told HKFP.
4. Lifeline letters: the Hong Kong activists ensuring no jailed protester is forgotten
The letter-writing volunteers are known as Hong Kong’s “Masters of Letters” for their dedication to making sure imprisoned protesters don’t end up like “dong sau juk hai condom”, meaning to treat protesters like condoms — disposable and thrown away after use.
5. Wikipedia wars: How Hongkongers and mainland Chinese are battling to set the narrative
As Hongkongers reckon with the closure of one of the city’s mainstream news outlets, drastic political changes and a sweeping national security law, the city’s keyboard warriors on Wikipedia also came under pressure.
6. Hong Kong’s community newspapers scramble to overcome loss of district council support
Locally-focused print publications spotlight grassroots issues instead of hard politics, and reach out to elderly communities in Hong Kong. But will they survive the demise of the district councils?
7. Hong Kong lawyers create court database of protest-related cases in bid to safeguard rule of law
A group of young Hong Kong lawyers created a database of magistrates’ rulings in protest-related cases in a bid to safeguard the rule of law, amid unprecedented public interest in court hearings after thousands were prosecuted over the 2019 unrest.
8. Test balloon, warning shot, attack dog: Is Hong Kong witnessing a rebirth of the ‘mainland mouthpiece’?
State-backed media attacks on a Hong Kong official in 2020 bore all the hallmarks of a planned and coordinated campaign, ex-Wen Wei Po deputy editor Ching Cheong told HKFP. They also pointed to a resurgence in the influence of mainland mouthpieces in the city.
9. ‘Freedom is most important’: The Hong Kong families gambling on a new life in Britain
At 63, Coby is decades older than many of the Hongkongers fleeing to the UK. Her three-generation family’s decision to exit the city reflects the deep societal rupture triggered by Beijing’s national security law, which has led to mass arrests and a swingeing crackdown on freedom of expression.
10. Loving one and many: the world of Hong Kong polyamorists
Hongkongers experimenting with polyamory — couples who give each other permission to simultaneously pursue other romantic or even sexual relationships outside their own — shared with HKFP intimate details of their controversial lifestyle.
11. Small businesses fear a struggle to survive when Hong Kong factory estates are knocked down for housing
Many small businesses fear they will struggle to survive after the Hong Kong government announced plans to demolish four public factory estates with over 2,000 tenants to build public housing.
12. Love at first bite: Hong Kong’s humble street food inspires an encyclopaedia
Hong Kong’s iconic yellow and white siu mai dumpling, which for decades has been a satisfying go-to street food for those in search of a quick bite, received a fitting tribute – its own encyclopaedia.
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- Up to 5 years prison for attending Tiananmen Massacre vigil, Hong Kong gov’t warns – 1 year jail for publicising it
- Disney+ appears to censor episode of The Simpsons in Hong Kong referencing Tiananmen Massacre
- Internet backlash against Fila sportswear after Hong Kong badminton player seen drenched in sweat
- University of Hong Kong orders removal of Tiananmen Massacre statue after 24 years, artist ‘shocked’
- Hong Kong park empty for the first time in 32 years as police surround venue to prevent banned Tiananmen Massacre vigil
- ‘Snubbed’ YouTuber urges ‘Uncle Roger’ comic Nigel Ng to research Communist Party after joint vid deleted over China criticism
- Hong Kong imposes first lockdown in Covid-hit Jordan – 10,000 residents affected, 3,000 personnel deployed
- Hong Kong expected to hoist typhoon signal Monday evening, weather to worsen ahead of public holiday
- HKFP Guide: Receiving a Covid-19 vaccine in Hong Kong
- China will ‘no longer recognise’ UK-issued BNO passports for Hongkongers
- In Pictures: Tears and selfies at airport as Hongkongers bid a permanent farewell to troubled city
- Exclusive: Wikipedia bans 7 mainland Chinese power users over ‘infiltration and exploitation’ in unprecedented clampdown
- Is the party finally over for Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong?
- Hong Kong to open up Covid-19 vaccine programme to 30-59 year olds
- Covid-19: Two in critical condition and two more deaths within days of Sinovac jab – Health Dep’t to investigate if vaccine link
- Two more deaths, another nine temporary facial paralysis cases after Covid vaccinations
- Hong Kong hoists T8 storm signal and shuts down, as Tropical Cyclone Kompasu set to batter city
- Hong Kong men’s foil fencer Edgar Cheung bags historic gold medal at Tokyo Olympics
- ‘Alarm bells rang’: How a Lamma Island resident alerted police after realising ‘drinking partner’ was murder suspect on-the-run
- In Pictures: ‘Everyone loves it!’ The adventures of an out-of-context Hong Kong taxi in the UK