BERKELEY, Calif.—A group of Hong Kong supporters organized an exhibition on Oct. 20 to show local residents the details of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests and the Chinese communist regime’s influence in the United States.
The Bay Area is known for its cutting-edge technology. The exhibition used virtual reality effects to help visitors gain near-reality experiences of what has been going on in Hong Kong. With help from the technology, visitors at the exhibition could visualize themselves in the protests on Hong Kong streets and feel the tear gas and rubber bullets shot by police.
The items displayed at the event were all designed and made by local volunteers who support the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
“We feel a lot of people don’t know what is going on in Hong Kong, or don’t know enough, so we want to present it at a different angle, an angle [like what was felt] by the people actually living in Hong Kong,” said Donald Tsang, one of the organizers.
Tsang said that it took about 30 volunteers four nights of work, with each of them spending a minimum of six hours each night, to set up the exhibition. There were also about three weeks of preparation before they even started setting it up.
Erikson Long, one of the organizers and an exhibitor at the event, is a professional working in the high-tech industry. He put up a video surveillance camera and let the visitors see how they could be identified by the facial recognition programs designed and used in China and Hong Kong.
Long also put a group of pictures together on a display board showing how China’s influence has come to the United States, impacting American business and daily lives.
The display board listed some things that are censored by Chinese authorities, including Winnie-the-Pooh, Apple, the National Basketball Association, Vans sneakers, the German camera-making company Leica, and others.
Long said that some of the American corporations “have valued their profits over the American core values” and worried that these corporations are “performing self-censorship in favor of China’s market.”
He also said that through his own research, he found that many Chinese student associations in the United States are backed by the Chinese government. These organizations have conducted activities on U.S. college campuses to compromise academic freedom in the United States.
Long is not alone. Last year, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University published a report over 200 pages long titled “Chinese Influence and American Interests.” The report made conclusions similar to Long’s findings.
Long was born in Hong Kong and raised in the United States. With backgrounds in both places, Long feels there are huge contrasts between Hong Kong and the United States. While U.S. citizens are protected by the Bill of Rights, laws in Hong Kong are protecting the government, he thinks.
“Chinese influence is not just in Hong Kong, 2,000 miles away. It’s here. It’s in our backyard. It’s affecting not only us, but also our next generation,” Long said.
He said that the Chinese regime wants to “infiltrate our society and dominate what we can do and cannot do.”
In addition to technology, the exhibition included different art forms. Thousands of small paper cranes were linked into rows and hung from the ceiling. Tsang said the cranes were all handmade by volunteers and used to symbolize peace and hope in Chinese and Japanese culture.
On one side of the exhibition room on the first floor, a full deck of cards was arranged and displayed together. Each card showed a picture of one Hong Kong public figure with one untrue statement from that person.
“These are lies and liars,” one passing-by visitor said.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam was one of the two jokers in the deck. Among the pictures on the cards, there were Hong Kong police officials, pro-China legislators, China’s People’s Liberation Army officials, and Chinese State Department spokespersons Hua Chunying and Geng Shuang.
“These are the daily liars,” another visitor commented in Cantonese, pointing to the pictures of the two State Department spokespersons.
“As a Christian, at this critical time, we feel it is important to engage the community,” said Rachel Tam, one of the organizers who found the venue for the exhibition.
Tam is from Hong Kong and is a cancer research scientist. She is also a member of the church where the exhibition was held.
Tam told The Epoch Times that the church has two stories, with a total exhibition floor space of about 2,000 square feet. She reached out to get the church to house the exhibition.
She said that what motivated her was seeing the people in Hong Kong “willing to sacrifice their lives fighting for freedom and democracy.”