Overseas Chinese students form ‘street chorus’ to fight separatist forces

By Hu Yuwei Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/28 19:15:02

Overseas Chinese students spontaneously gathered on streets recently to sing patriotic songs to protect national sovereignty and denounce misrepresentation of Hong Kong affairs resulting from biased or one-sided media coverage

Some students' overseas social media accounts were tagged with spiteful comments from radical individuals

Chinese overseas students gather in London to fight against separatist forces. Photo: VCG

Street encounters between patriotic Chinese students and secessionist protesters in some Western countries have drawn global attention recently. 

Overseas Chinese living in major Western cities including Edinburgh, Vancouver, Sydney, and Auckland, voluntarily gathered on streets chanting the Chinese national anthem and other patriotic songs to show their support for solidarity and unity in Hong Kong amid ongoing protests organized by overseas separatists over the past weeks.

These student groups, which have been nicknamed "Overseas Student Choruses" by Chinese netizens, have been hailed for their efforts in fighting back against overseas separatist forces' actions that have smeared China's image.

These teenagers have come under a constant barrage of attack and pressure from the opposition, including death threats against them and their parents, some students said. 

Students' chorus

"Mom is the Best in the World," a famous Chinese lullaby, "Listen to Mother's Words," a pop song by Jay Chou from Taiwan, and "Descendants of the Dragon," a patriotic song by singer Wang Leehom are among the songs used by students to show their support and loyalty.

"Guo Huo (Gone Too Far)," a love song by Chinese pop singer Jeff Chang, was chosen by a student group in Edinburgh during their gathering on August 17 to condemn the actions of separatists from Hong Kong.

"Have I promised you too much?

Or I've never given you enough.

I indulged you, allowed you to do everything you wanted to,

and thought one day you would be moved.

How could I ever blame you for making a mistake?

It was I who gave you too much freedom."

The lyrics suggest that some radical protesters are too greedy to be satisfied.

"We want to express our condemnation against separatist forces in a civilized and relatively gentle way. We don't want to aggravate the conflict, but to make the separatists aware of how 'far they have gone,'" Yan, a mainland student at Glasgow University who traveled more than one hour to join the rally in Edinburgh, told the Global Times.

"We're really concerned about the violence in Hong Kong, even though we're quite far away from the motherland. We can do nothing but spontaneously get together to cheer for our motherland through songs and music," said Yan.

Like Yan, more than 100 students and overseas Chinese came from other cities to gather in Edinburgh to make their voices heard, carrying posters they had made overnight.

Students have also shown their patriotism by writing songs, which have quickly become hits online. 

A three-and-a-half-minute song titled "Red" written by Chinese rapper "Kindergarten Killer," who has more than 300,000 followers on Sina Weibo, attracted tens of thousands of 'likes' across China's social media. 

Others have made videos in an attempt to reveal some of the lies and misleading information disseminated by the rioters in Hong Kong and biased media, compiling clips of street violence and airport mayhem caused by radical protesters.


Spontaneous gathering 

"I'm an ordinary student. I'm neither a Party member nor a member of the Communist Youth League. We did not organize it nor did anyone instigate us," Louie, 18, who joined the chorus in Toronto on August 17, told the Global Times. 

"Many elderly Chinese in Toronto turned up to show support when they passed by. Many of them migrated to Canada decades ago, but what moved us most is that they didn't show any tolerance for the separatist forces."

"The airport abuse and torture of the mainland journalist and tourist angered so many Chinese students in Australia. When we heard of the protests by separatists [Stand with HK Rally] across Australia, I felt it was time for us to say something," Chen, a college student in Adelaide, Australia, told the Global Times. 

Chinese students were labelled by ABC News as perpetrators of the street conflict who "yelled, booed, and hurled insults." 

The coverage did not mention any of the provocative words or actions by some radical Hong Kong protesters.

Nine News, a national news service on the Nine Network in Australia, only included the voices of anti-China protesters in their video clip about clashes in Sydney, and used a fragment of a Chinese student's comments out of context to deliberately reverse his position.

In a comment on his WeChat account, the male student said he told Nine News that it is ridiculous that some aggressive people from Hong Kong said that 'the Chinese government is hurting Hong Kong people.'" 

But his remarks were changed to take on the opposite meaning by the media.  

Death threats

The actions of some mainland students have been boycotted by some student groups over concerns that they may bring China into disrepute.

Many students in Brisbane, Queensland, posted a statement on social media on August 20 after learning that an indignant mainland student had ripped down posters with controversial content on the Lennon Wall set up by some Hong Kong students on campus. 

"We do not appreciate such emotional and violent behavior. Such behavior is an act of violence and is against the laws and values of Australia. We regret such an unpleasant issue happened and we apologize to the owner of the wall and hope such events will not happen again at the University of Queensland. Democracy and freedom of speech need to be respected," reads the statement.

"Most of us enjoy civilized discussions and exchange of ideas if you are also willing to genuinely engage with us instead of dismissing us as 'CCP shills/brainwashed ultra-nationalist/CCP thugs' for instance," students stressed at the end of the statement. 

However, their calm and restraint attitude did not bring more respect, but insults and personal attacks on social media instead. 

Keane Wang, who was involved in patriotic activities at the University of Queensland, told the Global Times that a photo of his mother posted on his Facebook page was tagged with spiteful comments by radical individuals.

"They sent a message to my Mom on Facebook, threatening to beat me up, and that I would be repatriated if I fight back," Keane Wang told the Global Times. 

"They sent her bloody and horrific pictures of someone who had been cut, telling her that's what would happen to me."

"Even worse, they opened a Facebook group specially for collecting and exposing the personal information of many students from the mainland, including me, who strive for 'One-China' or disagreed with them, and they gave the group page a name 'UQ [University of Queensland] Thugs,'" he said. "That's how they are inciting hatred," Keane Wang said.

Unfortunately, many more Facebook pages like this are still up, and have not been suspended or investigated, said Wang.


Newspaper headline: Singing in one voice

Posted in: IN-DEPTH

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