King Hei Ho, who calls himself Gordon, stands as the sole exchange student from Hong Kong currently enrolled at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and continues his peaceful protests while his homeland remains in a volatile state of crisis amid mass demonstrations and civil unrest.
This past Monday, September 2, Hong Kong student nationals at high schools and universities across the globe participated in a coordinated student strike.
“I feel like that I had to do something as well,” he said.
Earlier last week, Ho carried his nation’s flag while holding a sign that read, “#StandWithHK” during the Convocation flag-bearing entrance; and even after mounting his banner, he stood behind the Hong Kong flag for the entire duration of the ceremony.
A week removed from the Convocation celebration, he has created nearly hundreds of signs about the Hong Kong protests, placing them in many rows on top of the grass outside of the Scandling Center building until he eventually moved inside due to rain.
Aside from the occasional conversation or posed query from a passerby, the majority of his day was spent silently protesting inside the building, bringing attention to terrorism attacks that took place on subways and in train stations as well as accusations of police brutality exhibited upon Hong Kong civilians.
Although he is on the opposite side of the world, thousands of miles away, Ho still feels connected to his community and their struggle, especially when he actively searches for and acquires directly-sourced eyewitness accounts from LIHKJG Forum, a Hong Kong based forum website which resembles Reddit.
For Ho, he calls for Americans to show their support by contacting their federal representatives about the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, a bill that has been introduced into both the House of Representatives and Senate with bipartisan support.
As an undergraduate student among a globally diverse learning community, Ho has engaged with many exchange students, including some of whom hail from China and shared that he has experienced a mixed-bag of responses from Chinese nationals.
“They are civilized to discuss this matter with me but some of them try to threaten me in message,” he stated.
Ho considers some of the comments directed towards him as hate speech. One student allegedly telling him that he was a “useless teenager,” and another calling him an “idiot” in their native language of Chinese.
However, Ho has promised that he will not stop spreading his peaceful protests across the campus until the international conflict ceases.
“Every time I wake-up and I see all the news, all of these terrible things, I feel helpless because I am here and I can’t do anything about it; but at this campus I feel so free, I don’t feel any threat,” he said.
– Reporting & Photos by Gabriel Pietrorazio
An undergraduate student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Pietrorazio has written for the Town Times of Watertown, Connecticut and Finger Lakes Times in Geneva, New York. He’s currently a reporter for FL1 News, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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