Repression in Hong Kong

Not imprisoned, but not really free either: People affected by poverty in Hong Kong live in so-called "caged apartments" in the smallest of spaces. But there is hardly any room left for critical expression in the city. Photo: Benny Lam, SoCO

"The past few months have felt like a heavy hand has been laid over Hong Kong." So writes Tobias Brandner, a theology lecturer and prison chaplain in Hong Kong for 25 years. In his new newsletter, he describes how the police have turned into a "repressive apparatus of oppression" in a short time. Many political activists have been detained in recent weeks.
During his prisoner visits, Brandner will be monitored much more closely than before, and his theological faculty will question what political statements are still possible.

He reports, "During those days, I experienced in concentrated form what it is like when a society slides into authoritarian rule, into a dictatorship that establishes itself through all sorts of administrative measures. Microscopically, in prison, I experience the mechanisms of power that tries to control people through harmless little administrative measures."

The powerful report is distressing, but Tobias Brandner also sends words of hope: "The many people in Hong Kong, in prison and elsewhere who hold on to the vision of a non-authoritarian government are a constant source of encouragement."

► Read newsletter (PDF)

► Supporting the work of Tobias Brandner

► Learn more about the project in Hong Kong

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