Hong Kong residents gathered all over the city to write Christmas cards during their weekend and lunch hours. They’re writing to injured protesters and those still in detention, as demonstrations grind on through the holiday season.
Christmas won’t be the same in Hong Kong this year.
More than 6,000 people have been arrested since protests started, and an undisclosed number will spend the holidays behind bars.
But even for those who can enjoy Christmas with loved ones, like office worker Felix Wong, there’s a feeling of guilt that others aren’t so lucky.
“I don’t even want to celebrate because so many people are seriously injured,” said Wong, 35, choking up in tears as she spoke. “They are maybe beaten by police seriously and cannot see the doctor and they are not allowed to be sent to hospital.”
And so some Hong Kong residents have come together to write Christmas cards to the protesters still in detention.
During lunch break, people here of all ages are putting pen to paper, to remind those held by the authorities that they haven’t been forgotten.
Volunteers in black masks and baseball caps collected the cards in boxes as tourists walked by, passing shop windows decorated with gingerbread houses, Christmas presents and tinsel.
“Even if some of them have already gone to heaven, I hope they can receive our message,” 23-year-old volunteer Peko said. “Although we can’t wish them Merry Christmas in person, we will be here waiting for them. We will keep the promise at the legislative council and hope they can witness our success.”
“We didn’t forget about them. We’re not partying … ‘We can celebrate later, not now’,” Wong said when asked what she had written in her cards.
Hong Kong has been embroiled in more than six months of protests which show no sign of abating.
The protesters are angry about what they see as an encroachment by the Chinese communist regime on wide ranging autonomy Hong Kong was guaranteed under a “one country, two systems” framework which governs the former British colony.
Those arrested in recent months are as young as 11 and as old as 84.
Protests are scheduled to continue across the city through the rest of the week and into Christmas.
Reuters contributed to this report