A member of the student activist group Scholarism, who was dragged to the ground in an unprovoked attack on student leader Joshua Wong on Sunday night, has said that she has been in constant fear since the incident.

Tiffany Chin, 20, wrote in an essay titled “Freedom from fear” that she had been worried about being attacked ever since she began dating Wong, an outspoken activist who took up a prominent leadership role during the Occupy protests last winter.

“I asked [Wong] if he’d feared he would be attacked with a knife”, wrote Chin, “but he said he’d never thought of it. He said it would never happen in Hong Kong. But the next day, I saw news of Kevin Lau being chopped on the street.”

The news shocked the couple, and Chin has become highly alert since.

Student activist Joshua Wong was punched in the eye and nose by attackers. On the left is his girlfriend Tiffany Chin. Photo: Stand News.

After the Sunday attack, Chin wrote that she felt guilty for making her mother worried. “What saddens me the most is that [my mother] kept asking me to be careful on the phone, and seemed to be waiting for a promise from me,” she said, reflecting upon the incident. “But I can’t promise her that there won’t be another attack, because that’s not up to me.”

Besides guilt, there is also a new sense of fear:

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“Yes, I admit that I’m scared. Starting today, I feel a bit frightened every time my eyes meet someone else’s on the street. This fear is unbearable, but I hope it won’t last long. I have other fears as well: I fear someone will take revenge on me after this incident; I fear I might be chopped next time. This might be exaggerating, but society has become more and more ridiculous, and I can’t not worry.”
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好我承認我有在害怕。今天出門後,在街上與陌生人四目交投,我個心都怯一怯,這種恐懼很辛苦,希望不會持續太久。還有其他恐懼,害怕此事被報復,害怕有下一次,害怕今次打你下次斬你。可能很誇張,但社會愈來愈荒誕,我不能不擔心。
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Chin chalked “freedom from fear” on the road during Hong Kong’s Occupy protests. Photo: Dash.

The couple called the police after the attack, but no suspect has been arrested. Chin explained why she did not take close-up pictures of the assaulter:

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“When we ran after the assaulter, [Wong] asked me to take pictures of the guy with my camera. Perhaps if I’d filmed him up-close, we might have been able to find him by now. But forgive me for not being able to watch him getting beaten up while I just stood aside, filming.

“I know documentation is very important, but sorry, I was unable to do that. I thought at that time that even if I’d filmed it, he would likely have broken my phone and then beaten me up. So I gave up filming altogether and stood between Joshua and the attacker with my body. Then I was hit.”
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我們追上去時,他叫我用手機拍下對方的樣子,也許如果當時我有近距離拍下,現在可能已經找到他。但原諒我不能看見他白白被拳打腳踢,而只站在旁邊拍攝,我知道紀錄很重要但我做不到,抱歉。而當時的另一想法是即使拍下,對方很大可能會摔爛我的電話再打我,於是我索性不拍,用身軀擋著他,然後就被打了。
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The attack on two student activists has caused widespread anger among pro-democracy supporters. Pan-democratic parties, Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, and 15 professional groups have all issued statements condemning the violence and urging the police to investigate the attack.

“Even if we have different political views, we should have mutual respect and never resort to violence,” pan-democratic lawmakers wrote in a joint statement.

Though not as high profile as Wong, Chin is well known for her blunt speech against pro-Beijing lawmakers at a Legislative Council public hearing in February. In the same month, Chin was reportedly refused entry to mainland China and detained in Kunming airport overnight.

Image: tracy_winglam via Flickr.

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Ellie Ng

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.