Hong Kong’s former chief secretary Henry Tang has distanced himself from a poem delivered by his niece expressing support for the city’s pro-democracy movement.
Tang’s office told the media on Friday that the piece represented the “personal opinion” of Stefani Kuo, the daughter of his brother-in-law.
Her six-minute video mentions the deaths of students Alex Chow, Chan Yin-lam, sieges at university campuses and other high-profile controversies from the protests, which have entered their seventh month.
“I wanted to write a beautiful poem, but another student has died,” she said. “I have watched countless videos of cracked skulls and broken bones, taunted citizens and last breaths, innocent screams from children on the street.”
According to her website, Kuo is a New York-based playwright, poet and actress who graduated from Yale University. She is also a member of the writers’ group Interstate 73 with Page 73.
She is the granddaughter of Stanley Kuo, one of the 20th-century textile magnates in Hong Kong. She became a family relative of former top official Tang after he married her aunt Lisa Kuo.
Kuo started her poem by saying she has been imagining herself dead: “Hands splayed out with a bullet in my chest. I imagine the police arresting me for wearing black, the government making me disappear for writing this poem,” she said.
“I was born in 1995 in British colonial Hong Kong and most of my life has been a ticking time bomb of censorship and surveillance, autocracy and propaganda.”
In her poem, Kuo also criticised the United States and Western powers for not supporting Hong Kong, saying that neither the United Nations nor any government was “bold enough to forgo Chinese money” and stand up against China.
“[The US] is a country founded on freedom and democracy, voices of the people and the right to vote. So why does it feel like it’s laying in bed with a communist regime?” she said.
In an interview with Taiwan news outlet Central News Agency, Kuo said that she wrote the poem after being invited to a poetry reading in New York, and recorded the video at a friend’s suggestion.
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