Sunny Cheung

Sunny Cheung Kwan-yang (Chinese: 張崑陽; Jyutping: zoeng1 kwan1 joeng4; born 3 March 1996) is a Hong Kong activist and politician. He is the former spokesman for the Hong Kong Higher Institutions International Affairs Delegation (HKIAD) as the representative of the students union council of the University of Hong Kong. He participated in the Umbrella Revolution of 2014 and the 2019–2020 Hong Kong protests. His lobbying efforts in the United States and various countries helped to promote the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, along with sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials.[1][2]

Sunny Cheung
張崑陽
Sunny Cheung at congressional hearing.jpg
Cheung at United States congressional hearing in 2019
Personal details
Born (1996-03-03) 3 March 1996 (age 26)
British Hong Kong
Political partyIndependent
EducationUniversity of Hong Kong
Hong Kong Baptist University
St Joseph's College

ActivismEdit

Cheung was educated at St. Joseph's College. His social activism started in 2012 when he participated in the protests against the Moral and National Education scheme. Cheung also took part in the 2014 Umbrella Revolution, where he joined thousands of protesters to occupy Causeway Bay until it was cleared by the police.[3]

Cheung studied at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), where he served as the vice president of the Hong Kong Baptist University Students' Union (HKBUSU).[4][5] While he was vice president, the Hong Kong Federation of Students did not reach a consensus and therefore declined to attend the 26th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests for the first time.[6] Cheung had disagreed with "the vigil’s underlying notion that we’re all Chinese".[7] He remarked, "We want to build a democratic Hong Kong. It’s not our responsibility to build a democratic China."[8]

Cheung later on continued his study on Sinology and Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong. He was an active debater who represented the university as on-stage speaker for political and current affairs motions. As the anti-extradition bill protests emerged in 2019, Cheung actively participated in the demonstrations.[9] On 4 June 2020, he attended the vigil for the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, which was banned by the Hong Kong government.[10] Cheung stated it was his first vigil since the Umbrella Revolution, and the recent circumstances changed his original stance to some extent. Cheung concluded the message by reiterating his support for the ongoing Hong Kong protests.[11][12][non-primary source needed]

International lobbyingEdit

On 11 July 2019, twelve student unions came together to form the Hong Kong Higher Institutions International Affairs Delegation (HKIAD), in which Cheung became the spokesperson of the delegation.[8] Cheung described himself as a representative of over 100,000 students across Hong Kong, with the purpose of raising international awareness for the pro-democracy movement.[13]

On 17 September, Cheung testified at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) in Washington D.C. with activists Joshua Wong and Denise Ho.[14] In his testimony, Cheung described the background of Hong Kong's protest movement and highlighted the ongoing police brutality by the Hong Kong Police Force. He described the city as "the frontline of the battle for freedom and against authoritarian China." Cheung ended his testimony by stating, "Hong Kong is in a critical moment in its history. We are calling for the U.S. to stand with us in our fight for freedom, democracy and dignity."[13] In the months following Cheung's testimony, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act was passed by the United States House of Representatives and the Senate.[15][16] The bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump on 27 November 2019.[17]

In light of the ongoing protests, Cheung expressed his view that "lobbying international governments is an important way to raise support for protesters in Hong Kong."[18] In September 2019, Cheung met with a number of politicians across Australia, advocating for human rights clauses to be included in free trade agreements.[19][20] In January 2020, he met with Taiwanese politician Chiu Chui-cheng to discuss forbidding Hong Kong police from entering the country.[21]

After the national security law was introduced in May, Cheung appealed to international governments to offer asylum and residency for the Hong Kong activists.[22][23] On 30 June, he declared the Hong Kong Higher Institutions International Affairs Delegation had disbanded, ceasing its operations. The looming new law, which targeted Hong Kong activists for "foreign interference", passed on the next day.[24]

Legislative Council bidEdit

On 18 June 2020, Cheung announced his intention to run in the Hong Kong legislative election for the Kowloon West constituency.[25] In July, he contested in the pro-democracy primaries and emerged as the runner-up behind Jimmy Sham of the League of Social Democrats (LSD). Cheung received 16,992 votes, which represented 20.97% of the electorate, and secured himself a nomination spot in the general election.[26] He was one of the pro-democracy candidates who received letters from electoral officers on his positions on the national security law,[27] before the general election was postponed to 2021.

ExileEdit

In August 2020, Cheung reportedly fled to the United Kingdom out of an imminent arrest warrant against him.[28] The Chinese government warned the British government against hosting Cheung and warned it about offering asylum to other pro-democracy activists.[28] China said the UK was hosting "anti-China" forces after Cheung allegedly planned pro-democracy rallies.[28]

On 15 September 2020, Cheung posted on social media that he had effectively left Hong Kong, though he did not say where he had fled to out of "security and strategic concerns".[29]

On 16 August 2021, Cheung disclosed on his Facebook page that he is seeking asylum in the United States.[30][31]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Limitone, Julia (16 August 2019). "Hong Kong protest organizer challenges Trump to help 'contain China'". Fox Business. Archived from the original on 1 August 2021. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Hong Kong's Unified Movement (Lau Sai Leung)". Apple Daily (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  3. ^ 雨傘下的革命一代:張崑陽的六四、雨傘和退聯
  4. ^ McLaughlin, Timothy (22 September 2019). "The Anger of Hong Kong's Youth". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  5. ^ "眾新聞 | 【立會選舉】3政壇新秀出戰民主派初選 「立場姐姐」何桂藍反對國安法:要做絕不退讓抗爭派". 眾新聞 (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  6. ^ "Hong Kong Divided Over How Best to Remember Tiananmen". Time. Archived from the original on 23 October 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  7. ^ Wong, Alan. "Hong Kong Student Organization Says It Won't Attend Tiananmen Vigil". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 16 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Is the rise of localism a threat to Hong Kong's cosmopolitan values?". South China Morning Post. 2 June 2015. Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  9. ^ Victor, Daniel (20 June 2019). "Hong Kong Protests Resume as Police Headquarters Is Surrounded". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 21 October 2021. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  10. ^ "【六四31】維園首次無大台悼念 岑敖暉:更貼切2020年的意義". Hong Kong In-media (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). 4 June 2020. Archived from the original on 16 July 2020. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  11. ^ "傘後首度重回維園悼念六四 我的立場轉變了嗎? | 張崑陽". Stand News (in Chinese). Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  12. ^ "張崑陽 Sunny Cheung". Retrieved 20 July 2020 – via Facebook.
  13. ^ a b Press, Hong Kong Free (17 September 2019). "Hong Kong activists Denise Ho and Joshua Wong testify at US congressional hearing on protests". Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Hong Kong Protests and China | C-SPAN.org". www.c-span.org. Archived from the original on 21 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  15. ^ "U.S. senators seek quick passage of Hong Kong rights bill". Reuters. 14 November 2019. Archived from the original on 26 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  16. ^ Duehren, Andrew (20 November 2019). "Senate Unanimously Approves Measure Backing Hong Kong Protesters". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Archived from the original on 9 January 2021. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  17. ^ Cochrane, Emily; Wong, Edward; Bradsher, Keith (27 November 2019). "Trump Signs Hong Kong Democracy Legislation, Angering China". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 28 November 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  18. ^ "'Not satisfied': Hong Kong student activists say withdrawing extradition bill is too little too late". SBS News. Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Hong Kong pro-democracy activists urge Canberra politicians not to shirk human rights for economic gain". SBS News. Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  20. ^ Boyd, Alan (10 September 2019). "Hong Kong protesters seek Australian safe haven". Asia Times. Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  21. ^ "'Blacklist' mulled of triads, officers over HK protests – Taipei Times". Taipei Times. 17 January 2020. Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  22. ^ "Australia urged to follow UK and consider taking in Hong Kong residents". SBS News. Archived from the original on 21 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  23. ^ Gilmore, Rachel (3 June 2020). "Freeland says Canadians in Hong Kong are 'very, very welcome' to come home". CTVNews. Archived from the original on 13 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  24. ^ Creery, Jennifer (3 July 2020). "Hongkongers purge social media, delete accounts as Beijing passes national security law". Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  25. ^ "宣布出戰九龍西民主派初選 張崑陽:國安法下必然受清算 無悔參與國際線遊說". The Stand News (in Chinese). 16 June 2020. Archived from the original on 22 June 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  26. ^ "Hong Kong democrat primaries in full: Young 'localist resistance camp' come out on top". Hong Kong Free Press. 16 July 2020. Archived from the original on 4 January 2022. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  27. ^ Ho, Kelly (26 July 2020). "Hong Kong gov't grills 9 pro-democracy election hopefuls on political stance as candidates prepare for disqualification". Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  28. ^ a b c Payne, Adam (18 August 2020). "China threatens to retaliate against the UK for hosting 'anti-China forces' after Boris Johnson welcomed a pro-democracy activist who fled Hong Kong to escape arrest". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 19 August 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  29. ^ Wong, Rachel (16 September 2020). "Pro-democracy activist Sunny Cheung confirms that he fled Hong Kong, says his family and partner were harassed". Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  30. ^ "Runaway activist Sunny Cheung readies for stay in US". The Standard. 17 August 2021. Archived from the original on 18 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  31. ^ "Hong Kong activist Sunny Cheung applies for asylum in the U.S." The Standard. 17 August 2021. Archived from the original on 18 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.