Declaration of Exile! Shuwa Niwa talks about her three years of blank space: “I cried many times in ‘Violet Evergarden'” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Declaration of Exile! Shuwa Niwa talks about her three years of blank space: “I cried many times in ‘Violet Evergarden'”

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It was a decision made after much anguish.

She announced on social networking sites that she would not return to her native Hong Kong, but would stay in Toronto, Canada, where she was studying. She was called the “goddess of Hong Kong’s democracy movement,” and on her 27th birthday, she made the statement that she was effectively “defecting.

Zhou Ting is interviewed from Toronto.

Two days after her declaration of exile, Zhou Ting told Friday Digital about the current situation in her homeland.

I can’t even lead a normal life anymore, let alone engage in political activities. Our electoral system is totally controlled by the Chinese government. Democratic candidates are eliminated and only pro-Chinese candidates are allowed to run for office. It is not a real election. I had to have my passport returned in order to study in Canada, and the condition offered for return was to go to China. There is no such law anywhere. The one country, two systems system is no longer promoted by the Hong Kong government to the outside world. I feel that the separation of powers, the judicial system, the political system, and other systems that Hong Kong had that we should be proud of will all be destroyed.

Zhou Ting was arrested and imprisoned by the Hong Kong police in August 2008 on charges of violating the National Security Law. After her release in June 2009, her social networking sites, which she updated frequently, became the subject of surveillance by the Hong Kong government. When applying for a passport, she was required to submit a written pledge that she regretted her involvement in political activities and that she would not be involved in such activities in the future, and that she would not contact pro-democracy activists. For example, he said, “I was told that some company was going to hire me.

For example, if a company hired me, even the employees of that company would be subject to police questioning,” he said. I had a hard time finding a job and a home. I was considered a democrat, so it was risky to hire me. It was also difficult to start my own company. I felt as if I was being watched all the time, with detailed questions about my income, family, and even friendships. I have good memories of Hong Kong and I love it, but at the same time it has become a place that brings fear. As a result, I became depressed and suffered from PTSD, panic disorder, and anxiety disorder, and I am still in need of medication after moving to Canada.

After announcing his “exile” on social media, Zhou Ting has been interviewed by various media outlets because he is concerned about the current state of affairs in Hong Kong. The effect of the snitching system that was established in violation of the National Security Law, which came into effect in June 2008, has been significant, and anyone who speaks or acts in a manner critical of the regime is severely punished, and those with pro-democratic views are arrested.

For the past three years I have been out of touch with my friends and people abroad for fear of being arrested. Many people have been arrested for their online comments and social networking posts. More and more people are being imprisoned for seeking basic human rights and status protection. The period of incarceration is getting longer and longer. There is no longer freedom of speech in Hong Kong. There are no Hong Kong police in Canada, but there could be Chinese secret police, and the fear is still there.

Mr. Shuwa plans to attend graduate school in Toronto for at least the next two years. The cost of living in Canada is high, and she is not in a position to afford it. He will continue to study while working part-time, but Japan was the first country he mentioned as a place he would like to visit in the future.

Before his arrest and incarceration

I have only been to Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto on business. Now it is an opportunity because of the weak yen, and I would like to visit Japan as a regular tourist. I loved Japanese idols and music, such as Keyakizaka 46, and in recent years I have been into Japanese anime. I like “Violet Evergarden” by Kyoto Animation, which simply made me cry a lot. The theme is “love,” and it is a story about how to convey love to those around you. I’ve watched it four times now, and I cry every time. It’s one of my top three favorite anime.

He continued that the existence of the anime “Shinkage no Kyojin” helped him make the decision to leave after three years of oppression.

He continued, “I had a very difficult year in ’23 with a series of difficult choices, including negotiations with the police, being forced to participate in a patriotic exhibition in mainland China, and making the decision not to return to Hong Kong, which I love. I had to make a series of difficult choices in 2011, and it was a very difficult year for me. As an anime fan, I watched “Shinkage no Kyojin,” and since the 10-year story had ended, I saw my own “shadow” in the main characters. They continue to fight to get out of the walls. Watching the final episode of the anime, I was encouraged by the fact that the essential message of “The Marching Titans” was “the fight for freedom.

In addition to Japanese anime, Mr. Shuuniwa also has a deep knowledge of Japanese idols.

At the end of the interview, Mr. Shuwa sent this message to the people of Japan.

There is a phrase, ‘freedom from fear,’ and over the past three years I have come to understand how valuable that is. It is difficult to convey this to the people of Japan, but being able to live …… safely and freely is not something to be taken for granted. That is why I want you to value the rights and status you have. There was fear, of course, when I said, ‘I will not return to my homeland,’ but there is nothing scarier than indifference. I hope you will continue to take an interest in the current situation in Hong Kong.”

  • Interview and text by Fumiaki Kurioka

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