British Columbia

Vancouver zine exhibition highlights turmoil in Hong Kong

Ranee Ng is a visual artist whose collection of mini publications called zines and protest pamphlets are intended to spread messaging to global audiences about the current political and social upheaval in Hong Kong.

Mini publications and pamphlets used to spread protest messaging on display at B.C. bookstore

A sampling of the 50 zines and printed materials showcasing protest messaging on display at Hotam Press in Vancouver intended to draw attention to the civil unrest in Hong Kong. (Bridgette Watson/CBC News)

Pamphlets and mini publications called zines are often used to spread messaging during times of civil unrest. A sampling of those will be exhibited in Vancouver as protestors in Hong Kong draw global attention to their cause. 

In recent weeks, Hong Kong has been beset by public protests against the government's handling of a now-suspended extradition bill that would allow people in the city to be sent to stand trial in China, where courts are controlled by the ruling Communist Party.

The situation remains unstable after protesters stormed the legislature building Monday and defaced facilities inside. The Hong Kong police subsequently arrested a dozen people in connection with that incident.

The protest at the legislature took place on the anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China from Britain in 1997, the year the former British territory reverted back to the Chinese government.

But even after protesters are detained, their messaging continues in paper form known as zines and pamphlets. They're posted online, printed off and passed around by their supporters inside and outside the country.

Zines on tour

Visual artist Ranee Ng holds a copy of This is Hong Kong Not China, Yet in the CBC Vancouver newsroom. (Bridgette Watson/CBC News)

Ranee Ng, visual artist at Zine Coop in Hong Kong is one of those supporters, and has brought her collection of printed material to a Vancouver bookstore to showcase what is happening in her home country.

"The intended audience is for people overseas who are not really clear what is happening," Ng told CBC's The Early Edition host Stephen Quinn.

The exhibition is called Freedom-Hi and opens July 4 at Hotam Press at 218 East 4th Avenue in Vancouver. It consists of zines and print items created by different artists, writers and everyday citizens that document the daily happenings in Hong Kong.

"The government is not responding or listening to us and our opinions," said Ng, "We are trying to voice our opinions in different ways."

Ng said many of the materials are circulated on social media platforms and engage audiences using humour and compelling illustrations.

Unarmed and beaten

One zine is given the tongue-in-cheek title, This is Hong Kong Not China, Yet and provides a timeline of events to show what is currently happening in the country. Another is  titled, How Not to Police a Protest and features reports about the excessive use of police violence to disburse protest crowds.

Ng said the situation is escalating in the country she has lived for over 20 years and people in Hong Kong are growing increasingly desperate. 

"They get beat, even when's really, really harmful to people."

Her collection of over 50 printed works will help British Columbians relate to the ongoing civil movements and will be displayed until July 20.

Ng will attend the exhibition on Saturday, July 6 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to share her thoughts on the situation in Hong Kong and the culture of zine making with the public.


The Early Edition, Thomson Reuters


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