From The Atlantic:
Earlier this month, I swam across Victoria Harbour—the lifeblood of Hong Kong since our inception—in an annual race that was only recently revived after decades of concern about the water being contaminated. Hong Kongers of my father’s generation talk wistfully about the old cross-harbor swim and how wide the harbor was in those days, before the land-reclamation projects began, before the Cross-Harbour Tunnel.
Their reveries reflect an existential fear: Without our harbor, even the meaning of our name, “fragrant harbor,” becomes obsolete. We would suffer the fate we most dread—the crux of what has driven our students into the streets over the last month in their umbrella-toting droves: We would be just another Chinese city.
Hong Kong officials met with student protesters for the first time on Tuesday, and if there was one message the government conveyed, it was this: Give up on your dreams. That happens to be a line from the unofficial anthem of the protest movement, a rock ballad by the local band Beyond, and if you have visited any of the protest sites, you know how the next line goes: Anyone can do that.