March 27, 2023

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How Animal Crossing became a place of protest in China and Hong Kong

On New Year’s Day 2020 I attended a protest march. My friend, a Croatian journalist covering the technology beat for The South China Morning Post, and I, a visitor passing through, left her apartment around noon. Following a fortifying meal of phở we joined the thousands thronging the streets of Wanchai, on the central island of Hong Kong.

Many of the protestors were dressed in black. It was even a family affair for some, with three generations turning up for the march. In Cantonese they chanted, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our era!” It was a chorus sung by all, but most vocally by the young. They were creative: on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day hundreds had occupied malls and shopping areas, with many wearing reindeer antlers. In November, university campuses had transformed into fortresses with the student protestors using tables and umbrellas as bulwarks.

The protests also spilled over, expansively, into the digital realm.

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