方禮倫:無形的界線 The Invisible Lines

7 月 1 日為香港「國安法」實施首日,警方首度展示紫旗,稱聚集人士有機會因違反「港區國安法」而被捕。 圖片來源:路透社

To understand Hong Kong is to understand how its difference to Mainland China is what defines it as Chinese.(註 1)

For four decades, like many Hong Kongers of my generation, I have traversed(註 2)the border to visit friends, colleagues and relatives. I have seen China change. But when you relate to China not as a state but as family, what you notice and more importantly feel is not material but personal.(註 3)

On both sides of the border families gather to eat, socialise and play mahjong, but what we say and feel free to discuss could not be more different. The material trappings of relative affluence may dress the Hong Kong Chinese to look and sometimes feel different, but who we are, the person within the clothes, is defined by our freedom to think, say and live as we choose.(註 4)

Unlike our own family across the border, who we are as Chinese, how we live and what we think is neither conditioned or constrained by the invisible lines established by a political party. It is for this reason many Hong Kong Chinese feel an affinity with Taiwan, despite often lacking the same familial and economic ties.

It is not that Hong Kong has ever been free of Chinese political interference, but that it has always been free enough not to allow a single political ideology to define it in the way it did on the Mainland. Hong Kong’s real importance is as a window onto China free from the political distortions of the CCP. It is this that underpins the veracity of information in Hong Kong and the value of the city’s professions, including the doctors and journalists who felt instinctively that reporting the appearance of a novel corona-virus was the right thing to do.

Albeit with a few challenges, from 1997 until 2013 Hong Kong’s One Country, Two System formula seemed to be working. What has changed is not that Hong Kong has become more free, but that China has become both more belligerent, ideological and totalitarian.(註 5)The invisible lines that have constrained and moulded a generation in China are now being extended to Hong Kong.

An Chinese proverb, To call a deer a horse(指鹿為馬), has become popular in the city. References to it appear on shirts, in graffiti and in the work of local artists. It refers to a story of a court official, Zhao Gao, who declared a deer to be a horse. Those who did not declare the deer a horse were killed.

In Hong Kong a peaceful protest is a riot. Violence has become terrorism. To distribute satirical material is sedition. To advocate the honouring of an international agreement, or to remind Beijing that they are legally bound by their own constitution and to the Basic Law to safeguard the city’s freedoms and way of life, and to work towards implementing representative government and universal suffrage, constitute a threat to national security. There is nothing sinister afoot in Hong Kong, we are repeatedly told, but for the well-worn old CCP-line of “foreign interference”.

It was not that long ago when no Hong Kong official, let alone the government, would do the Hong Kong people the indignity of repeating such a line. But a year of increasingly radical protests, heavy-handed policing, and a concerted campaign of disinformation, has dulled minds and enraged emotions. Beijing has countered a locally minded protest movement by stoking a belligerent Chinese nationalism to a deeply divided and increasingly broken people.

A city of refugees that came together in solidarity has been wretched apart by hate. Hate blinds even good people to believing the unbelievable, and accepting the unacceptable. And the children of Hong Kong, having thought they had found a home, are again scrambling to acquire foreign passports. If even one person is arbitrarily spirited away by Chinese agents, as is common-place on the Mainland, the same oppressive fear will descend.



  • 此句長而巧。作者以此文探究「文化身份」,細述大陸中國人與香港人的分別。中港兩地人外表和服裝無異,打麻將或唱 K 嗜好也大致相同,但雙方的人一交談,就知道腦袋裡的思想,有一條無形的界線。


  • Traversed —— travel across。有旅行過邊境的意思,與 crossed 相比,較為慎重。


  • 兩地人民差異,不在物質,而在人心。可謂一矢中的。因為中國政府一貫強調「拚經濟」、GDP,香港納入大灣區,也由金錢經濟角度著眼,完全漠視兩地之間的人生所向和價值觀,以及資訊、言論自由所影響的世界觀。


  • Freedom to think, live and say as we choose:雖然是很基本的要求,但是在極權眼中,膽敢說出這句話,已經有犯罪傾向。


  • Belligerent, ideological and totalitarian:這三個詞彙,隱然呼應 think, live and say。但這三個字高深一點,而且正是壓制那 think, live and say 的三大因由。作者的修辭和佈局俱見心思。

英文作文怎樣能由 A 升級到 A*?往往就看這些小地方,除了文法正確,就是觀點清晰,經營結構,還有就是修辭。骨骼、血肉、心臟、靈魂,虛實俱備,型格鮮明,這就是好文章。





※ 此欄文章為作者觀點,不代表本網立場。 ※

方禮倫(Evan Fowler ) ,本地出生成長、中英交界的香港人,在劍橋和倫敦大學政經學院畢業。現居英國。 英文怎樣能表達得更好?香港的英文教育,著重文法正確、詞彙廣泛。但除了這兩樣,說好的英文、寫好的英文,還要有某種英語的理性與感性思維。 好的英文必清晰、婉約而有教養,與中文寫作文化略有不同。有時借用英文的文化特色,用於中文,可以別具一格。但若有一日移居英語國家,與以英語為母語的當地人溝通,融入主流社會,摸通英文表達藝術的深層結構,會很有用。 方禮倫的英文筆觸細膩,每週五他會以英文與我們見一次面,講述香港和海外華人關心的事情。除了獨特的觀點,其文筆可供英文寫作學習參考。