Yau Wai-ching became an activist in the Umbrella demonstrations when she saw high school students demonstrating in in the streets. At 22 she was working in an office job. She explained, “I thought I had to fight, to have a war with the government,” rejecting the “festival” atmosphere of the demonstrations by the main government buildings. Her colleague Baggio Leung reported she changed from a quiet nerd when she first started demonstrating into an outspoken leader.[i] She joined Youngspiration, a group formed after the Umbrella Revolution. The group sponsored nine candidates for the 2015 District Council elections, including Yau. She lost by only 300 votes and won in September 2016, at 25 the youngest woman ever elected to the council.
Yau and her fellow Youngspiration candidate, Baggio Leung (age 30) caused a firestorm when they demonstrated their desire for independence from Beijing by changing the oath of office, more typical of young activists than older ones. Yau mispronounced “People’s Republic of China” as “people’s re-fucking of Cheena,” a derogatory pronunciation used by the Japanese during their conquest during World War II. The two would-be legislators also carried flags that stated “Hong Kong is not China.” Beijing refused to recognize the two young people as legislators, judging their oath illegal. The government’s anger was compounded by the two democracy advocates’ visit to Taiwan the previous month to meet with pro-independence students. Yau considers Taiwan a better custodian of Chinese traditions and Confucian values than the CCP. The People’s Daily called the two “postules” that had to be removed and they were called fascist traitors. To protest this interference, more than 2,000 lawyers and activists marched in silence dressed in funereal black. Some protesters shouted “Hong Kong independence.”
[i] Michael Frosythe and Alan Wong, “From Hong Kong Pencil Pusher to Polticial Firebrand,” New York Times, November 4, 2016.
he speaks on video, link in article.