If I told you I’d been to a demonstration in the mainland with thousands of people but all the police did was put up some barriers and stand around holding hands, would you believe me?
No? I wouldn’t have believed it either. but that’s what happened today in Guangzhou, in a joyous, raucous salute to Cantonese language and culture, screamed out by thousands and thousands of young, (I’d say average age 23, and would have been 20 if I and my two friends hadn’t been there) iPhone waving groovers sick and tired of being dictated to by Beijing.
If I’d been two or three meters tall, I would have been able to capture this scene, unheard of since June 4th, 1989, of young people in peaceful protest against, or rather peaceful fight for, that wondrous entity that is Cantonese. As it was, and despite standing on tiptoe and holding the camera high over my head, I only got other people doing the same. But downtown Guangzhou outside Gong Lam Sai metro station, was just a sea of people. And more and more came pouring in every minute.
The police just didn’t know what to do, but in the end resorted to just saying “This way, please” and stuff. Some of them smiled and laughed. Is this the beginning of something new? But as I said to the journalist: Cantonese makes people more lively. It’s its nature.
Being Canto speakers, we of course joined in the chorus of: Support Cantonese! and: Guangzhou people should speak Guangzhou language! Being the only foreigners there, we were immediately mobbed
swamped, photographed and filmed. And interviewed.
A historic moment and a triumph. I’m telling you now: You haven’t heard the last from the youthful Cantonese movement! It will spread to Hong Kong. Fast.