Issue 5, Volume 17
Did you know there are two names for COVID-19 in Hong Kong? One takes a more direct translation from English, calling it the ‘New Crown Lung Infection’ (新冠肺炎). The other takes on a more political translation, calling it the ‘Wuhan Lung Infection’ (武漢肺炎).
Protests continue to rage on the streets of Hong Kong. Growing anti-mainland Chinese sentiment is exacerbated by this novel disease. In an ironic twist of fate, the face mask – an icon of the Hong Kong Protest – regarded by many as a symbol of resistance and freedom and regarded by others as a sign of self-loathing troublemakers, became the one common thread that bound all Hong Kong citizens. Health always comes first. We learned our bitter lesson from SARS. But our reactions are tinged with political biases.
Freedom of media and speech does not preclude people from selectively choosing a side of the story they want to perpetuate. Confirmation bias and echo chambers continue to dominate social commentaries.
Pro-Police supporters point to exchange students returning to Hong Kong and blatantly disregarding self-quarantine rules as the biggest plight facing Hong Kong. ‘Selfish’, ‘irresponsible’; criticism piles on in WhatsApp groups and Facebook comments. On the other side, protestors and their sympathisers, whilst equally angry at the exchange students for disregarding the safety of others, have their laser focus fixed on (increasing) alleged claims of police brutality. 
Apple News, a mainstream news organisation in Hong Kong, known for their pro-protester stance, reported almost purely on Chinese media censorship, criticising the Hong Kong Legislative Council for increasing the police budget.
One video was made available only to those situated in Hong Kong or Macau, but the title says it all:
‘From Culprit to ‘Worldwide Saviour’: Looking Back at How the Chinese Government used the Wuhan Lung Infection to Create a Legend’.
The thumbnail showed a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping contrasted next to a map of Asia, with red dots blossoming all over the place. The commentary was clear: what was the fault of the Chinese Government, was now twisted into a propaganda machine for them to freely manipulate. 
Another news channel, known as HKGPao (Pao being a romanticisation of the word 【報】, meaning report or news), was overt in their support of the CCP.
The first twenty seconds of a news report struck a completely different chord than that of Apple News. A host began the news segment calling himself and the audience ‘Chinese people living in Hong Kong’ instead of the more colloquial and equally controversial term– ‘Hongkonger’. There are successive announcements about how the CCP is containing the virus and parallels are drawn with other European countries, noting that their failure to protect their own citizens would draw a very different reaction just a few clicks away on another news site.
(Translation: from top to bottom: Another Officer of the Law Infected, Initial Testing Confirms Female Officer has been infected with ‘New Crown Lung Disease’, Wishing her Speedy Recovery (hand praying emoji)). 
To draw an even steeper line between the widening divide, a post confirming a coronavirus case within the police force drew sympathy and praise. ‘Wishing Her A Speedy Recovery’ was superimposed onto a picture of the Sham Shui Po Police station.
The comment section was flooded with sympathisers and wishes of speedy recovery:
Translation from first comment on the top photo to the last comment on the bottom:
Translation of above image: Please note I am a soldier who just came back from England (HK protestors often refer to each other as soldiers or brother/sister in arms), after I came back, I went to a store that openly supported 23  and left a saliva imprint, I don’t wish for the 23rd clause to pass through, they said if you’re signing your name you can take off your mask, I signed my name and even got to shake hands with them as well (Happy face emoji). 
The image of a message also attached translates: Notice from Hospital: You have recently tested positive from your saliva tests. (Do not respond).
On a different Facebook page, unaffiliated with any news outlet showed a distinctly different sentiment. The same news story: a female officer was infected. The sentiment in the comment sections could not be clearer:
From top to bottom, starting from first comment to the last one on the right image:
Hong Kong remains as divided as the day I visited them in late 2019. Any dream of a united Hong Kong is surely dashed in the face of such partisan political debate. With a China desperate to regain its footing in the international field, direct political intervention may only be a few protest slogans away.
Written by an anonymous MLS student from Hong Kong.
 You might have noticed I refused to note either side as ‘Pro-CCP/Pro-China’ and the other side as ‘Pro Hong Kong’. Reason being, neither side is actually fighting against Hong Kong. Both sides believe that they are saving Hong Kong, but from each other. The divide stems from the belief that the other side is betraying Hong Kong, either for supporting the Chinese government, or destroying Hong Kong with protests.
 Proposal of an article known as the 23rd clause of the Hong Kong Mini Constitution, which states:
Hong Kong "shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Basic_Law_Article_23)
Such a proposal led to the protests in 2003 and was so unpopular it never became law due to lack of votes. In recent years, due to the turmoil of the HK protests, many pro-police/pro-CCP supporters were calling for this article to be introduced. One such supporter is the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam (https://www.hongkongfp.com/2020/02/22/off-heads-beijing-names-new-men-run-hong-kong-affairs-fresh-crackdown-imminent/).
 In a political situation that is increasingly polarising, many private businesses openly declare their support for either side of the protest. The person in this photo was probably referring to a petition conducted by a restaurant owner.