For his outspoken pro-democracy stance, Benny Tai has just lost his job at the University of Hong Kong (he was also jailed last year for “conspiracy to incite others to incite others to commit public nuisance”). Chow, in her early twenties, created her own political party, Demosisto, which ran on the idea of attaining self-government after the 50-year agreement ended. U.S. lawmakers have nominated twenty-somethings Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, and Alex Chow for the Nobel Peace Prize for their pro-democracy efforts.
One of the most notable aspects of these activists, young and old, is their good humor throughout everything. During a live, on-stage interview, they laugh and make jokes about doing major jail time. It’s in stark contrast to modern American social causes, which seem to be totally humorless—jokes about serious subjects are akin to cussing in church, multiplied by a thousand.
“One of the most notable aspects of these activists, young and old, is their good humor throughout everything.”
Some documentaries are topical, while others are literally occurring as we speak. Things have only gotten worse for Hong Kong in the past few months, with China having passed a new National Security Law that has overwritten Honk Kong’s law. This means that making change through traditional democratic avenues, like universal suffrage, is increasingly unlikely. Since the National Security Law, many outspoken activists have either left the country or gone underground. Others, like the 23-year-old Wong, are doing battle in the daylight by running for office.
On a presentation level, We Have Boots is a little rough around the edges. The neon green subtitles are more displeasing than logic can account for. More importantly, some of the translations require the pause button to make sense of. Even so, the extensive frontline footage and interviews with activists make the documentary a more informative alternative to an eight-minute piece on CNN. This isn’t even mentioning the inspirational real-time story itself, in which a speck on the map puffs outs its chest to one of the largest countries on the planet, which also happens to be a dictatorship capable of horrendous human rights violations. Freedom’s a little like crack cocaine in that way. Once you get a taste, you’d fight off the Green Berets with a spatula if they tried to take it.
"…some documentaries are topical, while others are literally occurring as we speak."