On August 28, 2023, the Institute for Global Governance Research (GGR) at Hitotsubashi University held a GGR Workshop, “Youth Weaving Asia’s Future: Dialogue on Political Participation with Young Voices for Myanmar and Hong Kong.” A group of 28 workshop participants had the opportunity to listen to the experiences of individuals who have been striving for freedom in Myanmar and Hong Kong.
The workshop featured young leaders who have been actively engaged in political activities on the ground in Myanmar and Hong Kong. Mr. Moe Htet Yan (Karenni youth activist) delivered a talk highlighting the attacks on democracy and human rights in Myanmar, viewing through the lens of inequality faced by ethnic minority groups. He also talked about ongoing efforts to address the current situation. Mr. Wataru Ishikawa (Graduate student, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies; Japan Representative, Japan Myanmar Future Creative Association) described the post-coup situation in Myanmar where his local friends have lost freedom and face daily risks in fighting for their rights. He also outlined efforts conducted in Japan to support such activities. Ms. Athena Kerin Tong (Visiting researcher and academic specialist, University of Tokyo; Board member, Japan Hong Kong Democracy Alliance) delivered a lecture that covered the trajectory of various protest movements, from the Umbrella Movement of 2014 until now, and the significant role played by young people in advancing democracy, as well as the expected roles of young people in Hong Kong in reclaiming democratic rights. Mr. Wally (artist and musician) shared his experiences of multiple years of artistic work in Hong Kong, portraying the tumultuous daily life brought about by the 2019 Hong Kong democracy movement and how he supported the people’s struggle through music.
Following the lecture sessions, the speakers and participants split into two groups, the Myanmar group and the Hong Kong group, for discussions. In the Myanmar group, themes such as the current state of democracy in Myanmar, the Milk Tea Alliance movement within the democratization solidarity movement, and activities in Thailand, Taiwan, and Hong Kong were discussed. In the Hong Kong group, the discussions centered on the importance of cultural elements, including music, as means of raising awareness about the situation in Hong Kong among people worldwide, and the indispensable need for coordination between Japan’s support for Hong Kong democratization and its economic relations with China.
【Event report prepared by】
Juno Kim (Bachelor’s student, Faculty of Law)