I’ve been a reporter and editor with TIME’s Hong Kong bureau for the past three years.

Since June, I’ve been covering the Hong Kong protests. Now in their third month, the tensions show no signs of abating and have evolved from demonstrations against a now-suspended extradition bill to a larger rebellion against China’s authoritarianism and a demand for more democracy.

I’ve spent time on the ground talking to protesters, dodging tear gas canisters, and interviewing experts and analysts to understand what’s really going on.

Here’s the first TIME cover story I wrote on the protests and here’s the second, which is this week’s Asia cover.

Apart from Hong Kong, I’ve reported extensively across South and Southeast Asia and written stories on the Wild Boars soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand, the struggles exiled Rohingya face in Bangladesh, Thailand’s first transgender prime ministerial candidate, the devastating 2018 Sulawesi earthquake in Indonesia and press freedom in Myanmar.

I’ll be taking over TIME’s Reddit account from 7pm-8pm ET on Aug. 21 so you can ask me anything about the ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong, what being tear-gassed feels like or reporting in Asia in general.

Update: Thank you for your questions! Signing off now

Proof: https://i.redd.it/nixohpp3sfh31.jpg

Comments: 290 • Responses: 10  • Date: 

Haelester365 karma

Out of the four ending scenarios which one do you think is the most likely?

A a violent suppression by the state, the bill goes forth as wished by the government.

B the government accepts the will of the people

C as weeks go on people grow weary and stop showing up, the story dies out slowly

D a violent revolution by the people

timemagazine588 karma

From the beginning of the protest movement on June 9, developments have been very difficult to predict. That said, I think A and D are unlikely, perhaps a bit hyperbolic. Authorities have already used force to disperse protesters, and they have shown willingness to escalate that force, but a violent suppression the likes of Tiananmen Square is (I hope) very unlikely. It's not in anybody's interest. As for a "violent revolution," while there is a small group of hardcore protesters that have become more violent, the movement by-and-large is peaceful. As for option B, I don't see the government offering wholesale concessions, but they may have to compromise on some points eventually (the protesters' demand for an independent inquiry would do a lot to restore trust and ease tensions). As for C, I've been continually surprised by the commitment and stamina of these protesters; they are expressing long-held grievances that resurface every few years and are not inclined to back down now while they have so much momentum. Long story short, no one knows how this will end!

cowens89209 karma

Based on what you have seen and witnessed. Do you see things starting to cool down soon or does this seem like the start of something bigger??

timemagazine511 karma

Based on the turnout at a rally on Sunday (it was huge, organizers estimated 1.7 million people participated), it doesn't seem that the protests are losing steam. The demonstrators have been very consistent in their messaging, they have five demands that must be met in order to stop the protests. That said, the government is clearly losing patience and has shown no willingness to meet the key demands, so this is far from over.

cowens89108 karma

Ok, thanks for the answer. Appreciate the work you’re doing and hope you all stay safe!

timemagazine97 karma

Thank you!

rikayla117 karma

I hear recent visitors to China are being asked to hand their phones to border control so they can be checked for any suspicious activity (e.g. protest photos, messages). If found on a device, you will be detained.

Is this true? If so, how many phones do you have (or you've heard of others owning) to protect yourself from Chinese border control? Or do border control look pass you because they can see that you are not Chinese or Asian?

I'm also curious about anything you've noticed about the Hong Kong protests as a non-Asian reporter that Asian reporters probably wouldn't have the privilege (or perspective) to see or report on.

timemagazine237 karma

I haven't traveled to the mainland since the protests began, so I cannot attest to this firsthand. I am not aware of detentions related to content found on mobile devices while entering mainland China. But there have been credible reports of phones being looked at during border crossings, and I know of people who have "wiped" their devices before crossing. People are definitely being cautious, especially after an employee of the British consulate went missing, and is said to be detained, during a recent visit to Shenzhen.
As for your second question, I'm from the U.S. and have covered mass demonstrations in several countries. The perspective I have (which many Hong Kongers also share) is of comparison. These are the largest demonstrations I've seen anywhere, and it's really remarkable that they've been so peaceful. Despite some pockets of violence, it's quite extraordinary that so many people can gather so peacefully for so long.

metanoia_orchid80 karma

What was the best thing you have seen the protestors do while covering the protests?

timemagazine258 karma

I've witnessed many individual acts of kindness and generosity during the protests, such as protesters handing out water to participants and passersby in the sweltering heat. But the thing that made the biggest impression on me was very early on, during a vigil for a man who had fallen to his death after hanging a protest banner from the side of a shopping mall. Thousands, probably tens of thousands, turned out for this evening event on Lockhart Road in Admiralty, and almost in unison they turned on their mobile phone flashlights for the vigil. It was an incredible sight to see so many people -- the vast majority of them very young -- all acting in solidarity in such a peaceful manner.

ankaranlibertarian41 karma

How people of PRC think about protesters, and could this democratic protests spread to mainland China?

timemagazine143 karma

There seems to be little sympathy for the protesters in the mainland. There's also a lot of misinformation being spread around, portraying them as much more violent and destabilizing than they actually are, while credible news reports are censored. But there is also a sense among mainland Chinese that Hong Kongers are disloyal and ungrateful; there's a vast disparity based on identity.

Togapr3340 karma

How do the protesters share information with each other if they are being monitored 24/7?

timemagazine98 karma

It's a bit of an exaggeration to say that they're being monitored 24/7; Hong Kong is still a free society, after all. That said, there are a lot of concerns about digital security, and there have been reports of attempts to hack accounts of people involved in the demonstrations. There has also been a lot of online harassment, which can be dangerous. So of course, the same security concerns exist here as elsewhere. The protesters are mainly using encrypted messaging apps to communicate, such as Telegram and WhatsApp.

cobaltcollapse39 karma

As an American is there anything I can do to help out Hong Kong?

Also how often do you use thesauruses? Writing for Time allows you to use less common words that may send others to get their definitions.

timemagazine64 karma

Haha, I don't often need to consult a thesaurus, I just happen to have a very comprehensive vocabulary :)
As a journalist, I'm not in the business of helping, per se, but I can say that Americans are free to express their views on Hong Kong to members of Congress.

kamakshi8929 karma

Do you see public support for protesters waning as the demonstrations get more violent?

timemagazine82 karma

No, they still seem to have broad support. Some protesters have begun speaking out against recent acts of violence in an attempt to restore unity.

amygunia22 karma

Hey Feliz - I read that repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh back to Myanmar might start this week. What are your thoughts on this?

timemagazine29 karma

The governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh have been saying this for two years, yet nothing has changed on the ground to make it more feasible. In fact, things have gotten worse in Rakhine, where the refugees are from. Large-scale repatriation is not likely. They may make an attempt at a small-scale repatriation (they say they have vetted a few thousand, and it's unclear whether or how the willingness of these refugees has been assessed). There is no way to guarantee the safety of these refugees if they are returned, it's a terrible idea. But more broadly, there are about a million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, they're not leaving.