June 4 play reveals role played by Hong Kong
Two social activists who were part of an underground movement that rescued hundreds of Tiananmen fugitives star in a play about the incident.
Lawmaker Cheung Man-kwong and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming play themselves in the drama Beliefs Soar, which includes a storyline about the Hong Kong-based operation that helped dissidents flee overseas via Hong Kong after the Tiananmen Square crackdown on June 4 1989.
Wei Siu-lik, who wrote the play, said Operation Yellowbird was 'a secret part of the city's history' and was very dramatic, as it involved triad members, artists and members of religious groups.
Chu said: 'Back then, I didn't have any special feelings [towards the operation]. Giving a helping hand to those who fled the country was a very natural thing. I hope the play can enlighten the younger generation because I am telling them about the incident in person.'
As well as Operation Yellowbird, the drama, produced by theatre group Stage 64, also refers to the protests against Hong Kong's high-speed rail project.
Producer Cheung Ka-wan said Operation Yellowbird and the anti-rail protest were social movements initiated by young adults that demonstrated the spirit of 'passing down good traditions from one generation to another'.
He said running dramas centring on sensitive political issues was a tough business in Hong Kong because it was difficult to rent the more affordable performance venues run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and get government subsidies. Stage 64's application to use department venues was rejected.
The department said priority booking was given to venue partners, such as major arts festivals and professional performing arts groups subsidised by the Home Affairs Bureau. The venues not taken up were then available for public to hire.
Without subsidies, the group says it will lose money if it fails to sell 90 per cent of the tickets. The play runs five times from tonight to Sunday at the Hong Kong Art Centre's Shouson Theatre in Wan Chai.