19 January 2020
Hong Kong's recent events offer a reminder of how things can go wrong in a seemingly stable society. Photo: Reuters
Hong Kong's recent events offer a reminder of how things can go wrong in a seemingly stable society. Photo: Reuters

Why a Chinese web-drama has struck a chord

Web-drama “The Longest Day in Chang’an” has been in the news since it began airing recently on video streaming platforms.

Widely considered the most well produced Chinese TV drama series after the 2015 production “Nirvana in Fire”, the story is set in a 24-hour period during the Lantern Festival, when the whole of Chang’an City was out celebrating.

The two main characters have to foil a group of rebel forces that was planning to destroy the capital city during the festival.

The TV drama maintains a high-intensity tempo, and has won praise for its quality in terms of script, shooting, costumes, lighting, etc.

The story was set in AD744, widely considered to be a crossover period for the Tang Dynasty from prosperity to decline.

As the then Emperor Tang Xuanzong became old and lost the ability to properly manage the country, the An Shi Rebellion broke out.

As I watch the drama series, it reminds me of the current crisis in Hong Kong following the extradition bill disaster.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her top team have landed themselves in a big mess and have even lost the support of some lawmakers from the pro-establishment camp.

The city has witnessed large-scale protests and the troubles are continuing. 

In a rare situation, the Junior Police Officers’ Association, which represents two-thirds of the city’s low to mid-level police personnel, has issued statements frequently and held press conferences.

In a fresh statement last Sunday, the association urged top leaders of the police to ensure safety of the frontline law enforcement personnel who have been caught in the middle as the public vents its anger against the government.

“If the situation does not improve, we would consult with lawyers and seek measures to guarantee safety of our police officers,” it said

The recent events in the city, as a whole, highlight the crisis of confidence in the administration. One can only hope that the issues are resolved and things return to normal. 

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 15

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist