A Chinese man is hoping to spread awareness about preserving Hong Kong’s independence from mainland China by biking across the United States.
Alex Lee has already covered thousands of miles riding from California to Colorado before making a stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Saturday.
“From California, I passed Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado,” Lee told FOX 17.
According to Lee, his journey has had its challenges, including a time when he was hit by a drunk driver in North Dakota last year. Despite the safety risks, however, he is determined to continue spreading awareness to keep Hong Kong independent.
“I feel like, you know, it was a revolution. And I should do something amazing than just, you know, sitting down in the classroom,” he said.
Lee, who grew up in a small village near Beijing, has been following the pro-democracy movement since studying sociology at a university in Tokyo in his youth.
He eventually dropped out of college during the height of the Hong Kong protests in 2019 and immersed himself among the millions of Hong Kongers who opposed the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill, a controversial proposal that would allow extradition from Hong Kong to China.
“I like the free lifestyle,” Lee added. “That’s why I hate the Communist Party. I don’t like the censorship in China. It’s quite, you know, it’s quite sad.”
While Chief Executive Carrie Lam eventually withdrew the bill, demonstrations continued as she refused to concede to other protesters’ demands. The local election in Nov. 2019 saw the pro-democracy camp win in an unprecedented landslide victory. The protests subsided in early 2020 following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lee said his participation in pro-democracy events made going back to mainland China no longer safe for him after his identity was revealed in television interviews. To avoid persecution in his home country, he fled to the United States, where he now continues his mission of raising awareness about Hong Kong’s democracy movement.
Lee, who started his biking crusade last year, told ABC4, “I still feel like there are a lot of brave Hong Kong people, who still have faith in freedom and democracy.”
“I want more Americans to know about what’s happening in Hong Kong and how people there are suffering in order to gain basic human rights,” he added. “It’s a huge effort and pride they are paying for freedom.”
Lee, who documents his journey on his Facebook page, “A lonely trip for supporting Hong Kong protest,” is continuing his bike journey through Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., before reaching his last stop in Boston.