Hong Kong protesters are now coming up with innovative ways to organize themselves against the city’s controversial extradition bill.
Activists are now allegedly using apps such as Tinder and “Pokémon Go!” to communicate in preparation for demonstrations, as well as Apple’s AirDrop feature to send information to visitors.
On Aug. 2, Gavin Huang, an editor at Chinese culture website Goldthread, shared a photo from a Tinder profile showing a schedule of marches around the city.
“So it’s come to this — I’m getting protest info on Tinder,” he wrote in a tweet.
So it’s come to this—I’m getting protest info on Tinder pic.twitter.com/bMfRYCJv1T
— Gavin Huang (黄藹禧) (@GavinHuang) August 1, 2019
For the most part, organization of protests has been done on online forums such as LIHKG, similar to that of Reddit in Hong Kong, as well as Telegram groups, according to the South China Morning Post.
The increasing crackdown on such demonstrations, however, has forced activists to find new avenues to communicate.
In one event, activists claimed that they only showed up to play Pokémon Go! after being denied permission to march in a suburban neighborhood on safety grounds.
Aside from Tinder and Pokémon Go!, protesters have also utilized Apple’s AirDrop feature, which allows users to transfer files directly over Bluetooth.
AirDrop has particularly been useful in sharing information to mainland tourists visiting the city, considering that China’s Great Firewall limits reports on Hong Kong protests to those in line with its views.
The Chinese government uses Douyin — the mainland’s version of TikTok — to spread information, including a video of the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison conducting an anti-riot drill, Abacus News reported.
As of now, the controversial extradition bill, officially the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill, is halted by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam declaring its “death” on July 9.
However, it has not been formally withdrawn, which has caused continuing protests.
Yang Guang, a representative for China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Bureau, warned protesters that “those who play with fire will perish by it” and that punishment from the mainland is “only a matter of time.”
“I would like to warn all of the criminals: don’t ever misjudge the situation and mistake our restraint for weakness,” he wrote, according to Reuters.