My latest articles at Mind Matters News cover the Hong Kong protests. The first article addresses the various ways protesters are protecting themselves from digital surveillance. The second article, related to the first, looks at the Hong Kong protesters’ response to the face mask ban implemented by the Hong Kong government.

In writing these articles I needed to understand the context of the protests, which meant I needed to become familiar with the history of Hong Kong.

I found Mishi Saran’s article in Quartz invaluable. Saran told the story of Shanghai in the 1930s within the context of Hong Kong today, and in so doing gave me a picture of how modern China became what it is today. It’s a great article for understanding China, and it’s a good exercise for aspiring writers to learn how to tell a historical account in less than 1,500 words.

Quartz* has been an invaluable resource for keeping up with the Hong Kong protests as well as other aspects of China’s ascending dominance in the tech sector. They have been so good, in fact, that the Quartz app was banned from the Chinese Apple app store.

In looking up information on Hong Kong and technological surveillance, I came across this video from The Wall Street Journal on how Hongkongers are evading surveillance cameras. The interviewees took a risk by being on camera, even with their identities obscured with a face mask. Their perspective helps us understand what is really going on in Hong Kong, which is important considering the Chinese government is engaging in a poorly executed social media campaign to re-frame the Hong Kong protests to make the protesters look like violent rioters.

This has been a challenging beat to cover, but I believe it is an important one. Technology can be used to give people more freedoms and opportunities or can be used as a tool for oppression.

*Disclosure: I have written for Quartz.