SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A Chinese man is biking across the country to raise awareness and show support for Hong Kong in its fight to preserve autonomy from mainland China. He made it to Utah this past week after taking off from L.A. and will head out Monday to his destination in Boston.
Alex, who requested to only be identified by his first name, grew up in a small coastal city in northern China, near Peking and Tianjin. He remembers using the internet when it had the least restrictions in China in the early 2000s. He would argue with foreign people online about his patriotic thoughts until he decided to do more research on his own. Then he moved to Tokyo, Japan to study sociology at a university and said, that’s where his interest sparked in Hong Kong’s protests back in October 2019.
“I believed that as a sociology student, I should do something to support the brave Hong Kong people who love freedom and democracy and are battling against a dictating and unjust government,” he said.
He went to Hong Kong on two-way permits to join the protests, but was only allowed to enter twice for seven days each time. Eventually, going back to mainland China was no longer a safe option for him. His identity was revealed after speaking at multiple events in support of Hong Kong and doing interviews with several media outlets.
He experienced several traumatic incidents while in Hong Kong, including being nearly blinded during an assault, having all his money stolen while sleeping one night in a park, and contemplating suicide out of fear of being deported back to China. That’s what led Alex to flee to the United States to avoid persecution. Yet, he still hasn’t faltered in his movement and message.
Last December, he made his first arduous trek from West Covina to Barstow, CA to raise awareness for his cause, walking 123 miles in five days. For this biking trip, he spent three months accumulating money, researching the journey, and buying the equipment needed before taking off. He told ABC4 that even though the events in Hong Kong are not topping international headlines anymore, he still wants people to know the protests against China are still going on.
“I still feel like there are a lot of brave Hong Kong people, who still have faith in freedom and democracy. That’s why I made up my mind to bike across the U.S. from L.A. to Boston to support them,” said Alex. “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. It’s a huge effort and pride they are paying for freedom.”
Alex’s hit a few road bumps along the way during this journey, but said he’s met a number of kind-hearted strangers in Utah who’ve helped him continue on, either through giving him a place to stay or donating to his travel fund.
“My debit card stopped working when I was trying to buy a drink at a hotel in Mesquite, Nevada. I left there with only $3 in cash, but only spent $1 when I arrived in SLC. A woman I met in Delta named Olivia gave me a place to stay for one night and $100 for my travels. Ken and Pat in Cedar City heard my story through an online community where warm shower hosts help bikers and gave me $40. Another woman in Santa Clara hosted me for a night and donated $50.”
He went on to mention, “Johnny gave me a new road bike yesterday. Lauren and her fiancé gave me a tent. Cheria and Richard gave me almost $500 gears. The people in Salt Lake City have been amazing and I met many kind-hearted people in Utah.”
Alex said once he reaches his destination in Boston, he plans to move to Hawaii where he’ll stay permanently. But his support for Hong Kong will always continue.
To follow his journey, visit his Facebook page: “A lonely trip for supporting Hong Kong protest.”