Content POV: Exodus in Hong Kong: Arduous Escape from the PolyU

In this edition of Content POV, RTHK’s Wang Ming Hei, Li Tai Wai, and Elsa Chung share their insights and observations on their Gold Trophy-winning News Feature.

New York, NY | August 19, 2020

Starting from the night of November 17, 2019, till the early morning of the next day, the Hong Kong police and the anti-extradition law protesters had serious confrontations at the outskirts of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University(PolyU). Their coverage of this humanitarian crisis earned Gold for Best News Feature for the team at Radio Television Hong Kong.

“Thanks to the jury and the New York Festival for their recognition of our work and the Hong Kong people. Without the trust of the two protesters, it would be impossible for us to work out such an in-depth feature report. We hope Exodus in Hong Kong could raise international concerns on the humanitarian crisis that the Poly U trapped protesters were facing. We also hope the international society will always stand with Hong Kong. Thanks to the jury and New York Festival for their recognition of our work.”

Wang Ming Hei, reporter, Exodus in Hong Kong: Arduous Escape from the PolyU

“Anyone can be a hero when despair looms ahead. Exodus in Hong Kong: Arduous Escape from the PolyU shed lights on the unprecedented social movement, throughout the second half of 2019. No one would have imagined a well-known academic place, turned out to be a battlefield. The night was dark then filled with the blaze, deeply marked for most citizens. People from different walks of life walked out in the next few days, to contribute to his role, which reflects the slogan ‘We fight on, each in his own way." 

- Li Tai Wai, reporter, Exodus in Hong Kong: Arduous Escape from the PolyU

“The 13-day-long siege of  PolyU was the most violent and tragic clash in the anti-extradition movement in Hong Kong. The Police fired more than 4800 rounds of tear gas, 4500 rubber bullets, and 800 bean bag pellets. The protesters resisted by throwing bricks and petrol bombs.   The Police surrounded the campus trapping hundreds of people including protesters, first aiders, and people who claimed themselves 'peaceful, rational and non-violent’.

In the story of Exodus in Hong Kong: Arduous Escape from the PolyU, we tried to explore why and how the people in the PolyU risked their lives to escape.  We found the routes were unbelievably dramatic. The escapees we interviewed told us they slided down the dangling ropes and crawled through the underground sewers to flee. 

People in the besieged campus were desperate as they were left with limited food and medical resources. Once they walked out, they would face riot charges.  Some vowed no surrender even if they lost their lives. Religious leaders, lawyers, and school principals mediated in this humanitarian crisis.

One of the principals said in our interview, "Love is the cure to the disorder.” Lives were at risk in the Siege of PolyU and they were very young. In this radio feature, we did not glorify anyone nor make judgments before anyone proved guilty in court. We tried to picture out what was not seen and visually recorded. We carefully selected the music and songs which coincided with our story theme:     

“May the world put aside all the arguments and biases.

May you listen to different thoughts and voices

May we all have aspiration, settle the dispute and be free from


Thanks to the Grand Jury of New York Festivals.

Elsa Chung, editor, Exodus in Hong Kong: Arduous Escape from the PolyU