‘Shield Girl’: The face of Hong Kong’s anti-extradition movement.
She has been the face of large Hong Kong protests against a controversial extradition bill. But the young woman, who came to be known as “Shield Girl”, tells the BBC that she will fight on despite the bill’s indefinite suspension.
“The innocence of youth and the riot shields of the authority,” wrote Hong Kong-based Irish journalist Aaron Mc Nicholas.
Dubbed “Shield Girl”, she even inspired this artwork from one of China’s leading dissident artists Badiucao.
She started meditating and chanting the Om mantra when tension was running high.
“I just wanted to send my positive vibes,” she said. “But protesters also hurled insults at the police. At that moment, I just wanted fellow protesters to sit next to me and not to chide them.”
But the young woman doesn’t want to be the face of the protests.
“I don’t want attention,” Lam said. “But if people think that it was moving to see me sit down in front of the police, I hope more people would be encouraged to be braver, to express themselves.”
Lam’s calmness is largely owed to her practice of meditation.
An avid traveller, Lam has visited more than a dozen countries in Asia, Latin America, North America and Europe. She dabbled in meditation during her trip to Nepal four years ago – when the country was rattled by a deadly earthquake.
But Lam, who spent every single day in the streets during the 79-day Umbrella Movement in 2014, was not emotionally prepared by the dramatic showdown between police officers and protesters on Wednesday afternoon.
“I do feel a bit of hatred because some students were injured by police,” she said, adding that she was not at the protest site when the violence unfolded on Wednesday. “We are only human to have feelings.”
“Violence doesn’t solve anything.”
On Saturday, the protesters scored what is being seen as a major concession. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the extradition bill would be shelved, and no timetable for its re-introduction given.
But Lam Ka Lo remains defiant.
“I don’t see it as a success.”
She wants to see the bill withdrawn, the Wednesday clashes not categorised as riot, and the release of arrested protesters.
“Come with your friends and family. Come in groups. Express yourselves in your own ways. I used meditation, but it doesn’t mean it’s the only way. Everyone can protest creatively and meaningfully.”
#RobertReview (Hong Kong Extradition Bill): 9 | 10
Hong Kong ‘Shield Girl’ Lam Ka Lo Meditating for Extradition Law to be Withdrawn