HARRISBURG, Pa.—Saulan Staats, originally from Hong Kong, wrote to her friend ahead of local Stop the Steal rallies. She said if voter suppression and election fraud was allowed to occur, what happened in Hong Kong would one day come to the United States.
“I’m here to support the people in Pennsylvania, to get the truth out, to get the vote counted, the legal ones,” she said in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at the rally on Nov. 14, 2020. “If there is fraud it ought to be found out.”
“It’s just not right,” she said. “I’m from Hong Kong originally, and you see things going downhill there so fast, freedom lost in such a short time, it’s just really, it breaks my heart.”
“When I saw 2 million people marched [in Hong Kong], and I’ve been here for many, many years … I often asked myself, would I have been there? If I had been in Hong Kong. Well now I don’t have to wonder. I’m here. I know I have the courage,” Staats said.
“I wrote my friend, it will be like Hong Kong very soon, and eventually it will be like China,” she said. “Because what it is is basically they are shutting off all news, all children do not know anything about vote frauds. How do you know? All they know is that news anchors told them there is no vote fraud. They are pretty well educated yet cannot think for themselves.”
“There are hundreds of people signing affidavits, standing up, telling the world the truth, yet my own children would say that’s not, because whatever public radio stations tell them is just it,” she said. “I cannot understand it.”
“I came here because I often wondered whether I would have the courage to go, to that march in Hong Kong,” she said. “I do have it. Whatever comes, I do have the courage.”
It’s not just the big things like media misinformation that worries Staats, she said. There are little things like people’s Trump signs being stolen from their yards, and videos showing witnesses alleging voter fraud being mistreated.
“For me this is easy to believe because I grew up in Hong Kong and next to China, and in the years growing up there were all kinds of things happening; at one point I was afraid to look into the harbor because they were fishing out bodies, during the Cultural Revolution. I was 9 years old, and I was worried I would see one,” she said.
Americans may think comparisons to China are farfetched, but Staats says that Hong Kong is a reminder of how quickly a democracy lost its freedoms, how quickly a free state came under communist rule.
“So when you have something like this happening, when you’re little, you can believe anything,” she said. “Like the [Chinese Communist Party’s] live organ harvesting, that kind of thing, it’s just unthinkable, and when I first heard about it I could not believe it, even though I knew that, that it’s most likely true. And then I investigated more, and it’s true.”
The most blatant sign of encroaching totalitarianism in the United States is the censorship we see now, she added.
“There is censorship of people’s speech,” she said. “You know how hard it is, I had to look, I’d been looking for a few days to see where we could go … I knew [this event] was happening but I couldn’t find it.”
“They said it was white supremacists,” she said, gesturing at the diverse crowd of peaceful demonstrators. “Where are they?”