Many observers of the ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong have noted how the protests remain extremely well-organized despite lacking centralized leadership. Supplies are well-distributed, rest areas are abundant, and protestors have even coordinated recycling initiatives.
The movement’s efficient logistics are in no small part due to its leaders’ use of internet-enabled technology. But protestors are going beyond Facebook groups, WhatsApp conversations, and Twitter feeds in their efforts.
Code4HK’s today.code4.hk is one of several online hubs where activists aggregate and disseminate information to the Hong Kong public. Inspired by Code for America, Code4HK originated as a group dedicated to solve civic issues. In a blog post from December 2013, Vincent Lau wrote described the organization’s mission as follows:
Today.code4.HK Code4HK’s property dedicated solely to the Occupy Central demonstrations. It draws inspiration from g0v, the Hackpad page which activists in Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement used to inform each other and the public about its occupation of the Legislative Yuan (heavy traffic from Taiwan even brought Hackpad down at one point).
The homepage for today.code4.HK contains links to the four most basic resources for demonstrators and the Hong Kong public – a livestream from four TV channels covering the events, a map of local rest stops and supply centers, a Google Doc that’s updated with relevant news (events, police presence, headcount estimates), and a Google Doc that tracks and organizes supply distribution.
Toggling the sidebar lets one access even more livestreams and additional spreadsheets:
The Google Document charting supply distribution is startlingly thorough. The page pictured below lays out supply needs for specific districts around the city. Those who update the page are encouraged to indicate the degree of urgency (there’s also a section where users can report an excess of supplies). Below, you’ll see that Admiralty was at one point in dire need of water, sports drinks, and dry foods. There’s even a page that lists all of the public restrooms near the site of the demonstrations.
Another section lists out a set of apps that demonstrators might find useful, including Twitter, FireChat, and Telegram.
We’re in touch with Code4HK and look forward to speaking more with them. In the mean time, go browse through today.code4.hk to get a sense of how online savvy is powering offline mobilization.