(TargetLiberty.org) – In the wake of major social and political unrest in Hong Kong, China enacted a broad-reaching security law in June 2020. This reduced the city’s self-rule while increasing the ability to punish protesters.
In effect, the law provides a legal framework for pushing back against future resistance to its authority by criminalizing acts that challenge China’s authority over the city. Prohibited behavior includes taking any actions that undermine the central government’s authority or facilitate Hong Kong’s secession from mainland China.
The law also contains repressive measures. One provision states causing any damage to public transportation facilities will be punishable as an act of terrorism. Additionally, anyone convicted under the new security measures will not be allowed to seek public office.
One of the more disturbing provisions is the establishment of a Beijing-operated security office in Hong Kong that answers only to China and not local authorities.
Hong Kong Ups the Ante With New Restrictions
In a stunning revelation, a leading Hong Kong broadband internet provider announced on January 14, 2021, that it suspended access to HKChronicles, a pro-democracy website.
Hong Kong Broadband added that it disabled access to the site under last June’s security law for compiling information on so-called “yellow stores,” which supported pro-democracy efforts in the city. It also released photographs of police clashes with civilians during the 2019 anti-government protests.
The move raised alarms throughout the region because it indicates increased pressure from China on the free flow of information in Hong Kong. Experts see the move as a clear breach of its long-standing practice and promise of allowing the city to maintain a separate political system from China through 2047, 50 years after China took control of the city from Great Britain in 1997.
US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe recently declared that China presents the greatest threat to global democracy. Given this new increase in censorship, what comes next for China and Hong Kong?
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