On June 30th, China imposed a new law on Hong Kong that severely curtailed political freedom and freedom of expression. The new National Security Law criminalized most forms of dissent and protest, adding criminal offenses for things like “subversion” and “collusion.” Police in Hong Kong were swift to enforce the new law, arresting people for the language on signs they held.
This move by Beijing is the latest in a series of efforts to quash a political and social movement in Hong Kong that has resisted China’s attempt to impose authoritarian rule on the historically independent city.
Hong Kong has seen this before
In recent years, as China has become more powerful on the world stage, the Chinese Communist Party has sought to erode Hong Kong’s political independence. Last year at this time there were massive peaceful protests against a law that would permit the extradition of people from Hong Kong to China. In the year since, police and pro-Beijing authorities have cracked down on protests. And now, with this powerful new law, people are being arrested for the signs they are waving.
Victoria Tin-Bor Hui is an associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame. We discuss the content of the new National Security Law before having a broader conversation about its political and social implications of this new era for Asia’s World City.