posted August 4, 2021 through Amalie Nilsen & filed under Civilians in Conflict, Regions and Powers, defense


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Protests in Hong Kong, 2019. Photo: Jonathan van Smit


In 2019, countless Hong Kong citizens took to the highways to protest a propose bill the would allow Hong Kong authorities come extradite doubt criminals to mainland China. The protests soon arisen into a movement, demanding full universal suffrage, amnesty of arrested protestors, and one independent inspection to investigate police brutality.

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Known as the Anti-Extradition law Amendment bill (Anti-ELAB) Movement, this led come a landslide win of the Pro-democracy camp in the ar Council Election, held in November the exact same year. The outcomes sent shockwaves through the politics sector, together 17 out of 18 districts flipped from “Pro-Beijing” come “Pro-Democracy”.

While the 2019 social unrest clearly signaled a growing faith in democracy among Hong Kong’s citizens, the city-state has suffered an ext in repression 보다 it has got in freedom.

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What has actually happened in Hong Kong because 2019, and also can Hong Kong’s democracy be saved?


Aftermath of the 2019 uprisings: the new security law

The success the the pro-democracy camp in the 2019 election sent a clear article to the neighborhood government, to the mainland authorities and to the remainder of the world: the citizens of Hong Kong want democracy.  

Immediately after ~ the announcement of the results, Hong Kong’s cook Executive, Carrie Lam, claimed that she would “listen humbly” to the voters’ demand . While this raised hope for democratization top top the territory, the positive outlook was short-lived. As the corona crisis escalated in January 2020 the massive protests were placed on a pause. In the meantime, the Beijing authorities supplied a backdoor in Hong Kong’s mini constitution, the straightforward Law, to pass a extremely controversial security law on Hong Kong, putting Hong Kong’s democratic breakthrough to one end.  

Earlier this year, Beijing made new changes to the electoral system, ensuring that just Beijing-loyal “patriots” can finish up in positions of power 

The brand-new security law implemented 30 June 2020, criminalizes any act that is regarded to “endanger the national security”. The law contains loosely worded terms, and “endangering the nationwide security” have the right to mean anything, including posting on society media, and attending peaceful protests. Since the implementation the the law, an ext than one hundred the opposite figures, including activists, politicians, journalists and students have actually been arrested. 

One of the greatest blows remained in November 2020, as soon as Beijing granted Hong Kong’s mainland-friendly authorities the strength to expel legislator for not being “loyal” to the Chinese authorities. In January 2021, 53 activists and former law makers were arrested for organizing an unofficially election, due come the postponement the the legislative branch election the was supposed to be hosted in September 2020. Earlier this year, Beijing made new changes to the electoral system, ensuring that just Beijing-loyal “patriots” can finish up in location of power 

Over the previous year, books have been eliminated from libraries, web sites have actually been blocked from windy access and protest marches have actually been banned. However, one large opposition number refused to ago down: the newspaper Apple Daily.  

Apple Daily shuts down

The newspaper, named after the Bible’s forbidden fruit, has actually been one of few remaining figures of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. On 1 July 2020, the work after the National Security Law came right into effect, Apple Daily was the just newspaper come run a front web page opposing the brand-new law, using the headline “The it spreads widely of draconian regulation signifies the end of 2 Systems”. 

A couple months later the newspaper’s leader, Jimmy Lai, and also a handful of various other journalists were arrested. Despite these arrests, the file refused to back down. If anything, it rather doubled down, and continued to openly criticize the Chinese government and accuse the police that abusing their power. When protest marches were outlawed, buying Apple Daily became among the permitted acts the resistance.  

Internationally, there have been various responses to the brand-new security law. The UK has offered residency and also citizenship to Hong Kong citizens born before the handover in 1997.

Apple Daily had regulated to survive the arrests that its leader and cook editor, and for some time it seemed the paper was walking to survive. However, on 17 June 2021, days before the paper’s 26th anniversary, the government froze Apple Daily’s bank accounts. The newspaper’s headquarters were raided through 500 police officers, arresting 5 executives that the newspaper. Six work later, Apple Daily announced closure. Overnight, the entire archive and the paper disappeared from the Internet, and 26 year of journalism were wiped out. Hong Kong’s loudest and clearest remaining voice for democracy and also press flexibility was in order to shut down, marking the start of a new era for Hong Kong. 

The road ahead

During the brothers handover in 1997, Beijing promised it would give Hong Kong fifty year to keep its capitalist system and enjoy significant freedoms, as stated in the Sino-British joint Declaration of 1984 . However, these promises are clearly fading, and also Hong Kong is instead experiencing political strangulation. Apparently, China’s Central Government will not give Hong Kong the freedoms the was guarantee under the british handover, and the implementation that a fully-fledged democracy seems an extremely unlikely.  

Internationally, there have actually been various responses to the new security law. The UK has offered residency and also citizenship to Hong Kong citizens born vxcialistoufjg.comr to the handover in 1997. The US has implemented several sanctions which penalize banks that do business with Chinese officials, and the european Parliament pass a non-binding resolution, calling for EU member claims to adopt “sanctions and asset freezes versus Chinese public official responsible because that devising and implementing policies that violate human rights”. However, China does no easily ago down in the confront of international pressure, and there is no sign that China will loosen its grip on Hong Kong.  

This go not typical that the international culture should carry out nothing. Even if it can’t save Hong Kong, it must at the very least keep the spirit of freedom alive. As the “City of Protests” is being forced to silence, the rest of the world should continue to tell the story about Hong Kong, that Hongkongers are no longer allowed to tell. This is clearly stated in apple Daily’s final farewell on 24 June 2021:  

“We expect that even though this platform  no much longer be around, the journalists proceed to seek the truth. Thanks again to all for your support. Come the world of Hong Kong, continue to be strong. Might we fulfill down the road. Goodbye.”