Hong Kong’s condition after three years of China’s crackdown

China, after three years, imposed a wide-ranging national security law on Hong Kong. Finally, the city has come to its original shape which is crowded malls and restaurants. The whole idea of the 2019 riots is an affected business but in reality, the lives of all 7 million Hong Kongers have been overblown by the new political order.

According to Hong Kong government figures, 10,279 individuals were arrested in relation to the 2019 protests, of which 2,899 were charged with offenses such as rioting, wounding, illegal assembly, and arson by the end of last October. About 250 people were arrested under the controversial law and 29 were convicted. More than 6,000 people have not been charged after investigations regarding them have concluded.

The South China Morning Post on May 30th published an editorial stating that those uncharged have been ‘left in a legal limbo’. However, Chief Executive John Lee keeps rejecting calls to either prosecute or close the remaining cases.

Lee’s desire to remake Hong Kong as a global financial hub serving China’s interests and his recognition of Beijing’s strong desire for safeguarding national security was turned down. Perhaps, it explains his support for policies such as slaughtering books from public libraries, and it sounds intentional to please Beijing while exposing negative comments globally.

The Lee administration’s policy toward its critics has led many to question whether freedom of speech is still a right in Hong Kong.

This act by Lee raises various criticisms and questions by citizens, one of them includes freedom of speech- is it still a right in Hong Kong?

This Lee administration’s policy is so rude that one critic, Tim Hamlett, recently stated that he was ‘giving up on Hong Kong politics.’

On May 12, in a column published in the Hong Kong Free Press, a British writer and commentator wrote, “I am still up for new experiences but the inside of a Hong Kong police cell is not on my bucket list.” However, what he explained isn’t the main problem.

“Nowadays,” Hamlett wrote, “the government has its own facts and its own version of history. Any expression which does not actively subscribe to both is to be contested and condemned.”

A lot of incidents are happening, one of them took place four days ago when a prominent Hong Kong political cartoonist named Zunzi was asked by the Ming Pao newspaper if, after 40 years, it would stop publishing his cartoons.

Before his termination, both Ming Pao and Wong Kei-Kwan, the cartoonist’s real name, had been abraded by the secretary for security, Chris Tang. He said that the cartoonist had “targeted the government more than once and made misleading accusations over the past six months.”

It seems that other senior officials, including Chief Executive Lee and Chief Secretary Eric Chan, also criticized the cartoonist.

Subsequently, the Hong Kong Journalists Association issued a statement that said: “Backed by abundant resources and public power, the SAR [Special Administrative Region] government repeatedly targeted a mere [cartoonist], reflecting that Hong Kong cannot tolerate critical voices.”

The security secretary responded that the government was willing to accept criticism but such comments must be “based on the truth.” The government, he said, “must speak up, clarify and condemn” if someone makes misleading accusations, and “give the citizens the right to know.”

The role of ‘the right to know’ is used to opine citizens’ right to ingress government or corporate data. In Hong Kong, another fairytale is created where the government owns its critics about rights.

The government is trying to play with the mindset of Hong Kongers by wiping out their memory of the bloodshed that happened in Beijing in 1989. As a result of this, on June 4, the 34th anniversary of the military crackdown, Victoria Park, where all sorts of commemorative events were held each year until 2020, was equipped by police and impacted citizens’ emotions.

Citizens are even told which words to use and which to shun.

- Published By Team Hongkong Journalist

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