A sweeping new national security law has gone into effect in Hong Kong, effectively ending the “one country, two systems” promise that had long governed its relationship with mainland China. The new law cements China’s authoritarian rule over Hong Kong and limits many freedoms of the people there.
For example, the law criminalizes a number of protest activities in Hong Kong, if they are directed at the Chinese Communist Party or the Chinese government. It also sets up a unit within the Hong Kong Police Force that has the power to search properties and perform warrantless, covert surveillance—all while using security personnel from the mainland.
We’ve gotten used to scenes of democratic protestors in the streets of Hong Kong, fighting for their rights and freedoms. Such scenes are now unlikely, given the severe penalties that the Chinese government will impose on many such activities.
It’s the sad end of an era in Hong Kong. The Chinese government’s actions demonstrate they are committed to hegemonic control of their neighborhood.