HONG KONG — China has moved to crush Hong Kong’s democracy motion after enormous and violent protests rocked the finance hub two years in the past, hammering the flickering freedoms and autonomy it promised town would hold after British colonial rule ended in 1997.
The newest iteration of this crackdown is a ban on any rallies to commemorate Friday’s anniversary of Beijing’s lethal 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Here are some key developments over the previous yr.
First affirmation of safety regulation
The first whispers of a brand new nationwide safety regulation for Hong Kong come in May 2020 when China’s prime legislative physique unveils plans to strengthen “enforcement mechanisms” in town.
In a significant departure from norms, Beijing proclaims that the regulation is not going to be debated and handed by Hong Kong’s legislature.
Instead will probably be imposed by fiat, an unprecedented direct intervention by the central authorities.
The exact contents of the laws are saved hidden from Hong Kong’s 7.5 million residents.
China’s rubber-stamp legislature unanimously passes the safety regulation on June 30 and it’s instantly signed by President Xi Jinping.
The contents are revealed only one hour earlier than it comes into impact that night.
It outlaws something China deems to be secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with international forces.
Beijing says it should have jurisdiction over instances deemed to be severe breaches and introduces life sentences for the worst offences.
It additionally permits China’s safety brokers to function brazenly in Hong Kong for the primary time and outlaws peaceable political opinions resembling pushing for independence or higher autonomy.
The first arrests come a day later on the twenty third anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, primarily for chanting or displaying now banned slogans.
Per week later China’s safety brokers transfer right into a requisitioned lodge which now serves because the drive’s headquarters.
Other early arrests embody 4 college students for feedback made on social media.
Libraries, colleges and media
The safety regulation is quickly felt in newsrooms and campuses throughout Hong Kong. Libraries and colleges take away books written by democracy activists that would breach the brand new safety regulation.
Two pro-democracy veterans are sacked by universities after they served jail phrases for participating in protests. Major college leaders vocally embrace the brand new regulation.
In August, a whole lot of police raid the newsroom of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily and arrest its proprietor, media tycoon Jimmy Lai.
Lai is ultimately charged below the safety regulation for allegedly campaigning for international sanctions and denied bail. He can also be jailed for attending a number of protests in 2019.
Public broadcaster RTHK turns into a goal. A authorities mandated evaluation accuses it of bias in direction of the democracy motion and a brand new head is appointed who begins vetting broadcasts for his or her content material. Multiple senior journalists give up.
RTHK journalist Bao Choy is convicted of constructing a false assertion to acquiring car licence plates for an investigation into whether or not police didn’t cease a mob assault on protesters final yr.
Hong Kong’s legislature is just half elected, however China begins a marketing campaign to scale back that proportion even additional, and vet anybody standing for workplace.
Soon after the safety regulation takes impact, 12 democracy activists, together with 4 sitting lawmakers, are disqualified from operating in an upcoming legislative election due to their political opinions.
Another 4 serving pro-democracy lawmakers are then disqualified for his or her views in early November, sparking a mass walkout by the opposition that day.
‘Patriot’ legal guidelines
In March Beijing’s rubber stamp parliament orders a significant overhaul of Hong Kong’s political system.
Dubbed “Patriots rule Hong Kong”, it reduces the variety of instantly elected seats to lower than 1 / 4 and can freeze out most China critics by making certain each candidate for public workplace should first be vetted by nationwide safety officers.
Hong Kong’s personal opposition-devoid legislature approves the fast-tracked adjustments in late May.
New legal guidelines are additionally handed giving the federal government powers to sack public workplace holders and bar election candidates from standing if they’re deemed “disloyal”.
In the largest nationwide safety operation but, police cost 47 pro-democracy activists in March with subversion for organising an unofficial main election.
Those arrested are a few of the metropolis’s most well-known activists, from labour leaders and rights legal professionals to former legislators.
A mammoth four-day bail listening to ensues. The majority of defendants are remanded into custody below a provision in the safety regulation that removes the presumption of bail for non-violent crimes.
The group withstand life in jail if convicted.
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