“The Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” or commonly known as the Hong Kong (HK) National Security Law was placed into force on June 30, 2020. On the next day, about 370 protesters were arrested in violation of this new law. Since the passage of the National Security Law, both the Hong Kong and Beijing governments had been seen rapidly emplacing the infrastructures that would make investigation and prosecution of people criticizing government authority possible.
Only a week after the ratification of the law, a temporary base of operations for the National Security office, in which provides Chinese agents free reign in HK, was officially established at a ceremony amid heavy security provided by the police, and closed off to the public and to most of the media outlets. This temporary office, set up inside a former hotel that is only minutes away from Victoria Park, which is a popular gathering place for most pro-democracy protests, can then be seen as an act of intimidation and instilling fear within the population of HK to either tow the line of the Communist Party or face the consequences.
The main focus of government authorities now is to limit the city’s internet freedoms of speech and information. As a provision of the new law, enforcement agencies are now given power to censor or delete internet content, and also requiring internet service providers to turn over user data to government agencies. This has caused wide spread panic amongst the HK population to delete past postings, comments, and chats that resembles dissent of the government or support for protesters, for fear of prosecution for past deeds. This law will now provides enforcement agencies the powers to surveil people’s communications, confiscate electronic devices, demand censorship or removal of online content from both businesses and individuals, and fine or imprison company staff or individuals for noncompliance.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are no longer tip toeing around HK to subdue critics and dissidents through soft power and kidnappings. They are now wielding a sledge hammer in the form of this National Security Law to demolish HK freedoms with one huge swing after the next. It is then due to the CCP’s end goal of the total overhaul of HK society into their own image, that we can already see how HK has become a more treacherous place to reside in, amidst this demolition process, than most Chinese Provences. Will the freedom of religion be the next freedom to be demolished? Only time will tell.