In 2020, the Hong Kong government described Civil Human Rights Front protesters as ‘lawful, peaceful and rational’ and said it would ‘humbly listen’ to their views. Then they suddenly declare the organization all but criminal. For similar reasons, the once-obscure speech therapists’ union is derecognized.
“Lam said the government has learned in the past 2 years that, without the protection of the NSL, HK could become a bridgehead to harm national security. The government has since realised the true nature of many groups that it was willing to interact with and respected in the past.”
The word ‘learned’ here apparently means ‘we read it in People’s Daily and we have to follow CCP orders, so we must now maintain that this longstanding and respectable professional body is now potentially a threat to the great nation of the PRC’.
Beijing’s press are criticizing one candidate for Law Society elections for an interview she gave with the Norfolk Daily News, while the Secretary for Justice promises ‘Mainland opportunities’ to solicitors if they vote the right way. (Not Norfolk, England; not Norfolk, Virginia; Norfolk Nebraska.)
Despite government assurances that Beijing’s anti-sanctions law could be passed locally and not worry the business community, we ‘learn’ that the measure will be inserted directly into Hong Kong’s Basic Law – so maybe banks are screwed (or the law is purely symbolic).
And the U-turns keep coming. The Hong Kong government issues new Covid/quarantine rules again, causing yet more inconvenience to anyone with the temerity to travel. Here’s a thread on research into the ‘latency’ period for Delta variant of Covid, suggesting that a 14-day quarantine is more than ample.
The government is in a tight spot. It can’t admit that Mainland vaccines are less effective than Western ones (Bell’s palsy, anyone?). It can’t open borders to other countries before the Mainland does, in order to align with Beijing’s zero-infection approach (itself driven by face, such as a patriotic need to prove local vaccines’ worth). Nor can Hong Kong appear different from China these days. It can’t relax social distancing rules as they provide an excuse to ban protests. In any case, the CCP seems inclined to isolate the country from the rest of the world simply to keep evil hostile forces out. Must be agonizing for officials who are traditionally obsessed with cramming the city full of tourists – look on the bright side.