For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention, Atlantic spells out what Hong Kong’s incoming Chief Executive means…
Lee’s elevation is reflective of the distrust and paranoia that has flourished in Beijing and among Hong Kong’s political elites since the 2019 prodemocracy protests, which he helped both trigger and eventually put down.
…Beijing clearly “wants to keep the current level of control,” [City U academic Liu Dongshu says]. This goes far beyond just stopping protests and ridding the legislature of opposition, and extends to dismantling the bonds and shared identity forged among Hong Kongers during the 2019 protests. This week, for example, state media warned that taxi drivers and shops displaying any prodemocracy symbols could be violating the national-security law.
Did anyone entertain any hopes that this ‘struggle’ would settle down, if not pass? But forget it. The paranoia over ‘foreign challenges’ and plots against the PRC government is on display in today’s headlines: a call for the Hong Kong government to use Mainland tech in case of sanctions, a looming clampdown on online crowdfunding, and police deployment of ’saber-tooth tigers’.
As China’s economic and international-relations problems build up, and its post-Covid society is left more isolated from the outside world, Beijing will see more enemies everywhere. Hong Kong’s remaining freedoms and identity are threats to be eliminated – and that job has only just started.
For some light relief: this guy again in China Daily. I’m seriously fascinated by this. What’s the motive? What compensates for the humiliation of having your byline here?