That’s enough illegal structures and strange church land deals. High school ‘flag teams’ receive police training in goose-stepping. A young woman is sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for rioting in the 2019 protests, when she was 16. An office worker is arrested for ‘seditious’ online posts. And Beijing demands that consulates in Hong Kong submit personal details of all their locally employed staff members within one month. (Does diplomatic immunity exempt consulates from complying? The requirements – residential addresses, ID number, etc – sound pretty intrusive.)
The UK Foreign Office releases its 53rd (!!!) six-monthly report on Hong Kong…
The authorities have extended the application of the National Security Law (NSL) beyond genuine national security concerns. For example, the authorities continue to try to use legal routes to suppress the song ‘Glory to Hong Kong’.
Arrests under the NSL and sedition laws continue at pace. The trial of the ‘NSL 47’, the largest national security case to date, is nearing a conclusion. Everyone tried so far under the NSL has been found guilty.
British national Jimmy Lai’s national security trial has been further delayed. His prosecution is highly politicised and I raised his case in Beijing last month. We continue to press for consular access. The international community is paying close attention to his case and many others. We urge the Hong Kong authorities to uphold the rule of law and to comply with international norms and standards.
The targeted persecution of people with dissenting views persists, including overseas. On 3 July, the Hong Kong Police issued arrest warrants and bounties against individuals in the UK and elsewhere.
And right on cue…
A spokesman for the HKSAR Government said, “The HKSAR Government strongly disapproves of and firmly rejects the UK’s attempt through a so-called six-monthly report again to make misleading and irresponsible remarks about Hong Kong matters. The UK’s manoeuvre with politics prevailing over law-based administration is glaringly obvious … The HKSAR Government strongly urges the UK again to discern facts from fallacies, respect the international law and basic norms governing international relations, and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong matters, which are purely China’s internal affairs.”
On the subject of Jimmy Lai – a profile by National Review.
And Singapore displaces Hong Kong in one of those World’s Freest Economy rankings…
For the first time Hong Kong has not ranked number one in economic freedom and is expected to drop even further in future years, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of the World report released today.
“This is the first year Hong Kong has not ranked number one on the index since its inception, and the expectation is that its score will only fall further as the Chinese Communist Party continues to suppress freedom of all sorts,” said Fred McMahon, Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom with the Fraser Institute.
…“Hong Kong’s recent turn is an example of how economic freedom is intimately connected with civil and political freedom. The Chinese government’s aim was to crack down on political and civil dissent. These repressions, combined with the government’s efforts to control the private sector, inevitably led to diminished economic freedom. Hong Kong’s prosperity will likely suffer as a result,” said Matthew Mitchell, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute.
…Venezuela once again ranks last. Some despotic countries such as North Korea and Cuba can’t be ranked due to lack of data.
Another lengthy official response follows – though it is somewhat calmer than the one railing about the so-called six-monthly report. (Disappointed!)