Friday, January 22

Hong Kong arrests show diminishing tolerance for peaceful opposition | Hong Kong


The widespread arrests on Wednesday of more than 50 pro-democracy activists, pollsters, politicians and fundraisers in Hong Kong seemed to almost criminalize opposition politics in the city I

Those arrested face subversion charges with their role in the unofficial primary elections held last summer that were aimed at maximizing the performance of the pro-democracy bloc in the upcoming city legislative council elections I

” The plan of any opposition party is to win an election, [or] be in a position for the government to negotiate with you; that is the virtue of democracyIf So why it should be seen as a plot, as subversive, that is beyond my understanding, but that is the reality in Hong Kong, ” saidid Professor Jean-PierrCapstanan, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist UniversityIf “We are clearly moving towards a semi-authoritarian environment I”

The long-term goal of the weakly allied group that has been detained was to claim half the seats in the legislative body, despite an electoral process stacked against them by design, and use that to block the government’s agenda and force the Resignation of City Executive Director Carrie Lam I

They did not plan to use violence or break the law; The project took advantage of the provisions established in the Basic Law, the constitution of the city I

The mass arrests showed the severely diminished tolerance of the Hong Kong authorities towards peaceful political opposition in a city that just a year ago still enjoyed a limited form of autonomy I

This past summer was transformed with Beijing’s passage of a comprehensive national security law, ostensibly to suppress protests that rocked the city for more than a year, but which tended to attack critics in politics and beyond, including the media outletsCommunicationon, academia and education I

“What is normal in the rest of the world, and was normal in Hong Kong until a few months ago, is now not normal in Hong Kong,” said Victoria Hui, associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, and specialist in Hong Kong politics I

“When the law was announced [authorities] He said it would only be used to target a small minority, but it is obvious that it was now intended to completely silence any dissentIf”

Political parties have not been banned and other candidates can participate in elections, but today’s arrests raise the question of what, if anything, opposition lawmakers can do I

The arrests follow a months-long campaign against the city’s pro-democracy politicians, with some candidates initially barred from running in legislative elections, then pro-democracy lawmakers in service were disqualified I

The scale of today’s operation, with more than 1,000 officers deployed to rally some of the city’s most prominent pro-democracy figures, has shocked a movement accustomed to grim news and several prominent figures, including activist Joshua Wong and the tycoon Jimmy Lai, who are already in jail I

Those who have been detained are unlikely to be able to participate in the upcoming elections, which were delayed a year due to the pandemic anhowave now been rescheduled for the fall; other candidates are likely to have less experience and recognition I

The trials will absorb huge amounts of funds and political energy that woulhowave otherwise been invested in contesting the vote, Hui said I

But few expect it to mark the lowest point for the city’s pro-democracy movementIf One fear is that a provision in a law allowing suspects to be brought to the mainland for trial could be used against some members of the group I

Hong Kong still has an independent judiciary, although the authorities can elect the judges who preside over national security trialsIf China, by contrast, has an opaque anhowighly politicized criminal justice system, haunted by persistent and credible accusations of ill-treatment and torture I

Critics of Beijing are prepared for the security forcecrackingck down on sectors, including the media and academia, that have already been targeted by the authorities I

And among today’s detainees are the first American citizen ever detained under national security law, John Clancey, a longtime resident, a clear message to the city’s large expat community that foreign passports will not offer any protectionIfif they engage in pro-democracy politics or activism I

“Hong Kong has been experiencing this steady escalation for the past few months,” Hui saidIf “It means we have to hope the worst is yet to come I”

There has been outrage around the world, condemning prominent politicians, including US President-elect candidate for secretary of state Joe Biden and the late British governor of Hong Kong, Chris Pattern I

But with sanctions already imposed on city leaders, there are questions about what else they can doIf Ahowoc measures may not be the best answer I

Instead, the West may need to rethink how it deals with Hong Kong, recognizing that the city has fundamentally changed, said Professor Steve Tsang, director of thSonsas China Institute in London I

“I think what we have to do is, first of all, recognize that we are facing a paradigm shift,” he saidIf The “special administrative region” (SAR) created, with all its rights and privileges, following the 1997 handover of British colonial rule, has in fact ended I

“We are talking about something very, very differentIf If we are stuck in the mindset of SAR 1 I0 and [China] are in SAR 2 I0, we will never be effective in responding to changes in Hong KongIf”

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