Pro-democracy legislator Charles Mok explains what China’s new national security law means for dissidents and the future of the city.
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A week before protests and riots broke out in American cities as a response to the police killing of George Floyd, demonstrators were also out on the streets of Hong Kong.
Police misconduct is also a major concern in Hong Kong, and activists are demanding an independent investigation into the city’s once world-renowned police force for its brutal treatment of the demonstrators.
The Hong Kong protests that began in fall 2019 have had their moments of violence, with property damage and attacks on innocent bystanders.
Triggered by the gruesome video of Floyd’s murder, the U.S. protests are about the mistreatment of black Americans by law enforcement, while in Hong Kong, the issue is whether or not this bastion of political and economic freedom will maintain its autonomy from the authoritarian Chinese state.
The inciting incident last fall was the introduction of an extradition law that allowed China to transfer fugitives to the mainland.
China’s passage of a national security law that criminalizes the so-called subversion of state power has incited the latest round of unrest, prompting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to tell Congress that Beijing’s actions mean that “Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China,” putting an end to the ‘one country, two systems’ model that was established in 1997 when the United Kingdom relinquished control of its former colony. On May 29, President Trump announced that Hong Kong’s special partner trading status would be revoked and that sanctions are forthcoming.
Days before China’s National People’s Congress rubber-stamped the new law, Reason’s Zach Weissmueller interviewed Charles Mok, a pro-democracy Hong Kong legislator representing the tech sector, to discuss the impact of the new law and what will happen if China sends its own police force into the city to go head to head with protesters.
Edited by John Osterhoudt.
Photos: Mike Pompeo, Liu Jie Xinhua News Agency/Newscom; Hong Kong Riot Police, Simon Jankowski/Polaris/Newscom; Charles Mok, Chen Xiaowei Xinhua News Agency/Newscom; Nation People’s Congress, CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Newscom; Trump and Pompeo, Yuri Gripas/UPI/Newscom; Hong Kong Protestors Arrested, Willie Siau / SOPA Images/Sipa U/Newscom; Dennis Kwok, Dickson Lee/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Hong Kong Voters, Kyodo/Newscom; Hong Kong Tear Gas, Sam Tsang/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Hong Kong Protestors at Causeway Bay, Sam Tsang/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Starry Lee Wai-king, Dickson Lee/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Pro-beijing lawmakers, Edmond So/ZUMA Press/Newscom