There has been plenty of speculation regarding China’s response to this coronavirus pandemic, and what ulterior motives they may have conjured in its wake.
We have to remember that China isn’t exactly on the up-and-up when it comes to human rights or the international order. This is a nation that had repeatedly employed the use of concentration camps to tamp down religious freedom, and a regime that is consistently looking for ways to impugn the sovereignty of Taiwan and Hong Kong.
In the days leading up to the COVID-19 crisis, China was already dealing with an unruly series of protests in Hong Kong, and it looks as though Beijing is now looking to use the virus as a cover to crack down on the pro-democracy contingent within the massive city.
After steadily eroding Hong Kong’s political freedoms and independent legal system, the party appears to be preparing to change the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, which sets out rights unavailable in mainland China, such as freedom of assembly and the press.
The new language and approach are the clearest indication that Beijing now views the former British colony as a restive region to be brought to heel after months of anti-government protests last year.
So, what exactly is going to happen?
Local media in Hong Kong, including the South China Morning Post, reported Thursday that Beijing will pass a comprehensive national security law in Hong Kong by fiat, bypassing the city’s legislature and chief executive.
The law, which will target subversive activity, appears to be a tailored response to last year’s pro-democracy uprising – which Beijing blamed on secessionist forces and foreign influence. The unrest was sparked by a government proposal to allow extraditions to mainland China, but grew into a broader rebellion calling for full democracy and opposing China’s efforts to chip away at Hong Kong’s firewall with the mainland.
China’s crackdown on Hong Kong also found its way into the American culture, as the NBA suffered through a major boycott by the Chinese after a team’s general manager made a pro-Hong Kong post on social media.
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