2017: Year of the crackdown in Hong Kong

Disrespect for national anthem punishible by three years in prison – latest installment in a wave of undemocratic measures

Adam N. Lee, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong)

The Stop Repression in Hong Kong campaign was launched to highlight the rapidly worsening attacks on democratic rights by Hong Kong’s government.

Socialist Action initiated this campaign in consultation with left organisations and worker activists in several countries. Key assistance has been given by the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), the international socialist organisation with parties and groups in 40 countries. In October, protesters in 22 cities around the world – from Bangalore to Vancouver – answered the call of the campaign to demonstrate outside China’s embassies.

The great crackdown of 2017 has seen six legislators undemocratically ejected from Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (Legco), giving the pro-government parties a ‘super majority’ that enables them to rewrite the Legco rule-book in their favour.

This is not at all what the voters wanted in the September 2016 Legco elections, when the pro-government camp suffered one of its biggest defeats in terms of votes. In that election the combined opposition parties got 60 percent of the vote, an increase from 56 percent in the elections of 2012. This was obtained on the highest election turnout for two decades.

The establishment’s purge of the Legco has nothing to do with ‘rules’ or ‘oaths’ – that was a legal smokescreen created by the Chinese dictatorship and its Hong Kong puppets. Its real purpose is to attack the most radical voices in the democracy struggle, such as ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung, and try to eliminate these forces from the struggle. This will not succeed and can actually blow up in the government’s faces, increasing public support for the ‘radicals’.

Under Beijing’s pressure, which ultimately reflects its fear of mass radicalisation spreading from Hong Kong to China, the news media in Hong Kong is increasingly a megaphone for China’s dictatorship. Reporters Without Borders lowered Hong Kong’s press freedom ranking in 2017 to 73 (out of 180 countries). This ranking has been falling year after year since 2002, when Hong Kong was ranked 18 in the world. China is ranked 176, the fourth worst in the world.

Read more: Global protests in 20 countries against Hong Kong repression ➵

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