Protest: People at Causeway Bay in Hong Kong hold candles during a ceremony to commemorate the massacre in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The annual demonstration in Victoria Park in Hong Kong has been banned for the second year in a row.
Over the past year, China has tightened its grip on Hong Kong. Protesters risk imprisonment for many years. What is the opposition’s response? “Be like water.”
200 police officers lined up at the offices of the pro-democracy Apple Daily in Hong Kong, early Thursday morning local time.
Five people were arrested in a major police raid, The newspaper itself reported.
The detainees are suspected of “plottings with foreign powers,” according to reports South China Morning Newspaper. The five were arrested on the basis of The controversial security law introduced in Hong Kong at the end of June last year.
– It was all so special. The bill was kept secret until it was passed — and it happened at the National People’s Congress in Beijing, not Hong Kong, says Chinese author and expert Torbjorn Verovic.
Among the five are the directors and editors of Apple Daily and the newspaper’s owner, Next Digital. Among them, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Ryan Low.
In August last year Ten people were arrested in the same media houseIncluding Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai, a well-known pro-democracy activist in Hong Kong. He has criticized the Security Act, which has limited Hong Kong’s autonomy.
After the law was passed, several elected officials were barred from membership in the Hong Kong Legislative Assembly. Today, the assembly is mainly made up of representatives from pro-Chinese parties, Chinese expert Færøvik explains.
In addition, all candidates must be thoroughly vetted and pre-approved by a panel.
The democracy that Hong Kong used to be, after all, is now more or less wiped out. There is no longer any opposition to talk about it, says Torbjorn Verovic.
“Be like water”
Gathering in early June Hundreds settled in Hong Kong – despite the fact that they risked many years in prison by doing so. They noted that June 4 is the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing.
For the second year in a row, Tags are blocked. This year, too, the reason was the fear of the spread of the Corona virus.
Cover: A woman holds a copy of a newspaper on the front page in 1989 after the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Democrats, lawyers and the media are among those arrested and imprisoned, or forced out of the political arena, or left Hong Kong to live in exile.
Hong Kong is no longer what I know. Sometimes I’m afraid to talk to my friends who still live there, I’m afraid to ask them questions about the security law, says Jessica Chiu, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Commission in Norway.
– If the conversation is found again, I’m afraid it can be used against them. Then they can be reported, and they can get a prison sentence, she says.
Chiu and the organization she leads point to opposition to developments in Hong Kong through demonstrations and events in Norway.
– There is no longer a place for dissent in Hong Kong. She says I simply think Beijing is afraid of democracy.
At the same time, she believes that there is always hope.
When there is pressure, creativity is created. “Be like water” – “Be like water”. She explains that Hong Kong residents need to be flexible and find ways to move forward.
A dam can explode
The expression “be like water” actually comes from a Quote by Bruce Lee. Now opposition figures in Hong Kong have adopted him as a mantra to show their need to adapt.
– It’s a good expression. The water is somewhat slippery, hard to come by, and it rolls in most places, describes Chinese expert Torbjorn Ferrovic.
Although demonstrations were banned in Victoria Park this month, people have found other ways to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Some candles were lit in the house, and others wrote the numbers 4 and 6 – the numbers on the date of June 4 – in Light switches, so just turning off the light in the house itself was a show عرض. Libraries sold books at a 64 percent discount.
Lights on: Flames shine in the windows of the US Consulate in Hong Kong.
Water can be anywhere, and it can be anywhere. The past year has been remarkably quiet in Hong Kong, in part due to the difficulty of obtaining permission to demonstrate, Færøvik explains.
– But the water can come back very quickly. You probably just need a small dam that can burst. He says it will be very interesting to follow the development.
Strong in the depths of the people
According to Torbjorn Verovic, it is no coincidence that China is tightening its grip on Hong Kong. When the pro-democracy forces began to speak out against the Beijing government’s sting, Party Chairman Xi Jingping decided to respond.
– They were afraid that would happen. The author says that what happened during the demonstrations last year and the year before, when two of Hong Kong’s eight million residents took to the streets in demonstrations, their fear even more.
Some protesters crossed the line and began smashing and destroying property in the city. But the vast majority of protesters are peaceful, as Færvik asserts.
This is what it looked like when police intervened in protests in Hong Kong last year:
At the same time, he believes authorities may be comparing the 1989 Beijing demonstrations – which in turn led to the massacre that protesters remembered last week in Hong Kong.
They did not know what forces existed in the depths of people. Such regimes never know what forces are hiding there, in the absence of free elections and opinion polls. What do Hong Kong people really mean? The Chinese Communist Party cannot be sure of this.
Hong Kong price
Although Beijing has apparently calmed down in a city marked by turmoil and exasperation last year, it has cost it.
– What happened in Hong Kong weakened China’s reputation internationally and in the region. It’s less than it has been in a long, long, long time, says Færøvik.
In surveys from the department Pew Research Center China has never had a low reputation.
– It has also strengthened Taiwan’s position in the sense that many now see it as more important than ever to defend Taiwan, which must defend itself against China, he explains.
It also means that Beijing will find it difficult to secure the same grip on the island territory they think they deserve.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that 28 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s airspace on Tuesday.
Authorities in Beijing have indicated in previous episodes that this type of mission is necessary to protect China’s autonomy, and to counter what they described as “plots” between the United States and Taiwan.
During the Taiwan Kite Festival, there are things other than fighter planes to keep track of in the sky. However, there was drama when a 3-year-old flew into the air:
Last year, Taiwan reported a number of similar incidents.
But although the People’s Republic of China recently equipped itself militarily in the Taiwan Strait, Verovic believes that it will be a long time before conflict erupts between Taiwan and Beijing.
Taiwan has a strong defense. And under Biden, there were new promises that Americans would carry a burden and explode with Taiwan. As long as they stand behind the United States, I do not believe that China would dare to attack Taiwan.