As expected, the Chinese government has passed a national security law for Hong Kong, which is likely to be implemented in time for the upcoming LegCo elections in September. Even as Beijing made an unexpectedly strong push for the law, seemingly without allowing room for negotiation, Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong notes that Hong Kong occupies an irreplaceable position to Beijing, and things may not be as bad as they appear.
With the Chinese government about to enact a national security law for Hong Kong, the SAR is worried about its future and people are afraid. Hong Kong columnist Chip Tsao, in his usual abrasive way, notes that over the more than 20 years following Deng Xiaoping's passing and Hong Kong's return, Beijing and Hong Kong have been butting heads to the point that everything now seems to be an irreconcilable, destructive mess. Hong Kong has been taken hostage, he says.
Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan notes that this year’s “two sessions” in China includes a contentious national security law for Hong Kong that has been months in the making. The law is unlikely to go down well in Hong Kong, nor with Hong Kong watchers with vested interests such as the US. What gave Beijing the confidence to push through such a law at this point in time?
Following last year’s protests in Hong Kong, the Beijing central government is all set to roll out new legal measures to plug the gaps in Hong Kong’s national security. The plan for the law was unveiled on 22 May during the opening session of China's annual National People's Congress. The draft proposal said the security law would "guard against, stop and punish any separatism, subversion of the national regime, terrorist group activities and such behaviours that seriously harm national security". Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong opines that worse days await Hong Kong, as neither side seems to be able to make a concession.
Following a recent controversy over a history question in a national exam about whether Japan did more good than harm to China in the first half of the 20th century, Hong Kong columnist Chip Tsao asks: "Who gets to decide how history is read?"
China has faced reversals of fortune numerous times in history, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. After enjoying decades of upward ascent since its economic reform and opening up, some says China’s fate is about to be reversed again with the coronavirus pandemic, a mammoth disruption that kicked off the 2020s. Lance Gore argues that such massive shock to its political and economic system exposes chinks in its armour but does not necessarily unravel a big country with the world’s most comprehensive industrial structure.
Seeing that stalwarts have kept their positions while new blood comes in the form of those who have law enforcement or political experience, pundits wager that Beijing may take a more hardline approach in the days to come.
The F&B industry has been one of the hardest hit as the world goes through these extraordinary times. ThinkChina winds through the streets of Hong Kong for a look at the eateries and restaurants that have (temporarily) lost their battles with the months of political unrest and the raging Covid-19 pandemic.
Hong Kong academic Yuen Kwok-yung was a prominent figure in bringing the 2003 SARS epidemic under control. But he has recently sparked anger in mainland China for his commentary on the Covid-19 outbreak, leading to a subsequent retraction of the piece. Zaobao’s Associate China News Editor Fok Yit Wai asks: "Will Beijing boycott Yuen?"