China’s Draconian Law to Suppress the Voices of Freedom in Hong Kong
On the 28th of July Tokyo, 24-year-old Edgar Cheung Ka Long from Hong Kong won gold in the men’s individual fencing. It was a historic victory. Edgar not only defeated Italy’s reigning champion, but he also clinched Hong Kong’s first gold in 25 years, and the second-ever in its Olympic history.
Honk Kong erupted in joy with Edgar’s win, however, soon it turned out to be a bittersweet experience. The viral video showing an exuberant crowd at a shopping mall in Hong Kong gathered to celebrate Cheung’s victory. The sweetness turned bitter when they heard the Chinese national anthem playing during the medal ceremony. The people expressed their rage and anger by chanting “we are Hong Kong“. They saw it as a symbol of an eroding identity. The next day, all of Hong Kong’s major newspapers carried the same story in the same tone where they praised Cheung for bringing honour to Hong Kong, while the pro-Beijing news outlets barely mentioned the news.
Hong Kong has time and again displayed unity in its fight with the mainland and this hasn’t gone unnoticed. In the video, Hong Kongers could be seen booing the Chinese anthem, thereby causing uproar in the Chinese Communist Party. As a result, China has directed the Hong Kong police to launch a probe to identify and trace the people involved.
One shivers to think what will happen to them?
According to the recently passed draconian law, it is illegal to insult the Chinese anthem, anyone found guilty of violating the law could be jailed for up to three years and fined at least 400 US dollars. This law is part of a multi-pronged effort to erase the identity of Hong Kong spreading across politics, education, the media, academia and the law. It has reached the point where the smallest assertion of Hong Kong’s individuality is branded as sedition.
On Friday the first conviction under the national security law was announced to Tong Ying Kit, a 24-year-old boy. What was his crime? He’s been convicted for riding a bike during a demonstration last year and carrying a flag that sought Hong Kong’s liberation. He was charged with terrorism and sedition tried without a jury and declared guilty by three judges handpicked by the chief executive of Hong Kong.
It’s unlikely that this conviction will be the last and it’s unlikely that the resistance will end too.
Like all the other news not related to us, this too shall be forgotten, but the city that is fighting to preserve its identity, freedom and democracy will continue to fight.
Featured image: Protest calling for G20 leaders to pay attention to Hong Kong. Photo: Ng Tin Hung / Civic Human Right Front.
Written by Prithiva Gupta