Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


China plans further crackdown in HK after mass arrests

HONG KONG — The arrest of more than 50 democrats in Hong Kong (HK) last week intensifies a drive by Beijing to stifle any return of a populist challenge to Chinese rule and more measures are likely, according to two individuals with direct knowledge of China’s plans.

While stressing that plans haven’t been finalized, the individuals said it was possible that Hong Kong elections — already postponed until September on coronavirus grounds — could face reforms that one person said were aimed at reducing the influence of democrats.

Both individuals, who have extensive high-level experience in Hong Kong affairs and represent Beijing’s interests, spoke on condition of anonymity.

Beijing’s involvement was “substantial” in driving and coordinating actions with the Hong Kong government, said one of the individuals, a senior Chinese official.

He told Reuters the latest arrests were part of a wave of ongoing actions to silence activists and to “make sure Hong Kong doesn’t slide back to what we saw 18 months ago,” when massive demonstrations marked the boldest public revolt against China’s leaders since the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing in 1989.

China has been “too patient for too long, and needs to sort things out once and for all,” he added, saying more tough moves would be rolled out for “at least a year.”

A spokesman for Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the implementation of a national security law last June had restored stability and reduced street violence.

“The legitimate rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong have been upheld and criminals are brought to justice through our independent judiciary,” he said in an emailed response to Reuters, without responding to questions about Beijing’s role.

Hong Kong elections were scheduled for Sept. 5 and officials were working to ensure an open, fair and honest poll, he added.

The Chinese government did not respond to requests for comment. 

The Chinese official said Beijing remained concerned the opposition could still muster a majority in the legislature should the polls go ahead, given a lingering groundswell of public support.

Chinese officials were now discussing ways to change the electoral system to address “deficiencies” in the political structure, he said, and elections might be further delayed.

The second pro-Beijing source confirmed there were advanced talks on structural changes to Hong Kong’s political system, including possibly curtailing the influence of democrats on a 1,200-person election committee to select Hong Kong’s next leader in 2022.

“It will likely shake up the whole political base,” the source said of the reforms.

Ms. Lam’s spokesman said authorities were exploring using electronic polling and setting up polling and counting stations in mainland China to allow registered electors there to vote.

Any changes to electoral laws to further isolate the opposition would now be procedurally guaranteed with the legislature now controlled by pro-Beijing politicians following a mass resignation of democrats from the legislature last November.

Since the new security law was introduced, authorities have arrested 93 opposition figures under the legislation, frozen activists’ assets, confiscated phones, computers and travel documents, disqualified some lawmakers and targeted media. Hundreds have fled into exile.

Six senior democratic figures interviewed by Reuters voiced fears over what they described as a grim outlook since the most recent arrests.

Among the next steps authorities could focus on, they said, are disqualifying hundreds of democratic “district councilors” who dominate the grassroots political arena; entrenching loyalty to China within the civil service; squeezing businesses whose bosses explicitly support the democratic cause; and creeping censorship of the internet and media under the auspices of national security.

Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the security law will only target a small minority of “troublemakers.”

Beijing denies curbing rights and freedoms in the global financial hub and has opposed criticism of the arrests as “grave interference in China’s sovereignty and domestic affairs.”

Hong Kong, a cosmopolitan metropolis of 7.6 million known for its freewheeling spirit, has seen many of those who challenged China’s authoritarian grip targeted under the sweeping security law.

“Hong Kong has entered a harsh winter,” said Benny Tai, a former law professor who has been a key strategist for the camp, following his arrest. “The wind is blowing fierce and cold.”

When the city reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997, China’s leaders promised, in a mini-constitution, to grant the city a high degree of autonomy and wide-ranging freedoms not allowed in mainland China including free speech, assembly and eventual full democracy.

Yam Kai-bong, a Tai Po district councilor with the localist pro-democracy ‘Neo Democrats’, said the spectre of protracted legal proceedings related to the arrests could scare off, or weaken the opposition camp’s chances in any upcoming election.

“It’s very clear that the authorities, this time, want to cast one net to capture all those who may have been planning to contest the upcoming elections — if they even take place — and to make it very difficult for them to run.”  Reuters

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.
Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!



Headline inflation stood at 4% in July, the government reported on Thursday. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS PHILIPPINE INFLATION eased to a seven-month low...


ALL COMPANIES included in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) indices will be required to raise their public float level to 20% by December 2022,...


THE PHILIPPINES should focus on diversifying its economy to produce high-quality jobs and more competitive products, according to the United Nations in the Philippines....


SAN Miguel Corp. (SMC) returned to profitability to finish the first half with a net income of P29.57 billion, reversing last year’s P3.99-billion loss,...


AYALA-LED AC Energy Corp. reported an attributable net income of P1.42 billion in the second quarter, down by 28% from P1.97 billion year on...


PLDT, Inc. saw its attributable net income for the second quarter grow 10.9% to P7.1 billion, as high demand for data and broadband continued....

You May Also Like


Having a good Instagram marketing agency to back up your Instagram account is an absolute must going into the new year. With competition stronger...


As a traditionally rigid insurance industry becomes bogged down by antiquated processes and operations, a handful of industry leaders are seeking to shake things...


US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., will rely on ally countries to supply the bulk of the metals needed to build electric vehicles and focus on...


THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public from investing or to stop any investment in a group named Maxxprofit Computer Trading...

Disclaimer:, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2021 SmartRetirementReport. All Rights Reserved.

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.

Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!