Professor Ian Chong from the National University of Singapore has told Express.co.uk that China’s censorship campaign will continue due to the ongoing pandemic and national security laws, which outlaw public protest. The national security law was introduced last year and forced out all pro-democracy legislators, providing Beijing with the opportunity to assert total control over the city. It also outlawed so called ‘collusion’ with foreign powers.
As a result, Prof Chong warned this could give Beijing the green light to enforce their vision of order on the Hong Kong government.
He told the Express.co.uk: “Given changes to the electoral system and also on organisation as well as assembly, HK democrats have few legal options. Challenging such legal frameworks could result in arrests and attention surrounding the legal proceedings.”
The Professor argued that the UK could impose targeted sanctions on individuals, as the United States has done, and perhaps extend such action to corporations associated with excesses, especially British-registered ones.
Although, he warned anything the UK does would be largely symbolic and that the Government should be prepared to receive significant opposition from Beijing.
The mismatch in behaviour which Prof Chong has highlighted, was especially evident after President Xi Jinping preached about the virtues of nations working together.
In a speech at the World Economic Forum in February, the Chinese leader spoke of the need to reignite multilateralism, while China continues to intimidate Hong Kong and restrict its rights to freedom from Beijing rule.
The do as I say, but not as I do approach being applied by Beijing to Hong Kong is most evidenced in the crackdown on who can stand for elections and in education.
The new electoral law, which Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam supports, has been designed to prevent candidates who hold pro-democracy views from standing for public office.