The media in Hong Kong is under heavy attack after the enactment of the National Security Law by Beijing. The law gave the Chinese government an excuse to clamp down on dissidents following heated protests in Hong Kong starting in 2019. The Communist Party of China has since heavily attacked dissident media in Hong Kong, leading to the closure of three independent media companies. Citizen News Hong Kong is the latest culprit and was forced to seize its operations in Hong Kong following raids and threats of imprisonment for its officials and employees. As such, we call on you to help #SaveHongKongMedia by using the hashtag.
Hong Kong Forced Out of Autonomy
Hong Kong was a colony of Britain and on independence was given the status of an independently governed territory of autonomy, until the year 2047. However, the Chinese government went back on its part of the agreement and sought to retake authority in the territory. To aid Beijing in this sinister move was a collaborative Hong Kong government led by Chief Carrie Lam. Lam, a subject of the Communist Party under Xi Jinping, gave way for the Chinese government to take over the territory leading to heated protests in 2019. The protests portrayed the anger of the Hong Kong people in the face of an increasingly dictatorial government, heavily influenced by Beijing.
Historic 2019 Hong Kong Protests
The protests got too heated and violent to the point that the Beijing government introduced the National Security Law as a legal framework to “ensure national security” when it really was a law aimed at clamping down on dissidents. During the protests, the police became very violent against protesters as did pro-Beijing supporters. Despite the violence, the protests were historic and will remain a sign of the people’s commitment to democracy in Hong Kong.
Muzzled Foreign Companies
The crisis reached a point where international companies could not speak against police brutality in the protests or the situation in Hong Kong without risking being kicked out of the Chinese and Hong Kong markets by the Communist government.
Hong Kong Dissidents Forced into Exile
Even worse, numerous pro-democracy activists, legislators, and citizens have had to leave Hong Kong and go into exile to escape imprisonment and legal penalties imposed under the National Security Law. Often these individuals would be arrested and charged with offenses such as ‘endangering national security’ or being accused of ‘working with or for foreign entities’ thus allegedly causing ‘foreign interference’ in the leadership of Hong Kong. Some dissidents have even been imprisoned and accused of being ‘foreign agents’ and ‘spies’. The most unfortunate have been accused of treason and imprisoned to serve sentences that span more than a decade.
A Systematic Removal of Pro-Democracy Legislators in Hong Kong
Beijing also systematically removed pro-democratic legislators from the Hong Kong government and replaced them with Communist Party conformists, further tightening Beijing’s chokehold on Hong Kong. The clampdown on Communist Party-critical media is the latest phase of this capture of Hong Kong and represents an unacceptable form of the denial of the democratic rights of the Hong Kong people.
The media in Hong Kong is under heavy attack and it is upon all of us to denounce this clampdown and state loudly #SaveHongKongMedia. We owe it to the people of Hong Kong and to the idea of democracy to help our fellow democracies to ensure that they do not fall into autocratic rule.