by Zero Hedge
2021 is less than a week old and already Beijing is ramping up its efforts to suppress what’s left of the pro-democracy opposition in Hong Kong. Right now, China hawks are preoccupied right now by a number of issues: the disappearance of Jack Ma (note: CNBC claims the Alibaba founder is just “laying low”), Beijing’s refusal to allow international investigators inside the Wuhan Institue of Virology and, finally, the CCP’s abusive treatment of China’s Uyghur Muslim minority.
Now, less than two months after the last 19 members of the HK LegCo’s pro-democracy opposition quit en masse over Beijing’s demands that they swear a loyalty oath to uphold the new national security law and the supremacy of the CCP, Hong Kong police have rounded up dozens of pro-democracy activists. The arrests – described by western journalists as a “massive crackdown” – essentially confirm what many feared: all pro-democracy activists who haven’t escaped Hong Kong will likely face arrest and imprisonment.
According to various media reports, police are rounding up dozens of pro-democracy politicians and activists.
With at least two student leaders – including Joshua Wong – already heading to prison, Wednesday’s arrests mark the biggest crackdown under the new national security law, according to the NYT, one former opposition lawmaker was participating in a live video chat when he got the knock at the door.
A twitter account run by Wong’s supporters claimed that his house was raided during the sweep with the arrests.
Another six former LegCo members were among those who were arrested.
The alleged offenses also underscored government officials’ efforts to weaken any meaningful opposition in the city’s political institutions. Among those arrested were at least six former Legislative Council members, a number of district councilors — a hyperlocal elected position dominated by pro-democracy figures — and several activists. They included figures who had called for aggressive confrontation with the authorities and those who had supported more moderate tactics.
According to social media pages belonging to some of those arrested, the activists were accused of trying to “subvert state power”. The charges were tied to their participation in the informal LegCo vote held over the summer. Although Beijing used COVID-19 as an excuse to delay the summer Leg
An informal primary election for the LegCo held in July delivered an uncomfortably large margin of victory to the pro-Democracy candidates. It’s widely believed this vote deeply bothered Beijing, possibly prompting it to accelerate its crackdown on HK, which once functioned as a that once functioned as an autonomous city state. With its political independence now in tatters, any pro-democracy activists who haven’t already left the city will probably be on the next train or plane out – unless they’re detained first.
But an even bigger question: With Beijing’s crackdowns growing increasingly brazen, how will American institutions like the NBA continue to justify doing business in China?