HONG KONG—In the Chinese Communist Party’s collective headspace, open dissent in Hong Kong is a problem to be solved. The city of 7.5 million people has been a thorn in the party’s side for many years and CCP chairman Xi Jinping wants to change that while he is still in command of China’s government.
On Thursday evening, the party said it will “improve” the way Hong Kong is governed—not by addressing the demands of the city’s denizens, but by implementing a vague security law that would bypass the local legislature’s law-making process, thus rendering moot Hong Kong’s status as an autonomous region.
Unlike mainland China, where the CCP has erected barriers on the internet that are called, inevitably, the Great Firewall, Hong Kong provides freedom of speech and expression, including in cyberspace—at least for now. But China’s pledge to “improve” Hong Kong’s governance, paired with its hallmark vagueness in the proposed security bill’s legal language, has people in the city concerned that this may soon be a thing of the past.