Report: Hong Kong’s freedoms have significantly eroded under Beijing’s control
05/13/2024 // Ramon Tomey // Views

A new report has found that Hong Kong's freedoms have significantly eroded under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing.

The May 7 report published by the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) highlighted this erosion of liberties in the special administrative region (SAR). It noted that Hong Kong's "high degree of autonomy," which is intended to be preserved until 2047, has been undermined since China's shift toward authoritarianism under paramount leader Xi Jinping.

"There remains some resilience of autonomy, and life in Hong Kong is qualitatively different than in other mainland Chinese jurisdictions. However, the overall trend is clearly in the direction of further erosion of autonomy across nearly all domains – the legal and political system and civil society, as well as the climate for companies and investors," the CSIS report said.

"While in every instance it is a mixed picture, in most domains more signs of erosion than resilience were evident, and the general trajectory is toward continued erosion going forward."

According to the Epoch Times, "Beijing's control over Hong Kong has tightened considerably since the mid-2010s, significantly eroding the city's promised autonomy. While [the CCP] initially made gradual restrictions after the 1997 handover from the U.K., protests escalated in response to these moves." Such demonstrations include the 2012 protests against changes to the school curriculum and the 2014 "Umbrella Movement." (Related: Chaos in China: Rushed exit from zero-COVID strategy could COLLAPSE Chinese economy.)

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Things came to a head in 2019, when protests broke out over a proposed extradition law allowing Hong Kong residents to be sent to the mainland for trial. While the proposal was withdrawn, the harsh suppression of the protests against it fueled greater support for the pro-democracy movement. This resulted in pro-democracy candidates winning a majority in the SAR's November 2019 district council elections.

HK's national security law instrumental in the erosion of liberties

The gains of the pro-democracy movement in 2019 led Beijing to impose a sweeping national security law in June 2020. Its vague definition of crimes such as subversion and terrorism have been used to suppress opposition, disqualify pro-democracy candidates, limit media freedoms and silence dissent – thereby fundamentally changing Hong Kong's political landscape.

Since the national security law was enacted in the city, authorities have suppressed protests, imprisoned pro-democracy activists and banned gatherings, including the annual Tiananmen Square massacre vigil. Jimmy Lai, founder of the Apple Daily tabloid and the Giordano clothing retailer, was among those victimized by this draconian edict by the CCP – something the report mentioned.

The CSIS report said as of February 2023, 291 people had been arrested for allegedly engaging in activities that threaten national security since the law was implemented. Cash bounties had also been placed on at least 13 Hong Kong opposition figures and activists based overseas. This has fostered a climate of fear, even among those who manage to escape the city.

The Epoch Times also mentioned that the law has also eroded religious freedom in the city, which a separate report by the U.K.-based group Hong Kong Watch (HKW) pointed out in its November 2023 report. It noted that self-censorship is now common in religious activities and schools affiliated with religious groups. The HKW report also mentioned that CCP agents have infiltrated church leadership in the SAR.

The authors of the CSIS report offered three recommendations for U.S. policymakers to explore concerning Hong Kong's freedoms.

First, it suggested the imposition of penalties on individuals accountable for undermining Hong Kong's autonomy. This way, the stakes for Beijing's actions are raised.

Second, it urged a gradual removal of all policy exemptions that grant Hong Kong special treatment compared to the mainland under U.S. law. According to the authors, this would result in the SAR being treated like any other city in mainland China.

Third, the report called for maintaining what remains of Hong Kong's autonomy from Beijing for as long as possible. This can be done by reinforcing practical engagements between state and non-state actors in the U.S. and Hong Kong while using targeted punitive measures when needed, the authors explained.

Visit for more stories about Hong Kong.

Watch G News founder Miles Guo warning that the people of Hong Kong have no more choices in the clip below.

This video is from the Chinese taking down EVIL CCP channel on

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