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How Hong Kong was lost


By Didi Kirsten Tatlow

The imposition of a Beijing-ordered, harsh and vague, state security law on Hong Kong, one hour before midnight on June 30, 2020, seemed to many people in the city and around the world the beginning of the end of Hong Kong’s freedoms.

In reality it was the end of the beginning, the culmination of a deliberate, decades-long effort by the Communist Party of China (CPC) to build a parallel political order for Hong Kong despite the content of the Sino-British agreement over Hong Kong’s future, the Joint Declaration, and Hong Kong’s post-handover constitution, the Basic Law. The latter took effect on July 1, 1997, the date of the handover from Britain to China. Together these promised a “high degree of autonomy,” a continuation of Hong Kong’s “way of life,” a “gradual and orderly progress” toward democracy and judicial and police independence.



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