Hong Kong is Sliding into Dystopian Nightmare

Dark days ahead for Hong Kong.

20th of January marked another significant step in Hong Kong’s slide into authoritarianism. It was the day the so-called “consultation” on Article 23 legislation commenced. The deliberation period ends today, and a neutered legislature – mere puppets manipulated by Beijing’s strings – will easily rubberstamp it.

This law, mirroring China’s 2020 draconian National Security Law in its oppressiveness, is an ominous reflection of mainland Chinese regulations. The vague definitions of “state secrets” facilitate arrests without due process and quell any form of opposition speech – extinguishing free expression altogether.

Previous leaders recognized the potential backlash posed by Article 23, so wisely refrained from its implementation. A 2003 bid to introduce it resulted in half a million Hong Kongers taking to the streets in protest. But today’s leadership, acting under Beijing’s dictate, does not face such restrictions in the face of an increasingly cowered population. Instead, its iron fist of National Security Law has used forceful methods to crush any form of dissention, curtail civic discourse and eliminate life from a once vibrant democracy.

I made a visit to Hong Kong last month. The buzz is gone, the magic is no more. The Hong Kong I once knew no longer exists, replaced by a barren landscape bereft of all meaning and economic growth. Tourist dollars from the mainland have left, these nouveau riche now shop for Louis Vuitton and Gucci in Europe. Tightfisted locals suffering from a battered economy eat, shop and entertain themselves across its border in Shenzhen and Zhuhai.

The Hang Seng Index, once an emblem of prosperity, now serves as a symbol of despair for its citizens. Housing prices continue to plummet while birth rates decline and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness pervades society. An exodus to Britain exceeding 300,000 speaks volumes for this dystopian reality. No one dares talk about politics; it’s so divisive that people are said to snitch on their family members. Looks like Cultural Revolution all over again!

Nationalist hawks in the government don’t seem to care. They are eager to please Beijing leaders in hastening Hong Kong’s decline further.

They are fond of obnoxious online banter – cheering on Russia, berating Taiwan, attacking the United States – and performative displays of patriotism, such as staging protests at Google’s offices and the British consulate.

Their blind allegiance and performative patriotism serve as stark reminders of Hong Kong’s declining autonomy and diminished sovereignty.

With no parliament to represent its will or voice, Article 23’s passage will be inevitable and will herald the end of freedom in Hong Kong. This final nail in the coffin will seal Hong Kong’s fate.

Hong Kong, a once shining beacon of freedom is becoming a grim monument of authoritarianism.

Let this serve as a harsh warning to others; what’s happening in Hong Kong provides an inkling into the stark reality that awaits when freedom gives way to tyranny.

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