𝘖𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘓𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘞𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘓𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴
【𝑬𝒎𝒆𝒓𝒈𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒚 𝑳𝒂𝒘: 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑩𝒆𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑬𝒏𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝑶𝒏𝒆 𝑪𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒕𝒓𝒚, 𝑻𝒘𝒐 𝑺𝒚𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒎𝒔】
Soon after her return from Beijing, Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her administration have just announced the introduction of an anti-mask law through “Emergency Regulation Ordinance”(ERO). Although legislated in 1922, this emergency law has never been put into effect since the communist riot in 1967.
The direct implementation of such anti-mask law, without any consultation or due process, will further expand police’s power in Hong Kong, making the city under complete police control. The procedure surpasses the legislature and is solely determined by the will of the executive, which is handpicked by Beijing.
The use of ERO marks the beginning of a series of suppression. As the law authorises the government to enact any laws or regulations at its will, more oppressive measures are anticipated, from detention without trial, curfews, to the enactment of national security law in Hong Kong. In fact, Carrie Lam admitted on today's press conference that the government will look into the possibility of enacting more regulations through emergency legislation. Therefore, the anti-mask law is just the prelude to the tigher curb on civil societies shortly to prevent such widespread, long-lasting movement happen again. Prominent organisers and participants are presumed to be the top targets in the next wave of political prosecution.
The emergency legislation also shows the failure of the Hong Kong Government in maintaining its autonomy under China's pressure. After four months of voicing our demands, the Hong Kong Government has opted to side with Beijing and carry out its political decision at the expense of the people's freedoms and discontent. It also shows that the Hong Kong Government is not at all committed in solving the political crisis, even under the so-call “dialogue” framework.
Such unaccountability and inaction are inconceivable in other democratic countries. It casts doubt on the willingness of the Hong Kong Government to uphold its autonomy and freedoms after the crackdown and probably mourns the end of “One Country, Two Systems” Framework in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong's status as a vibrant international financial centre lies upon the protection of press freedom, fundamental freedoms and human rights. However, any foreign workers, residents, investors and corporations can fall victim to the emergency law. In fact, the cases of Cathay Pacific Airways and BNP Paribas show that international corporations are vulnerable to political pressure from Beijing. Financial Times journalist Victor Mallet and US academic Dan Garrett were also barred from entering Hong Kong. It shows that the law is also detrimental to stakeholders from the globe.
All in all, the current political crisis can only be resolved by political means. That is the only way to tackle the root cause of the social discontent, and presumably the best way to ensure prosperity and stability in the future. Therefore, we urge world leaders to speak up for Hong Kong and push the Beijing and Hong Kong governments to answer the people's demands.