China Appoints Hardliner to Tame Hong Kong

  • Zheng Yanxiong is known for his role in suppressing the 2011 protests in Hong Kong.
  • It is becoming increasingly clear that Beijing is determined to crack down on the movement and civil society activists in Hong Kong.
  • The passage of the Hong Kong National Security Act has drawn strong criticism throughout the west.

Official news sources reported on Friday that Zheng Yanxiong had been appointed head of the newly established “Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.” He will be in charge of implementing the Hong Kong National Security Act.

Zheng Yanxiong is a Chinese politician currently serving as director the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the CPG in the HKSAR. During his term in office as Mayor of Shanwei, he dealt with the Wukan protests.

The Act was signed by President Xi Jinping three days ago after being approved by the Chinese National People’s Congress. Zheng Yanxiong began his career working with the local government of Guangdong Province before becoming the new Secretary-General of the Communist Party Committee in the province.

Guangdong is one of the most prosperous economies in southern China, along with the Hong Kong SAR. Zheng Yanxiong is known for his role in suppressing the 2011 protests in Hong Kong, and for his outspoken stance on the violent repression of the protesting villagers. He has thus apparently been promoted.

The debate over the new Hong Kong National Security Act has been widely criticized and protested by civil society activists in Hong Kong. The region had previously lacked a national security law. Mainland China tried to pass such a law in 2003, but rising protests and resistance from opposition forces and civil society activists prevented it.

The law remained silent but did not deviate from the agenda of the Communist Party and the Chinese government, and resumed with the start of a new round of protests in Hong Kong in May this year.

New Law Authorizes Severe Repression of Protesters

The new law allows Chinese officials to take strong action against all activities that they believe endanger the security of the Hong Kong SAR. Under the law, the newly established CPGNSO could arrest protesters and prosecute them.

Some analysts believe that with the appointment of a man known for his extremism against protesters, it is becoming increasingly clear that Beijing is determined to crack down on the movement and civil society activists in Hong Kong.

The passage of the Hong Kong National Security Act has drawn strong criticism from the United States and some Western countries, including Britain, Canada, and Australia. They have called on Beijing to abide by its international obligations regarding the Hong Kong SAR.

The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (CPGNSO) is an office established by the Hong Kong national security law. The office is funded by the Central People’s Government of China and is not subject to Hong Kong jurisdiction.

Commitments to Hong Kong

Hong Kong was a British colony from the mid-19th century to 1997, and has since joined the People’s Republic of China. According to agreements between London and Beijing, Hong Kong is an autonomous free trade zone, and unlike China, its inhabitants are supposed to enjoy extensive civil rights and civil liberties.

Under these agreements, Hong Kong would be governed as an autonomous part of China until 2047, based on the principle of “one country, two systems.” Protesters accuse Beijing of interfering in internal affairs, violating this principle, and trying to restrict civil liberties.

The Hong Kong National Security Act paves the way for China to intervene in the area and prosecute and suppress civil society activists and protesters. China has also repeatedly threatened to intervene militarily in Hong Kong if protests continue to terrorize peace and security in Hong Kong.

Since last year, violent clashes between police and protesters escalated, prompting a sharp increase in military presence on the region’s borders.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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