- “Over the past few months, an indisputable fact in front of everyone is that our society has returned to peace,” Lam said.
- Last year, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong was the scene of violent clashes between protesters and police.
- This year, the authorities banned all demonstrations in advance.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam today praised the controversial Chinese national security law imposed on Hong Kong, saying that it has restored peace in the city, and helped end the pro-democracy movement protests therein. Lam made her remarks as part of the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
“Over the past few months, an indisputable fact in front of everyone is that our society has returned to peace,” Lam said. “Our country’s national security has been protected in Hong Kong and our citizens can again exercise their rights and liberties in accordance with laws.”
In June, Beijing’s response to protests that dragged on a year ago in Hong Kong came with the imposition of a national security law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This prompted quite a number of activists to take refuge in the United Kingdom and Taiwan.
That law punishes subversive activities, secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces with penalties that can go up to life imprisonment. Thousands of police were deployed on the streets of Hong Kong today to prevent any large-scale pro-democracy demonstrations as China’s celebrated its national day.
About 6,000 police officers were deployed for the occasion, as reported by the South China Morning Post (SCMP). The number is double that normally required when authorities expect demonstrations. The People’s Republic of China celebrates its National Day annually, on October 1.
But in Hong Kong, this national holiday is normaly taken as an opportunity for the population to express their anger at the desire of Beijing to push back the guaranteed freedoms of the former British colony.
During today’s celebrations, helicopters displaying Chinese and Hong Kong flags flew over the territory, with Carrie Lam and Chinese officials taking part in an official celebration at the island’s exhibition center.
Last year, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong was the scene of violent clashes between protesters and police. This year, the authorities banned all demonstrations in advance, citing security reasons and in accordance with measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, which prevent the public gathering of more than four people.
Police were spotted searching vehicles this morning that were driving through one of Hong Kong’s most important access tunnels. The Hong Kong police said that at least five people were arrested in the course of this week on suspicion of having committed violent acts.
More than 10,000 people have been arrested for participating in protests in the past 16 months, along with several pro-democracy leaders. Joshua Wong, one of the key faces of pro-democracy activism in Hong Kong, was arrested last Thursday on accusations of having participated in a demonstration in 2019. The activist has since been released.
The pro-democracy movement protests in Hong Kong were very strong until the end of last year, with demonstrations that reached a record two million demonstrators. However, the controversial security law and the outbreak of the coronavirus managed to stifle the movement earlier this year.