Thousands of people gathered on the streets of Hong Kong yesterday to protest against a new controversial law that will be pushed through by the Chinese government within the next few days.
The law, announced on Thursday by China, plans to bypass the legislature in Hong Kong and will ban sedition, secession, and subversion against Beijing.
Termed as a “national security law”, it will have a dramatic effect on all aspects of life in Hong Kong, from how people can use social media to the political sphere of the city, and from education to broadcast media and business.
Despite the threat of coronavirus, and with social distancing taking a back seat, several thousand people took to the streets to protest against the announcement and try to protect their civil liberties.
Within an hour, police had turned up and fired tear gas into the crowds as some protesters fought back by launching objects at the police.
The crowds chanted slogans that have been heard several times over the past few months during protests opposing Chinese plans to extradite citizens of the city to mainland China.
“Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” chanted the crowds as they gathered in the busy Causeway Bay shopping district. “Hong Kong independence, the only way out,” the protesters continued.
The protests have led Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, to say that the new law must be rushed through to try and prevent such scenes in the future. Speaking at the National People’s Congress, she said:
“We must get it done without the slightest delay.”
The new law has been strongly opposed by many democratic countries, human rights organizations, and charities. One pro-democracy lawmaker, Dennis Kwok, claimed the law would “destroy Hong Kong,” saying:
“It is the end of ‘one country, two systems. (They are) completely destroying Hong Kong.”