Hong Kong Moves to Crush Opposition With Candidate Ban

Hong Kong Moves to Crush Opposition With Candidate Ban

  • Government bars Joshua Wong, 11 others from seeking office
  •  Authorities unleash full power of Beijing-drafted security law

Hong Kong authorities drew new red lines on the limits of dissent in the financial center, barring a dozen activists including Joshua Wong from seeking office and arresting four others over social media posts.

The back-to-back actions came within a span of about 24 hours Thursday — a sweeping gesture showing how much a national security law enacted last month had strengthened Beijing’s hand. Both the Chinese and Hong Kong governments issued statements praising the disqualification of 12 opposition candidates, showing that mere opposition to the law drafted by Beijing was enough to prevent them from taking office.

“The entire pro-democracy movement now understands that there’s no legitimate or effective channels of opposing the government,” said Joseph Cheng, a retired political science professor and veteran democracy activist. “Meanwhile, anger will certainly continue to accumulate, which makes governance difficult.”

While Chinese authorities argue they’re seeking stability after a historic wave of sometimes-violent protests last year, activists and business groups have warned that the clampdown jeopardizes the former British colony’s future as a place where capital and ideas are exchanged freely.