After an escalation in protests in hong kong, the government plans to ban hooding.
In a highly controversial tightening of her crackdown on the demonstrations, government leader carrie lam was able to invoke an old emergency law from the british colonial era, as reported by the south china morning post newspaper and television station TVB. The move is expected to be made as early as friday at a cabinet meeting.
Opposition deputy ted hui confirmed to the german press agency on thursday that the head of government wants to enforce a ban on face masks at public meetings. After his assessment, a corresponding law will be submitted to the legislative council for adoption.
Only a few hours after the reports about the planned ban on hooding, there were again clashes between demonstrators, burgers and the police in the chinese special administrative zone. The arrest of a young demonstrator escalated the situation. People insulted police officers for their "shaming" acts. The officials tried in vain to quell the crowd with pepper spray.
Protesters in hong kong wear masks and often tight-fitting goggles to protect themselves from trangas or pepper spray. They also want to prevent the police from identifying them, for example with facial recognition software. How the ban on hooding will be enforced in practice or what punishments are planned remains to be seen. There is also the question of what will happen to journalists who report on demonstrations and also use face masks to protect themselves against transgenic gas.
As the pro-beijing, not freely elected parliament has been under siege for weeks and the ban on hooding is expected to come into force very soon, the government could also decide to activate the almost century-old emergency law for this purpose. Such a step was met with massive resistance. Protesters have already criticized it as "the imposition of martial law".
The law "for emergencies and in case of public danger" was enacted by the british colonial rulers in 1922 and has only been used twice: to put down a seamen’s strike that paralyzed the port in the same year, and in 1967 during riots and protests by pro-communist forces against british colonial rule.
The law under chapter 241 allows the head of the government to make various other emergency measures "deemed necessary in the public interest". Expressions include censorship, lighter detentions and imprisonment, house searches, confiscation and the disruption of communications networks. Such an emergency power has been speculated about for weeks already.
The demonstrations, which have been going on for five months now, were not over on tuesday, the 70th anniversary of the opening of the construction site. Anniversary of the founding of the people’s republic escalates. For the first time, a demonstrator, an 18-year-old student, was shot. Around a hundred were injured. 269 people were arrested – more than ever before in one day. Since the outbreak of the protests, some 2000 people have thus been arrested.
Mostly masked activists had blocked roads, threw paving stones and incendiary devices. The officers use trangas, batons, rubber bullets and water cannons. Such riots occur again and again after peaceful marches, which are more and more often no longer approved.
The protests are directed against the country’s own government and the long arm of the communist leadership in beijing. Protesters demand an independent investigation into police violence, a pardon for those arrested, a reversal of the classification of their protests as "riots," and free elections.
Since its return to china in 1997, the former british crown colony has been governed autonomously under its own constitution on the principle of "one country, two systems. Hong kongers are under china’s sovereignty, but unlike people in the communist people’s republic, they enjoy more rights, such as freedom of speech and assembly, that they now fear are lost.