Streams of Hong Kong Futures
In 2019 and 2020, Hongkongers witnessed—and, in many cases, participated in—one of largest and most exacting grassroots movements in the city’s history. Triggered by a proposed Extradition Bill and fuelled by a decades-long struggle for democracy and political freedom, the decentralised protest quickly seeped into the city’s everyday life. While some of the protestors confronted the police in black blocs, others participated in strikes, sit-ins, and economic boycotts. To suppress the movement, the Hong Kong police deployed an alarming use of force and violence. To put an end to the movement once and for all, in June 2020 the Chinese and Hong Kong governments abruptly implemented the National Security Law (NSL), effectively rendering any expressions of dissent seditious and illegal. Since then, prominent pro-democracy activists and politicians have either gone into exile or have been imprisoned under the NSL; books penned by activists have been removed from the shelves of public libraries; key historical events and political concepts have been censored from textbooks; and around 60 advocacy groups and independent media outlets were forced to disband. Given the chilling effect of the NSL, many Hongkongers have chosen to emigrate. Amid this ongoing crackdown, this issue of the Made in China Journal takes stock of the aftermath of the protest movement and reflects on the changes that are taking place in Hong Kong’s political and civil society in the post-NSL era.