HKFP: Explainer: Hong Kong’s national security crackdown – month 34

Labour Day marches are axed, government-registered media outlets are inexplicably barred from a press event, the justice department lodges national security trial appeals, a UN expert criticises the security law, and library book screening to be stepped up. Month 34 of the security law.

In April, a planned Labour Day march was cancelled after one of its organisers was said to have gone missing for four hours. Several government-registered media outlets were barred from covering a National Security Education Day event attended by Xia Baolong, Beijing’s point man for Hong Kong affairs. The Chinese official told Hongkongers that protesting was “not the only way” for expressing views. He also warned against a “resurgence of street violence,” saying local authorities must remain vigilant about national security threats. In response, the city’s leader vowed to crack down on “hostile forces,” adding Hong Kong would always remember the “alarm bell” of the 2019 mass protests.

Labour Day march cancelled

A planned Labour Day march in Hong Kong was scrapped after one of its organisers was said to have gone missing for four hours last Wednesday morning.

The group attempting to organise the march released a statement on Facebook on Wednesday morning, saying that Joe Wong – one of the organisers and the former chairperson of defunct pro-democracy coalition the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) – had disappeared from his home and been unreachable since 7:30 a.m.

Over four hours later, another organiser and former HKCTU member, Denny To, released a statement announcing that Wong had “regained his freedom” at 11:30 a.m. To claimed that Wong had not been arrested, but had experienced an “emotional meltdown” and was under tremendous pressure.

Wong had withdrawn the application for the march, To said, which had yet to receive police approval. Citing Article 63 of the national security law – which prohibits the disclosure of information involved in national security cases – To said he was not able to publicise any further details.

Police confirmed that they had received the cancellation of the request for a Labour Day march. Anyone who gathered unlawfully on Hong Kong Island on May 1 could be charged with participating in an illegal assembly, which is punishable by up to five years in prison, a police spokesperson warned.

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Explainer: Hong Kong’s national security crackdown – month 34