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Mass pro-democracy protests in 2014. Hong Kong has a long tradition of mass movements. Photo courtesy of Studio Incendo.

Political Turmoil in Hong Kong: Free Speech Under Threat

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While the United States has been stuck processing its own dumpster fire of an election, events in China stemming from a recent vote in Hong Kong are reshaping the political landscape in that country.

Young pro-democracy politicians from Hong Kong were prevented from assuming their seats following recent elections after they used their swearing-in ceremonies as an opportunity to lambast the authoritarian nature of China’s ruling elite. Baggio “Sixtus” Leung and Yau Wai-ching were informed via a judicial ruling that their election to Hong Kong’s parliament was effectively revoked because they made “a willful and deliberate attempt … to insult China.”

Various details of Hong Kong, including the comparatively open Hong Kong economy, have set the urban center apart. Since the British handed over Hong Kong to China in 1997, the city has enjoyed special privileges unknown to much of the country, including free speech rights. Those privileges, however, have slowly eroded, with the recent intervention by state authorities to prevent politicians critical of the ruling Communist Part from claiming their rightfully-won seats representing an unprecedented overreach.

Following the court’s ruling, thousands took to the streets, resulting in clashes with police. Impact Tap will continue to monitor Hong King to see if further developments occur in the coming weeks.

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