REMINDERS OF HONG KONG’s draconian new security law are everywhere. It is advertised on billboards and giant hoardings (“Restore stability,” they en
REMINDERS OF HONG KONG’s draconian new security law are everywhere. It is advertised on billboards and giant hoardings (“Restore stability,” they enjoin). During scattered protests on October 1st, China’s national day, Hong Kong’s police raised purple banners warning demonstrators that their slogans or flags may incur charges of secession or subversion under the act. Fear of it is everywhere, too. On the same day a year ago, hundreds of thousands of people joined unauthorised demonstrations calling for full democracy. Now only the very brave are prepared to protest without police approval.
Many of the activists involved in the unrest that swept Hong Kong for months last year are keeping their heads down. Some have been organising workshops to teach like-minded citizens how the mainland’s secret police work—the new law allows its state-security officers to operate in Hong Kong. Those attending include people working in NGOs that are likely to face scrutiny under the act (the law calls for strengthened “management” of foreign groups). They learn how to evade surveillance by using encrypted apps and VPNs and how to respond to questions by police—tactics that are second nature to dissidents on the mainland, but unfamiliar to many in once carefree Hong Kong.
Among those who were at the forefront of last year’s protests, alarm has risen since August 23rd, when Hong…