Peaceful protests are set to return to the Chinese territory of Hong Kong today, as it prepares to mark the 21st anniversary of Britain returning the city to Chinese rule.
In expectation of an organised protest, authorities of Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous government have arrested dozens of activists in the lead-up to celebrations, which some Communist Party leaders are expected to attend. Following the unprecedented ‘umbrella protests’ in 2014 over Beijing’s refusal to grant universal suffrage, China is expected to show little tolerance for new calls for greater autonomy. Additionally, security force deployments are expected, as seen in last year’s protests over the election of Beijing loyalist Carrie Lam as chief executive of the territory.
The protests are a powerful symbol of opposition to the Communist Party’s efforts to ingrain itself ever deeper in Chinese society, which sets this year’s anniversary up as yet another clash between the quasi-Western ideals of Hong Kong and the centralised control of mainland China. Little is expected to change with regard to self-rule in the territory in the short-term, but long-term there remain significant concerns about China’s attempt to undermine Hong Kong’s basic law and the legal freedoms of its citizens.
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Kai looks at security and political turbulence in the emerging market economies and also serves as a publisher with The Daily Brief.