‘China Dream’ turns into a Hong Kong nightmare

Covid-19 crisis is just the latest blow that has left the city reeling under Beijing’s rule

President Xi Jinping’s “China Dream” has turned into a nightmare for Hong Kong.

In the past two years, the city has seen a crackdown on civil liberties, mass arrests and imprisonment of pro-democracy activists, and a zero-Covid-19 policy that has turned into a disaster.  

The situation is so bad that the architect of Hong Kong’s misery, Comrade Xi, has issued a rebuke to Beijing’s puppet government headed by Carrie Lam.

“[The administration] must mobilize all power and resources to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and health of the Hong Kong people, and ensure stability,” the general secretary of China’s ruling Communist Party said, according to media reports

A record 1,619 confirmed Covid-19 infections were reported on Tuesday. Another 5,400 preliminary positive results were also announced. 

Media reports have since suggested that new daily infections could climb to more than 4,000 as the Omicron-fuelled outbreak continues to spread.

City in chaos:

  • Apart from the Covid-19 crisis, Hong Kong has suffered political upheaval.
  • A Beijing-imposed National Security Law has muzzled the media and seen hundreds of pro-democracy activists arrested. 
  • Many are now languishing in prison cells.
  • The clampdown came after mass protests in 2019.
  • Known as the summer of discontent, millions of Hong Kong people took part in pro-democracy rallies.
  • China’s response was to rip up the “One Country, Two Systems” model agreed before the 1997 handover, ending British rule.

In one year, the National Security Law has put Hong Kong on a rapid path to becoming a police state.

Yamini Mishra at Amnesty International

Delve deeper: Roland Freudenstein, the policy director of the Wilfried Marten Centre for European Studies in Brussels, warned of the dangers facing Hong Kong in an essay published by EUobserver back in 2020.

What he said: “In total contravention of the Sino-British Joint Declaration about Hong Kong, China imposed a ‘security law’ on the city, which will mean direct Chinese police and intelligence presence there and the end of the ‘One Country, Two Systems principle.”

The future is in the past: Hong Kong’s judiciary is now at risk of being breached after the city’s media was silenced following the closure of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily last June.

Rule of law: “Terrorism and sedition charges are being improperly used to stifle the exercise of fundamental rights, which are protected under international law,” United Nations’ Special Rapporteurs stressed in 2021. 

Red terror: “In one year, the National Security Law has put Hong Kong on a rapid path to becoming a police state and created a human rights emergency for the people living there,” Yamini Mishra, the Asia-Pacific regional director at Amnesty International, said.

China Factor comment: Beijing has already swept away the last vestiges of the city’s “autonomy.” In 2019, China’s state-run media described the massive pro-democracy protests as a “Color Revolution.” Now, life for Hong Kong’s residents is seen through a prism of red.