Xinqi Su and Jerome Taylor, AFP News:
Despite assurances that the law would only target an “extreme minority”, certain peaceful political views became illegal overnight and the precedent-setting headlines have come at a near-daily rate. […]
Schools and libraries pulled books deemed to breach the new law. Protest murals disappeared from streets and restaurants. Teachers were ordered to keep politics out of classrooms.
Local police were handed wide surveillance tools — without the need for court approval — and were given powers to order internet takedowns.
On Monday Jimmy Lai — a local media mogul and one of the city’s most vocal Beijing critics — was arrested under the new law along with six other people, accused of colluding with foreign forces.
At this point the article essentially becomes a list. You can almost hear the reporters struggling to keep up. Each of these developments is heartbreaking in its own right, but there’s no time for details — it’s just one blow after another. A tactic straight from the authoritarian playbook, of course.
Here’s one anecdote you shouldn’t miss:
In July, authorities announced 12 prospective candidates, including four sitting legislators, were banned from standing in upcoming local elections.
They were struck off for having unacceptable political views, such as campaigning to block legislation by winning a majority, or criticising the national security law.1
Imagine that: politicians trying to effect change by winning a majority. The nerve.