Simon Parker: Beijing tightens its grip on Hong Kong

From Asia Times Online:

It is, on the face of it, a stunning victory for “people’s power”. Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa is stepping down after a chain of events set off by an anti-government protest involving more than half a million people. In reality, however, things are not what they seem to be.

Tung’s credibility may have been fatally wounded by the massive demonstration on July 1, 2003, but his demise and the appointment of his successor appear to have been engineered almost entirely by Beijing.

Five years after its return to Chinese sovereignty, Hong Kong faced the gravest threat to its civil liberties in the form of Article 23, a proposed amendment to the Basic Law, the territory’s constitution. On September 24, 2002, the government released its proposals for the anti-subversion law. Protests against the bill led to a massive demonstration on July 1, 2003, when more than 500,000 Hong Kongers took to the streets to demand the withdrawal of the article.

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