31 Dec Hong Kong in 2020: Political Crackdown and Pandemic [PHOTOS]
Hong Kong’s 2020 has been anything but cheerful. Feeling the aftermath of the intense, six-month-long anti-government protests of 2019, the beginning of the new decade had the potential to be a progressive one for the former British colony. After last years waves of demonstrations halted the controversially tabled extradition bill, success in the District Elections 2019 also brought hope to further freedoms for the pro-democracy population.
But this year has turned out to be a nightmare for those Hong Kong hopes, as the COVID19 pandemic soon spread to a city, crushing the momentum many had hoped to continue into the new year. Then with the movement quiet, the Hong Kong Government and Beijing regrouped, ending up with the Chinese Communist Party’s enactment of the national security law.
Since the law came into effect in June – with widely interpretations against succession, subversion, terrorism and foreign collusion being the centre points of the law – the ruling has undeniably been the catalyst for a political crackdown in the territory, with activists, protesters and lawmakers either arrested, jailed or in political exile.
A historic and harrowing year for Hong Kong, with some of the major events captured below:
January witnessed thousands took to the streets as protests continued from 2019 as police deployed tear gas. COVID19 soon came into Hong Kong with residents queuing up for masks
February saw medical professionals go on strike in efforts to close the borders with Mainland China whilst another street protest in Mongkok occurred, whilst a cruise ship was stuck in Kai Tak terminal because of COVID19 cases on-board.
March saw Hong Kong International Airport close amid the spread of the COVID19 virus.
In April Councillor Andrew Chiu Ka-Yin had his ear bitten off by a pro-Beijing supporter in 2019, here argues with police during shopping mall demonstrations in Tai Koo.
In May, The passing of the national security law provokes street protests once again in the city as Mothers Day also saw clashes in Tsim Sha Tsui.
June saw the enactment of the national security law, whilst the Tiananmen Square vigil went ahead despite bans. Jimmy Lai also spoke to me for an interview with The Daily Telegraph.
July saw the first arrests under the national security law, whilst the new purple flag was raised warning crowds of their potential violations against the law. The new national security building was also opened.
August Jimmy Lai was arrested on suspicion of violating the new security law, here he was released on bail after been in custody for 48 hours.
September saw more protests within the city, whilst Agnes Chow answered bail from one of her outstanding charges. A mass COVID19-testing program ensued across the city.
October kicked off with demonstrations on the first day of the month whilst student activist Tony Chung was arrested for four charges under the national security law.
November all pro-democracy lawmakers left their seats in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, whilst prominent activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam all were held in custody after pleading guilty to charges over unlawful assembly. Later they would be given jail terms.
December saw Jimmy Lai, Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, Ivan Lam and Tony Chung all jailed.