The Atlantic

Hong Kong Is a Colony Once More

With a far-reaching national-security law, overlords in a distant capital are again making decisions on the city’s behalf.
Source: Anthony Wallace / AFP / Getty

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, stood in front of reporters yesterday for the most consequential press conference of her time leading the city. Prior to Lam stepping behind the podium, news had begun to stream in that officials in Beijing had passed a national-security law to be imposed on Hong Kong, the most significant altering of the ostensibly autonomous territory’s status since it was handed back to China from Britain in 1997.

The law, a direct result of Lam’s introduction and mismanagement of a proposed extradition bill last year, which had led to mass demonstrations, was shrouded in secrecy. A draft had not been made public. Even pro-Beijing lawmakers and Lam herself had been kept in the dark about its full contents. She opened her remarks by saying that she wouldn’t be addressing the law, then moved on to speaking about an employment scheme and the city’s handling of COVID-19. When reporters pressed

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