At midnight on July 7, 2020 China’s Great Firewall has finally descended on Hong Kong, thanks to the newly passed national security law.
A free and open internet has been Hong Kong’s most important weapon against police abuses and China’s interference. But with the national security law, various Hong Kongers have began to delete their digital footprint as they can now be punished for supporting dissent against Beijing.
The national security law also allows authorities to demand the removal of content that threatens national security. It also provides capacity for police for greater surveillance.
Editor’s Note: The capacity to control the internet will lead to loss of information, and by the extension, the loss of the capacity for self-determination. Without the right information, we will not be able to make our own positions in relation to societal issues that plague us.
The imposition of the National Security Law on Hong Kong is the government’s solution to dissent. It will effectively crackdown on the Hong Kong protests which began in 2019, and which has gained widespread support worldwide and even among the Chinese in the mainland.
If China can gain control the internet in a country, then it means that other countries can also control the flow of information in their territories. Having said that, it is now more imperative for us to distinguish between a truly free and open internet from a censored one, as a truly free society can only flourish when information can flow without hindrance.
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