On Tiananmen Anniversary, Hong Kong Makes Mocking China’s Anthem a Crime

Austin Ramzy, Tiffany May, and Javier C. Hernández, reporting for the NYT:

Hong Kong made mocking China’s national anthem a crime on Thursday, passing a contentious law on the anniversary of the Chinese military’s bloody crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement.

No better proof that mockery works — they wouldn’t ban it if it weren’t effective.

But alas, the larger point is that Hong Kong’s fall into Chinese rule is instructive: freedom is fragile, and can fall at the hands of authoritarians backed by armed forces. “The rule of law” is our guiding mantra here in the U.S., but when one side holds the law and the other side holds tanks, guns, and tear gas, it’s hard to rule by law. This is what it means not to have freedom of speech.

Hong Kong’s legislature, which is dominated by pro-Beijing lawmakers, passed a separate piece of legislation on Thursday that would criminalize disrespect for China’s national anthem and make it punishable by up to three years in prison. On Thursday, several opposition lawmakers disrupted the debate by throwing stink bombs inside the legislative chamber and yelling: “A murderous regime stinks for 10,000 years.”

“What we did today is to remind the world that we should never forgive the Chinese Communist Party for killing its own people 31 years ago,” Mr. Chu, one of the opposition lawmakers who protested the law, told reporters later.

Meanwhile, when Hong Kong most needs allies in the name of freedom and opposition to oppression, this is the infuriating scene in Walnut Creek, CA. Our own protestors are facing down tinpot cops in their big-boy toy tanks across the U.S.

Thursday, 4 June 2020