Hong Kong’s Government Backs Off Crackdown

A few days ago we posted on the massive demonstrations in Hong Kong, estimated at 500,000 people, against the adoption of a proposed Article 23 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law, which was seen as opening the door to a totalitarian crackdown on Hong Kong.
Today Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa backed off, saying that he would “scrap a provision that allows some groups to be banned, add protections for journalists who publish classified information and delete a provision that would let police conduct searches without warrants.” Hwa acknowledgd that the protests were the reason for his retreat, while Peking apparently either supported or dictated the move.
Whether the people of Hong Kong can retain their freedom depends, I suppose, on what happens in China generally. If China fails to reform, it is hard to see how Hong Kong can remain an island of freedom indefinitely. On the other hand, Communism is mostly dead in China–overall tax rates there are lower than in the U.S.–and if Hong Kong can hang on, China’s authoritarian regime could well crumble before long.

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