Blog: East Asia

Hong Kong to extend coronavirus-related restrictions by 14 days

From March 29th to April 23rd, Hong Kong restricted public gatherings to only up to four people, closed all entertainment venues, and suspended all foreign travel indefinitely. Now, even though they have recently stated that as of the 20th, no new cases of coronavirus had occurred, the city is extending these restrictions for another 14 days to be as safe as they can be. However, this is drawing criticism as these laws greatly limit personal freedom in a city where just last year, protests were raging about that very thing. Just last week, Luo Huining, the senior mainland political official, said that a more national security laws should be implemented.

Hong Kong is technically a part of Beijing, but maintains a high degree of autonomy as a state, and it has been that way since 1997. In 2003, Beijing attempted to implement similar security laws to the ones recommended by Huining, and was met with mass protests in Hong Kong that ensured it never occurred. Currently, the restrictions are in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 within the high population density of Hong Kong, but there are fears that the restrictions set a precedent for more control over individual citizens. As the protests for democracy in Hong Kong last year occurred, those issues have not been resolved and the restrictions have prevented activists from organizing.