Hong Kong activists are going off the grid to dodge Beijing's new security law

Hong Kong national security law.
(Image credit: Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)

The passage of China's new national security law has quickly prompted several of Hong Kong's leading activists to delete their social media profiles and resign from their political groups, while pro-independence organizations announce their closure.

High-profile activists like Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, and Agnes Chow resigned from their political group Demosisto, which then announced its closure. So did the pro-independence organization Hong Kong National Front, though it still plans to operate in Taiwan and the United States. Members of the city's opposition movement are going off the grid because of the penalties for violating the new law, which include a maximum life sentence. Beijing has maintained the bill will only target a small group of people who threaten China's sovereignty over Hong Kong, but pro-democracy activists and the international community are doubtful and instead fear Hong Kong's autonomy will essentially be diminished.

That said, some activists are still encouraging people to take to the streets Wednesday and defy a police ban on a march to protest the law, though they're also warning that demonstrators could face tough charges. Opposition sources told The South China Morning Post that activists will suggest people march in their personal capacities rather than as members of organizations to make it more challenging for police to crack down on the event. "If nobody comes out on July 1, the new law would have succeeded in making people silence themselves," said independent district councilor Nigel Lee Ka-wai, who plans to attend the march despite the risks. Read more at The South China Morning Post.

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.