In Hong Kong on June 30, on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of the transfer of autonomy from Great Britain to China, the national security law developed by the Chinese authorities entered into force. Speaking at the Chinese flag-raising ceremony on July 1, Hong Kong’s head of government, Carrie Lam, called its entry into force “the most significant relationship between the central Chinese authorities and Hong Kong autonomy since Hong Kong returned to its homeland,” the Associated Press (AP) quoted her as saying. Most Hong Kongers did not agree with her: according to a survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Public Opinion Research for Reuters, 56% of Hong Kongs are against Beijing’s initiative, and only 34% are in favor.
Usually, on July 1, a march of pro-democratic forces takes place in Hong Kong along with official ceremonies, but this year the city authorities banned it for the first time, AP said. Nevertheless, thousands of Hong Kong people took to the streets with anti-government slogans and demands to repeal the national security law. Many protesters had British flags and flags in support of Hong Kong’s independence – for which they were arrested by the police in accordance with the new law. According to The New York Times, more than 300 people were detained. Regardless of whether the demonstrators resort to violence, anti-government slogans and flags in support of independence can now be considered manifestations of “separatism, terrorism, high treason and subversive activity,” the AP explains.