The coronavirus outbreak hit Hong Kong as the territory was still reeling from months of political unrest. Last year, the mass protests that started after the special administrative region’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, attempted to introduce an extradition bill with mainland China evolved into nightly confrontations between police and demonstrators. Protesters were arrested in their thousands. Then, at the start of the year, as news of the coronavirus outbreak started to surface, an exhausted population had something else to worry about. The epidemic, which has infected more than 44,000 people and killed more than 1,100 of them, has rekindled old fears. Once more, it has made many Hong Kong citizens feel that, in a crisis, they are unable to rely on a supportive, competent government: local leaders have kept dithering, half closing the border, then closing it a little more, while being unable to even guarantee a steady supply of face masks and toilet paper . Throughout, they wait for guidance from Beijing on how to act.
While anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus has been keeping many people at home, the protests haven’t entirely ceased: they may have fewer participants, but night skirmishes are still ongoing. On Saturday, a few hundred people gathered to commemorate the death of a university student who fell while trying to escape teargas in October; police dispersed the protest and arrested 119 people . Smaller protests, too, still end with teargas, pepper spray and arrests.
Meanwhile, newer forms of dissent have been emerging from […]
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