China and Hong Kong have always been contentious with each other, but China typically wins. Their arm of the law is a little bit longer, and they often use it to meddle directly in Hong Kong’s affairs. Much to the dismay of the residents of Hong Kong, the Chinese government’s latest censorship move is coming for something the people of Hong Kong hold dear – books full of information about democracy, which is something that many of Hong Kong citizen’s desperately crave.
They’re Banning Books
China is terrified of succession, and they’ve designed laws to prevent people from getting any wild ideas. As a result of these laws, public libraries can no longer house books about democracy or the facilitation of democracy. Likewise, literature cannot showcase successful revolution or prominent political figures that aspire to or promote ideals different from the ideals promoted by the state.
So far, the government has removed or scrutinized nine books for potential removal. Titles by Tanya Chan, a democracy oriented politician, and Joshua Wong, a vocal democracy advocate, are being pulled from public library systems. Joshua Wong has spoken out against the government’s decision, calling attention to the fact that book banning has never lead to anything great for freedom.
China vs Hong Kong
Despite a fervent influx of vocal opposition to the law, Beijing is largely unaffected. They claim that these laws are preventative measures taken to preemptively quell another scenario like China’s national day protests, where people demanded freedom in the streets and were met with what ultimately became violent or even lethal force.
When the territory of Hong Kong was returned to mainland China from British rule in 1997, the agreement specifically stated that Hong Kong would be allowed to operate independently for at least fifty years. This agreement was very short lived. Hong Kong was always intended to be a mecca for free thought, education, and liberal ideas. Housing such a mecca within the borders of China was detrimental to the communist government’s desires, as it presented the spread of ideas that were contrary to authoritarian rule. China has always pushed back against Hong Kong’s independence, and they will only continue to do so.
A History of Unrest
The 2019 Hong Kong protests are still considered to be ongoing, as the people of Hong Kong have not abandoned their concerns relating to their freedom and their rights. Under the “two systems, one party” agreement initially agreed upon when the territory of Hong Kong was returned to China from British rule, Hong Kong’s way of life was to remain the same. As Beijing continued to reach, Hong Kong continued to revolt.
This push and pull has put the region of Asia in a volatile position. Hong Kong and mainland China are largely based on directly oppositional ideas, and it is highly unlikely that the people of Hong Kong will be willing to succumb to the communist party’s ideals.
China is a global hotspot for censorship and surveillance. Compliance with the law and the prevention of unrest stem from overreaching measures put in place by the government to dissuade freethinking and access to information. Most of the internet, including all global social media platforms, are blocked from mainland China. Users must instead communicate through state sponsored apps and platforms, and any third party that wishes to do business in China must give the government full access to any and all information transmitted via their platform or app.
Freedom of Information in China
People found circumventing laws or questioning the practices of the government are often imprisoned in China. The best way to keep the exchange of information free and safe within Hong Kong or mainland China is to utilize a stealth protocol VPN. Such a VPN (like TorGuard’s stealth protocol VPN) will keep the Chinese government from becoming aware of any activity they deem to be too liberal. A VPN may be the only way to avoid a prison sentence for reading the news or expressing a contrary opinion.