In an unprecedented move, Hong Kong has banned a pro-independence political party, causing outcry among critics who see the measure as another sign of the China’s tightening grip over the city.
“I hereby order that the operation or continued operation of the Hong Kong National Party in Hong Kong to be prohibited,” a notice from the security minister said on a government website.
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It is the first time since Hong Kong was handed back to China by Britain 21 years ago that a political party has been banned.
Under the terms of the handover, semi-autonomous Hong Kong is meant to enjoy freedoms unseen on the mainland, including freedom of expression, association, and elections.
“The banning of the Hong Kong National Party is a milestone in the Beijing and Hong Kong governments’ assault on Hong Kong’s freedoms,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch.
“If Hong Kong were to become truly democratic, Hong Kong sovereignty must rest with the people of Hong Kong. »