FROM OUR OBSESSION
Even small changes in China have global effects.
Like many of his colleagues in the Hong Kong civil service, V. has a calendar pinned up in his office cubicle. But his stands out: it features a slogan supporting the city’s pro-democracy protest movement.
“My calendar keeps getting knocked over or covered up,” said V., who only wanted to be identified by his initial. Earlier this year, his boss told him his pro-protest calendar was inappropriate. V. refused to take it down, telling his boss the design of the calendar has nothing to do with his ability to do his job. So far, he hasn’t been punished, but he fears potential retribution.“Would someone take a photo of my desk and report me? As long as they think I’ve committed a crime, they can arrest and charge me.”
Less than a month after Beijing enacted a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, an intense fear is reverberating across the city’s workplaces over worries that every word and act may be scrutinized for being anti-government and anti-China. The new security legislation punishes those accused of vaguely defined crimes like secession and subversion, and gives police vastly expanded powers to surveil and investigate.