A once-traditional day of protest, July 1’s Special Administrative Region Establishment Day saw city-wide special offers and discounts, after an official closed-door event marked 26 years since the Handover.
“In the past, we were able to express our demands and opinions, enjoy civil human rights…. now? Just enjoy the view and take some photos,” said one woman who spoke to HKFP on the 26th anniversary of the city’s Handover.
Celebrations for the 26th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule began on Saturday morning, with top government officials and other guests donning a patriotic pin which featured the Chinese national flag and the regional flag at a flag-raising ceremony and reception.
“Stability and prosperity are wonderful things but they come more easily to governments which enjoy the affection and respect of the governed. We are, I fear, a long way from there,” writes Tim Hamlett.
“What changed was Xi Jinping’s assumption of power in 2012, followed by a massive crackdown on political opponents and all forms of dissent on the mainland. It was naïve to believe that this gathering storm would somehow die down at the SAR’s borders,” writes Steve Vines.
“Normal government has been disrupted, police leave cancelled and so on. If after this huge fuss we are visited only by a few bigwigs of whom most of us know nothing, there is going to be disappointment,” writes Tim Hamlett.
Migrant domestic worker activists today are fighting against the same policies as they were before the Handover. Empowered by small victories and recent outpourings of public support, they vow to continue, even amid a crackdown on civil society.
A colourful, pro-democracy carnival of civil society, and a barometer for free expression, Hong Kong’s July 1 march is now relegated to history. HKFP examines the history of the city’s most consistent display of dissent.