July 1, 2022
         When President Xi arrived in Hong Kong on July 1 on the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's being turned over to China from British rule, he summarily declared that the One Country Two Systems is alive and well despite two years of the imposition of the National Security Law on Hong Kong.  The ill-defined security law and its arbitrary application led to more than ten thousand political arrests, the closing of numerous independent media and newspapers, a mass exodus, changing of school curriculum to include "patriotic" lessons, public libraries removal of "sensitive" books and documents; the disbandment of over 50 civil societies and the "election" of one candidate for chief executive.
          While the National Security Law had been in the works for many years, it was not the mass protests of 2019 that sped up its implementation as many suspected but rather the November 2019 Hong Kong District Council election which saw the pro-democracy parties won a landslide gaining an absolute majority of the seats when 3 million citizens voted, a 71% of registered voters.  This alarmed the CCP leading to the urgency to rein in Hong Kong's growing demands for democracy with the National Security Law.
          To Xi, Hong Kong represents the epitome of what he had declared as the seven perils facing the Chinese Communist Party in a secret document called Document #9 in 2012.
          Among the seven perils identified by Xi, western constitutional democracy, universal values of human rights, civil society and press freedom are what the citizens in Hong Kong strive for.  Xi understands that to put the citizens of Hong Kong under control, he needs to first wipe out these ideas and prevent such further growth.
          Once these four perils are wiped out, Xi can attack the other two perils facing the CCP which are of people questioning the CCP traumatic past and the idea of socialism with Chinese characteristics as citizens of Hong Kong often questioned.
          The last peril identified by Xi is of pro-market liberalism which he sees as a danger to his ideology.  Xi will implement gradual control of Hong Kong's freewheeling entrepreneurship as well as foreign capital investments.
          Despite Xi's declaration, the One Country Two Systems is dead.  Hong Kong is just another Chinese city now.

Ann Lau
Chair, Visual Artists Guild