Hong Kong braces for another weekend of unrest

Police crack down on democracy leaders . . . 

Plans for a large-scale demonstration that was set to occur this weekend are now uncertain as police crack down on pro-democracy supporters. The Civil Human Rights Front has formally cancelled the protest scheduled for Saturday after three young democracy leaders were charged with unauthorized assembly and three pro-democracy lawmakers were arrested on other charges. As tensions continue to escalate because of the arrests, some demonstrators have indicated their intent to participate in the event, even if it is officially cancelled. The Hong Kong Police have formally banned the demonstration over safety concerns that participants would commit "violent and destructive acts."

Blinding Big Brother . . .

Hong Kong protesters have also begun targeting and attacking ‘smart’ lampposts that are equipped with Bluetooth-enabled surveillance equipment. Some citizens fear that this new technology will allow authorities to read information embedded in the new Hong Kong identification cards, which now carry radio-frequency identification capabilities that can be read by contact-less scanners. This raises the concern that authorities will be able to track citizens in real-time, allowing them to spy on pro-democracy activists and dissidents. Raising further concern, in the early hours of Thursday morning, Chinese military vehicles were seen moving across the border into Hong Kong, in what the Chinese People’s Liberation Army described as a routine drill.

What next for Hong Kong?

The latest poll out of Hong Kong University shows that Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s popularity rating has dipped to 24.6 points out of 100, the lowest level of support for any leader after the handover. According to Reuters, Beijing has rejected a proposal from Lam’s government to formally withdraw the extradition bill and ease tensions within Hong Kong, leaving her options limited. This past week, Lam stated she may consider using a controversial Emergency Regulations Ordinance that would grant the government sweeping powers to “stop the violence and chaos.”