San Francisco, California

Autonomy and Hong Kong

Nathan Law Kwun Chung wrote this piece about the situation in Hong Kong:

A broad range of freedoms, relating to assembly, association, speech, the press, academic research, the electoral process and more, is increasingly under threat in Hong Kong. The headquarters of the most vocal pro-democracy newspaper in town was raided by 200 police officers in early August. Professors self-censor and remove certain topics from their research proposals because the content may be interpreted as breaching the new law. Protesters have been arrested for carrying flags or signs that showed allegedly unacceptable slogans.

Most people now refrain from expressing their political views — in person and online — because of the potential repercussions. Beijing continues to disqualify opposition candidates from running for office and invisible self-censorship bubbles beneath the surface.

Despite this slip into a totalitarian regime, the other piece of this that’s frightening is that it reminds me of a blog post I can no longer find—Robin Sloan made note of this perhaps—where someone described the Web not as a network but as a series of islands. Some of those islands are connected, but a great deal of them are not.

And with Hong Kong I fear this is the case now; an island being cut off from the outside world.