Daily Memo: Exploiting Opportunities and Preventing Exploitation in a Pandemic

China is moving into the post-coronavirus phase as others continue to dig their way out.

Hong Kong containment. The COVID-19 outbreak in Hong Kong has done to pro-democracy protests what police never quite could, and China is trying to press its advantage. On Saturday, Hong Kong police arrested 15 prominent activists, including media tycoon Jimmy Lai and Democratic Party founder Martin Lee, on charges of joining a number of unlawful assemblies in the semi-autonomous region last year. Most of the activists were released the following day. On Friday, the China Liaison Office, China’s top representative office in the former British colony, declared that it was not bound by the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, which ostensibly bars the mainland government from interfering in Hong Kong affairs. These moves followed a slew of reports suggesting that Beijing was finding new and innovative ways to assert its authority, including intensifying pressure on the Hong Kong judiciary. The timing suggests Beijing is worried about two things: One is a revival of the protest movement as life in Hong Kong, which on Monday morning reported zero new coronavirus cases for the first time since early March, starts to return to normal. The other is the pro-democracy camp potentially winning a majority for the first time in Legislative Council elections […]

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