Character of Hong Kong has fundamentally changed with Beijing in full control

 Critics think that Beijing has shattered this promise in recent years with a restrictive national security law and electoral reforms which allow only "patriots" to run for Hong Kong's leadership, BBC reported.

The 2020 law followed massive pro-democracy protests in 2019, which included violent clashes between demonstrators and police.

Now, observers say, there is a slim hope for a more democratic political system and they fear that the character of the city has fundamentally changed, with Beijing in full control.

"Most Hong Kong people think that 'one country, two systems' has already disappeared," says Ted Hui, a former pro-democracy lawmaker who has fled the city, BBC reported.

Authorities say the national security law affects a minority, but Hui says it stifles Hong Kong's once-vibrant civil society.

In its wake, dozens of groups, including political parties and unions, have disbanded. The annual candlelight vigil commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and the July 1 handover anniversary march have been effectively banned by authorities.

Several pro-democracy media outlets, including Apple Daily and Stand News, have closed down in the past year, BBC reported.

Hong Kong, once a beacon of press freedom in Asia, was ranked 148th in the world for press freedom this year, tumbling down nearly 70 places since the previous year.

Source: IANS

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