As in mainland China, Hong Kongers now use code to evade political censorship

The speed with which Hong Kong has descended into repressive authoritarian rule is being matched by the city’s protesters, who are moving just as quickly to stay one step ahead of censors.

Just two days after the sweeping national security law was signed into force on Tuesday (June 30), the Hong Kong government officially created the city’s first thoughtcrime: it banned the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,”(光復香港, 時代革命) declaring it to be secessionist and subversive, and hence in breach of the new law.

Legal scholars have already questioned the validity of the government’s blanket ban on the slogan without regard for intent and the scope for different interpretations of the phrase. But whether or not the ban ultimately holds up in court is besides the point. Its mere existence right now fundamentally undermines freedom of speech, expression, and thought.

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