The British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, assured freedoms for 50 years. The clock is ticking.

Global reach of Hong Kong security law ‘extraordinary and chilling’
The national security law that Beijing has imposed on Hong Kong has raised concerns among legal experts that it could apply everywhere. The controversial legislation came into force late on the night of June 30, after it was unanimously passed by Beijing’s top legislative body and signed into law by President Xi Jinping. The law prohibits secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security, with a maximum penalty of life in prison. Legal experts said Article 38 of the law, which covers even offenses by people outside the city who are not Hong Kong residents, creates a “chilling” overreach.  They said the coverage goes furth
Hongkongers convicted under new security law could be imprisoned for life
People convicted of crimes under a new national security law Beijing is imposing on Hong Kong could face life imprisonment, sources told the South China Morning Post. China’s top legislative body on Sunday kicked off a special three-day meeting fast-tracking the legislation, which is being tailor-made for the former British colony to prevent, stop and punish acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security. Opposition politicians and critics said the bill could be used to suppress dissent and erode freedoms in the city, which is governed under a “one country, two systems” framework that gives Hong Kong considerable autonomy.  The legisl
How Hong Kong keeps memories of Tiananmen crackdown alive
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. Every year on the evening of June 4, Hongkongers gather in a public park to remember the Tiananmen Square crackdown with songs, flowers and candlelight.  The annual mass memorial has helped people around the world remember the 1989 pro-democracy protests that ended in bloodshed.  The event also symbolizes the unique freedoms Hong Kong enjoys as a special administrative region in China. While the 1989 movement is a taboo topic in mainland China, it can be freely discussed and commemorated publicly in the former British colony.  The event has taken place in
The constitutional document that defines Hong Kong
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. The Basic Law is Hong Kong’s equivalent of a constitution. It lays out how the city should be governed as a special administrative region of China. It went into effect on July 1, 1997, when the former British colony was handed over to Chinese rule. For over two decades, debate over the governance of Hong Kong has revolved around the Basic Law, with much of the focus on the rights and freedoms of the city’s 7.5 million residents, as well as Beijing’s role in its affairs.  What is ‘one country, two systems’? The Basic Law says that Hong Kong should be gover
Coronavirus: mental health experts sound suicide warning
A leading Hong Kong mental health expert has warned that the city might be on the brink of a wave of suicides brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Professor Paul Yip Siu-fai, director of the University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, is part of an international group of mental health specialists who have sounded the alert about the potential psychological impact of the pandemic. Among those most at risk are workers who have lost their jobs, those facing severe financial hardship and elderly people who feel cooped up at home because of restrictions on movement. Yip said prolonged restrictions and social-distancing measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus cou
Hongkongers say they have themselves to thank for curbing coronavirus
Most people in Hong Kong said they would credit themselves rather than the government for containing the coronavirus in the densely-populated city, a survey commissioned by the South China Morning Post has found. Hong Kong, which borders the mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen, has so far managed to limit the spread of the virus, a success that local epidemiologists have attributed to early social distancing practices, improved personal hygiene and the nearly universal use of face masks. Out of nearly 850 people polled, seven in 10 said they would credit the community response for beating the coronavirus, while more than half objected to the idea of the government being commended for it. The
First human-to-dog coronavirus transmission reported in Hong Kong
A pet dog in Hong Kong may have caught the coronavirus from its infected owner. A Pomeranian belonging to a Covid-19 patient in the city has contracted the virus, the city’s health authorities confirmed on Wednesday. (What is Covid-19? Where did the coronavirus come from? Here’s what we’ve learned so far about the coronavirus.) The dog has repeatedly tested positive for having a low level of the virus since Friday last week. The infection is likely to be the first case of human-to-animal transmission of the disease, experts said, but animal lovers need not worry about their pets or their own health. “These test results suggest that the dog has a low level of infection, which was also found i
Knife-wielding robbers steal 600 rolls of toilet paper in Hong Kong
Armed robbers stole 600 rolls of toilet paper from outside a Hong Kong supermarket on Monday, as panic buying over the spread of the coronavirus showed little signs of easing. Three masked men stole the toilet paper wrapped in about 50 packets, worth about $206, from a delivery man outside a Wellcome store in Mong Kok at around 6am on Monday. Police said one of the men was armed with two knives. Two people, aged 49 and 54, had been arrested by midday on Monday, and the police said they were hunting down three more people thought to be aged between 20 and 30. The stolen toilet rolls were found in a guest house in the same district, not far from where it was taken.  The incident followed week
Hotpot, barbecue, ‘super-spreader’: Coronavirus defies curbs on meeting and travel
Restaurants in Hong Kong have scrambled to drop hotpot from their menus after the better part of a family who shared the dish was infected with the coronavirus as health authorities advised against large gatherings. Hotpot is a winter staple at the Chinese dining table where people cook and eat meat and vegetables by dipping them in a shared pot of simmering broth. Several restaurant chains in the city have suspended the menu item after Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection said 11 of 19 members of an extended family who shared a hotpot and barbecue meal tested positive for the coronavirus.  Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Communicable Disease Branch of the center, said members of the p
No need to wear masks in Canada, but consider this before you mock people who do
In early 2003, my soon-to-be wife and I developed a routine when we came home. We would take off our N95 face masks and drop them in a bin by the door. We would strip off in the entranceway in a thoroughly unromantic fashion and throw our clothes in the washing machine with a hearty slosh of Dettol. We then showered immediately, and retired to consider the unusual and frightening existence that was Hong Kong at the height of the Sars epidemic. Which is why current and former Hongkongers like ourselves find nothing particularly funny about the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. Yet some Canadians make sport of the face masks being worn with increasing regularity in places with big east Asian popula