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Escalation: Carrie Lam, the Chinese-appointed chief executive in Hong Kong, today invoked emergency powers in her effort to stem the anti-Chinese demonstrations that have been on-going now for four months.
[P]rotesters here can now face criminal penalties of up to than $3,000 and a year’s imprisonment simply for wearing the masks they have used to defend themselves against tear gas and the possibility of arrest.
And, having invoked emergency powers, Lam is now in a position to do almost anything. As the New York Times sums it up: “Under the emergency powers, Mrs. Lam has a wide discretion to create new criminal laws and amend existing laws — all without going through the legislative process.” Newspapers can be censored or shuttered, web sites closed down, property seized, searches carried out galore, and so forth.
It appears that China is beginning the process of cracking down, and will likely do it incrementally, in the hope this will defuse the response, both by the Hong Kong population and the international community.