San Jose Mercury News columnist

San Jose Mercury News columnist Dan Gillmor gets it right on Hong Kong:

HONG KONG CLAMPS DOWN: Security trumping liberty is a worldwide trend. Hong Kong’s leadership, for example, seems poised to impose strict security measures on its people.

The “anti-subversion” provisions moving through the rubber-stamp legislature could have been worse. But they will go a long way toward curbing political freedom in the former British colony, and furious, principled opposition has had far too little effect.

Some observers in China’s “Special Administrative Region,” which has been operating semi-autonomously since the hand over in 1997, say the government’s original proposals were considerably more restrictive. But what remains is bad enough, and according to one of the most keen observers, former legislator Christine Loh, there are new worries — including a proposal for secret trials in some circumstances.

There’s insufficient trust in the local government, she wrote in a recent e-mail newsletter to people interested in the issue. (My own interest, apart from a general desire that freedom prevail wherever possible, is that I’ve been teaching each autumn in Hong Kong and have grown immensely fond of the place.)

The influence of Beijing on this process is unmistakable. And unfortunate.

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