The Hong Kong News Executives Association, a group representing the top editors of the city’s major news outlets, expressed concern about the far-reaching impact of the security law ahead of its release. The Foreign Correspondents’ Club urged the government last week to guarantee that the authorities would not seek to interfere with the work of reporters. The government has not responded, but officials have sought to reassure the public that the city’s civil liberties will be protected.
During a recent end-of-semester meeting at Hong Kong University’s Journalism and Media Studies Center, staff members wondered aloud where the red line would be and whether certain topics would be off limits, said the center’s director, Keith Richburg.
“I’d be lying if I said I don’t think twice about posting something on Twitter before pushing the button,” said Mr. Richburg, a former foreign correspondent with The Washington Post.
One of the starkest indicators that the national security law was already having its intended effect came on Tuesday, directly after lawmakers in Beijing unanimously approved it.
Joshua Wong, the 23-year-old who is perhaps Hong Kong’s best-known activist, announced on social media that he would withdraw from Demosisto, the youth political group that he founded in 2016, citing fears for his safety. Demosisto, which has called for greater autonomy for Hong Kong, was for many the face of the protest movement’s future.