After Beijing enacted a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong, the city’s leader tried to allay fears of a broad crackdown on dissent by promising the measure would affect only a very small minority of people.
But throughout July, the first full month under the new legislation, the measure featured prominently in a sustained effort to quell political upheaval in the enclave, while also ushering in a transformative climate of fear and uncertainty.
The law’s provisions — which punish crimes related to secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces — have been used as grounds for disqualifying political candidates, arresting students over social media posts and banning common protest slogans.
The blows to the city’s democracy movement over the past few weeks have extended beyond the far-reaching law itself. Academics who are key figures in the protests were fired from their posts, police raided the office of an