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Hong Kong: COVID-19 restrictions used to clamp down on protesters & businesses supporting them

"Hong Kong police are using coronavirus restrictions to clamp down on protesters", 01 Apr 2020

A new Hong Kong regulation banning public gatherings of more than four people, enacted last week in an effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic, immediately stoked fears that it might be used to crack down on political dissent—and it appears to be happening already... Freedom of assembly—theoretically enshrined in the Basic Law, the city’s mini constitution—had already been consistently undermined by authorities over the course of last year, since a massive protest in June against a now-shelved extradition bill kicked off months of unrest... Now, police appear to be taking the four-person limit on public gatherings to clamp down on protesters. A member of the opposition Democratic Party, who was present at the protest site yesterday, said he was...walking away by himself when a group of police officers stopped him... and accused them of violating the new restrictions on gatherings... There have been concerns, too, that Hong Kong police and officials will use the new regulations to disproportionately target businesses in Hong Kong’s so-called yellow economy—that is, businesses that are supportive of the protest movement. One restaurant popular with protesters has been repeatedly inspected by police... since the new social distancing rules came into effect...