Just one week after the controversial security law was imposed on Hong Kong by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a hard-line official was chosen to head the new office charged with overseeing and ensuring its implementation.
Zheng Yanxiong, is seen by many critics as a person who will only reinforce the tense conditions in the Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong), taking a more authoritarian direction, due to his intransigent and repressive image toward demonstrators in the local village of Wukan for several years.
According to Fox News, demonstrations in Wukan broke out in 2011 after a dispute arose in which villagers demanded compensation from the government for embezzled land, resulting in the expulsion of several officials accused of signing corrupt deals, which led to many of the applicants losing their property.
Zheng was accused of attempting to silence the protesters by sending in dozens of riot police spreading out in several villages. At the same time he became known for making provocative comments at the protests, pointing out that “pigs will fly before the foreign press can be trusted.”
Zheng reportedly pointed out to the villagers that they had “colluded” with international media to “create problems,” according to Fox News. The prolonged blockade led to an agreement between CCP leaders and local representatives.
Eventually the lack of clarity in the agreement led to further unrest that led to the banishment of the leader elected by the CCP before payments were made, by which time Zheng had become secretary general of the CCP provincial committee in Guangdong.
Now Zheng, 56, is at the head of Hong Kong’s security agency, which Hong Kong Free Press reported has investigative and prosecutorial powers and will eventually oversee national security-related intelligence by prosecuting cases, and under certain conditions may hand them over to mainland authorities.
As noted by the media, on the same day of his appointment, Luo Huining, currently director of the Beijing Liaison Office in the Special Administrative Region, was reappointed as security adviser to the city’s newly implemented national security commission, chaired by Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam.
Meanwhile, veteran Hong Kong official Eric Chan Kwok-ki was appointed as the commission’s secretary general by the Council of State on Thursday. The commission, established in accordance with the new security law, will mainly be responsible for formulating policies related to the law.
With regard to the criticism and accusations by the international community of the CCP’s decision to impose further restrictions on autonomy in Hong Kong under the new security law, Beijing has shown its rejection by arguing the need to stop pro-democracy protests.
As indicated by the BBC, the CCP has rejected complaints from the United Kingdom and other Western nations that it is violating these guarantees as interference in its internal affairs while there are more calls from various countries to respect the commitments made to Hong Kong.
The former British colony was reclaimed by the CCP from British jurisdiction in 1997 under the guarantee of preserving certain rights for 50 years through the ‘one country two systems’ agreement. However, recent measures taken from the mainland now erode its sovereignty.