It took just 15 minutes on Tuesday morning for China’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, to endorse a national security law drawn up for Hong Kong.
But Hongkongers anxious to learn the details of the sweeping new law were kept in the dark until 11pm, when the Hong Kong government released all 66 articles.
Throughout the day as anticipation intensified, some localists groups in the city folded, activists announced they were quitting politics, and even “yellow” businesses that openly backed anti-government protesters said they were stopping support.
There seemed to be a chill in the air, even as Hong Kong’s pro-establishment politicians went to meet mainland envoys at the central government liaison office to pledge their full support for the new law.
Tuesday’s events were a display of Beijing mastery in creating a sense of fear, according to veteran China watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu.