Internet restrictions would only exacerbate Hong Kong’s problems

On October 4, after four months of increasingly violent protests, Hong Kong's Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, invoked a colonial-era law allowing her to make “any regulations whatsoever” during a time of public danger.

She used it to ban face masks, which protesters have used to hide their identity or to protect themselves from tear gas, and warned she would use the powers to make new regulations if the unrest did not abate.

The protests, however, continued unabated, with thousands of masked pro-democracy protesters returning to the streets only hours after the ban to show the authorities that they have no intention of stopping.

The internet has been vital to these protests, with the encrypted messaging service, Telegram, and the online forum, LIHKG, enabling protesters to organise demonstrations. Given the significance of these platforms, there are now concerns that Lam is going to use her sweeping emergency powers to disrupt access to the internet.

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