Hong Kong prepares to tighten control from Beijing by actively downloading VPN

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Hong Kong interest in VPN services and proxy websites such as free-proxy-list.net appears to have increased sharply. These services can allow users to bypass resource blocking on the Internet. This increase reportedly happened after the appearance on Thursday, May 21, of information that the Chinese authorities intend to adopt a new law on national security for the special administrative region of the PRC.

Among the ten most actively downloaded applications for iPhone and iPad in the Hong Kong app store App Store included seven VPN services that had not previously appeared on this list, according to data provider Sensor Tower.

One of the popular VPN services – NordVPN – announced a 120-fold increase in downloads on Thursday compared to the previous day, rival Surfshark VPN said that the number of downloads per day soared by 700% and continued to grow rapidly on Friday.

Unlike mainland China, Hong Kong maintains open Internet and VPN services, as well as Twitter and WhatsApp applications blocked in China, are legally used in Hong Kong, Bloomberg writes.

Hong Kong National Security Bill

It was reported that on Thursday, Chinese authorities announced their intention to adopt a bill creating a “law enforcement mechanism to ensure national security” in Hong Kong.

Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang during a speech at the annual session of the All-China People’s Representative Assembly (NPC), which opened on Friday, confirmed that Beijing intends to create “stable legal systems and enforcement mechanisms to protect national security in Hong Kong.”

The bill is expected to be adopted in China before the end of the annual NPC session next Thursday, May 28, but a number of procedural steps will be required for it to take effect. The adoption of the law will lead to increased supervision and censorship in Hong Kong, experts warn.

Hong Kong stock market falls on mainland news

The Hong Kong stock market, as well as the national currency and ETFs, tied to investment in Hong Kong, reacted with a drop in information about China’s plans. Investors consider such a step to tighten control from Beijing and fear that this will provoke a new wave of large-scale protests in the city, which stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic .

In addition, concerns have arisen that the United States may revise its assessment of Hong Kong’s independence from China. Washington’s opinion about the “high degree of independence” of the region from the PRC gave the Asian financial capital special trading privileges. United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has postponed the publication of the annual report on Hong Kong to Congress, noting that at the moment it is difficult to assess the degree of his independence from Beijing.

The End of Hong Kong

“This is the end of Hong Kong,” said Hong Kong opposition politician Dennis Kwok. “I believe that Hong Kong will soon lose its status as an international business center.”

The bill, which Beijing plans to adopt, will require Hong Kong to quickly abandon the use of its own regulation in the field of national security, reports Reuters. The Chinese parliament intends to independently create a legal structure and mechanisms for its application to prevent separatist activities, terrorism and foreign interference, as well as any other actions that threaten national stability, the agency writes.

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