To curb any possibility of democratic sentiment dispersing in the country, the government imposes strict measures on visitors to and from the two regions.
by Lin Yijiang
The Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrations, which were sparked in opposition to the proposed changes to the extradition law, continue for nearly four months now, generating support from around the world. Meanwhile, the Chinese regime portrays the protests as “Hong Kong independence riots” and adopts countermeasures to suppress them – both in the city and throughout China – by restricting travels to and from Hong Kong and Taiwan, imposing control on information and publications.
Visitors vetted by the police to stay in hotels
In preparations to celebrate National Day on October 1, the lobby manager of a hotel chain in Luoyang city in the central province of Henan informed employees that they could check in only those guests from Hong Kong who have residence permits. They also must report promptly to a designated police officer in the jurisdiction about any such guest. The officer will then come to the hotel to question these persons about the purpose of their trip to Henan. Similar measures have been previously adopted in regard to Xinjiang residents.
Some hotel employees find this regulation discriminatory.
On September 20, a village committee in Beijing’s Tongzhou district posted a “Safety and Fire Prevention Notice” that included a prohibition for people with ties to Hong Kong, Xinjiang or Tibet to rent houses in the village.
Tightened control on publications and travels
Since the start of the anti-extradition movement, the CCP feared that this democratic sentiment would affect the mainland Chinese and provoke more protests. To prevent that, not only information online is blocked or censored, but bans on political and religious books from Hong Kong and Taiwan have been imposed as well.
Ahead of National Day, a local government in the eastern province of Zhejiang received a notice from higher authorities regarding the “elimination of pornography and illegal publications.” The edict calls for inspections in train stations, service zones on highways, hotels, tourist areas, religious venues, courier and logistics companies, and other places to check for unauthorized “harmful political publications,” religious books, and digital materials from abroad, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, or issued by certain publishing houses.
On July 31, a teacher in Zhejiang’s Rui’an city received a notice on a WeChat group from the government that schools cannot approve any personal travels to Taiwan from August 1. Shortly afterward, another teacher posted a reply to the notice: “You must be careful when borrowing books from the library, too. You absolutely mustn’t borrow books related to Taiwan or Hong Kong.”
On July 19, a believer from Olive Tree Church in Foshan city in the southern province of Guangdong was about to travel to Hong Kong for a religious gathering but discovered that she was restricted from leaving mainland China because the authorities feared she was going to attend anti-extradition demonstrations.
Restrictions on businesses
Foreign companies who have expressed support to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are paying a high price – having “hurt the feelings of China’s 1.4 billion people,” they have been vigorously boycotted by “patriots” and the Chinese government. One such example is the recent CCP’s reaction to the comments supporting Hong Kong made by NBA’s Houston Rockets manager.
And the scrutiny of such companies and brands is getting stricter, so foreign businesses in China are becoming extremely careful not to cross any political red lines that would result in sanctions and boycotts.
An employee at Carrefour, a French supermarket giant, in the northern province of Hebei told Bitter Winter that she received two “urgent work notices” from her supervisor in August, demanding not to place on store shelves the flags of Hong Kong and Taiwan. The notices also required to indicate on price-tags “Taiwan, China” or “Taiwan region,” not just “Taiwan.”
Some products from Hong Kong and Taiwan have already been removed from the supermarket, the employee also said.