Protests in Hong Kong

Aug. 26, 2019 Weekly Graphs

Tensions are running high in Hong Kong. Since June this year, hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in opposition to a proposed bill that would allow those accused of crimes against mainland China to be extradited. Opponents believe that the law would undermine the autonomy of the region and citizens’ rights, putting activists and journalists at risk. V-Dem’s Country Graph tool, illustrates changing conditions for Hong Kong’s civil society organizations since 2008.

Under the current ‘one country, two systems’ agreement, Hong Kong retains its own economic and administrative systems while continuing to be part of China. This freedom and autonomy have come under threat in recent years. For example, the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) was banned last year. The government also refused the visa renewal of a veteran foreign journalist from the Financial Times, after he chaired a talk featuring the leader of HKNP. Both incidents were firsts of their kind in Hong Kong. 

The deteriorating conditions for civil society activists in Hong Kong over the past decade are reflected in the V-Dem civil society indicators. The plotted values measure the involvement of people in civil society organizations (CSOs), the degree to which the government engages in repression of CSOs, and the extent to which the government controls the entry and exit of these organizations.  Higher values indicate greater freedom of association. A downward trend on all three indicators begins in about 2010 and is especially pronounced for 2018. 

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