Hong Kong protesters will have to look out for a new official, one who is charged with cracking down on protests and enforcing rules.
Beijing appointed a new national security enforcer in Hong Kong, who has experience with protests and dealing with the media, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Zheng Yanxiong was appointed Friday to serve as the inaugural director of the Chinese government’s Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong.
Zheng is a senior Communist Party official in his native Guangdong, which is an affluent province that borders Hong Kong.
Zheng worked as a party propagandist over much of his nearly three-decade career, the Journal reports.
China politics watchers say his appointment is a sign of change for the new reality in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has enjoyed more freedom of the press. Publications have been able to criticize Chinese politics and journalists have not had to fear intimidation or face legal consequences for their work. That may change under a new a new national security law.
“He is a specialist in ideology and a hard-line official,” Wu Qiang, a Chinese politics researcher and former lecturer at Beijing’s Tsinghua University told the newspaper. “We can expect him to impose stricter controls over press and speech freedoms in Hong Kong.”
Zheng’s role was created under a new Hong Kong national security law, which went into effect this week. The law allows Beijing to use its policing methods in Hong Kong.
The newly created Office for Safeguarding National Security, will be able to gather and analyze intelligence, supervise local authorities’ handling of security matters and investigate major cases, the newspaper reports.
Zheng will be supported by two deputies with experience in mainland China’s domestic-security apparatus, according to a government statement.
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