Activists and scholars also say the move will only further hinder civil liberties and human rights, including one that has already come under fire: the city’s embattled gender movement.
“If John Lee adopts the Mainland China model of managing civil society, this may bring about a further onslaught of Hong Kong’s once vibrant civil society,” says Diana Fu, Associate Professor of political science at the University of Toronto. “In the mainland model, civil society groups that advocate for liberal rights — including gender equality — are seen as conduits of Western influence.”
“Gender awareness has to be promoted from the bottom up,” said Petula Ho, a local feminist scholar. “But it’s like the whole of society has given up on this issue.”