The Hong Kong government reportedly plans to curb access to the internet in order to limit the violent protests for pro-democracy. A cabinet member reportedly told an international news agency on Monday, October 7, that this move to limit internet access came after the emergency-law ban on wearing face masks by protesters significantly failed to quiet the unrest. Protests have partly paralyzed the international financial hub for the last three days. Hong Kong's rail network along with business outlets that were known to be pro-China was also severely vandalized.
The escalation in protests was in response to the announcement of invoking colonial-era emergency laws which have not been used for nearly 50 years. The city's chief executive, Carrie Lam said that the ban on wearing face-masks was essential to contain the protests. It has been nearly four months since the demonstrations began demanding China to stop interference and strangling the freedom of Hong Kong. Citizens have taken to the streets in millions to protest since.
A veteran pro-Beijing politician of Hong Kong's executive board, Ip Kwok-him has ignited the concerns after he reportedly said that controls on the internet could be introduced. While talking to an international agency, Ip Kwok-him said that as long as there are possible ways to calm down the riots, the government has not ruled out the possibility of placing a ban on the internet. According to the veteran politician, the internet has been crucial for protesters, who currently do not have a political leader and have been using online forums and encrypted messaging applications to mobilize and organize demonstrations. However, the government purportedly acknowledges that any online shutdown can have a domino effect. Therefore, the limitations on internet will assure no hindrance to the businesses in Hong Kong.
(With inputs from agencies)