In 2019, Hong Kong erupted into the most stunning expression of public anger with Beijing in decades. Protesters broke into the legislature and vandalized it. They bought full-page advertisements in international newspapers, criticizing the government. Lawmakers hurled unsavory objects in meetings to protest unpopular bills.

In the years since then, China has waged an expansive crackdown on Hong Kong to crush the opposition. Beijing directly imposed a national security law on the city in 2020 that gave authorities a powerful tool to round up critics, including a prominent pro-democracy media tycoon.