Hong Kong now knows Mr. Xi’s ambitions with a stunned clarity. The paper marked the opening of a contest for control in the city, culminating in the sweeping national security law that few saw coming. Since that law took force one year ago, Beijing has unleashed a stampede of actions to bring Hong Kong into political lock step with the Chinese Communist Party: arresting activists, seizing assets, firing government workers, detaining newspaper editorsand rewriting school curriculums.
While the clampdown seemed to arrive with startling speed, it was the culmination of yearslong efforts in Beijing. Interviews with insiders and advisers, as well as speeches, policy papers and state-funded studies, reveal Chinese officials’ growing alarm over protests in Hong Kong; their impatience with wavering among the city’s pro-Beijing ruling elite; and their growing conviction that Hong Kong had become a haven for Western-backed subversion.