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Power play won’t be tolerated

Officials in Hong Kong don’t have to dance much around whether their censorship laws are infringing upon citizens’ rights. They can crack down on criticism of Chinese Community Party rule, arrest pro-democracy activists, criminalize calls for independence and even ban films that include “portrayal, depiction or treatment of any act of activity which may amount to an offense endangering national security.”

Imagine what a broad definition those censors feel free to give to the phrase “endangering national security.” Why, the very idea of another country’s hard-won freedoms might spark feelings of rebellion that could endanger national (read, the government’s) security. Think of the glee with which those in charge will choose which expressions of freedom are criminal and which suit the interests of those seeking to protect their power.

It’s enough to make an American’s blood boil, isn’t it?

It should, anyway. Some who call themselves patriots have lately been up to their own attempts to imply the First Amendment shouldn’t apply if the ideas being expressed are “divisive concepts” that might lead people of all ages to start thinking too much.

“The film censorship regulatory framework is built on the premise of a balance between protection of individual rights and freedoms on the one hand, and the protection of legitimate societal interests on the other,” Hong Kong’s government said.

No doubt some here are trying to make the case their own bills limiting teaching or discussion of certain topics are for “the protection of legitimate societal interests.” It doesn’t take much guessing to figure out whose interests they are protecting.

And they are just as wrong as the people in power in Hong Kong right now. The difference, of course, is that here in the United States, we can peacefully do something about it. Let them know, now, this kind of power play won’t be tolerated. Vote them out, if they don’t listen.

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