CHINA'S DRACONIAN new national security law for Hong Kong took effect on July 1. The arrests began at once.
Police in riot gear swarmed the Causeway Bay shopping district, firing pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets into a crowd of Hong Kong residents protesting the legislation. They deployed water cannons to disperse the marchers and drown out their chants. At least 370 people were arrested, including a 15-year-old girl. Under the new law, anyone convicted of "acts of secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities, and collusion with foreign or external forces" — i.e., of openly dissenting from China's totalitarian control — faces a potential maximum sentence of life in prison.
No less insidious than what the new law allows Chinese authorities to do to dissidents — warrantless searches, secret trials, seizure of assets — is the censorship it is driving Hong Kongers to impose on themselves. Many activists have deleted their social-media accounts. Writers have asked websites to take down their published articles. Demosisto, the most prominent pro-democracy youth group, has disbanded. Libraries are pulling books critical of China's communist government.
As civil liberties and human rights die in Hong Kong, China's brutality is being condemned in the free world. . . .
But from the United Nations Human Rights Council — the international agency whose mission is the "protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms" — there has been no rebuke. . . .