On top of road closures and traffic controls, small unmanned aircraft have been banned throughout Hong Kong during the visit between June 30 and July 1, police announced on June 28.
Citing “security concerns,” the Information Services Department (ISD) has also excluded an extended list of journalists from attending the events.
In addition, the League of Social Democrats, one of Hong Kong’s last remaining active pro-democracy groups, was summoned by the national security police and told not to hold any protest on the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover.
Media Denied Coverage
The ISD requested media organizations replace some journalists who had signed up to cover the official handover events. The new requirements announced on June 28 made it impossible for the media to replace journalists as they were requested to provide compulsory daily nucleic acid test results from June 26, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) said in a Facebook post.
The ISD required select media on June 16 to sign up for a maximum of 20 journalists and photographers to cover the events. However, the ISD tightened its rules by only allowing one reporter from each company to cover the inauguration and flag-raising ceremony.
At least seven major local and foreign media organizations have been affected by the change, including Ming Pao, Hong Kong 01, South China Morning Post, Now TV, and Agence France-Presse.
As a result, these media may have no journalists covering the event because they also need to provide negative COVID-19 test results from June 26.
Furthermore, the reporters covering the inauguration were required to stay in isolation hotels from June 29.
The HKJA expressed its disappointment with the changes made by the Hong Kong government for such a historical event.
Prior to the changes, in a June 16 statement, the HKJA said it was “extremely concerned” that only selected media may attend the official festivities.
“The HKJA has learned that at least  well-known local online and overseas media outlets, news agencies, as well as phone wires were not invited nor allowed to sign up for the events, making them unable to report from the handover’s official events,” the statement reads.
“Similar Handover official events in the past were open to media registration without requiring invitations.”
No Protests or Rallies
Citing “tough circumstances,” Chan Po-Ying, chairwoman of pro-democracy group League of Social Democrats, said it would not organize any protests on July 1.
In a Facebook post, Chan said that the national security police had contacted some volunteers on June 28, which was believed to have pushed the group to cancel its scheduled protest on July 1.
On the same day, Police Assistant Commissioner Lui Kam-ho said at a press conference that the police had received no applications for public meetings.
The League of Social Democrats has held yearly July 1 protests since 2003. It is one of the few social-democratic groups that remain active after the implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong.
However, the police had banned the group’s planned pro-democracy rally on July 1 in 2020 and 2021, citing public gathering restrictions during the pandemic.
Hong Kong police said that “cone security zones” will be set up at the venues where Xi will stay, visit, and pass by. Outside these venues will be “security zones,” adding that a series of security measures will be implemented to ensure the security of these official events.
Lui said the department is duty-bound to ensure Xi Jinping’s “personal safety and security” and safely manage the events that Xi will attend.
The security measures cover both the road traffic system and the flying zones in Hong Kong, with aircraft and flying objects restricted from entering certain zones. In addition, small unmanned aircraft will be banned over the entirety of Hong Kong.
“After conducting a risk assessment, the force also decided to designate the entire area in Hong Kong as a small unmanned aircraft restricted flying zone temporarily,” the government announced.
On June 28, the city’s Transport Department reiterated that special traffic and transport arrangements will be implemented in the vicinity of Wan Chai North until July 1 to facilitate the celebration events. A total of 23 bus routes terminating and 30 passing bus routes will be diverted or truncated.