That’s the headline on my latest story, out Friday. It begins:
HONG KONG—A judge rejected a government bid to ban the dissemination online of a popular pro-democracy song, dealing a blow to Hong Kong’s efforts to extend a national-security crackdown to online platforms such as Google.
The ruling, delivered by one of the city’s national-security case judges handpicked by the government’s leader, is the latest in a series of setbacks dealt by the city’s courts to local authorities that are seeking to eliminate dissent.
If the judge had agreed to give the order, which sought to ban distribution of the song “Glory to Hong Kong” worldwide, it would have set the city on a collision course with Google and other platforms. Analysts said such a ban could have led the companies and their services to exit the financial center, which has for decades enjoyed a mostly open internet, unlike in China.
The case has added to the chill facing tech companies in Hong Kong, shifting the target for online dissent from individuals to platforms themselves. American tech giants in recent months have been shutting out users bit by bit in Hong Kong amid concern over the national security law.
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