Some still hope for democracy in Hong Kong

In a bustling shopping district in Hong Kong, Herbert Chow is walking a fine line.

He's selling memories of the pro-Democracy demonstrations that swept the city in 2019.

Chow runs a chain of children's clothing stores called Chickeeduck.

But this particular shop - with its protest-themed T-shirts, stickers and and pins -could cross the line into crime under the city's National Security Law.

It was handed down by Beijing a year ago, and could mean up to life in prison for what mainland China deems subversion, secessionism, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

Chow's shop has already been raided by police

But he says he isn't budging

"I obey the law. I haven't violated the law. The red line of the national security law is always moving. If selling these products is considered inciting the public, if they dare to sink so low, I will fight to the end."

Chow says he still hopes for a democratic future.

And he isn't alone.

Independent journalist Jade Chung focuses her reporting on the city's most vulnerable.

She says that over the past year self-censorship has crept in, making interviewees and reporters more careful about what they say.

But she also says she has no plans to stop.

"I still hope to stay and make this city my ideal place. At least I can uphold values. I don't want the new practices to replace them."

Critics say the national security law is being used to chip away at freedoms and stifle dissent.

Authorities have made certain songs and slogans illegal.

The public broadcaster has removed protest-related archives.

And democracy books have been pulled from the shelves of public libraries.

Like the shop owner and the journalist, filmmaker Kiwi Chow has his eye to the future.

Working on a documentary of the protests, he says, to preserve the memory

"If I really get arrested, I will find comfort in the fact that I am being punished for carrying out justice. And so, I am at peace. I have already passed the challenge of fear."

Hong Kong this week also marks the 24th anniversary of the handover from British to Chinese rule

Activist groups have applied for permission to hold a rally.

But police have refused.

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