Hong Kong is having a long weekend like no other. On one hand, the Mid-Autumn Festival coincides with National Day to give the city a much-needed break from a worrying epidemic. On the other hand, the enactment of the national security law in the wake of last year’s social unrest has deepened the political divide and renewed momentum for confrontation. The mix of festive celebrations and rowdy protests amid tight health restrictions and an economic slump makes an unusual backdrop for some serious soul-searching on the city’s development. Unlike previous “golden week” holidays when the streets were packed with shoppers and revellers, the prevailing atmosphere is noticeably less festive. Tensions flared in Causeway Bay yesterday afternoon, with dozens of arrests, but the scenes were, thankfully, not as chaotic as last year. The spotlight was also on arrangements for the press, after recent police measures restricted access to outlets only recognised by the government. The protests fly in the face of claims by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor that the national security law has restored stability. While radicals may have been deterred by its punishments, there are those dissatisfied with the latest political developments and want to make themselves heard. It would be wrong of Lam to pretend there is calm after the storm. Heavy National Day security leaves ordinary Hong Kong residents fuming The unusual visit by Beijing’s liaison office director Luo Huining to some families yesterday serves as another reminder for Lam tackle livelihood and economic issues. The fact that many people opted to protest on a day marking Chinese sovereignty and harmony has given some food for thought. Slogans deemed pro-independence were heard, but not everyone took to the streets aiming to topple the government. Lam should honour her pledge to review those underlying issues that gave rise to the turmoil. It would also do well for protesters to reflect on their actions and consequences. While the extradition bill was thwarted, a more sweeping national security law has now been put in place. Despite some serious setbacks, the city has largely preserved its way of life while leveraging on the opportunities that arise. But the conflict arising from the city’s unique governance model has also become more apparent, as reflected in the extradition bill fiasco. What started as a community movement against a government bill has snowballed into a political crisis and prompted Beijing to intervene with a law whose ramifications have yet to be fully gauged. The epidemic will go away one day. Lawful protests, a legitimate right under the Basic Law, will also return eventually. How this dark chapter of history unfolds shall further shape the city’s relations with Beijing and the future of “one country, two systems”.