It says something about the changing political landscape when the body behind the city’s largest protests over the years has become the second leading group to wind up. Beijing’s stance on national security means opposition-leaning factions have to steer clear of red lines imposed by the new law. This is the only way to ensure the freedoms of demonstration and association may continue to be exercised as promised under the Basic Law. The zero-tolerance approach was made clear when Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor responded to the decision of the Civil Human Rights Front to disband. “For groups and individuals that had wilfully touched the red line in the past, I think choosing to disband at this time is the only option,” she said. Referring to the dissolution of the Professional Teachers’ Union earlier, Lam said the government might cut ties with groups that put politics above professionalism . This is seen as the clearest warning to the Law Society ahead of its election to fill five council seats. Comprising dozens of political parties and associations, the front was synonymous with the July 1 march. While it provided an avenue for Hongkongers to air grievances and aspirations of all sorts on the anniversary of reunification, it also created embarrassment and pressure on the government. Recently, it became the target of an attack by state media for its role in fighting the unpopular extradition bill that led to months-long social unrest. Some core members are still facing trial in relation to national security offences. The front has only got itself to blame for not legally registering itself over the past 19 years, but questions have also been asked as to why police worked all along with the group on its arrangements for public protests. Lam said the government had learned its lesson in the wake of what she called the “black violence” of 2019 and the national security law imposed by Beijing , and had only realised the “true nature” of some groups the government had worked with over the years. The tougher approach is a warning to groups that have yet to adjust themselves. By making the dos and don’ts abundantly clear, hopefully, the legitimate rights and freedoms enshrined in the Basic Law may be exercised without crossing any red lines.