Turkey takes delivery of Russian S-400 systems defying US

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Turkey takes delivery of Russian S-400 systems defying US

Xinhua
Turkey takes delivery of Russian S-400 systems defying US

Xinhua

A Russian Antonov military cargo plane, carrying parts of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia, is unloaded after landing at the Murted Air Base in Ankara, Turkey, on July 12, 2019. The first batch of Russian S-400 air defense system was delivered in Turkish capital city of Ankara on Friday, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.

Turkey began taking the delivery of Russia’s S-400 air-defense system on Friday, completing a much-debated deal that is likely to trigger sanctions from the United States and test the NATO alliance.

The first components for the state-of-the-art system arrived aboard three Russian military planes at the Murted air base, located at a distant suburb of Ankara, the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement.

“Turkey received the first batch of S-400 air defense systems. The deliveries are sent to the Murted air base,” the ministry said. Two more deliveries are expected in the coming days.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara that “there is no problem in the deliveries,” adding that “the process will also continue in a healthy pace in the future.”

The purchase, which is the fruit of a controversial agreement inked between Ankara and Moscow in 2017, signals, according to observers, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s willingness to coordinate more with Russia and could set off a new crisis in relations between Turkey and the US, two major NATO allies.

The US President Donald Trump’s administration had given mixed signals about how it might respond if Turkey went through with the deal, but US officials had warned of repercussions, including canceling sales of around 100 high-tech US-made F-35 fighter jets to Ankara and the imposition of sanctions under a 2017 law in cooperation with adversaries.

During a visit to NATO headquarters in Belgium in June, acting US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said “if Turkey accepts delivery of the S-400s, they will not receive the F-35.”

However, Trump has been publicly supportive of the Turkish president and expressed recently sympathy for Erdogan’s decision to purchase the surface-to-air S-400s. Erdogan, after meeting Trump at the G-20 Summit in June in Osaka, said he did not believe that the United States would sanction Turkey.

Erdogan has refused to back down on the S-400 deal and defended the 2.5 billion US dollar acquisition of the Russian system as part of Turkey’s sovereign right to defend itself, and said he tried to purchase the US-made Patriot air defense system but was not offered favorable terms in the past.

US officials fear that Turkey’s possession of the S-400 could give Russia access to secrets of the F-35’s stealth technology and argued that it would create interoperability problems inside NATO.

Ankara has ruled out such a possibility, saying that it is a long standing NATO country, since 1952, and that the S-400 would not be integrated in NATO capabilities.

Nevertheless, Turkey’s purchase of F-35 planes could be compromised as a concrete move last month, the Pentagon said it would halt the training of Turkish pilots to fly the warplane.

Possible US economic sanctions would mark a new standoff in Turkish-American ties. Last year, Washington imposed sanctions on Turkey over its detention of an American pastor, triggering a currency crisis. Sanctions were lifted after Ankara released the clergyman.

Following the arrival of the first S-400 components to the Turkish capital, the Turkish lira dropped about 1.5 percent against the greenback, trading at 5.76 lira.

The deal with Russia also raised some concerns in Western circles that Turkey is drifting away, closer to Moscow’s sphere of influence.

Deliveries of the S-400 components to Turkey would continue “in the coming days,” according to a statement by Turkey’s defense industries authority, which did not say when or where the completed system would ultimately be deployed.

“Once the system is completely ready, it will begin to be used in a way determined by relevant authorities,” said the statement.

An official close to the matter said to Xinhua that the first battery could be deployed at Murted base and a second one likely in southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian and Iraqi border and be operational by October.

“Assessments are underway at several levels to decide on the issue, but everything is going according to plan,” said the official on the condition of anonymity.

China’s social security funds to be replenished with state capital

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

China’s social security funds to be replenished with state capital

Xinhua

China will replenish social security funds through the injection of state capital this year to make the funds more sustainable. Policies to reduce employers’ contributions to social insurance schemes will be further implemented to ensure that pensions are paid on time and in full.

The decision was made at the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.

Li has set out measures for such capital transfer in the Government Work Report for four consecutive years.

The State Council issued the implementation program on replenishing social security funds with state capital in November 2017, deciding to pilot the measure in selected central and local state-owned enterprises.

It was decided in the guideline to set the transfer ratio at 10 percent of these enterprises’ state-owned equity, with the exception of state-owned enterprises serving public interest, cultural enterprises, policy and development financial institutions and those otherwise stipulated by the State Council.

“We need to ensure that work on this front progresses steadily and effectively and sends a reassuring message to the public,” said Li.

It was decided at the meeting that the pilot measures introduced will be extended nationwide this year.

Large and medium-sized state-owned and state-controlled enterprises at both central and provincial levels, as well as financial institutions, will see 10 percent of their state-owned equity transferred to the National Council for Social Security Fund and relevant local receiving entities who shall, as financial investors, enjoy the right to yields from the transferred equity.

“Old-age pensions must be paid on time and in full,” said Li.

The meeting also decided to lower social security contribution rates.

So far, various types of social insurance funds are in steady operation, and are competent in ensuring payments on time and in full. Policies to reduce social security contribution rates delivered notable effects in the first half of this year, as companies saw their spending on workers’ basic pensions, unemployment insurances and work-related injury insurances decreased by over 128 billion yuan (US$18.5 billion).

The meeting urged departments to gain firsthand information on delivery of the policies and corporate feedback, and promptly address new problems as they arise.

The payment format will remain consistent. While keeping the share borne by employers for workers’ basic aged-care insurance at no higher than 16 percent, no policy adjustment will be made this year regarding the varying payment rates and bases in certain provinces. Local authorities must earnestly shoulder their primary responsibilities of pension payments and ensure that no one is left unpaid.

“The tax and fee cuts we introduced early this year have boosted market confidence and delivered concrete benefits to market players. Such measures are fairest, most effective, and most direct in anchoring market expectations and spurring future development,” Li said. “We must ensure full implementation of our policies introduced early this year to reduce employers’ contributions to social insurance schemes.”

Xi’s DPRK visit writes new chapter of friendship, promotes peninsula stability

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS NETWORK ‘SHINE’)

 

Xi’s DPRK visit writes new chapter of friendship, promotes peninsula stability

Xinhua
Xi's DPRK visit writes new chapter of friendship, promotes peninsula stability

Xinhua

Xi Jinping (2nd L), general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chinese president, and his wife Peng Liyuan (1st L) pose for photos with Kim Jong Un (2nd R), chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and his wife Ri Sol Ju ahead of talks between the two leaders in Pyongyang, DPRK on June 20, 2019.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-day state visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a major diplomatic action that comes as the world is undergoing changes unseen in a century and the international situation is seeing complex and profound changes, a senior Chinese official said on Friday.

According to Song Tao, head of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the visit, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between China and the DPRK, is also Xi’s first trip to the neighboring country since he became the Chinese president and general secretary of the Central Committee of the CPC, which bears key significance for the development of bilateral ties.

A new chapter for traditional friendship

The DPRK has attached a great importance to Xi’s visit and received the Chinese leader with grand and warm welcome, Song noted, saying that Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, welcomed Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, at the airport, and accompanied the couple for various activities during the visit.

The two leaders had on multiple occasions conducted friendly, frank and in-depth exchanges, and have reached key consensus on writing new chapters for the China-DPRK friendship, and safeguarding peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula, said Song.

During the visit, Xi has engaged a series of exchanges with officials and ordinary people in the country, while hundreds of thousands of residents in Pyongyang lined up the streets to welcome and later see off the Chinese president. Xi also watched a large group callisthenics and art performance, which was specially prepared for him.

Song said these have fully reflected a deep and profound friendship of the party, government and people of the DPRK towards the party, government and people of China, and demonstrated the vitality of the friendship between the two sides.

He also said Xi’s visit was a visit of friendship and peace, and has displayed China’s determination to stay committed to consolidating the traditional China-DPRK friendship, supporting the implementation of DPRK’s new strategic line and promoting a political solution to solving the nuclear issue in the peninsula.

The traditional friendship between the two countries has been forged and fostered by their elder generation of leaders, and the top leaders of the two sides have maintained a tradition to keep a close contact, said Song.

Xi’s trip, said Song, has realized not only the historical exchange of visits by the top leaders of the two parties and countries in such an important year as the one that marks the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between China and the DPRK, but also the 5th gathering between them in 15 months, adding that it will be a much-told story in the two countries’ high-level exchanges.

During the visit, Xi and Kim have conducted in-depth exchanges on furthering the development of the China-DPRK relationship, and have reached extensive major consensus, which helps draw a blueprint for the future of bilateral ties, Song said.

The Chinese president pointed out that the China-DPRK relationship has entered a new historical era, adding that the CPC and the Chinese government will stay firmly committed to maintaining, consolidating and nurturing the bilateral ties, and China is willing to work with the DPRK in creating a bright future for the relationship.

Song said the visit is a huge political support and encouragement for the party, government and people of the DPRK and has shown the world the unbreakable China-DPRK friendship, adding that both sides have agreed that they will step up high-level exchanges and strategic communication so as to promote an even greater achievement in the traditional friendship and the relations between the two parties and countries.

Xi's DPRK visit writes new chapter of friendship, promotes peninsula stability

Xinhua

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chinese president, holds talks with Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in Pyongyang, DPRK on June 20, 2019.

Strengthening governance experience exchange

During the visit, the two leaders exchanged in-depth views on the socialist construction of their respective countries, said Song, adding that Xi spoke highly of the positive achievements made by the DPRK in implementing its new strategic line.

Xi stressed that China firmly supports the DPRK in pursuing a development path in line with its national conditions, adding that China stands ready to deepen exchanges and mutual learning with the DPRK on party and state governance so as to push forward the socialist construction of the two countries.

Kim expressed deep gratitude to Xi, noting that the Chinese leader’s close attention to the DPRK’s socialist construction as well as its development in economy and livelihood has strengthened the confidence of the party and people of the DPRK in their cause, Song said.

Xi and Kim, Song said, jointly blueprinted in detail a future of the bilateral relationship and agreed to take commemorating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to expand practical cooperation and deepen friendly exchanges.

The two sides will conduct exchanges and cooperation in such fields as agriculture, tourism, education, health, sports, media, youth as well as at local levels, so as to improve the well-being of both peoples, Song said.

Injecting new vitality into political dialogue

On the Korean Peninsula issue, the two leaders had in-depth and candid exchange of views on the current situation in the peninsula as well as how to maintain the dialogue process, Song said.

The situation of the Korean Peninsula concerns regional peace and stability, Xi pointed out, calling it a right choice to resolve the issue through dialogue.

Xi also called for a strategic and long-term perspective to accurately guide the evolution of the situation and effectively maintain peace and stability in the peninsula.

During his visit, Xi spoke highly of the DPRK’s efforts to promote the denuclearization of the peninsula and re-launch the process of political settlement to the issue, stressing that China is ready to strengthen communication and coordination with the DPRK and other related parties on the issue so as to safeguard peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

For his part, Kim thanked Xi for his positive remarks and said the DPRK will stay patient and control the situation to safeguard peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and create a favorable external environment for the DPRK’s development.

Kim said the DPRK hopes that the relevant party will work with the DPRK to seek solutions that accomodate each other’s legitimate concerns and push for results from the dialogue process, according to Song.

Trusting The Government: U.S., Russia, China, North Korea, All The Same?

Trusting The Government: U.S., Russia, China, North Korea, All The Same?

 

I was born in the mid 1950’s and grew up watching Walter Cronkite deliver the evening news. Mr. Cronkite was by most considered to be the “most trusted man in America.” Whom is it that you totally trust the most in American news media or within the political realm today? With all the news outlets of today all trying to get you to watch or listen to them I find it difficult to put much trust in any of them. There are two main reasons for that, one is that each of these outlets are companies, they are ‘for profit’. Two is the consideration of where are they getting their information?

 

I am in my early 60’s now so during the past 50 years or so we here in the U.S. have been constantly told that we are the good guys and governments who are Communist are the bad guys. From all of the reading and studying that I have done over the years I really don’t doubt that these Communists governments are far less than friendly toward their own population nor to others. Communists seem to think military first and usually military only and it is a proven fact that very few people who are military oriented are very good public leaders. Military frame of mind and civilian frame of mind seldom seem to end up within the same person. Then again within the non-communists countries the people have to put up with politicians who seem to change their mind like farts in a breeze. Here in the U.S. we the people have learned a lot since the NSA murdered John and Bobby Kennedy back in the 60’s. When Nixon was President he illegally expanded the war in Vietnam into Laos and Cambodia. We had military personal who died there or were captured there that our government turned their back on as well as their families basically saying they must have deserted. When the U.S. officially left Vietnam Nixon got on TV and said there were no more POWs in southeast Asia, knowing very well that he was lying to the people. Reality comes down to the fact of truth or not the truth, trust or not being able to trust.

 

Now I am going to talk about current events here in the U.S. and this reality of trust or no trust. On a personal level can you trust a person on really serious matters when you absolutely know as a fact that they have lied to you many many occasions?  In the last 24-36 hours we have been hearing on the news that Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. spy drone. The early news strongly hinted that the drone was over Iranian land which by all forms of international law would have been a violation committed by the Americans and Iran would have had every right to shoot it down. By international law every country which borders a body of water has 12 miles sovereignty except for China’s Communists government who seems to want to claim at least a few thousand miles sovereignty but that is another story for other articles. Now the U.S. government is saying that the drone was 21 miles off of Iran’s coast and if this is true then basically Iran committed and act of war against the U.S. and the U.S. government would have the right to retaliate against Iran. The issue is, how can we trust our own government when they and especially our President is a habitual liar? President George W. Bush’s lies paved the way for us to start a war with Iraq. Personally I believe that he was just trying to show his Daddy that he could ‘one-up’ him and take out Saddam. Think of the cost of those lies in terms of thousands of people dead and about a trillion dollars of taxpayer money thrown into that bloodbath. Today’s news headline said that some of the Republicans in the Senate were upset that President Trump called off a bombing raid in Iran that would have started an all out war with them and their allies. Going to war with anyone should not be a partisan matter and going to war should not be in the hands of one person. If we are going to enter a war this war should be voted on and passed by at least 2/3 of the Congress and the Senate. This is not a computer game, many thousands of people will die. So, what is the truth on this matter, can you or I honestly trust anything that Mr. Trump says? Personally I don’t. Credibility is something that our leaders no longer have, their word is not good enough any more. If we go to war with Iran they have many allies including many sleeper cells within our own borders, many Americans on American land will die, life as we have always know it here in the States will be over. But, how the hell can we the people ever know if what we are being told is the truth, or just another lie.

 

China And Hong Kong: Suspension of Amendments To Fugitive Offenders Ordinance

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

HKSAR Chief Executive announces suspension of amendments to Fugitive Offenders Ordinance

Xinhua
HKSAR Chief Executive announces suspension of amendments to Fugitive Offenders Ordinance

Xinhua

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Carrie Lam announces on June 15, 2019 that the HKSAR government will suspend the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance until further communication and explanation work is completed.

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced Saturday that the HKSAR government will suspend the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance until further communication and explanation work is completed.

“I now announce that the government has decided to suspend the legislative amendment exercise,” Lam told a press conference Saturday afternoon at the HKSAR government headquarters building.

The HKSAR government’s secretary for security will send a letter to the Legislative Council (LegCo) president to withdraw the notice of resumption of second reading debate on the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill, and the LegCo will halt its work in relation to the bill until the HKSAR government completes its work in communication, explanation and listening to opinions, Lam said.

The bill, tabled by the HKSAR government at the LegCo in April, aims to deal with a murder case that happened in China’s Taiwan but involves a Hong Kong suspect who has returned to Hong Kong, and to fill loopholes in HKSAR’s existing legal framework concerning mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.

Lam said the HKSAR government has been discussing with various sectors of the community in a rational manner and has introduced amendments to the proposal on two occasions to ease the concerns of society and narrow differences, including increasing the threshold for fugitive offenders surrender and introducing additional human rights safeguards.

“My relevant colleagues and I have made our best efforts, but I have to admit that our explanation and communication work has not been sufficient or effective,” she said, adding that the HKSAR government will do more work in this regard.

“I want to stress the government is adopting an open mind to heed comprehensively different views in society towards the bill,” she added.

To deal with the Taiwan murder case, the HKSAR government has been trying to get the bill passed ahead of the LegCo summer recess in July. However, in consideration of Taiwan’s overt and clear expression that it would not accede to the HKSAR government’s suggested arrangement in the transfer of the concerned suspect, the original urgency to pass the bill in this legislative year is perhaps no longer there, Lam said.

“We have no intention to set a deadline for this work and promise to report to and consult members of the Legislative Council panel on security before we decide on the next step forward,” she said.

The bill was originally scheduled to be discussed at a LegCo meeting on June 12. The meeting was postponed due to violent conflicts between protesters and police around the complex of the HKSAR government and LegCo.

“As a responsible government, we have to maintain law and order on the one hand, and evaluate the situation for the greatest interests of Hong Kong, including restoring calmness in society as soon as possible and avoiding any more injuries to law enforcement officers and citizens,” Lam said.

In response to media questioning, Lam clarified that the amendments were initiated and managed by the HKSAR government and it would not withdraw the proposal since the original purposes were right.

The Chinese central government expressed support, respect and understanding for the decision announced by Lam on Saturday.

“We support, respect and understand the decision,” said a spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, noting that the central government will continue to support Lam and the HKSAR government’s governance in accordance with the law and their efforts with people from all walks of life to safeguard Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.

Noting that the HKSAR police have always been the protector of Hong Kong residents and society, the spokesperson said the central government strongly condemns relevant violent activities and firmly supports the police in cracking down on such activities and police efforts to safeguard Hong Kong’s rule of law and social stability.

HKSAR Chief Executive announces suspension of amendments to Fugitive Offenders Ordinance

Xinhua

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Carrie Lam announces on June 15, 2019 that the HKSAR government will suspend the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance until further communication and explanation work is completed.

Geng Shuang, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that since Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, the policies of “one country, two systems,” “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong,” and a high degree of autonomy have been faithfully implemented, and the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people have been fully guaranteed in accordance with the law, which has been widely recognized.

“I want to reiterate that Hong Kong is China’s special administrative region and its affairs are purely China’s internal affairs that brook no interference by any country, organization or individual,” Geng said, adding that China is firmly determined to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests and maintain Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.

An official in charge of the liaison office of the central government in the HKSAR said that since she came into office two years ago, Lam has been upholding the principle of “setting no easy goals and avoiding no difficult tasks” and leading the HKSAR government in governing Hong Kong in accordance with the law and assuming a proactive role, which has always been highly recognized and fully trusted by the central government.

The liaison office will remain steadfast in supporting the chief executive and the HKSAR government in governing Hong Kong in accordance with law, maintaining the order of rule of law in Hong Kong society and safeguarding the lawful rights and interests of Hong Kong residents, so as to secure Hong Kong as a prosperous and stable home for all, the official said.

An official in charge of the Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the HKSAR also voiced continuous staunch support for Lam and the HKSAR government in governing Hong Kong in accordance with the law, safeguarding the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and upholding Hong Kong’s enduring prosperity and stability.

The official strongly condemned the violent acts by some people and voiced firm support for the Hong Kong police force to mete out punishment in accordance with law, stressing that freedom is by no means without boundaries, and rights must be exercised within the framework of the rule of law.

The decision to suspend the legislative amendment exercise was also supported by various sectors of the Hong Kong society.

Voicing support to the decision, the Non-official Members of the HKSAR Executive Council (ExCo Members) said in a statement that they would continue to offer their full support for the chief executive, and would call on members of the public to adopt a calm and rational manner when expressing their views, and to safeguard the civilized, free, open and pluralistic society of Hong Kong.

Speaking through a spokesperson, president of the LegCo Andrew Leung said he understood the decision and believed it was made after carefully listening to the voices of various sectors of the society.

Noting that the decision would enable more explanation, he appealed to the public to express their views in a peaceful and rational manner that reflects Hong Kong’s long-respected spirit of rule of law.

The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) Chairman Aron Harilela said the HKGCC welcomed the HKSAR government’s decision for it would allow things to cool down and let everyone return to rational debate.

“We look forward to the government continuing to engage in constructive discussions with stakeholders and the public to address and eliminate doubts about the bill,” added Harilela.

Thousands of anti-extradition protesters block roads surrounding Hong Kong government headquarters

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘GLOBAL VOICES’)

 

Thousands of anti-extradition protesters block roads surrounding Hong Kong government headquarters

Protesters block roads surrounding government headquarters to stop the passing of extradition bill. Image from inmediahk.net. Used with permission.

On June 12, thousands of protesters blocked major roads surrounding Hong Kong’s government headquarters and legislature in the Admiralty district to prevent lawmakers from presenting amendments to a controversial extradition bill. The secretary of the Legislative Council announced that the scheduled session at 11:00 am would be deferred until further notice after lawmakers were unable to reach the Legislative Council Complex.

Venus Wu@wu_venus

This is not the 2014 . This is now.

Just after Sunday’s million-strong protest, the HK gov announced it would continue to push the . The parliament is to debate it today & this is the people’s way of stopping it.

Pic: Tanya Chan’s FB pic.twitter.com/UUzeK0tSRp

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The roadblock protests followed a June 9 rally where over a million people took to the streets against proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment)  Bill. The proposed bill would provide legal grounds for the Chief Executive and local courts to handle case-by-case extradition requests from authorities in mainland China, Taiwan and Macau. Protesters believe that the amendments would make it easier for mainland China to arrest critics, dissidents, and even journalists in Hong Kong.

Soon after the rally, the government issued a statement stressing that the administration will continue to proceed with the second reading of the bill on June 12. The government’s hard-line stance triggered a round of violent clashes between the police and hundreds of young protesters who gathered outside the Legislative Council on June 10.

Confrontation after midnight on June 10. Image from Stand News. Used with permission.

The police arrested 31 protesters and took records of the identity of 358 protesters who stayed overnight after the rally. About 80 percent of them are between 16 to 25-years-old.

On June 10, Chief Executive Carrie Lam continued defending the bill and stressed Hong Kong is “duty-bound to address that deficiency”. The president of the Legislature, Andrew Leung, decided that Hong Kong lawmakers would have to vote on the controversial bill by June 20.

The organizer of the Sunday rally, Civil Human Rights Front, called for another round of protests outside the government headquarters to paralyze the government starting on June 12. Student unions from seven Hong Kong tertiary institutions, including Chinese University and Baptist University, have called for students to boycott classes and join the rally. Over a hundred Hong Kong employers from across industry sectors have pledged to either suspend business or support employees who choose to strike.

About 2,000 protesters gathered overnight outside the Legislative Council on June 11 and more protesters joined them the next morning. At around 8:00 am, thousands of protesters occupied major roads (namely Lung Wo Road and Harcourt Road) surrounding the Legislative Council Building. Jerome Taylor, Hong Kong/Taiwan/Macau bureau chief for AFP, reported on Twitter:

Jerome Taylor

@JeromeTaylor

The crowds on Harcourt Road — this is a major artery through the island that passes just next to the city’s parliament

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Jerome Taylor

@JeromeTaylor

Pepper spray deployed again pic.twitter.com/1wNCzqrYre

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Although the protester’s blockade was able to push back the scheduled session on the morning of June 12, house rules allow the Legislative Council president to resume the meeting with only one hour’s notice.

Hundreds of thousands protest in Hong Kong against the extradition bill

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

Hundreds of thousands protest in Hong Kong against the extradition bill

Huge protesting crowd against the extradition bill paralyzed a large part of Hong Kong Island on June 9 2019. Photo from inmediahk.net

Hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong took to the streets on Sunday, 9 June 2019, to stop the government from passing amendments to the existing extradition laws – the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance.

The rally started at 2:30 p.m. and it quickly paralyzed a large part of Hong Kong island. Anna Pearce recorded the crowd near Victoria Park, the starting place of the rally:

Anna Pearce@stilltalkin

No to China extradition.. incredible mass protest turnout in Hong Kong pic.twitter.com/DmE643iKVx

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Streets flooded with protesters

The organizer of the rally, Civil Human Rights Front, estimated that there were more than a million protesters in the rally as the scale of the protest was larger than the anti-national security law mobilization on 1 July 2003. But the police said there were about 240,000 in the streets during the peak of the rally. As South China Morning Post reporter Jeffie Lam put it, Hongkongers made history today:

Jeffie Lam

@jeffielam

are making history today. All lanes of the Hennessy Road – including those which police refused to open before – are flooded by protesters against the @SCMPNews pic.twitter.com/UTr2ui7Fix

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Protesters said the proposed amendments would make it easier for mainland China to cause the arrest of critics, dissidents, and even journalists in Hong Kong. They were chanting “no evil law” and calling for the city’s chief executive Carrie Lam to step down.

Protester placard: No China extradition; Liar Carrie Lam, step down. Image via inmediahk.net CC: AT-NC

A social worker told reporter from inmediahk.net that she rallied to defend the people working in the social work sector because under China’s judicial system, those who tried to bring positive change in society would be arrested. Another student protester believes that once the amendment is passed, the city will cease to exist as the constitutional principle of “One Country Two Systems” would come to an end.

Denise Ho (HOCC)

@hoccgoomusic

Today, Hongkonger are telling the world we oppose the Extradition Bill! pic.twitter.com/fNvaBjRhRm

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There have been several mass protests against the extradition bill. On 30 March, about 12,000 rallied from Wanchai to Admiralty right before the government presented the amendment bill to the legislature. One month later on 28 April, about 130,000 took to the streets demanding the scrapping of the bill.

The series protests has caught the world’s attention. Many are now monitoring if the city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam would withdraw the controversial bill which is scheduled for second reading in the legislative chamber this week.

The amendments were first proposed by the Hong Kong government in February to provide further legal grounds for the Chief Executive and local courts to handle case-by-case extradition requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements, specifically Taiwan and China. By citing the murder case of a pregnant woman in Taiwan, the government claimed that amending the extradition laws was meant to address ‘legal loophole’ that allow fugitives to escape punishment.

However, legal experts pointed out that the so-called ‘loophole’ was in reality a firewall to prevent crime suspects from being handed over to mainland China where there is no fair trial.

Human rights defenders, journalists, NGO workers and social workers at risk

Various sectors have warned that if extradition requests are processed without legislative oversight, the amendments would provide a legal basis for mainland Chinese authorities to arrest political dissents. This concern was stated in an open letter jointly signed by over 70 non-government organizations:

Given the Chinese judiciary’s lack of independence, and other procedural shortcomings that often result in unfair trials, we are worried that the proposed changes will put at risk anyone in the territory of Hong Kong who has carried out work related to the Mainland, including human rights defenders, journalists, NGO workers and social workers, even if the person was outside the Mainland when the ostensible crime was committed. We are calling on the Hong Kong government to immediately withdraw the bill…

Instead of addressing the concerns raised by the petitioners, the Beijing Liaison Office met representatives of the local business sector and demanded them to back the bill. At the same time, the Hong Kong government gave some concessions to the business sector by exempting nine white-collar crimes in the bill and raising the threshold for extradition from crimes punishable by three years in jail to crimes with a seven-year prison penalty.

But on the other hand, it decided to by-pass the legislative committee-level deliberations and tabled the bill for full legislative council discussion.

The direct intervention of the Beijing Liaison Office and the Hong Kong government’s violation of legislative procedure have given a strong and clear signal to the public that the amendment bill is a controversial political decision which is far from protecting Hong Kong people’s interest.

Under the current bill, foreigners who traveled to Hong Kong could also be handed over to mainland Chinese authorities upon extradition requests. Diplomats from the U.S, Canada and European Union have expressed a concern about this. Against the background of the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, some are worriedthat the amendments would turn Hong Kong into a battlefield of international politics:

The intended effects of the amendments can be regarded as a mirrored counterpart of the legal rights utilised by the US government in Meng’s case [Note: the arrest of Meng Wanzhou in Canada upon the extradition request filed by the United State on 1 of December 2018]. If the amendments are passed, then any person who happens to come to Hong Kong can be arrested and surrendered to mainland China with the consent of a court or the Chief Executive, and without deliberation in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong.

More than 2500 lawyers demonstrated against the amendment of extradition law on June 6. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

The Hong Kong government responded by accusing the opposition of misleading the public.

Lawyers stage “Black March”

But among those who have spoken out against the bill were not just opposition politicians but also members of the professional legal sector. On 6 June, the legal sector staged a “black march” against the controversial bill. Dressed in black, about 2,500 lawyers gathered outside the Court of Final Appeal and marched to government headquarters in silence. Prior to the “black march”, both the BAR society and the Law society have submitted opinions to the government demanding an extensive consultation with the legal sector and other stakeholders.

While debate in the legislature has been muted by the Hong Kong government, grassroots opposition voices have taken over. In the past few weeks, social media platforms have been flooded with joint signature campaigns against the amendments initiated by hundreds of university and secondary schools alumni groups, Christian groups, and neighborhood associations.

Hongkongers abroad have also spoken out. Diaspora Hong Kong communities from at least 25 cities, including London, New York, Berlin, Toronto, Melbourne, and Tokyo among others also held a coordinated protest against the amendment bill.

Roydon Ng@RoydonNg

Chants of We Love Hong Kong and We Love Freedom are shouted from central CBD (). Protesters oppose the law that would allow for extradition to mainland China. Police estimate 2000 attending. pic.twitter.com/AycfpKVNjO

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The whole world is now watching if Carrie Lam would redraw or continue to push through the extradition bill in Legislature this week.

Most cyber attacks on China originate from US: report

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Most cyber attacks on China originate from US: report

Xinhua

Most of the cyber attacks targeting Chinese networks in 2018 have originated from the United States, according to an annual report released by China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team on Monday.

In terms of Trojan and botnet activities, CNCERT found that 3.34 million computers on the Chinese mainland were controlled by more than 14,000 Trojan or botnet command and control servers (C&C servers) in the United States in 2018, up 90.8 percent from the C&C server number in 2017.

It also reported that 3,325 IP addresses in the United States, up 43 percent from 2017, planted Trojans in 3,607 websites on the Chinese mainland.

In the above two categories, the United States topped the list of overseas sources of cyber attacks targeting computers and websites on the Chinese mainland, according to the organization.

Established in 2002, the CNCERT is a non-governmental organization of network security technical coordination.

The US just quietly challenged China on something Beijing promised to go to war over

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

The US just quietly challenged China on something Beijing promised to go to war over

china militaryJon Woo/Reuters
  • The US military recently called Taiwan a country, something that China routinely threatens to go to war over.
  • China thinks of Taiwan as a renegade province with a democratic government that’s an existential threat to the Communist party.
  • No US president for decades has been so supportive of Taiwan, and the US and China now find themselves in uncharted territory.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump has engaged China in a trade war that has global markets holding their breath, but his administration recently challenged Beijing on an issue Chinese officials have promised to go to war over.

The US military’s recent Indo-Pacific Strategy paper, published on June 1, goes further than perhaps any US document ever issued in potentially provoking China’s rage over what it sees as the most sensitive issue.

Buried in the paper, which charts China’s efforts to build up a military fortress in the South China Sea and use its growing naval might to coerce its neighbors, is a reference to Taiwan as a “country.”

“As democracies in the Indo-Pacific, Singapore, Taiwan, New Zealand, and Mongolia are reliable, capable, and natural partners of the United States. All four countries contribute to US missions around the world and are actively taking steps to uphold a free and open international order,” the strategy reads.

China views Taiwan as a breakaway island province that has its own, democratic government. Beijing sees this as an existential threat and the factor most likely to upset the Communist Party’s absolute hold on power in the mainland.

In July 2018, China threatened to blacklist airlines that referred to Taiwan as a country. US airlines fell in line, but the White House protested the strong-arm tactic as “ Orwellian nonsense.”

But now the US itself has clearly said it: Taiwan is a country, and the US will treat it as such.

“The Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs”

Trump Bolton
US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with senior military leaders at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 9, 2018.
 NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

In another unprecedented step, a high-ranking Taiwanese minister was allowed to meet with Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, in May. This move predictably enraged China.

At the Shangri La Dialogue, the top defense summit in Asia, Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe made clear the stakes of China’s Taiwan problem.

“Any interference in the Taiwan question is doomed to failure. If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs,” Wei said, according to Channel Asia News.

Taiwan is “the hot-button issue” in US-China relations, John Hemmings, the director of the Asia Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society, told Business Insider.

China has always maintained that it would prefer to reunify with Taiwan peacefully but will do so by force if needed. Additionally, China’s navy has increasingly patrolled the waters around the island and flown nuclear-capable bombers nearby.

But the US has also sailed warships through the narrow strait separating China and Taiwan and has gotten allies to pitch in.

The arms are already moving

Marine Corps Abrams tank Arrow 19 Finland
A US Marine Corps M1A1 Abrams tank from 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, during Arrow 2019 at the Pohjankangas Training Area near Niinisalo, Finland, May 12, 2019.
 US Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Scott Jenkins

The US’s rhetorical escalation follows the Trump administration normalizing arms sales to Taiwan and the news that it will sell $2 billion in tanks, anti-tank weapons, and air defenses to the island.

According to Hemmings, these weapons have a clear purpose: To fight back against a Chinese invasion of the island.

Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia and the director of the China Power Project at Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Business Insider that the US had now entered “uncharted territory” by acknowledging Taiwan.

The US under Trump has been the most pro-Taiwan administration in decades, Hemmings said. Trump demonstrated this when he had a call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen before Trump even took office.

Taiwan military exercise invasion artillery Han Kuang
Women soldiers from an artillery unit during the live-fire Han Kuang military exercise, which simulates China’s People’s Liberation Army invading the island, in Pingtung, Taiwan, May 30, 2019.
 REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

For years, China has slowly stepped up pressure on the US in areas like forcing companies to transfer technology, building up military sites on artificial islands in the South China Sea, and naval challenges.

Hemmings referenced a popular anecdote in China, where a frog is cooked by putting it in a pot of cold water and then slowly turning up the heat. The frog doesn’t realize it’s getting cooked until it’s too late. China’s gradual pressure campaign against the US has been compared to this practice.

With the US now quietly acknowledging Taiwan in a strategy document, it may have found its own small way to turn up the heat on Beijing.

More: China Taiwan Military Defense

China: Tiananmen Square Massacre 30 Yrs That Highlights Their Maoist Government

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR)

 

30 Years After Tiananmen Protests, ‘The Fight Is Still Going On For China’

Protesters wave flags on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in the weeks leading up to the violent crackdowns on June 4. These photos were donated to Humanitarian China by the photographer, Jian Liu, then one of the student protesters.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

Zhou Fengsuo was a top university student when the first protests broke out in the heart of the ancient imperial city of Beijing, set off by the death of reformist leader Hu Yaobang in April 1989.

But he threw caution to the wind as students marched to Tiananmen Square before Hu’s funeral. Tens of thousands of students like him from across the country, professors, blue-collar workers and passersby joined in the following months. Often dubbed the “student democracy protests,” those who assembled in Beijing and elsewhere across China didn’t just want democratic reform. Among other things, they demanded labor bargaining for workers, a free press and an end to party corruption.

Students stand face to face with police. Tens of thousands of students from across the country, as well as professors, blue-collar workers and passersby, joined the protests.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

But by May, officials who were sympathetic to the student protesters lost out to factions led by Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader who ordered that the demonstrations be put down. On the night of June 4, tanks rolled in to the square and began shooting. Violent crackdowns in other Chinese cities followed in the next few days. No authoritative death toll exists, but historians estimate it to be in the hundreds to as high as 10,000.

Over the past three decades, the ruling Communist Party has systematically attempted to erase the memory of Tiananmen through a combination of high- and low-tech methods: extensive online censorship, and brute intimidation of dissidents and victims’ families.

Top: Events planned by the student union of Peking University to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement of 1919. Bottom: A portrait of former Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. The first protests broke out in the heart of the ancient imperial city of Beijing, set off by Hu’s death in April 1989.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

Survivors of Tiananmen are doing their best to fight this political amnesia.

This month, the images on this page are finally being shared with the public for the first time, according to Zhou. They were donated to Zhou’s advocacy organization, Humanitarian China, by Jian Liu, 50, who took the photos and was one of the student protesters in Tiananmen. He now lives in California.

The photos evoke a path not taken — an alternate reality in which the spontaneous gatherings and freewheeling, open-air political debates captured in them that spring were still possible today.

Instead, several waves of political tightening have only further restricted China’s civil society. Zhou, 51, interviewed here recently before the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, is a rare activist who has been both lucky and stubborn enough to continue his work since then. After serving jail time and hard labor in China, he moved to the United States in 1995.

How did you get involved in the 1989 protests?

I was very interested in pushing for democratic change in China, and I was able to organize a free election in 1988 of the student union. Even though it was only for the [physics] department, it demonstrated our desire and ability to self-govern.

Police in motion near Tiananmen Square. There had been a massive police and military presence in the previous weeks, but no armed crackdown on the demonstrators until June 4.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

Who took these pictures?

They were taken by Liu Jian, another [former student protester] who now lives in San Francisco. [The photographer has asked NPR to follow the name ordering Jian Liu.] He knew it was a historic picture, so he took pictures from the very beginning, starting with Hu Yaobang’s death. There’s actually a picture of me offering a wreath to Hu Yaobang on April 16.

Tell me a bit about your upbringing. What made you step up as a student leader in 1989?

The contradiction in me was that I was a really good student. I was No. 1 in all subjects. On the other hand, I grew up in a village in the suburbs of Xi’an [the capital city of the northeastern Shaanxi province]. That means I was part of the nongcun[countryside], the peasants. So we were second-class citizens. The desire to make my life better as well as transform society into a better one, a more just society, was an important one. That was there in me from very early on.

Top: Students climbed up to get a better view of Tiananmen Square. Bottom: Professors support hunger strikers.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

Was there a moment that changed your life?

April 21. There had been police brutality the day before, the 20th, and the next day, April 22, was the day of Hu Yaobang’s memorial. A lot of students gathered at Tsinghua University on April 21. We were echoing the call to rally at Tiananmen Square for Hu Yaobang’s memorial the next day. There were thousands of us gathered near the crossroads at No. 10 dining hall [on Tsinghua University’s campus]. But there was no one to stand up.

I realized most people were just like me: We want to do something but on the other hand, we are also kind of afraid. We want other people to take the lead. So eventually out of my own duty, I took the lead.

One exhausted hunger striker is helped by others.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

What was the atmosphere at Tiananmen Square like during the protests?

It was very tense in the night because we were expecting police action. It was always rumored they might clear the square. And it was cold. We were hungry. We couldn’t find a bathroom because there were just so many people. So we tried to encourage each other. We tried to stay awake by singing the national anthem because we believed we were patriotic. The top two popular songs that we were singing were The Internationale and the national anthem. That kept us going until the morning.

In the meantime, it was just so hectic. On the spot, people who never knew each other were able to form some consensus. For example, we proposed a petition with seven demands. The most important were press freedom and the disclosure of the assets of government officials.

When I came back from the square, I realized I had trouble hearing people simply because we were chanting so loudly during the protests.

Some protesting students vowed never to withdraw from Tiananmen Square even after martial law was declared in May 1989.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

Where were you the night of June 4, when they cleared the square?

I was in Tiananmen Square at the Monument to the People’s Heroes. … It was like a war zone. The whole night. We were like at the eye of the storm. We heard gunshots from all directions … and I saw armored vehicles rushing on the square, troops pouring in. We were surrounded.

I actually tried to give a speech to the troops, but they threatened to kill me. I was trying to appeal to their human side. I was asking this question, “Why do you work for Beijing in such a fashion, killing people? Do you have family?” I just couldn’t understand why they would do that. It was a peaceful protest in Beijing. We had overwhelming support.

After I left Tiananmen Square, I went to Fuxin Hospital, where I saw about 40 bodies on the ground in a bicycle shed. Apparently, the hospital was overflowing with the dead [and] the injured so that they are just putting people’s bodies on the ground outside.

A group of motorcyclists known as the Flying Tigers rides in support of the students on May 30, 1989.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

Where did you go after June 4?

I went back home in Xi’an. I tried to organize some protest on the local universitycampus. We used the students’ amateur radio station to broadcast, and we also had a meeting with local school authorities to ask for protection. Eventually it became obvious that whoever was associated with us would all be in danger. About 10 days later I saw my name on the most-wanted list broadcasted on national television.

The police eventually found me and came with my sister and brother in law. They claimed that my sister and brother had reported me, but it was actually by accident. They had been trying to help me, but because they lived in a military complex, my situation inadvertently became known [to the authorities].

A professor speaking on a megaphone to students on hunger strike.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

What do you think the legacy of Tiananmen is today?

China today, politically, is a result of the Tiananmen massacre. Once they use their own troops to kill Chinese people, there’s no stopping. There’s no limit to their human rights abuses in particular today, because their totalitarianism is aided by technology and globalization.

Over the past 30 years there has been so much done to erase the memory. On the other hand, every year people risk a lot to commemorate Tiananmen. For example, Pastor Wang Yi at the Early Rain church in Chengdu [in southwestern China’s Sichuan province] insisted on openly commemorating Tiananmen every year. He was arrested with his wife last December. Nobody has seen him since.

But most importantly, the legacy of Tiananmen shows how Chinese people love freedom and they want democracy. They were willing to sacrifice for it, even during and after the massacre.

So I think the fight is still going on for China even though it’s very difficult for people like us who are still trying to keep the memory alive because the younger generation, the college students today, they have pretty much grown up completely under the shadow of the great firewall.

A crowd gathers to view the unveiling of the Goddess of Democracy statue, built by the protesters, on Tiananmen Square at the end of May 1989. The statue was destroyed less than a week later as the violent crackdowns began.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

But you also see the legacy of Tiananmen being expressed in other examples of activism and democratic advocacy after 1989, don’t you?

Right. For example, the [2014 Hong Kong] Umbrella Revolution. I was there for a week on the street camping with the students. I was so touched. It was like the reincarnation of the Tiananmen protests.

And for China, the generation of the protesters and the people who were influenced by Tiananmen have been the backbone of the civil society movement ever since. The Democratic Party [of China] in 1998 and later the Rights Defender movement. A lot of them were inspired by the Tiananmen movement — including the 709 lawyersXu ZhiyongLiu Xiaobo and the Christian house church movement.

What motivates you after 30 years of activism?

First of all, I am a survivor. So many people died for such a great hope, for a better China. I have to carry on. It’s mostly lonely work. Most of the people [like me] are living in isolation. But on the other hand, over these years, I was able to know of so many amazing stories of these people. It’s like you’re walking through the dark. You don’t know where the light is. But all of a sudden you see someone else who was struggling and was carrying on the same ideals as you.

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