Japan: Beijing drafting urgent plan to end Hong Kong’s political chaos

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JAPAN TIMES)

 

Officials in Beijing drafting urgent plan to end Hong Kong’s political chaos

BLOOMBERG, AP

Chinese officials in charge of Hong Kong affairs are working on an urgent strategy to solve the city’s political chaos and have ruled out the use of military force, the South China Morning Post reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the discussions.

They will soon present top leaders in Beijing with both an immediate plan to handle the mass protests and a longer-term strategy that could result in China overhauling its management of the former British colony, the newspaper said, without elaborating on a date.

Beijing maintains that the crisis is best left for Hong Kong authorities to resolve and does not want to get directly involved, according to the report. Beijing has expressed public support for Chief Executive Carrie Lam throughout weeks of unrest and political gridlock, saying this week that it “firmly supports” her leadership.

On Thursday, China condemned a joint motion for a resolution in the European Parliament that called on EU member states and other nations to investigate export controls “to deny China, and in particular Hong Kong, access to technologies” that could be used to violate human rights.

“China strongly opposes this,” spokesman Lu Kang said. “China does value its relations with Europe, but maintaining a healthy relationship requires joint efforts.”

Lam on Monday vowed she will remain in office, after a Financial Times report said that she had offered to resign but that Beijing had insisted she stay and clean up “the mess she created.”

The Chinese officials also see Hong Kong’s police force as key to maintaining stability, the newspaper said. Officers’ tactics have come under fire after they used rounds of tear gas, rubber bullets, batons and pepper spray to disperse the protests. Demonstrators have demanded an independent investigation into what they deem a use of excessive force, and opposition lawmakers have called for the resignation of security chief John Lee.

Mainland officials want to avoid bloodshed and ensure the financial hub remains largely stable, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the situation. China’s approach will be to “lure the snake from its hole,” according to one adviser cited by the SCMP, taking a defensive position until the opposition reveals its strategy.

They are also considering whether the current environment makes it too risky for President Xi Jinping to visit another former European colony, Macau, later this year for celebrations of the 20th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule, the paper reported.

Crowds of Hong Kong protesters have turned out in unprecedented numbers every week since mid-June.

In recent gatherings, their anger has focused on China. More protests are being planned in neighborhoods across the city by demonstrators vowing to spread the word until Lam responds to their demands, including the official withdrawal of legislation that would allow extraditions to the mainland and first sparked the rallies.

On Wednesday, thousands of Hong Kong senior citizens, including a popular actress, marched in a show of support for youths at the forefront of the monthlong protests. The seniors also slammed the police for their handling of a protest Sunday in Hong Kong’s Sha Tin district. That protest was mostly peaceful but ended with violent scuffles in a shopping mall that left dozens injured, including a policeman who had a finger bitten off, and over 40 people detained.

There are indications that Xi and his top officials are preparing for their annual summer conclave in the seaside city of Beidaihe, which this year will bear even closer watching than usual as China faces growing risks at home and abroad, including Hong Kong’s unrest and an ongoing trade war with the United States.

The History of Hong Kong in 2 Minutes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

The History of Hong Kong in 2 Minutes

The territory of Hong Kong, officially known as the Hong Kong Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, has a fascinating and tumultuous history on the world stage. While we know it today as a global hub of international trade and exotic exports, it wasn’t always this way. In fact, given its divisive history, it’s a bit surprising that it even still exists.

Hong Kong’s Origins

Credit: kikujungboy / Shutterstock.com

The Hong Kong we know today is home to over 7.4 million people spread across 426 square miles and stands as the fourth most densely populated region in the world. But getting there was a long road, with its story beginning as far back as BCE 214.

Even then, the Hong Kong island region had been occupied by humans for thousands of years. Early settlers migrated into the region from inland China and used their knowledge of agriculture to begin farming the land. These settlers wouldn’t be independent for long, as the dominant Chinese government—the Qing dynasty—saw the value of the region and integrated the island into the fold. The Hong Kong area would change hands over the years as Chinese dynasties rose and fell, each laying new claim to the territory.

Its value came from its location: Hong Kong was situated at a strategic point between the Pearl River Delta and the South China Sea, making it an ideal port for maritime trading. This defining feature was the key driver of Hong Kong’s development over the years, particularly as the region began to draw international interest.

The Rise of International Trade

Credit: Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock.com

Beginning in the early 1500s, Portuguese and European merchants began trading in Hong Kong, bringing significant prosperity to the region. This prosperity would continue over the next several hundred years, sparked by European interest in Chinese products—spices, silk, tea, and porcelain.

And while the Chinese markets didn’t care as much for European goods, there was one product that caught their attention: Indian opium. European traders funneled so much opium into the area that Hong Kong (and China as a whole) realized that they were facing a full-fledged opioid crisis.

In response, the Emperor sought to snuff out the opium trade altogether by prohibiting the trade of opium and forcing his subordinates to destroy all existing opium stockpiles. This culminated in a complete stop to all foreign trade in 1839, something that didn’t sit well with British merchants.

The Opium Wars

Credit: Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

The British responded to this trade embargo with aggressive military action, resulting in the First Opium War. This conflict raged for three years until the Qing dynasty surrendered, ceding control of Hong Kong to the United Kingdom in 1842.

Under new rule, Hong Kong experienced an economic upturn that greatly improved the region, aided in part by an influx of wealthy Chinese who fled to Hong Kong in the wake of the Taiping Rebellion. Unfortunately, hostilities over the opium trade weren’t resolved, and tensions between the British and the Chinese escalated to the point of a Second Opium War in 1856.

This war lasted four years, ending in another Chinese defeat, which did little to stop the expansion of Hong Kong as a port of international trade. The rapid economic growth brought on by the administrative infrastructure of British rule combined with the influx of wealthy Chinese made Hong Kong a desirable region for international investors, despite its political troubles.

This international interest would set the stage for Hong Kong as a region of great global significance, if it survived that long.

The World at War

Credit: Matt Gibson / Shutterstock.com

The beginning of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 spelled further trouble for the region.

Although the governor of Hong Kong declared Hong Kong a neutral zone during the war, the Japanese army attacked Hong Kong on December 8, 1941—the same morning as the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a result, Hong Kong was occupied by Japanese forces for nearly four years until the British re-took control in 1945.

Hong Kong’s population suffered during this occupation, but it bounced back thanks to further influxes of those fleeing from the Chinese Civil War and those who fled from the Communist Party takeover of China in 1949. This influx of population would be a crucial part of Hong Kong’s post-war restoration.

Hong Kong’s Growth and Modernization

Credit: Nikada / iStock

In the 1950s, Hong Kong saw tremendous advancements to its infrastructure and public services. While Hong Kong’s production capabilities were limited compared to those of mainland China, Hong Kong’s diverse international population gave it an advantage in the service economy. It wasn’t long before Hong Kong established itself as a global center for shipping, finance, and trade.

But this economic growth did little to ease political tensions in the area that had been growing throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s. In the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, it was decided that Hong Kong would be returned to Chinese control when Britain’s lease ended, triggering a mass emigration of citizens concerned for the future of their civil liberties. In 1997, Hong Kong was officially transferred back to China after 156 years of British rule.

Today, Hong Kong is supposedly an autonomous entity, but there are serious concerns about Hong Kong’s being truly independent from China, as was promised in the transfer. But as we’ve seen, Hong Kong’s history is characterized by political unrest—and against all odds, the territory always seems to endure, no matter what challenges it faces.

Trending on

You may like

Sponsored Links by Taboola

BACK TO TOP

Citizens of Hong Kong: Leave no stone upon another, and Move Now

Citizens of Hong Kong: Leave no stone upon another, and Move Now

 

This letter tonight is just an opinion piece by a person who has never been to Hong Kong. This in no way should be a call for any riots or violence toward another person, for it is not. I get a lot of material each day that I read and I do obtain my thoughts from varieng news agencies around the world. Ever since England turned Kong Kong over to the Communists government of China I have known that these times happening now would absolutely come about. I know that I am no genius in this matter because I believe that hundreds of millions or more people around the world could see these days coming for the residents of Hong Kong. The Communist Chinese play the long game and their game is total victory for the Party. The end of any hint of Democracy in Hong Kong started the day England inked the deal to turn over the city. The only reason that the people who live there have any freedom is because the Party Leadership has been banking on the revenues you create for them. The day is getting ever closer to the day the citizens of Hong Kong will be under total suppression with no way out accept to either go to a prison camp or die. What I am about to say I am fully aware that it will not ever happen. I believe that every citizen of Hong Kong who doesn’t want to live under suppressive Communists Rulers need to destroy every business they own in the city, raze it to the ground and then get on a boat or plane and get the hell out of there. The Communists Party of China will win this battle, you have no chance at all. So, yes I believe the people should all get out of there as soon as possible but don’t leave these murderous asses a single pot to piss in. They are going to totally control that land, so why leave them anything but the scraped bare soil?

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.

Telegram Traces Massive Cyber Attack to China During Hong Kong Protests

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BLOOMBERG NEWS)

 

Telegram Traces Massive Cyber Attack to China During Hong Kong Protests

 Updated on 
  • Messaging service swamped by ‘garbage requests,’ Telegram says
  • Intrusions during demonstrations sourced to Chinese addresses
Pavel Durov
Pavel Durov Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Telegram founder Pavel Durov said a massive cyber-attack on his messaging service originated in China, raising questions about whether Beijing tried to disrupt a protest involving hundreds of thousands that erupted on the streets of Hong Kong.

The encrypted messaging app said it experienced a powerful distributed denial of service attack after “garbage requests” flooded its servers and disrupted legitimate communications. Most of those queries came from Chinese internet protocol addresses, founder Pavel Durov said in a subsequent Twitter post.

“This case was not an exception,” he tweeted without elaborating.

Hong Kong is in the throes of political unrest as the Beijing-backed government attempts to force through controversial legislation that would for the first time allow extraditions to China, which protesters fear could be used to squelch government opposition. That proposal has ignited a widespread outcry, sending hundreds of thousands of protesters into the city’s streets and triggering violent clashes when demonstrators stormed the legislative chamber Wednesday.

Pavel Durov

@durov

IP addresses coming mostly from China. Historically, all state actor-sized DDoS (200-400 Gb/s of junk) we experienced coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong (coordinated on @telegram). This case was not an exception.

1,983 people are talking about this

Read more: China, Hong Kong Extradition Agreements Show Divided Map

Hong Kong protesters have grown increasingly concerned about legal repercussions as Beijing tightens its influence over the former British colony and the local government prosecutes demonstrators. They’ve relied on encrypted services to avoid detection. Telegram and Firechat — a peer-to-peer messaging service that works with or without internet access — are among the top trending apps in Hong Kong’s Apple store.
Protesters Clash With Riot Police In Hong Kong: In Pictures
Many protesters masked their faces to avoid facial recognition and avoided using public transit cards that can be voluntarily linked to their identities. An administrator of a large local Telegram group was arrested Tuesday for allegedly conspiring to commit a public nuisance, the South China Morning Post reported.

Mass Protests Lead To Postponement Of Hong Kong Legislature's Extradition Law Meeting

Protesters wear protective gear.

Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg

The Extradition Law That’s Got Hong Kong Protesting: QuickTake
Hong Kong’s Legislative Council suspended a review of the bill for a second day Thursday amid the continued threat of protests. The city’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, is seeking to pass the legislation by the end of the current legislative session in July.

Telegram was created by Durov, a Russian entrepreneur known for his advocacy of internet freedoms. In 2017, he said the service would be registered with Russia’s communications watchdog after it was threatened by a domestic ban. Durov didn’t immediately respond to a message posted on his private Telegram channel.

(Updates with the bill’s status in the penultimate paragraph.)

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

View image on Twitter
42 people are talking about this

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

View image on Twitter

Jerome Taylor

@JeromeTaylor

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

View image on Twitter
148 people are talking about this

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

Embedded video

3,165 people are talking about this

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

Embedded video

463 people are talking about this

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

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
165 people are talking about this

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

Embedded video

247 people are talking about this

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

Hong Kong lawmakers fight over extradition law

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Hong Kong lawmakers fight over extradition law

Media caption Tensions flared up with some lawmakers jumping over tables

Fighting erupted in Hong Kong’s legislature on Saturday over planned changes to the law allowing suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Several lawmakers were injured and one was taken to hospital as politicians clashed in the chamber.

Critics believe the proposed switch to the extradition law would erode Hong Kong’s freedoms.

But authorities say they need to make the change so they can extradite a murder suspect to Taiwan.

One pro-Beijing lawmaker called it “a sad day for Hong Kong”.

Pro-democracy lawmaker James To originally led the session on the controversial extradition bill but earlier this week those supportive of the new law replaced him as chairman.

Tensions boiled over on Saturday, with politicians swearing and jumping over tables amid a crowd of reporters as they fought to control the microphone.

Scuffles broke out in Hong Kong's legislature over proposed changes to extradition lawsImage copyright REUTERS
Image caption Opponents and supporters of the bill clashed in the legislature
Gary Fan stretchered out after clashes between opponents and supporters of Hong Kong's proposed extradition law changesImage copyright REUTERS
Image caption Pro-democracy lawmaker Gary Fan was taken out on a stretcher

Pro-democracy legislator Gary Fan collapsed and was carried out on a stretcher, while one pro-Beijing legislator was later seen with his arm in a sling.

Why change the extradition laws?

Under a policy known as “One Country, Two Systems”, Hong Kong has a separate legal system to mainland China.

Beijing regained control over the former British colony in 1997 on the condition it would allow the territory “a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs” for 50 years.

But Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam earlier this year announced plans to change the law so suspects could be extradited to Taiwan, Macau or mainland China on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong's leader Carrie LamImage copyright REUTERS
Image caption Some critics say Carrie Lam has “betrayed” Hong Kong over the law change

Ms Lam has cited the case of a 19-year-old Hong Kong man who allegedly murdered his pregnant girlfriend while on holiday in Taiwan before fleeing home.

While Taiwan has sought his extradition, Hong Kong officials say they cannot help as they do not have an extradition agreement with Taiwan.

Why object to the switch?

The proposed change has generated huge criticism.

Protesters against the law marched on the streets last month in the biggest rally since 2014’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement demonstrations.

Even the normally conservative business community has objected. The International Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said the bill has “gross inadequacies” which could mean people risk “losing freedom, property and even their life”.

And Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, told the government-funded broadcaster RTHK last month the proposal was “an assault on Hong Kong’s values, stability and security”.

China: The Worlds Longest Bridge Just Opened: China To Hong Kong And Macau

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FORTUNE MAGAZINE)

(DON’T ACT LIKE A FOOL:  JUST AS PRESIDENT EISENHOWER BUILT THE AMERICAN INTERSTATE SYSTEM TO MAKE IT EASIER AND QUICKER TO TRANSPORT MILITARY EQUIPMENT ACROSS THE NATION, PRESIDENT XI JINPING BUILT THIS BRIDGE TO HONG KONG FOR THE EXACT SAME REASON!) (I GOT THIS IN AN EMAIL FROM ANDY  TAI FROM HIS GOOGLE PLUS ACCOUNT)

By HALLIE DETRICK

6:43 AM EDT

Later this week, the long-awaited 34-mile sea bridge connecting mainland China to Hong Kong and Macau will finally open.

In a ceremony on Tuesday that Chinese president Xi Jinping will reportedly attend, the bridge will officially open. Its accolades include the designation of “world’s longest sea bridge,” a $20 billion price tag, nine years of construction, and a whole lot of controversy. Supporters say the bridge will massively reduce the time it takes to travel between the three places, reducing journey times from three hours to 30 minutes. But opponents have concerns about the impact of the bridge.

Autonomy

Some critics see the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge as an attempt by mainland China to tighten its grip on Hong Kong, which is an autonomous region. A Hong-Kong based writer for CityLab described the bridge as “a piece of infrastructural propaganda to announce the unity of China and her former colonies.” The bridge opens amid increasing fears that China is tightening its control over the region. Claudia Mo, a lawmaker who supports greater democracy in Hong Kong, told CNN earlier this year that the bridge was like an umbilical cord: “You see it, and you know you’re linked up to the motherland.”

Who gets to use it

Although the bridge is opening to traffic this week, making practical use of it may prove to be another challenge for citizens. Private cars will need a special permit to be allowed to drive on the bridge, and public transportation will not cross it. Shuttle busses crossing the bridge will cost between $8 and $10 for a one-way trip. Permits may not be easy to come by either. Hong Kong residence will have to vie for 300 permanent permits to drive to Macau, though a certain number of non-permit holders will be allowed to cross each day as well. Permits to drive to mainland China are only available under certain conditions, such as having paid a certain amount of tax on the mainland, having donated to mainland charities, or working for a “recognized high tech enterprise.”

Endangering species

The waters under the bridge are home to the Chinese white dolphin, a species whose population is seriously declining, with only 47 of them seen in the year from April 2017 to March 2018. Experts fear the bridge construction, in addition to expansion of the local airport, have sounded the death knell for the species, and governmental conservation efforts will prove to be too little too late.

The human cost

Nine workers have died in the construction of the bridge and 200 have been injured. Subcontractors carrying out works have been found to be endangering their workers, and questions have been raised as to the safety of the bridge itself, after photos that emerged earlier this year appeared to show concrete blocks from the construction “floating away.” Though officials said the placement of the blocks was intentional, it’s not a good time to have the safety of you bridge called into question.

By HALLIE DETRICK

6:43 AM EDT

Later this week, the long-awaited 34-mile sea bridge connecting mainland China to Hong Kong and Macau will finally open.

In a ceremony on Tuesday that Chinese president Xi Jinping will reportedly attend, the bridge will officially open. Its accolades include the designation of “world’s longest sea bridge,” a $20 billion price tag, nine years of construction, and a whole lot of controversy. Supporters say the bridge will massively reduce the time it takes to travel between the three places, reducing journey times from three hours to 30 minutes. But opponents have concerns about the impact of the bridge.

 

Hong Kong: History Of This Cash Box To Communist China’s Military Aggression

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Hong Kong

Introduction Occupied by the UK in 1841, Hong Kong was formally ceded by China the following year; various adjacent lands were added later in the 19th century. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and the UK on 19 December 1984, Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 1 July 1997. In this agreement, China has promised that, under its “one country, two systems” formula, China’s socialist economic system will not be imposed on Hong Kong and that Hong Kong will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.
History Human settlement in the location now known as Hong Kong dates back to the Paleolithic era. The region was first incorporated into Imperial China in the Qin Dynasty, and served as a trading post and naval base during the Tang Dynasty and the Song Dynasty. The area’s earliest recorded European visitor was Jorge Álvares, a Portuguese mariner who arrived in 1513.[4][5] Contact with the United Kingdom was established after the British East India Company founded a trading post in the nearby city of Guangzhou.

In 1839, the refusal by Qing Dynasty authorities to import opium resulted in the First Opium War between China and Britain.[6] Hong Kong Island was first occupied by British forces in 1841, and then formally ceded from China under the Treaty of Nanking at the end of the war. The British established a Crown Colony with the founding of Victoria City the following year. In 1860, after China’s defeat in the Second Opium War, the Kowloon Peninsula south of Boundary Street and Stone cutter’s Island were ceded to Britain under the Convention of Peking. In 1898, Britain obtained a 99-year lease of Lantau Island and the adjacent northern lands, which became known as the New Territories.

Hong Kong was declared a free port to serve as an entrepôt of the British Empire. The Kowloon-Canton Railway opened in 1910 with a southern terminus in Tsim Sha Tsui. An education system based on the British model was introduced. The local Chinese population had little contact with the European community of wealthy tai-pans settled near Victoria Peak.[6]

In conjunction with its military campaign in World War II, the Empire of Japan invaded Hong Kong on December 8, 1941. The Battle of Hong Kong ended with British and Canadian defenders surrendering control of the colony to Japan on December 25. During the Japanese occupation, civilians suffered from widespread food shortages caused by imposed rations, and hyper-inflation due to forced exchange of currency for military notes. Hong Kong lost more than half of its population in the period between the invasion and Japan’s surrender in 1945,[7] when the United Kingdom resumed control of the colony.

Hong Kong’s population recovered quickly, as a wave of mainland migrants arrived for refuge from the ongoing Chinese Civil War. With the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, more migrants fled to Hong Kong from fear of persecution by the Communist Party.[6] Many corporations in Shanghai and Guangzhou also shifted their operations to Hong Kong.[6] The colony became the sole place of contact between mainland China and the Western world, as the communist government increasingly isolated the country from outside influence. Trade with the mainland was interrupted during the Korean War, when the United Nations ordered a trade embargo against the communist government.[8]

The textile and manufacturing industries grew with the help of population growth and low-cost of labor. As Hong Kong rapidly industrialized, its economy became driven by exports to international markets. Living standards rose steadily with the industrial growth. The construction of Shek Kip Mei Estate in 1953 marked the beginning of the public housing estate program. Hong Kong was disrupted by chaos during the riots of 1967.[6] Pro-communist leftists, inspired by the Cultural Revolution in the mainland, turned a labor dispute into a violent uprising against the colonial government lasting until the end of the year.

Established in 1974, the Independent Commission Against Corruption dramatically reduced corruption in the government. When the People’s Republic of China initiated a set of economic reforms in 1978, Hong Kong became the main source of foreign investments to the mainland. A Special Economic Zone was established the following year in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, located immediately north of the mainland’s border with Hong Kong. The economy of Hong Kong gradually displaced textiles and manufacturing with services, as the financial and banking sectors became increasingly dominant. After the Vietnam War ended in 1975, the Hong Kong government spent 25 years dealing with the entry and repatriation of Vietnamese refugees.

With the lease of the New Territories due to expire within two decades, the governments of the United Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China discussed the issue of Hong Kong’s sovereignty in the 1980’s. In 1984, the two countries signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration, agreeing to transfer the sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China in 1997.[6] The declaration stipulated that Hong Kong would be governed as a special administrative region, retaining its laws and high degree of autonomy for at least fifty years after the transfer. Lacking confidence in the arrangement, some residents chose to emigrate, particularly after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

The Basic Law of Hong Kong, which would serve as the constitutional document after the transfer, was ratified in 1990. Over strong objections from Beijing, Governor Chris Patten introduced democratic reforms to the election process for the Legislative Council. The transfer of the sovereignty occurred at midnight on July 1, 1997, marked by a handover ceremony at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.[6] Tung Chee Hwa assumed office as the first Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s economy was affected by the Asian financial crisis of 1997 that hit many East Asian markets. The H5N1 avian influenza also surfaced that year. Implementation of the Airport Core Program led to the opening of the new Hong Kong International Airport in 1998, after six years of construction. The project was part of the ambitious Port and Airport Development Strategy that was drafted in the early 1980’s.

The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome took hold of Hong Kong in the first half of 2003.[9] That year, half a million people participated in a march to voice disapproval of the Tung administration and the proposal to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law, which had raised concerns over infringements on civil liberties. The proposal was later abandoned by the administration. In 2005, Tung submitted his resignation as chief executive. Donald Tsang, the Chief Secretary for Administration, was selected as chief executive to complete the term.

Geography Location: Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China
Geographic coordinates: 22 15 N, 114 10 E
Map references: Southeast Asia
Area: total: 1,092 sq km
land: 1,042 sq km
water: 50 sq km
Area – comparative: six times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: total: 30 km
regional border: China 30 km
Coastline: 733 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 3 nm
Climate: subtropical monsoon; cool and humid in winter, hot and rainy from spring through summer, warm and sunny in fall
Terrain: hilly to mountainous with steep slopes; lowlands in north
Elevation extremes: lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Tai Mo Shan 958 m
Natural resources: outstanding deep water harbor, feldspar
Land use: arable land: 5.05%
permanent crops: 1.01%
other: 93.94% (2001)
Irrigated land: 20 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: occasional typhoons
Environment – current issues: air and water pollution from rapid urbanization
Environment – international agreements: party to: Marine Dumping (associate member), Ship Pollution (associate member)
Geography – note: more than 200 islands
People Population: 6,980,412 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 13% (male 476,089/female 434,326)
15-64 years: 74% (male 2,515,518/female 2,652,660)
65 years and over: 12.9% (male 419,479/female 482,340) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 41.2 years
male: 40.9 years
female: 41.4 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.561% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 7.34 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 6.45 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 4.72 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.096 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.948 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 0.956 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 2.94 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.12 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 81.68 years
male: 78.99 years
female: 84.6 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 0.98 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 2,600 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Chinese/Hong Konger
adjective: Chinese/Hong Kong
Ethnic groups: Chinese 94.9%, Filipino 2.1%, other 3% (2001 census)
Religions: eclectic mixture of local religions 90%, Christian 10%
Languages: Chinese (Cantonese) 89.2% (official), other Chinese dialects 6.4%, English 3.2% (official), other 1.2% (2001 census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 93.5%
male: 96.9%
female: 89.6%