More than 1 million protest in Hong Kong, organizers say, over Chinese extradition law

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Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong vows to fight 'long term battle' after surprise release

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong vows to fight 'long term battle' after surprise release


Nicola Smith

,
The TelegraphJune 17, 2019



Joshua Wong, one of Hong Kong’s most renowned pro-democracy activists, vowed to fight the “long term battle” for the city’s freedoms after his surprise release from jail on Monday morning.

Mr Wong, 22, who became the face of the “Occupy” movement five years ago when he was just a teenager, was freed from the Lai Chi Kok Correctional Institute halfway through a delayed two month sentence for obstructing the clearance of a major protest camp during the 2014 mass protests.

The exact reasons for his release remain unconfirmed, but the timing suggests Hong Kong’s authorities may have been seeking to ease public tension after what may have been the city’s largest rally since 1989, when citizens flooded the streets in support of Tiananmen Square activists.

Protest groups on Sunday claimed that two million people had clogged the streets of the financial hub, demanding the resignation of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and the scrapping of a controversial extradition law that leaves citizens vulnerable to being renditioned into China’s opaque justice system.

Granting the freedom of a charismatic youth leader at a time when the grassroots protest movement is building momentum was an unusual move by the Lam administration.



Joshua Wong thanks the media after being released Credit: Rex
But it perhaps indicated the government’s growing desperation to claw back public trust during one of Hong Kong’s worst political crises in decades.

The announcement of his release was made late on Sunday after Ms Lam issued a rare apology for misjudging the public’s views and pledged to “adopt a most sincere and humble attitude.”

Addressing a media scrum on the side of the road in fluent Cantonese, Mandarin and English, Mr Wong said he was ready to rejoin the frontlines of the pro-democracy movement and immediately echoed their demands for Ms Lam to step down.

If she did not do so before the 22nd anniversary in July of Hong Kong’s handover to China, even more people would throng the streets to “join our fight until we get our basic human rights and freedom.”

Mr Wong praised the “spirit and dignity of the Hong Kong people” who have staged two massive demonstrations against the extradition bill within the past two weeks, the first on June 9, when organisers claimed one million marchers.
 

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Raja Mandala: Xi’s Hong Kong headache

The street protests threaten to dim Beijing’s aura of invincibility.

Written by C. Raja Mohan | Updated: June 18, 2019 3:08:44 am

The new legislation if passed will allow the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions with which Hong Kong lacks extradition agreements which includes mainland China. (Reuters/File)

Can what happens in Hong Kong stay in Hong Kong? The consequences of the continuing protests in the city against a proposed law that lets authorities extradite citizens to mainland China may not remain confined to the island. The simmering discontent in Hong Kong threatens to become a prolonged political headache for President Xi Jinping.

This month saw thousands of people in Hong Kong march in protest against a bill that seeks to prevent the city from becoming a haven for criminals. But the protestors fear the law will be misused to target political dissidents and ordinary citizens and send them to summary trials in China.

Caving into the pressure from the protestors, which escalated after clashes with the police on June 12, the Hong Kong administration suspended action on the bill at the end of last week. The chief executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, announced there will be more consultations with the public on the issues involved. The protestors, however, have continued their marches. Nearly two million people turned out on Sunday demanding that the bill be withdrawn and not merely suspended. They also want Carrie to resign. On Monday, Beijing said it stands firmly behind Carrie.

Protests are not new to Hong Hong and have erupted frequently over the years. Five years ago in late 2014, the “Umbrella Revolution” mobilised people against the proposed electoral reforms that fell way short of the public expectations for deepening representative government. The protests ended after a crackdown by the authorities.

Back in 2003, there were protests against the efforts to implement a new law that sought to criminalise sedition and subversion against the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The protests compelled Hong Kong government to withdraw the bill and its chief executive to step down.

The trouble is rooted in the special nature of the relationship between Hong Kong and the PRC. Imperial China ceded Hong Kong to Britain in the 1840s after the First Opium War. Hong Kong soon became a thriving international commercial centre with its special access to southern China. Hong Kong continued to serve as the gateway to China even after the Communists took charge in 1949.

When Deng Xiaoping opened up China for foreign investment in the 1980s, low-cost production from Hong Kong moved across the border. As most of its manufacturing moved into China, Hong Kong reinvented itself as a major financial centre servicing the rapid growth across East Asia.

As he leveraged Hong Kong to modernise China’s economy, Deng was also determined to bring Hong Kong under PRC’s sovereignty. In 1984, the politically inventive Deng negotiated with Britain a framework for Hong Kong’s integration with the mainland based on the principle “One Country, Two Systems”. Under it, Hong Kong would become a part of China but retain a significant measure of autonomy for half a century. Integration over an extended period, it was hoped, would be painless. Britain handed over Hong Kong to China in July 1997, just a few months after Deng passed way.

Under the agreement called the Basic Law, Hong Kong retained its currency and political-legal system for 50 years — until 2047. But the inherent contradictions soon came into view as China sought to accelerate the extension of its sovereignty over Hong Kong amidst the city’s resistance.

Hong Kong is not a democracy by any stretch; the city’s focus has always been commerce and China’s growth has energised Hong Kong. Yet, as the frequent protests show, Hong Kongers are reluctant to give up the few political liberties they have — including the freedoms of speech and assembly.

If China had become more liberal, the absorption of Hong Kong could probably have been easier. But China under Xi has moved towards greater political conservatism and ideological rigidity. The Communist Party has probably bet that Hong Kong was too minor a matter amidst China’s rise and the grander scheme of things that Xi had in mind.

But the Hong Kong trouble comes at an inopportune time for President Xi. He is locked in a trade war with the US. The US Navy is pushing back against the Chinese naval assertion in the Indo-Pacific and strengthening its security partnerships in the littoral.

The long-dormant Taiwan question seems to be back in play. Beijing does not rule out a forceful unification of Taiwan that it calls a “renegade province”. The US insists on a peaceful process of unification that is in tune with Taiwanese popular sentiment. Washington is lending credibility to that proposition with intensified diplomatic and military support for Taiwan. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong protests rob the credibility of the proposition that Taiwan can unify with China on the basis of “One Country, Two Systems”.

Sections of the Chinese media have accused the US of orchestrating the protests. But the Trump Administration has shown little interest in promoting human rights anywhere; its main focus is on trade. The US Congress, however, is threatening punishment — by taking away some of the special privileges that Hong Kong enjoys under US law. Trouble in Hong Kong might well provide Trump additional political leverage in the unfolding “systemic rivalry” with China.

With the political aura of invincibility that he has constructed for himself, President Xi can’t be seen as bending under American pressure on any issue. Putting the extradition bill on hold last week was a rare political retreat for Xi. He can’t afford to have the Hong Kong protests, which are gaining widespread support within the city, linger on.

Raja Mandala: Xi’s Hong Kong headache
 

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China Fears A Soviet-Style Collapse in Hong Kong
Hungarians revolted in 1956 and lost. But the cause of freedom won in the long-run.

by Grant Newsham, July 2, 2019
1562301027655.png

Image: Reuters

Two weeks have passed since the initial massive street protests in Hong Kong. It was gripping, but such events tend to quickly fade from outside observers’ collective memories. So was this just another gasp as Hong Kong slips further into mainland control? Or maybe something bigger is going on?

Things do look grim for Hong Kongers. Beijing is unlikely to back down—despite a tactical pause. Instead, operating through local Hong Kong officials, it will quietly—and ruthlessly—arrest or even “disappear” protest leaders or harass them.

And the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is harnessing technology in ways that make Soviet-era KGB surveillance and repression seem quaint.

Public protest terrifies the CCP—and not just demonstrations in Hong Kong. Beijing is desperate to erase memories of the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations and the subsequent massacre of protesters in Beijing. The protesters, who were also out in large numbers in other Chinese cities, only wanted some individual liberty and an honest government in which they had a say.

Not surprisingly, the Chinese Communists have studied the collapse of the Soviet Union to avoid similar mistakes. They have had some success. But what may prove hardest is snuffing out the human desire for “freedom.” Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev—a reformer— couldn’t do it. But Joseph Stalin couldn’t either.



It’s argued, by both the CCP some Westerners, that Western notions of “liberty” don’t suit Chinese people. That’s debatable. In fact, the Hong Kong protests might “rhyme” with events in Eastern Europe in the second half of the twentieth-century.

First, a little history.

In 1956, Hungarians revolted in the “Hungarian Uprising” to overthrow a Soviet-controlled government. For several weeks, Hungarian patriots fought Russian tanks. But as was inevitable, the Russians and their local accomplices returned with a vengeance; killing over 2,500 people, arresting upwards of twenty thousand and executing a few hundred, including Prime Minister Imre Nagy. Over two hundred thousand Hungarians fled to the West during the uprising or immediately afterwards.

Yet, twenty years later the American foreign policy set mostly regarded the Hungarian Uprising as just a quaint bit of history.

The thinking—or better said, the “group think”—went like this: People in the Soviet Bloc may not have it great, but Eastern Europe has always been a rough place and they’ve never had democracy anyway.

Moreover, many of those who revolted against the Soviets fled the country. Meanwhile, a younger generation has grown up under the current system. And they only want jazz music records and blue jeans. They don’t care about politics. They are happy enough with guaranteed jobs, free health care and education, housing and even a little freedom to travel overseas.



And anyway, the regime security services are in control (backed by the Russian KGB) and there’s no chance of anything changing anytime soon.

As for those Poles in the late 1970s Solidarity movement challenging Poland’s communist regime? What do you expect? They’re wasting their time. It’ll just provoke the Russians. And forget about improved ties with the USSR.

“Détente,” “glasnost,” “perestroika,” “realpolitik”—exotic sounding words suggesting things were as good as they were going to get—were grenades lobbed to silence anyone suggesting Eastern Europe might become free faster than imagined. Such people lived in “fantasyland,” and CIA analysts agreed.

(These days, “Thucydides Trap” is the cudgel against non-believers. There being no alternative to accommodating the PRC—since thermo-nuclear war is the only other option.)

But then one day in 1989, the Iron Curtain cracked and soon collapsed. Furthermore, along with it went the Soviet Empire.

A reporter friend who covered the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in the late 1980s noted about the recent Hong Kong protests:

“It reminds me of the non-violent protests in Leipzig in 1989. Peaceful and fearless in the face of very clear threats by the East German Communist overlords that they would have to have a ‘Chinese solution’ if the protests didn’t stop. In the year of the Tiananmen Square massacres everyone knew what was being suggested. And they went out in the streets in even greater numbers. Then the regime blinked.”

“It still makes me pause in wonder at how fast a lie can evaporate.”

The reporter commented further:

“I flew to Berlin for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall (in 2009). That was when many of the leaders from that time were still around. The Germans had set up long lines of 9-foot high blocks of foam covered with canvas that school children from all over Europe had painted up with their ideas for what the world could be like.

The blocks were arranged in long rows following the line of where the Berlin Wall had stood two decades before. On the evening of the anniversary the plan was to tip the blocks over like a chain of giant dominoes, but momentarily stopping the toppling now and then for speeches from different dignitaries.

The first speaker was the former prime minister of Hungary, the person who opened his country’s border in the spring of 1989. He set the anniversary evening’s first dominoes tumblingas he had in 1989.

At some point the blocks were stopped again and the spotlight and ‘Jumbo-trons’ showed Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.


In my recollection his speech was the best of the entire evening...

I remember that he started his speech by saying something like, ‘The Berlin Wall would never have fallen if it hadn’t been for Solidarity in Poland.’ Then he paused a little bit with just a hint of a wry smile on his face, no doubt knowing that the audience would wonder if he was really audacious enough to take single-handed credit for ending communism in the East Bloc.

Then he continued his speech along these lines: ‘and there would not have been Solidarity in Poland without ‘Prague Spring’ in 1968, and there would have been no Czech uprising without Hungary in 1956, and that would not have happened without the example of the German Worker’s Revolt in East Berlin in 1952,’ (graciously returning the focus back to his German hosts).

He concluded by saying that the imposition of communism in eastern Europe had never truly been accepted by the people it had been inflicted on—all the way back to the beginning.

As for how the movement for greater freedom in Hong Kong will turn out ‘…it’s hard to dominate people who have lost their fear.’”

So is there more to the Hong Kong protests than meets the eye?

Viewed in isolation, maybe not. But over time, one thing sometimes leads to another and in unpredictable ways.

Perhaps Tiananmen Square was the first domino, followed by Taiwan’s transformation from military dictatorship to a thriving free society and democracy. Thus serving as a constant reminder that freedom and consensual government are compatible with Chinese culture.

And the men in Zhongnanhai may have their doubts despite building an Orwellian surveillance state and spending more on internal security than external defense.

Consider Beijing’s fury around 2012–2013 over the New York Times and Bloomberg articles exposing top CCP leadership’s wealth, which included overseas bank accounts and businesses.

China’s elite and powerful have been setting up overseas “bolt holes” to escape to for years—ironically in the world’s free democracies. Perhaps they suspect the desire for freedom on display at Tiananmen Square still burns and won’t be easily extinguished.

Indeed, even Mao Zedong couldn’t do so.

So there are stark object lessons between the Eastern European experience and China under CCP rule. These are the continual desire for freedom, a repressive regime’s increasingly harsh efforts to suppress it, and with diminishing returns.

For the free world’s side, the implication is the need to constantly push against faulty reasoning and flawed “group think.” The Free world must stand up for a higher manifestation of human freedom, no matter the seeming odds.

Time will tell.

Grant Newsham is a retired U.S. Marine Officer and is a Senior Research Fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies.

China Fears A Soviet-Style Collapse in Hong Kong
 
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Hong Kong protesters urge Trump to make G-20 'intervention' on China

Hong Kong protesters urge Trump to make G-20 'intervention' on China
Wanting extradition bill raised at summit, hundreds visit consulates in city

DEAN NAPOLITANO, Nikkei Asian Review deputy editor, and NIKKI SUN, Nikkei staff writerJUNE 26, 2019 18:09 JST UPDATED ON JUNE 26, 2019 23:19 JST



Hong Kong activists march to major international consulates in the city on Wednesday in an attempt to rally foreign governments' support for their fight against the extradition bill. © Reuters
HONG KONG -- Hundreds of protesters pounded the streets of Hong Kong on Wednesday to visit the consulates of Group of 20 members, calling on foreign governments to raise the city's contentious extradition bill with China at this week's summit in Osaka.

The protesters, mostly young, started by handing a letter to representatives of the U.S. government. They then moved on to deliver petitions at 18 more consulates in the city.

The organizers, who posted their letter to the U.S. on social media, urged President Donald Trump to make an "intervention" with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the meeting being held Friday and Saturday. They are seeking a complete retraction of the proposed bill that would allow extraditions of people in Hong Kong to mainland China.

They pleaded in the letter for Trump to "stand behind Hong Kong's autonomy."

"President Trump has publicized his intention to bring up Hong Kong's situation at the G-20 summit and we are truly grateful for his attention," the letter said. "Your proactiveness in the discussion will drive other countries to do the same in support of human rights and freedom."

Organizers of Wednesday's petition march did not visit China's liaison office in Hong Kong.

"We have already expressed our strong demands to the Chinese government and the Hong Kong government" but were ignored, one of the organizers, Ventus Lau, told the Nikkei Asian Review. "That's why we need to find some international help."

At the Consulate General of Canada, Consul for political, economic and public affairs Derry McDonell received the petition on behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "We'll send it back to Ottawa for the relevant offices to consider," McDonell told Nikkei.

Beijing said earlier this week that it will not allow the G-20 to discuss political events in Hong Kong. "Hong Kong matters are purely an internal affair for China," a Chinese government official said.

A "We Need Help" leaflet is seen next to the logo of the U.S. Consulate General building in Hong Kong on Wednesday. © Reuters

On Wednesday night, thousands of people gathered near the waterfront in the Central business district for a rally ahead of the G-20 summit.

Speakers led the protesters in chants of "Free Hong Kong!" and "Democracy now!" and reminded the crowd that the city had been spared the high tariffs slapped on China by the U.S. in the countries' trade war because of the territory's "special status" granted by Washington.

"Hong Kong people, don't underestimate your capabilities," Nathan Law Kwun-chung, a prominent activist, told the cheering crowd.

Opponents of the legislation fear the Chinese Communist Party could use the proposed law to request the transfer of anyone it views as a threat to its authority. Several massive demonstrations and rallies in Hong Kong this month have brought out as many as 2 million people to protest against the bill.

While the demonstrations have been largely peaceful, one protest outside government headquarters on June 12 devolved into violent clashes between protesters and police, who used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse crowds.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended legislative debate of the bill on June 15 but has not formally withdrawn it, which protesters are demanding.

A survey this week showed that Lam's approval rating fell to a negative 44 percentage points, down from a negative 24 earlier this month.

The Public Opinion Programme at the University of Hong Kong said Lam's rating is at a "historical low" compared with all previous chief executives, with just 23% of the public supporting her and 67% expressing a vote of no confidence.
 
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Hong Kong protesters urge Trump to make G-20 'intervention' on China

Hong Kong protesters urge Trump to make G-20 'intervention' on China
Wanting extradition bill raised at summit, hundreds visit consulates in city

DEAN NAPOLITANO, Nikkei Asian Review deputy editor, and NIKKI SUN, Nikkei staff writerJUNE 26, 2019 18:09 JST UPDATED ON JUNE 26, 2019 23:19 JST



Hong Kong activists march to major international consulates in the city on Wednesday in an attempt to rally foreign governments' support for their fight against the extradition bill. © Reuters
HONG KONG -- Hundreds of protesters pounded the streets of Hong Kong on Wednesday to visit the consulates of Group of 20 members, calling on foreign governments to raise the city's contentious extradition bill with China at this week's summit in Osaka.

The protesters, mostly young, started by handing a letter to representatives of the U.S. government. They then moved on to deliver petitions at 18 more consulates in the city.

The organizers, who posted their letter to the U.S. on social media, urged President Donald Trump to make an "intervention" with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the meeting being held Friday and Saturday. They are seeking a complete retraction of the proposed bill that would allow extraditions of people in Hong Kong to mainland China.

They pleaded in the letter for Trump to "stand behind Hong Kong's autonomy."

"President Trump has publicized his intention to bring up Hong Kong's situation at the G-20 summit and we are truly grateful for his attention," the letter said. "Your proactiveness in the discussion will drive other countries to do the same in support of human rights and freedom."

Organizers of Wednesday's petition march did not visit China's liaison office in Hong Kong.

"We have already expressed our strong demands to the Chinese government and the Hong Kong government" but were ignored, one of the organizers, Ventus Lau, told the Nikkei Asian Review. "That's why we need to find some international help."

At the Consulate General of Canada, Consul for political, economic and public affairs Derry McDonell received the petition on behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "We'll send it back to Ottawa for the relevant offices to consider," McDonell told Nikkei.

Beijing said earlier this week that it will not allow the G-20 to discuss political events in Hong Kong. "Hong Kong matters are purely an internal affair for China," a Chinese government official said.

A "We Need Help" leaflet is seen next to the logo of the U.S. Consulate General building in Hong Kong on Wednesday. © Reuters

On Wednesday night, thousands of people gathered near the waterfront in the Central business district for a rally ahead of the G-20 summit.

Speakers led the protesters in chants of "Free Hong Kong!" and "Democracy now!" and reminded the crowd that the city had been spared the high tariffs slapped on China by the U.S. in the countries' trade war because of the territory's "special status" granted by Washington.

"Hong Kong people, don't underestimate your capabilities," Nathan Law Kwun-chung, a prominent activist, told the cheering crowd.

Opponents of the legislation fear the Chinese Communist Party could use the proposed law to request the transfer of anyone it views as a threat to its authority. Several massive demonstrations and rallies in Hong Kong this month have brought out as many as 2 million people to protest against the bill.

While the demonstrations have been largely peaceful, one protest outside government headquarters on June 12 devolved into violent clashes between protesters and police, who used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse crowds.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended legislative debate of the bill on June 15 but has not formally withdrawn it, which protesters are demanding.

A survey this week showed that Lam's approval rating fell to a negative 44 percentage points, down from a negative 24 earlier this month.

The Public Opinion Programme at the University of Hong Kong said Lam's rating is at a "historical low" compared with all previous chief executives, with just 23% of the public supporting her and 67% expressing a vote of no confidence.
I'd be very interested in the tightrope walk Her Majesty's Government takes between showing support for what is essentially a pro democracy movement in what used to be the Crown in her colonies or what was left of them and in not antagonizing the Chinese as Boris Johnson would've to suck up to Beijing once Brexit is executed for investments and other trade. Fun times ahead, eh Paddy?
 

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I'd be very interested in the tightrope walk Her Majesty's Government takes between showing support for what is essentially a pro democracy movement in what used to be the Crown in her colonies or what was left of them and in not antagonizing the Chinese as Boris Johnson would've to suck up to Beijing once Brexit is executed for investments and other trade. Fun times ahead, eh Paddy?
Chinese investment is laced with poison.
 

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Why don't you write him a letter personally if you're so concerned?
Why should I be concerned, Paddy? Did you actually see concern in my writings about Britain, Brexit, May, Johnson or anything to do with Britain? Are you dyslexic or a plain retard? I realize you're Irish but you seem to be stretching this excuse much too farther for your own good.
 

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Why should I be concerned, Paddy? Did you actually see concern in my writings about Britain, Brexit, May, Johnson or anything to do with Britain? Are you dyslexic or a plain retard? I realize you're Irish but you seem to be stretching this excuse much too farther for your own good.
:LOL::poop:
 

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Hong Kong Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters in Residential Area

Hong Kong Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters in Residential Area


Shawna Kwan, Fion Li and Owen Franks

,
BloombergJuly 28, 2019

1 / 2

Hong Kong Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters in Residential Area
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong demonstrators and police clashed for a second straight day as the city’s China-backed government struggles to quell growing discontent and amid violent clashes that have marred the historic movement in recent weeks.Riot police fired volleys of tear gas at hundreds of black-shirted protesters and wrestled some people to the ground to make arrests Sunday in Sai Ying Pun, a residential and business area where the Chinese government’s liaison office is located. Protesters vandalized the building last week, drawing stern warnings from Beijing and sparking fears that China’s military would be called in to restore order.A number of stores in the neighborhood were closed ahead of the tense standoff, as riot police carrying shields marched in rows down a main street. Police said they used tear gas to disperse protesters who hurled bricks at officers, in a situation that was “drastically deteriorating.” MTR Corp., Hong Kong’s urban rail operator, said service had been suspended between Sai Ying Pun and Kennedy Town.Thousands of people initially gathered at centrally-located Chater Garden and marched without a definite plan toward the Admiralty, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay areas that were ground zero for previous mass rallies. They had chanted slogans including “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time,” “shame on police who beat people” and “return us the right to demonstrate.”The sprawling Sogo department store in Causeway Bay, owned by Lifestyle International Holdings, was closed though the situation in that area remained peaceful.Sunday’s march came the day after thousands of protesters descended on the suburb of Yuen Long near the Chinese border to condemn a mob attack against train commuters and demonstrators that shocked the city last weekend. A Friday sit-in at Hong Kong’s international airport also drew thousands and underscored the economic risk of continued unrest.Police on Saturday used batons, tear gas and pepper spray on people throwing stones and wielding metal rods. Thirteen people were arrested for their involvement in Yuen Long, Yolanda Yu, a senior superintendent at the Police Public Relations Branch, told reporters on Sunday. That march’s organizer, Max Chung, had been taken into custody, she said.“The police’s job was to disperse protesters, not to vent their own anger on them,” Joe Pang, a 65-year-old retired bank manager, said of Saturday’s protests as he gathered in Chater Garden holding up a poster that read “Stop the violence.”Nine people were hurt on Saturday, Hong Kong’s RTHK reported, while police said four officers were injured.The government expressed “deep regret” over the march in Yuen Long, which went ahead despite the lack of a permit, and condemned “radical protesters” who charged police cordons, disrupting public peace and challenging the law. About 288,000 people took part in Saturday’s protest, organizer Chung told reporters. Police, citing the lack of a permit, wouldn’t estimate the size of the crowd.Police early Sunday said the protesters disregarded the personal safety of residents and the public. The demonstrators used metal poles and self-made shields to attack officers and charge the cordon line -- they even removed fences from roads to form road blocks, according to a police statement.The former British colony’s government is reeling from its biggest political crisis since its return to Chinese rule in 1997. The movement to oppose a bill allowing extraditions to the mainland has expanded to include calls for genuine universal suffrage, an inquiry into excessive force by police and demands for Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation.The unrest has put pressure on Chinese President Xi Jinping to find a solution. Beijing has so far backed Lam’s government, in part to avoid setting a precedent in which street protests lead to political change. His government has also accused the U.S. of supporting the demonstrations, a charge the Trump administration has denied.“Even Carrie Lam’s resignation and universal suffrage aren’t going to resolve the crisis in Hong Kong. The truth is China is having a tighter and tighter grip on Hong Kong and our rights,” said Oscar Cheung, an office worker in his twenties, as he stood in Chater Garden Sunday in a black shirt and sunglasses.Sales HitWith the unrest showing no signs of ending, the city’s reputation among investors as a stable environment for business has taken a hit. Local retailers are bracing for poor sales figures as demonstrations keep tourists out of shops and ordinary residents seek to avoid major malls that have been targeted.Financial Secretary Paul Chan said in a blog post Sunday that many local retail and catering businesses had experienced a “sharp decline” in business, warning that the longer the historic protests go on, the more pressure they will pile on small and medium-sized enterprises.Crime SyndicatesAhead of the protest Saturday, fears grew that large groups of black-shirted activists would draw out the pro-establishment mob that had beaten the protesters with sticks on July 21. Police had said some of the assailants arrested later had links to the city’s notorious organized crime syndicates, or triads, and denied a permit to the rally on Saturday due to fear of renewed clashes.Demonstrators on Saturday targeted the police as well as a village where the mob was believed to have originated. Police moved to clear the area late at night after some protesters packed into the narrow streets hurled stones at officers and vandalized a law-enforcement van with personnel inside. A few hundred people engaged in running street battles with officers, who pursued them inside a subway station.(Updates with details of protest in second paragraph.)\--With assistance from Justin Chin, Chloe Whiteaker, Annie Lee, Iain Marlow, Alfred Liu and Eric Lam.To contact the reporters on this story: Shawna Kwan in Hong Kong at [email protected];Fion Li in Hong Kong at [email protected];Owen Franks in Hong Kong at [email protected] contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at [email protected], ;Shamim Adam at [email protected], Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong demonstrators and police clashed for a second straight day as the city’s China-backed government struggles to quell growing discontent and amid violent clashes that have marred the historic movement in recent weeks.

Riot police fired volleys of tear gas at hundreds of black-shirted protesters and wrestled some people to the ground to make arrests Sunday in Sai Ying Pun, a residential and business area where the Chinese government’s liaison office is located. Protesters vandalized the building last week, drawing stern warnings from Beijing and sparking fears that China’s military would be called in to restore order.

A number of stores in the neighborhood were closed ahead of the tense standoff, as riot police carrying shields marched in rows down a main street. Police said they used tear gas to disperse protesters who hurled bricks at officers, in a situation that was “drastically deteriorating.” MTR Corp., Hong Kong’s urban rail operator, said service had been suspended between Sai Ying Pun and Kennedy Town.

Thousands of people initially gathered at centrally-located Chater Garden and marched without a definite plan toward the Admiralty, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay areas that were ground zero for previous mass rallies. They had chanted slogans including “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time,” “shame on police who beat people” and “return us the right to demonstrate.”

The sprawling Sogo department store in Causeway Bay, owned by Lifestyle International Holdings, was closed though the situation in that area remained peaceful.

Sunday’s march came the day after thousands of protesters descended on the suburb of Yuen Long near the Chinese border to condemn a mob attack against train commuters and demonstrators that shocked the city last weekend. A Friday sit-in at Hong Kong’s international airport also drew thousands and underscored the economic risk of continued unrest.

Police on Saturday used batons, tear gas and pepper spray on people throwing stones and wielding metal rods. Thirteen people were arrested for their involvement in Yuen Long, Yolanda Yu, a senior superintendent at the Police Public Relations Branch, told reporters on Sunday. That march’s organizer, Max Chung, had been taken into custody, she said.

“The police’s job was to disperse protesters, not to vent their own anger on them,” Joe Pang, a 65-year-old retired bank manager, said of Saturday’s protests as he gathered in Chater Garden holding up a poster that read “Stop the violence.”
 

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Hong Kong’s Lam Warns of ‘Ruin’ as Strike Snarls City, Airport

Hong Kong’s Lam Warns of ‘Ruin’ as Strike Snarls City, Airport


Shawna Kwan, Jinshan Hong and Iain Marlow

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BloombergAugust 5, 2019



Hong Kong’s Lam Warns of ‘Ruin’ as Strike Snarls City, Airport

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(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam warned of a “very dangerous situation” as protesters moved to shut down the Asian financial hub with a general strike on Monday after a ninth straight weekend of unrest in opposition to China’s tightening grip.

Demonstrators hampered the financial hub’s busy morning commute with actions that left traffic snarled, subway lines inoperable and airport operations disrupted. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said it canceled more than 140 flights coming to and from the city, while Hong Kong Airlines Ltd. scrapped 30 flights.

“We have seen some behavior from protesters that is challenging ‘one country, two systems’ and threatening national sovereignty,” Lam told reporters on Monday, flanked by senior members of her administration. “And I could even dare to say some are trying to ruin Hong Kong and completely destroy the livelihood of seven million citizens.”

Thousands of protesters began rallying from around 1 p.m. in locations across the city. In the central business district, black-shirted people packed Admiralty metro station and Tamar Park, near Hong Kong’s legislative complex. They chanted “strike!” and passed out bright yellow fliers that read: “No extraditions to China; strike work, strike school and strike market.” Others blocked off Harcourt Road, a main thoroughfare that cuts through the city’s financial hub.

Across the harbor in Kowloon, riot police fired rounds of tear gas to disperse crowds in the Wong Tai Sin district. Barricades were set up across Nathan Road, a major artery, at the intersection of Argyle Street.

The MSCI Hong Kong Index slumped as much as 3.5% on Monday in a ninth day of declines, matching the longest streak since the city’s 1997 handover from British rule. Landlords, retail stocks and casinos bore the brunt of the selling.

The protests began in June against a proposed bill allowing extraditions to mainland China, but have since morphed into a broader challenge to China. Authorities in Beijing have continued to back Lam, who has resisted demands to withdraw the bill completely and step down from her position.

“I came here to support the young people,” said C.F Tse, who works in accounting and said he asked for sick leave in order to protest in Tamar Park on Monday. “It’s heartbreaking to see them being beaten up and getting tear gassed.”
 
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Hong Kong airport shuts down amid pro-democracy protest

Hong Kong airport shuts down amid pro-democracy protest


YANAN WANG and CHRISTOPHER BODEEN

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Associated PressAugust 12, 2019

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Hong Kong Protests
An anti-riot vehicle equipped with water cannon shows its water spraying skill during a demonstration at the Police Tactical Unit Headquarters in Hong Kong, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. Hong Kong police showed off water cannons during the demonstration of specially equipped armored cars came after another weekend of protests at Hong Kong's bustling international airport and on the streets of one of the city's main shopping districts. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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HONG KONG (AP) — One of the world's busiest airports canceled all flights after thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators crowded into Hong Kong's main terminal Monday, while the central government in Beijing issued an ominous characterization of the protest movement as something approaching "terrorism."

The extreme action by the largely leaderless movement seemed calculated to prompt a stern response from Beijing, and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping's administration responded within hours.

No new violence was reported by Monday evening, although the city remained on edge after more than two months of near-daily and increasingly bloody confrontations between protesters and police.

Beijing tends toward a broad definition of terrorism, including in it nonviolent protests of government policies on the environment or in minority regions such as Xinjiang and Tibet. Such a designation adds to the regime's descriptions of protesters as clowns, criminals and traitors intent on overthrowing Chinese rule in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong International Airport said in a statement the demonstration "seriously disrupted" airport operations. Only flights that had already started boarding or those cleared for landing were allowed to use runways at the airport.

"All other flights have been canceled for the rest of today," the airport statement said. It later said flights would resume at 6 a.m. Tuesday (2200 GMT, 6 p.m. EDT Monday).

Joydeep Chakravarti, a software engineer whose connecting flight to San Francisco was canceled during a layover in Hong Kong, expressed frustration that he was told to leave the airport when he wanted to stay inside the terminal.

"I don't know what's out there, so I don't want to leave. I didn't make any plans for Hong Kong," said Chakravarti, who had a carry-on bag with laptop, charger and an extra shirt while the rest of his luggage already was checked in on his Singapore Airlines flight.

A massive traffic jam soon formed on the highway leading back to Hong Kong's city center. Some protesters were seen walking toward the airport amid the stifling heat.

The demonstrations that have drawn more than 1 million people at times call for democratic reforms and an independent inquiry into police conduct, with both protesters and police adopting ever-more extreme tactics.
 
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It's quite strange how Beijing has left things slide thus far. It would be uncharacteristic of Xi Jinping to take such audacity as a 'pro democracy protest' lying down.
 
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India issues travel advisory for people traveling to Hong Kong

Hong Kong airport authority, within a short notice on Monday, suspended all remaining flights for the day after thousands of pro-democracy protesters entered the terminal’s arrival halls.

Updated: Aug 13, 2019 11:21 IST
By Asian News International
New Delhi
The airport was reopened today, however, hundreds of flights were still listed as cancelled.(AP photo)

India on Tuesday issued an advisory to its citizens for travelling to Hong Kong, a day after flight operations were severely disrupted at the city’s international airport due to public demonstrations on August 12.

The Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement, said, “While operations are likely to resume on August 13, however, flights are likely to continue to be delayed and/or cancelled as it is possible that more protests may be held.”

“Indian passengers are advised to be in touch with airlines to find alternative travel routes to avoid inconvenience, till normalcy is restored in airport operations,” the statement read.

The Ministry further advised all Indian passengers, who are already in Hong Kong and waiting to depart, to “be in touch with their respective airlines for information about likely timelines for the resumption of their flights”.

“Consulate can be reached at our helpline at +852 90771083,” the statement added.

Hong Kong airport authority, within a short notice on Monday, suspended all remaining flights for the day after thousands of pro-democracy protesters entered the terminal’s arrival halls.

The airport was reopened on Tuesday, however, hundreds of flights were still listed as cancelled.

All stranded passengers were seen lining up to catch their delayed flights, as airport authorities announced that it will implement rescheduling while blaming demonstrators for the chaos.

(The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text)


India issues travel advisory for people travelling to Hong Kong