gas – The Eastern Link https://theeasternlink.com Connecting Regions of Asia. Tue, 09 Jun 2020 06:16:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 https://theeasternlink.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cropped-external-link-symbol-32x32.png gas – The Eastern Link https://theeasternlink.com 32 32 Hong Kong’s Protest Spirit Back https://theeasternlink.com/hong-kongs-protest-spirit-back/ https://theeasternlink.com/hong-kongs-protest-spirit-back/#respond Tue, 09 Jun 2020 03:36:23 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=4783

In the years since Hong Kong’s pro-democracy street protests of 2014, some have wondered whether “protest fatigue” had set in. On Sunday (June 9), though, Hong Kong appeared far from fatigued: its citizens packed the streets on a hot and muggy day in numbers that organizers said easily surpassed a record protest in 2003. Organizers with the […]

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In the years since Hong Kong’s pro-democracy street protests of 2014, some have wondered whether “protest fatigue” had set in. On Sunday (June 9), though, Hong Kong appeared far from fatigued: its citizens packed the streets on a hot and muggy day in numbers that organizers said easily surpassed a record protest in 2003.

Organizers with the Civil Human Rights Front said over 1 million people participated in the march, while police estimated just 240,000, according to the South China Morning Post. For the most part peaceful, a group of protestors and police were in a tense, occasionally violent, confrontation following the end of the march, which lasted more than seven hours.

The rally kicked off in the early afternoon as marchers gathered in central Hong Kong to walk to the local government headquarters in the city’s Admiralty area. Elderly Hong Kongers and younger ones with children in strollers were among the demonstrators calling upon lawmakers to scrap the city’s proposed overhaul of its extradition law—which would make it possible to send people to face trial in mainland China for the first time. While extradition is only supposed to be allowed for specified matters that are also crimes in Hong Kong, many fear the passage of the law, which is set to be voted on in the coming week, would further curtail free speech and protest in the city.

“If it passes, I’m done for,” said Natalie Fine, a 39-year-old event organizer who often brings artists to Hong Kong, and also ghost-writes opinion pieces and pens book reviews. She worries that anything she says or writes, or that her event guests say, could land her in legal trouble. “I’ll leave Hong Kong for sure [if it passes]… I’ll take my family with me.”

The protest comes amid broader concerns about China’s adherence to the “one country, two systems” principle under which the city has a certain amount of autonomy, and greater freedoms than in the mainland. The disappearance of a number of Hong Kong booksellers in 2015—they later turned up in the mainland in the control of Chinese authorities—and local prosecutions of pro-democracy protesters have exacerbated these fears.

Street traffic was diverted and police officers dotted the route to make sure marchers didn’t deviate from the official circuit. At some points crowds were so dense, people were unable to exit subway stations, and those who were above ground were at a standstill.

Photos taken from walkways and upper floors of skyscrapers showed people packed together in streets as far as the eye could see.
(Quartz) 

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Police Swamp Hong Kong Before Anthem Debate https://theeasternlink.com/police-swamp-hong-kong-before-anthem-debate/ https://theeasternlink.com/police-swamp-hong-kong-before-anthem-debate/#respond Wed, 27 May 2020 09:20:23 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=4235

Hong Kong police threw an impenetrable security cordon around the city’s legislature on Wednesday ahead of a debateover a law that would ban insulting China’s national anthem.Pro-democracy say this is the latest in a long line of measures to gag free speech in the  business- finance hub. prompted by the Beijing Communist regime.The debate follows China’s plans […]

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Hong Kong police threw an impenetrable security cordon around the city’s legislature on Wednesday ahead of a debate
over a law that would ban insulting China’s national anthem.
Pro-democracy say this is the latest in a long line of measures to gag free speech in the  business- finance hub. prompted by the Beijing Communist regime.
The debate follows China’s plans to impose a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong to prevent 2019-type massive and often violent pro-democracy rallies.

That move has led to US warnings that Hong Kong is likely to lose its status as a global financial centre if  the ‘many freedoms’ allowed in the city are undermined and the judicial independence is swept aside by the Chinese Communist Party .
Under a deal agreed with Britain before the city’s return to China, Hong Kong is supposed to be
guaranteed certain liberties until 2047 that are denied to those on the mainland.  
That makes up the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement for enclaves like Hong Kong.
The legislature — known as LegCo — was trashed by protesters early on during last year’s protests as
authorities tried to fast-track an eventually scrapped bill allowing extraditions to the authoritarian
mainland.
Police were taking few chances ahead of Wednesday’s debate.
A ring of heavy water-filled barriers was thrown  around the key government complex , even as riot police squads conducted area-domination patrols on nearby roads and subway stations, conducting regular stop and searches to prevent protestors from other places to flock to Hong Kong city centre., eye-witnesses said.
Senior police officials told Easternlink “heavy reinforcements of policemen were on standby , ready to respond toattempts to block traffic outside the legislature or breach the building.
Some unions and student groups made calls for a general strike for Wednesday but it was unclear
whether crowds would materialise, says AFP
Hong Kong’s government is pushing a bill that will criminalise insulting Communist China’s “March of the
Volunteers” anthem, making it punishable by up to three years in jail.
Beijing has been infuriated by Hong Kongers — especially football fans — booing the national anthem.
\Hongkong’s pro-democracy opposition says the bill is a fresh attempt to criminalise dissent.
Fights erupted between rival legislators over the legislation.

Pro-democracy politicians are prevented from holding a majority in the legislature, only some of whose
members are elected by popular vote.
But for months they have used filibustering within a legislative committee to stop the bill reaching the
floor for a vote.
The city’s pro-Beijing faction seized control of the committee earlier this month — a move opponents
described as unconstitutional.

Wednesday’s session is the bill’s second reading. A third reading is likely next week after which
it will become law if approved.
The protests have been fuelled by years of rising fears that Beijing is prematurely eroding Hong Kong’s
cherished freedoms.
Beijing portrays the protests as a foreign-backed plot to destabilize the country , reeling from the impact of the C-virus pandemic .
Protesters say their rallies are the only way to voice opposition in a city without fully free elections.
In response to last year’s often violent protests, Beijing announced plans last week to enact legislation
banning secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference.
That law, which has yet to be published in full, will bypass the legislature and be inked in Beijing.
The move has alarmed investors and local politicians alike.

(With additional reporting by AFP) 

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Thousands Protest In Hong Kong Over China Security Law Proposal https://theeasternlink.com/thousands-protest-in-hong-kong-over-china-security-law-proposal/ https://theeasternlink.com/thousands-protest-in-hong-kong-over-china-security-law-proposal/#respond Mon, 25 May 2020 06:54:08 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=4186

Jackie Chen, Hongkong & Wang Xiaofeng, Beijing for Easternlink Police on Sunday lobbed tear gas shells and splashed with water cannons tens of thousands of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters opposing a controversial security law proposed by China.The city is tense and more protests are likely after the Sunday clashes, easily the most fierce confrontation in several months.As […]

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Jackie Chen, Hongkong & Wang Xiaofeng, Beijing for Easternlink

Police on Sunday lobbed tear gas shells and splashed with water cannons tens of thousands of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters opposing a controversial security law proposed by China.
The city is tense and more protests are likely after the Sunday clashes, easily the most fierce confrontation in several months.
As protestors and police confronted each other in some areas of the semi-autonomous financial hub, Chinese Foreign
Minister Wang Yi threatened to impose the proposed law “without the slightest delay”,
That signalled a unanimous resolve to quell the protests ruthlessly as China’s National Peoples Congress goes intosession with the looming C-Virus crisis having out the country in a global tight spot.
The planned legislation seeking to ban treason, subversion and sedition comes after Hong Kong
was rocked last year by months of massive protests, frequently violent and spiralling, amid Beijing’srepeated warnings that ‘forceful dissent backed by anti-China imperialist forces ‘ would not be tolerated.
A Chinese Communist Party (CPC) politbureau member told Easternlink on condition of anonymity that Beijing saw the protests in Hongkong as partof the “larger plan to destabilise our great nation” alongside the US-inspired global human rights campaign onthe Uighurs in Xinjiang and Tibet and the Trump campaigns to blame China for the C-virus pandemic.
“The imperialist plan is to rock our economy, isolate us diplomatically, ruin our global prestige, thwart our Belt&Road Initiative (BRI) ,and create tensions on our borders,” the CPC PB member said but on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Chinese ministers and party leaders rarely interact with the media directly, leaving the job strictly to officially appointed spokespersons and diplomats, themore aggressive ones of whom have been labeled as “wolf diplomats” in recent weeks.
But Foreign Minister Wang Yi has already said the US was driving China to “the brink of a new Cold War”.
But pro-democracy leaders in Hong Kong warned that Beijing’s invoking the ‘foreign hand’ was indeed a ployto defame the movement. One of them , again wishing to remain anonymous fearing arrest on identification, said “HongKongers treasure their freedom under the one country, two systems and the fight now was to preserveit rather than let the CPC snatch it away in the name of greater integration.”
Easterlink’s Jackie Chen , walking alongside the thousands of protesters chanting “Save our Freedom” slogans in the busy Causeway Bay and Wan Chai districts, also found some masked protesters set up hastily-setup barricades to stop onrushing police vehicles.
“Why are we treated as criminals for peaceful protests. We are not fighting, just shouting slogans and speaking to media,”said a protest leader just saying his name was “Big Boss.”
” I think Hong Kongers are very angry because they did not expect this law to come so quickly and that it would be so rough,””Big Boss” told Easternlink.
” But don’t think we are fools to believe Beijing will simply sit back and do nothing. Things will only
get worse here once the CPC NPC session is over and the leadership have finalised plans for a crackdown,” “Big Boss ” said.
Riot police were deployed after protesters ignored earlier warnings from authorities against
unauthorised assembly and violated the city’s current C-virus law banning public gatherings
of more than eight people.
As the number of protesters swelled, police fired tear gas and pepper spray to try and disperse the
crowd, and later moved in water cannons and armoured vehicles against pockets where protestershad gathered..
At least 180 people were arrested, police said, the majority in Causeway Bay and Wan Chai districts.
Other protesters were detained at a smaller demonstration in Tsim Sha Tsui.
The Hong Kong government condemned the “extremely violent and illegal acts,” of the protesters and
said they reinforced “need and urgency of the legislation on national security.”.
It also accused protesters of injuring at least four police officers.

The scenes on Sunday were the most intense in months.

The Hong Kong pro-democracy movement had fizzled at the beginning of 2020 with mounting arrests , but the realturning point was the pandemic that led to strict social distancing norms against public gatherings being imposed.
“But the protests on Sunday prove the anger is simmering and the Chinese authorities for the provocation nowby bringing in a such a tough law ,” said an Western academic at the Hongkong university .
But he was unwilling to be named fearing attacks by what he described as “Beijing-backed goons.”

More than 8,300 people have been arrested since the protests erupted last year. Around 200 were
detained during small rallies at malls on Mother’s Day earlier this month.

Hong Kong residents enjoy rights — including freedom of speech — unseen on the Chinese mainland, as
well as its own legal system and trade status., says AFP.
Fears had been growing for years that Beijing was chipping away at those freedoms and tightening its
control on the city, and campaigners have described the new proposal as the most brazen move yet.

Of particular concern is a provision allowing Chinese security agents to operate in Hong Kong, and that
they could launch a crackdown against those opposing the mainland’s communist rulers.
“I’m very scared, but I still have to come out,” AFP quoted protester Christy Chan, 23.
“Aside from being peaceful, rational and non-violent, I don’t see many ways to send out our messages.”
Despite the alarm in Hong Kong and in some Western capitals, Chinese and city officials have insisted
the proposed law is needed to prevent unrest and protect national security.
But a top pro-Beijing official dismissed as ‘rumours’ on Saturday the claims that mainland Chinese law enforcement would operate in
the city without “approval ” of local authorities.
But there is deep mistrust of China’s opaque legal system in Hong Kong and of how Beijing might use the
proposed regulations in the city.
The massive protests last year were sparked by a now-scrapped bill that would have allowed
extraditions to the mainland, and there are fears the new motion would be even more wide-ranging.
China's legislature is expected to rubber-stamp the draft resolution on Thursday, before the details are
fleshed out at another meeting at a later date.
Officials have said the law would then be implemented locally.

(with additional reporting by AFP) 

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