Hong Kong Free Press HKFP https://www.hongkongfp.com Hong Kong's Independent English Language News Wed, 17 Jul 2019 16:06:24 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 HKFP Lens: ‘Protect Hong Kong’ – seniors rally against extradition bill in solidarity with young protesters https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/07/17/hkfp-lens-protect-hong-kong-seniors-rally-extradition-bill-solidarity-young-protesters/ Wed, 17 Jul 2019 13:30:02 +0000 https://www.hongkongfp.com/?p=214033 Thousands of senior Hongkongers rallied in Central on Wednesday against the government’s now-suspended extradition bill. They marched to government headquarters, in solidarity with young protesters, calling for the ill-fated law to be scrapped entirely. Read our full story.

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Thousands of senior Hongkongers rallied in Central on Wednesday against the government’s now-suspended extradition bill. They marched to government headquarters, in solidarity with young protesters, calling for the ill-fated law to be scrapped entirely. Read our full story.

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The banner leading the march reads: “Support the young, protect Hong Kong.” Photo: May James.

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A man holds a placard reading: “Support young people.” Photo: May James.

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The banner leading the march reads: “Support the young, protect Hong Kong.” Photo: May James.

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A man displays a slogan that reads: “For our children and grandchild, refuse the snake dinners and cakes,” referring to freebies distributed by pro-Beijing political parties. Photo: May James.

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The slogan reads: “Carrie Lam the monster, her ill intentions are plain for all to see.” Photo: May James.

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‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/07/17/no-rioters-tyrannical-regime-thousands-hong-kong-seniors-march-support-young-extradition-law-protesters/ Wed, 17 Jul 2019 13:25:44 +0000 https://www.hongkongfp.com/?p=214032 Thousands of elderly Hongkongers marched on Wednesday in solidarity with young anti-extradition bill protesters. Billed as a march for the “silver-haired,” the event drew large crowds to Chater Garden in Central. Organisers said over 9,000 people joined the rally, which ended outside the Admiralty government headquarters. Police said the event turnout was 1,500 at its […]

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Thousands of elderly Hongkongers marched on Wednesday in solidarity with young anti-extradition bill protesters.

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Photo: May James.

Billed as a march for the “silver-haired,” the event drew large crowds to Chater Garden in Central. Organisers said over 9,000 people joined the rally, which ended outside the Admiralty government headquarters. Police said the event turnout was 1,500 at its peak.

Marchers voiced opposition to the now-suspended extradition bill, which would allow Hong Kong to transfer fugitives to mainland China.

See also: HKFP Lens: ‘Protect Hong Kong’ – seniors rally against extradition bill in solidarity with young protesters

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Photo: May James.

Like other protests in recent weeks, the march also reiterated the five core demands put forward by protesters, including calls for an independent investigation into police behaviour and universal suffrage.

Activist Yeung Po-hi, one of the protest organisers, read aloud a statement in support of “our youth in their struggle of no return.”

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Activist Yeung Po-hi (centre) and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming (left). Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

“In their fight against the extradition bill, our youth brave truncheons, tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, violent arrest and, harsh punishment,” Yeung said. “We are proud of them – their determination, mobilisation and tactics, teamwork and self-organisation.”

The statement also endorsed the storming of the legislature on July 1, describing it as a justifiable response by young people and a “symbolic provocation” to the Chinese Communist Party.

Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, a member of the “Occupy trio” behind the 2014 pro-democracy movement, also addressed the crowd, calling on Chief Executive Carrie Lam to “repent.”

If Lam was “still a human being,” Chu said, she would have “compassion” and stop arresting young protesters and dividing society.

While the event was billed as a silent march, the elderly attendees shouted slogans along the way such as “Carrie Lam step down” and “No rioters, only a tyrannical regime.”

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Photo: May James.

Marchers were encouraged to write their demands on a ribbon, and to tie it to a rack outside the government’s headquarters.

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Photo: May James.

Ms. Chung, a retired civil servant who is over 70, told HKFP that the top priority for the chief executive should be to set up an independent commission of inquiry to examine the clashes over the past weeks.

“[Lam] didn’t agree to do anything. At least, she should first investigate and know what happened. Otherwise, this situation cannot be resolved,” she said.

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Photo: May James.

She also criticised Hong Kong’s civil service, which she said showed a wider trend of “deviating” from established practices.

Mr. Wong, a 65-year-old retired repairman, told HKFP that he was deeply moved by the scene of young protesters smashing into the legislature with a metal cart.

“I felt the cart was like us elderly people, we are just filled with useless cardboard. How can we break the glass? We need a push from the young,” he said.

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Mr. Wong, a retired repairman, joined the march holding a sign that reads: ‘Young people have both intelligence and bravery, the silver-haired will walk with you, add oil.” Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

Wong said that the government forced people to radicalise. “They were targeting the symbol of the regime, and not affecting the lives of normal people,” he said. “I don’t see a problem at all.”

Some seniors told HKFP that young protesters should not target frontline police officers, but many also said that the force was to blame for recent clashes – including the bloody episode in Sha Tin on Sunday.

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Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

Mr. and Mrs. Lee, both retirees, said that the situation only escalated because the police surrounded protesters and did not allow them to leave via the MTR station.

The Lees added that the march could correct the misconception that all senior citizens held pro-establishment views.

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Mr. Lee, a retiree who used to work in publishing, joined the march with his wife. Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

“This is an all-encompassing movement. Elderly, middle-aged and young people all oppose [Carrie Lam],” Mr. Lee said.

Another protest against the extradition law will be held by the Civil Human Rights Front on Sunday.

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Hong Kong gov’t deactivates functions on new smart lampposts amid privacy concerns https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/07/17/hong-kong-govt-deactivates-functions-new-smart-lampposts-amid-privacy-concerns/ Wed, 17 Jul 2019 08:16:30 +0000 https://www.hongkongfp.com/?p=213976 The government has said it will not activate certain functions on its new smart lampposts, following public concerns over privacy. The first phase of the three-year smart lamppost pilot scheme is being implemented in Kwun Tong and the Kai Tak development zone as part of the government’s plan to foster smart city development. 50 smart […]

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The government has said it will not activate certain functions on its new smart lampposts, following public concerns over privacy.

The first phase of the three-year smart lamppost pilot scheme is being implemented in Kwun Tong and the Kai Tak development zone as part of the government’s plan to foster smart city development. 50 smart lampposts with sensors, data connectivity and cameras were installed last month, with 350 more set to be rolled out.

There have been public concerns over what kind of information the lampposts will be able to collect, with protesters worried about whether their data could be collected by the police or other departments. However, the government has said the devices do not have any facial recognition functions and data will not be passed onto third parties for facial recognition purposes.

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Smart lampposts. Photo: GovHK.

Tony Wong, an assistant government chief information officer, told an RTHK radio programme on Wednesday morning that the location, specifications and functions of each lamppost will be made public as soon as possible, so that the public can monitor their roll-out.

Three functions will remain disabled owing to public concerns, Wong said. They include a function to detect vehicle speed using bluetooth device recognition, a function to detect car types using licence plate recognition, and a function to video monitor the dumping of industrial waste at blackspots.

Other functions unrelated to privacy will be activated. Traffic and weather data will be sent to the Hong Kong Observatory, the Environmental Protection Department and the Transport Department, but no data will be provided to law enforcement agencies.

“We realised that the public may not know much about the functions, so we want to conduct a wide-ranging consultation,” he said.

“We do not have any functions for facial recognition… even for traffic snapshots, we will decrease the quality to a point that faces cannot be recognised, before the data is made public,” he added. “The waste dumping monitors are high-quality cameras, but we have not activated them.”

Wong said the government hoped to form a ten-member consultation committee of experts within a month to assess whether the use of the lamposts will be in line with privacy guidelines. The government will also consult district councils.

Calls for public consultation

Wong also said the lampposts can dispatch data with RFID technology – meaning radio-frequency identification – but they will not be able to obtain data from residents’ new identity cards.

IT sector lawmaker Charles Mok said more information should be provided to the public.

“A public consultation is needed… it’s better than a closed-door consultation committee,” he said on the RTHK programme.

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Charles Mok. File Photo: Charles Mok.

He said such technology was welcomed in some western countries because of threats such as terrorism, but public opinions have changed and people have started to oppose such lampposts.

“This is not just a technological problem,” he said.

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University of Hong Kong to lodge formal complaint to police over officers’ entry onto campus https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/07/17/university-hong-kong-lodge-formal-complaint-police-officers-entry-onto-campus/ Wed, 17 Jul 2019 08:15:33 +0000 https://www.hongkongfp.com/?p=213990 The University of Hong Kong has expressed concern over the presence of police officers on its premises, after several were spotted on campus shortly after midnight on Wednesday. “The University security immediately questioned why they were there in violation of existing protocol and the University will follow up with a formal complaint,” the university said in […]

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The University of Hong Kong has expressed concern over the presence of police officers on its premises, after several were spotted on campus shortly after midnight on Wednesday.

“The University security immediately questioned why they were there in violation of existing protocol and the University will follow up with a formal complaint,” the university said in a statement at around 1pm on Wednesday.

The statement did not give specifics of the incident.

Footage circulated online appeared to show three uniformed officers patrolling the university’s campus at night. They were filmed outside the university’s student union building, but did not enter it. They left in an elevator.

Apple Daily cited unnamed sources claiming that the campus was not part of the usual patrol route, and that officers may have been intending to visit the Simon K. Y. Lee Hall of residence.

The hall has a wall of posters criticising police chief inspector Cheng Pak-lam, a former resident of the hall who has been accused of using excessive force against a protester.

李國賢堂外出現「柏林圍牆」【學苑即時】有人於李國賢堂外張貼標語,聲討日前疑強行扭斷被制服示威者手腕的警員鄭柏林。從標語可見,鄭柏林為李國賢堂前宿生,住於李國賢堂五樓「五嶽山莊」,為第二十屆「升仙」的宿生,亦為宿生會前主席。

Posted by 香港大學學生會學苑即時新聞 Undergrad, H.K.U.S.U. Instant News on Monday, 15 July 2019

HKU Student Union Acting President Davin Wong said he was not certain whether the police presence was related to the hall’s message wall.

“But we believe that the school has done what it should do. We expect the school will speak to students when they receive a reply after they lodge the complaint,” Wong told HKFP.

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HKUSU Acting President Davin Wong and HKU Vice-chancellor Zhang Xiang. Photo: Campus TV, HKUSU screenshot.

Student meeting

During a meeting between HKU head Zhang Xiang and students last Friday, Zhang said he would not allow police to enter campus and arrest students without a court warrant.

Zhang is scheduled to meet students again on Thursday.

An anti-extradition law protester, who is an HKU fresh graduate, has been charged with assaulting police officer, failing to show identification documents, and two counts of wounding with intent, after he allegedly bit off part of a police officer’s finger during the Sha Tin protest on Sunday.

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Hong Kong professional groups and university student unions urge US politicians to pass bill on city’s democracy and rights https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/07/17/hong-kong-professional-groups-university-student-unions-urge-us-politicians-pass-bill-citys-democracy-rights/ Wed, 17 Jul 2019 08:13:07 +0000 https://www.hongkongfp.com/?p=213901 Local professional groups and student unions have urged US politicians to pass a draft law on Hong Kong’s human rights and democracy as soon as possible. Twenty-two pro-democracy professional bodies, including groups of lawyers, scholars, doctors, engineers, finance and IT sector workers, sent a joint submission to all US representatives and senators calling on them to pass […]

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Local professional groups and student unions have urged US politicians to pass a draft law on Hong Kong’s human rights and democracy as soon as possible.

Twenty-two pro-democracy professional bodies, including groups of lawyers, scholars, doctors, engineers, finance and IT sector workers, sent a joint submission to all US representatives and senators calling on them to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 before the 116th Congress is set to end its term in 2021.

Student unions at 11 universities also issued a joint statement urging US politicians to do the same.

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US Congress. File photo: Office of the Speaker.

The bill is a new version of a previously submitted bill which, if passed, will impose penalties upon Hong Kong and mainland Chinese officials who suppress basic freedoms in Hong Kong. It means their US-based assets will potentially be frozen and they will be denied entry into the US.

“[W]e consider that the Bill will be a powerful tool to protect the national interests of U.S. within Hong Kong as well as safeguarding the autonomy, human rights and democratic development as guaranteed to the people of Hong Kong by the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law,” the professional groups wrote.

“We therefore respectfully urge you to act quickly to pass the Bill within the 116th Congress, so that it can be signed into law as soon as possible.”

The professional groups made several suggestions for amending and expanding the scope of the bill.

Peaceful protesters who were arrested during the 2014 Umbrella Movement could be able to obtain US visas if the law passes. But the groups suggested that all peaceful protesters in recent protests – including those who partook in the July 1 storming of the Legislative Council – could be given access to visas.

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A protester tearing the Basic Law of Hong Kong at the Legislative Council president’s desk covered by a pre-Handover Hong Kong flag. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

They also suggested including a new section to punish anyone who passes bills in the Hong Kong legislature which erode the city’s autonomy or citizens’ rights.

Annual review

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 will require the US secretary of state to assess Hong Kong’s autonomy annually to justify the special treatment afforded to the city, under the US-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992.

The special treatment the city receives in terms of trade, which differentiates it from the mainland, could be suspended if the US president determines that Hong Kong is not sufficiently autonomous.

《大專學界聯合聲明》在本地及國際戰線守護香港支持通過《香港人權與民主法案2019》爭取自由世界支持香港志雖表,汗既揮,血已披。連日來,香港人接連上街,以血和汗表達訴求。港共政權卻再三濫暴、侮辱無權異見者,視港人民意如無物。大專學…

Posted by 香港大學學生會 The Hong Kong University Students' Union on Monday, 15 July 2019

Student unions said in their joint statement that although the US government can impose sanctions stated in the existing US-Hong Kong Policy Act, the sanctions would not be target specific individuals, but everyone within the territory.

“This further proves the necessity of passing the Bill to target individuals betraying Hong Kong, and to protect the innocent, be they Hongkongers or Americans,” they said.

Their statements came after a letter campaign aimed at top US politicians asked them to co-sponsor the bill. As of Tuesday, 541 letters had been sent out.


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Hong Kong’s expat police officers targeted by protesters as doing Beijing’s bidding https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/07/17/hong-kongs-expat-police-officers-targeted-protesters-beijings-bidding/ Wed, 17 Jul 2019 08:12:19 +0000 https://www.hongkongfp.com/?p=214004 by Jerome Taylor A peculiar legacy of Hong Kong’s colonial past has emerged as a focal point of rage for anti-government protesters: a dwindling band of expat police officers now vilified for doing the bidding of the city’s pro-Beijing leaders. Hong Kong’s 32,000-strong police force have found themselves fighting unprecedented running battles with protesters for […]

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by Jerome Taylor

A peculiar legacy of Hong Kong’s colonial past has emerged as a focal point of rage for anti-government protesters: a dwindling band of expat police officers now vilified for doing the bidding of the city’s pro-Beijing leaders.

Hong Kong’s 32,000-strong police force have found themselves fighting unprecedented running battles with protesters for the past five weeks following a huge backlash to a now-suspended plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

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A western Chief Superintendent. Photo: InMediahk.net.

The crisis — which has since morphed into a wider anti-government movement — has placed officers in the firing line of public anger as the city’s leaders appear unable, or unwilling, to offer any political solution.

But among those singled out for specific retribution include a small group of expatriates who were some of the commanding officers on the frontlines during clashes where tear gas and rubber bullets were fired.

Their personal details were published online after they appeared in the media and were also named by a British lawmaker in parliament.

Wanted posters made by protesters have sprung up across the city targeting two senior officers in particular, as well as their local deputies.

“They have been through an ordeal,” Chief Inspector Neil Taylor, chairman of the Overseas Inspectors’ Association, told AFP.

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A banner takes aim at a western police officer. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

“But it’s not just them. Their kids have been targeted at school by bullies, a wife was approached in a supermarket and abused. That cannot be pleasant for anybody.”

“Both have said, ‘It’s tough, but we have a job to do’,” added another colleague, who asked not to be named.

“How much of that is bravado, how much they really believe it, I don’t know.”

 Colonial legacy 

In the run-up to the 1997 handover to China, there were some 900 mostly-British officers on the force.

Many were encouraged to stay on to help with the transition and were required to be proficient in Cantonese. There are now just some 60 officers left.

police china extradition protest june 12 2019 Photo May James (19) (Copy)

Photo: May James.

The last were recruited in 1994 when the force stopped hiring from overseas. They are expected to reach retirement age around 2028.

Steve Vickers, a former head of the colonial police’s Criminal Intelligence Bureau, left the force in 1993 ahead of the handover and has since set up a risk consultancy business.

He said expat officers remaining after the handover were useful because “continuity and confidence was maintained”.

“To that end, their presence was valuable, and indeed desirable,” he told AFP.

But he added that Hong Kong’s police force has since changed considerably, especially as Beijing asserts more authority over the city’s leaders.

“As the years have gone by, and China’s rise has been much more pronounced, the Hong Kong government became politicised in the years following the handover,” he said.

“This politicisation also affects the police.”

Many of the force’s bomb disposal experts are expat officers and won glowing local headlines last year for defusing a series of World War II-era bombs that were unearthed during construction works.

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Photo: Todd R. Darling/HKFP.

But some of their colleagues now find themselves facing a barrage of criticism.

Protesters and rights groups have accused police of excessive force while angry chants of “black cops” — a pun on a Cantonese phrase used to describe triads — have now become commonplace.

The outed expat officers are now increasingly portrayed as foot soldiers for an authoritarian China that wants to clamp down on Hong Kong’s unique freedoms.

During one protest earlier this month, democracy activist Joshua Wong spotted one and began berating him.

“You are British and you serve the interests of Beijing,” he cried.

Youth anger 

Senior officers bristle at the way they have been portrayed — and reject the idea that they have used excessive force.

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Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

“Other western police forces have used far more force during crowd-control operations,” one officer told AFP.

“In Paris or New York we’d have seen way more injuries, fractured skulls and broken bones.”

Two other officers AFP spoke to mentioned recent rallies in France where anti-government “yellow vest” protesters say at least 23 people lost an eye, primarily from plastic bullets and baton rounds.

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Sunday, June 16. Photo: Kong Tsung-gan/HKFP.

The senior officers said many had sympathies with those protesting peacefully, adding that police helped facilitate multiple mass rallies and had no say over policy.

“This whole situation has been created by the government through their mishandling of the extradition law,” one officer fumed.

“But I also recognise that there are many wider issues that haven’t been solved,” he said, citing inequality, spiralling property prices and youth disaffection.

“I think we also have to recognise there is also a small, hardcore element who just want to have a go at police and despise China.”

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Hong Kong’s anti-extradition protests: why Chinese media reports focus on Britain’s colonial past https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/07/17/hong-kongs-anti-extradition-protests-chinese-media-reports-focus-britains-colonial-past/ Tue, 16 Jul 2019 23:50:57 +0000 https://www.hongkongfp.com/?p=213931 By Qing Cao at Durham University Over recent weeks, mass protests against proposed changes to extradition law in Hong Kong have escalated into a major crisis. In the latest round of protests on July 14, tens of thousands took the streets. In the West, the media has reported this as a struggle for basic rights […]

The post Hong Kong’s anti-extradition protests: why Chinese media reports focus on Britain’s colonial past appeared first on Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Author: The Conversation.

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By Qing Cao at Durham University

Over recent weeks, mass protests against proposed changes to extradition law in Hong Kong have escalated into a major crisis. In the latest round of protests on July 14, tens of thousands took the streets.

In the West, the media has reported this as a struggle for basic rights and freedoms. In China, coverage has been limited as the protests are perceived to be negative. But in what restricted reporting that there has been, the perspective is very different from the West, and reflects deep-seated Chinese views about colonial interference in Hong Kong.

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Photo: May James.

On July 3, the Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, held a rare press conference on Hong Kong’s protests. In reply to a reporter’s question, he remarked that “for some in the UK, Hong Kong is still a colony under the British rule … some politicians live in a colonial fantasy”. The comment resonated strongly in the Chinese media which sees the British response to the protest as the latest episode of post-colonial meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs.

The fact that protesters stormed Hong Kong’s legislature on July 1, the anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong’s sovereignty from the UK to China, was crucial to the reaction. The violence on the day, and the British response, were intolerable to China, touching on a history China tries to forget – what’s known as “a century of humiliation” that began in the 1839 Opium War.

For the Chinese media, Hong Kong’s protests are viewed largely through this historical lens of colonialism. For many Chinese people, Hong Kong is associated with the Nanjing Treaty, the first in a series of unequal treaties imposed by Western powers on China which ceded Hong Kong to Britain in 1842. The memory of this is ingrained in the Chinese national psyche through pervasive historiography and school textbooks.

In limited Chinese reports on Hong Kong protests, the ambassador’s response to the British government appears widely. Cankao Xiaoxi (Reference News) – China’s largest paper by circulation – ran with the headline: “British politician indulging in bygone colonial fantasy.” This colonial reference framed the current protests in the lens of historical injustice.

Hong Kong’s handover: then and now

The emotive language echoes the sentiments of Chinese media coverage back at the handover in 1997, something I’ve studied in my own research. The headline in China’s People Daily stated the handover was a “great event for the Chinese nation that will go down in the annals of history forever; the victory for the universal course of peace and justice”.

If anything is different from 1997, it’s the tone that has become more assertive in 2019. An editorial in the populist Huanqiu Shibao, or Global Times, said that the British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, had made a “toothless threat against China,” taunting that “nobody believes the UK will send its only aircraft carrier to China’s coast… this is not the 19th century when the Opium War broke out.”

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The 1997 Handover ceremony. File Photo: GovHK.

The current reporting contrasts with the more defensive stance 22 years ago when the Chinese media highlighted the Chinese Communist Party’s triumph in closing a chapter of colonialism by recovering Hong Kong’s sovereignty. But back in 1997, the media also sought to assure the world of China’s commitment to the “one country, two systems” model and that Hong Kong’s prosperity and lifestyle would be protected.

The current assertiveness reflects China’s growing confidence, and its ascent in power relative to the UK. In 1997, China’s GDP was only 62% of the UK’s, but in 2018 it is almost five times the size of the UK’s.

Accusation of foreign interference

The Chinese media blames foreign interference for the escalation of Hong Kong’s protests. The Chinese ambassador is reported to “have made strong representations to the British side” and to “have told them to stop interfering”. China is particularly sensitive to links between domestic unrest and foreign organisations, which are seen as a top security threat to its political stability.

Accusations of interference go hand-in-hand with mentions of British hypocrisy. China’s Xinhua News Agency quoted the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman saying “there had been no elections nor right to protest under the British rule”. Media reports highlighted how Hong Kong’s institutions have evolved into an effective style of government through elections of the chief executive and legislative council. This is often contrasted with how Hong Kong governors were appointed in London under British rule.

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Photo: HKFP/Tom Grundy.

Despite the diplomatic row, Anglo-Chinese relations are unlikely to suffer significantly. They have weathered stormy relations in the run-up to the 1997 handover and survived subsequent difficulties. Enough political will exists on both sides to maintain productive relations.

Perceptions over Hong Kong will remain wildly different in China and the UK for the foreseeable future. The real test, however, is not the perceptions that dictate the daily media coverage, but the wisdom of political leaders to manage real differences in underlying values, assumptions, and institutions.

These differences will only become more apparent. This is because China’s policy choices are increasingly being informed by its long tradition of centralised power and bureaucratic control. Solutions to these differences won’t be found in words of war amplified by the media, but in a deeper understanding of them amid the rise of China as an alternative world power.The Conversation


Qing Cao, Associate Professor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Durham University. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Hundreds of protesters gather at Sha Tin mall to demand accountability for violent clashes on Sunday https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/07/17/hundreds-protesters-gather-sha-tin-mall-demand-accountability-violent-clashes-sunday/ Tue, 16 Jul 2019 16:36:37 +0000 https://www.hongkongfp.com/?p=213947 Hundreds of protesters descended upon an upscale shopping mall in Sha Tin on Tuesday for the second night in a row, as they accused New Town Plaza’s management of assisting the riot police during clashes on Sunday. 22 people were hospitalised and over 40 arrested as violence erupted between police and protesters at the mall on […]

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Hundreds of protesters descended upon an upscale shopping mall in Sha Tin on Tuesday for the second night in a row, as they accused New Town Plaza’s management of assisting the riot police during clashes on Sunday.

22 people were hospitalised and over 40 arrested as violence erupted between police and protesters at the mall on Sunday evening. The clashes took place after a peaceful anti-extradition law rally in the afternoon, which saw thousands take to the streets.

A spokesperson from the mall’s owner Sun Hung Kai Properties said that they did not call the police on Sunday, and had “no prior knowledge of the police operation” clear protesters from its premises.

sha tin july 16 new town plaza protest

Photo: Apple Daily.

However, many local residents and protesters have refused to accept Sun Hung Kai’s response, and have been demanding answers from the company’s top brass for two nights in a row.

sha tin july 16 new town plaza protest

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

On Monday evening, the New Town Plaza customer service desk was surrounded by a crowd of around a hundred, but on Tuesday the turnout was closer to a several hundred.

sha tin july 16 new town plaza protest

Photo: Apple Daily.

Protesters chanted “Sun Hung Kai, explain” and “shame on Sun Hung Kai for selling out Hongkongers.” Some accused the mall of shutting off the air-conditioning, but a staff member at the desk denied doing so.

Several staff members said they were unwell and were escorted out by paramedics. A group of protesters later moved to the mall’s control room on the first floor and waited outside its entrance.

sha tin july 16 new town plaza protest

Photo: StandNews.

“The real estate management didn’t [fulfil] its duty to protect the patrons,” a local resident – who did not wish to be named – told HKFP. “Whenever I’m shopping here, or just passing by, they have a responsibility to protect our safety.”

“I’m a Sha Tin resident for over 40 years… this is my community, I would say what happened on Sunday night was shocking.”

sha tin july 16 new town plaza protest

Photo: StandNews.

After Sun Hung Kai staff left the customer service desk, protesters spread out over the mall and put up ad-hoc “Lennon Wall” message boards. Some messages accused the mall operator of being in league with the police, and promised to come to the mall every day until Sun Hung Kai responds.

sha tin july 16 new town plaza protest

Photo: Apple Daily.

On Monday evening, police officers were also spotted at the mall as they gathered evidence, including CCTV footage.

sha tin july 16 new town plaza protest

Photo: Apple Daily.

In a statement to HKFP, the mall operator said it “deeply regrets that the incident had caused a number of injuries in the shopping mall, as well as the inconvenience caused to customers, visitors and tenants.”

sha tin july 16 new town plaza protest

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Sun Hung Kai added that the government lease of New Town Plaza required that a number of public passageways – including those leading to the MTR station and the bus terminus – to be kept open around the clock.

sha tin july 16 new town plaza protest

Photo: StandNews.

The now-suspended extradition bill would allow the city to handle case-by-case fugitive transfers to jurisdictions with no prior arrangements, including China. Critics have said residents would be at risk of extradition to the mainland, which lacks human rights protections. Large-scale demonstrations have rocked the city since June, and have evolved into protests over democracy, alleged police brutality and other community grievances.

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Donald Trump says he wants a review of Google’s ties to China https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/07/17/donald-trump-says-wants-review-googles-ties-china/ Tue, 16 Jul 2019 16:35:54 +0000 https://www.hongkongfp.com/?p=213969 President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants his administration to “take a look” into whether Google has been working with the Chinese government — an allegation swiftly denied by the US internet giant. Trump echoed an unsubstantiated remark from tech billionaire Peter Thiel that Google had been working with China’s government or military establishment. “Billionaire Tech […]

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President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants his administration to “take a look” into whether Google has been working with the Chinese government — an allegation swiftly denied by the US internet giant.

Trump echoed an unsubstantiated remark from tech billionaire Peter Thiel that Google had been working with China’s government or military establishment.

“Billionaire Tech Investor Peter Thiel believes Google should be investigated for treason,” Trump said in a tweet. “A great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone! The Trump Administration will take a look!”

Google said the allegations were baseless and questioned the motives of Thiel, a longtime Trump supporter who is on the board of tech rival Facebook.

“As we have said before, we do not work with the Chinese military, ” Google said in a statement to AFP.

Google pulled its search engine from China in 2010 to protest efforts by Beijing to censor its search results. It recently began researching a modified version of its search engine for China but said it had no plans to deploy it.

Google beijing

Google’s office in Beijing, China. Photo: Wikicommons.

Trump has assailed Google on several occasions, claiming “bias” against him and his supporters.

Earlier this year, he criticized the tech giant for withdrawing from the bidding from a large Pentagon computing contract, but later softened his tone after meeting Google chief executive Sundar Pichai.

Google has limited business operations in China, but one report this year said one of its scientists participated in a research project that could have both civilian and military applications.

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3 more anti-extradition law protests planned for this week, with Hong Kong’s social workers and elderly community set to mobilise https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/07/16/3-anti-extradition-law-protests-planned-week-hong-kongs-social-workers-elderly-community-set-mobilise/ Tue, 16 Jul 2019 09:40:33 +0000 https://www.hongkongfp.com/?p=213900 More demonstrations have been planned against Hong Kong’s anti-extradition law, as the government resists pressure to submit to the movement’s demands. On Wednesday, a group of elderly people are set to march from Chater Garden in Central to the government headquarters in Admiralty at 5pm. Participants have been urged to white shirts and black pants. […]

The post 3 more anti-extradition law protests planned for this week, with Hong Kong’s social workers and elderly community set to mobilise appeared first on Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Author: Kris Cheng.

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More demonstrations have been planned against Hong Kong’s anti-extradition law, as the government resists pressure to submit to the movement’s demands.

On Wednesday, a group of elderly people are set to march from Chater Garden in Central to the government headquarters in Admiralty at 5pm. Participants have been urged to white shirts and black pants.

elderly protest

Photo: inmediahk.net

Ms Yeung, who applied for a police letter of no objection for the protest, said it was self-organised. She said she wanted to show support for young protesters.

“Those young people were very brave. They were willing to do something for what they wanted to achieve, even though they may have to pay a price for it,” she said, referring to young protesters being arrested. “We have to give support and encouragement.”

Protesters are calling for a complete withdrawal of the bill, the withdrawal of the “riot” characterisation of the June 12 protests, the unconditional release of all arrested protesters, the formation of an independent commission of inquiry into police behaviour, as well as universal suffrage.

Social workers mobilise 

More demonstrations are planned for the weekend. Social worker groups will march in silence from Wu Chung House in Wan Chai to the chief executive’s office on Sunday morning at 11am. Participants have been asked to wear black and write protest messages on beach balls.

They said they will march in silent in protest of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who has not been responding to public demands.

On Sunday, the Civil Human Rights Front – which previously mobilised millions of protesters – is set to convene for a rally in Admiralty. It has applied for police permission, but has yet to receive a letter of no objection.

民陣將於7月21日發起集會,針對獨立調查委員會,徹查警方多番濫暴,並重申五大訴求:設立獨立調查委員會平反暴動定性撤回送中惡法撤銷檢控示威者林鄭下台 雙真普選詳情如下:日期:2019年7月21日(日)時間:19:30-21:00地點:金鐘,有待申請不反對通知書

Posted by 民間人權陣線 Civil Human Rights Front on Thursday, 11 July 2019

After a discussion with the police on Tuesday, convener Jimmy Sham said they had urged the Front to postpone the march to August because of public security concerns, but they refused. Sham said the Front’s march will begin in Causeway Bay and end in Central or Admiralty. They are set to meet police again soon to discuss plans.

14 july sha tin china extradition (21) flag

Sunday’s rally in Sha Tin. Photo: May James.

The extradition bill would allow the city to handle case-by-case fugitive transfers to jurisdictions with no prior arrangements, including China. Critics have said residents would be at risk of extradition to the mainland, which lacks human rights protections. Large-scale demonstrations have rocked the city since June, and have evolved into protests over democracy, alleged police brutality and other community grievances. Chief Executive Carrie Lam declared the bill “dead” last week, but did not enact any mechanism to withdraw it, or agree to other demands.

The post 3 more anti-extradition law protests planned for this week, with Hong Kong’s social workers and elderly community set to mobilise appeared first on Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Author: Kris Cheng.

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