HONG KONG — Three prominent young leaders of Hong Kong’s democracy movement were sentenced Thursday to six to eight months in prison, a severe setback for the semiautonomous Chinese city in its struggle for greater political freedom under Communist Party rule. Joshua Wong, the face of huge street demonstrations in 2014 for freer elections of Hong Kong’s leader, was sentenced to six months in prison. Two fellow protest leaders, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, were given eight and seven months, respectively. The sentences risked casting the three young men as Hong Kong’s first prisoners of conscience, undermining the city’s reputation as a haven of civil liberties with special status in China. Originally sentenced to community service and a suspended jail term , the three activists were given the prison sentences by an appeals court after the Beijing-backed local government successfully pushed for harsher punishments. By law, the prison terms left them ineligible for public office for … [Read more...] about Joshua Wong and 2 Others Jailed in Hong Kong Over Pro-Democracy Protest
Hong kong under british rule democracy
HONG KONG — Nearly three years after sweeping pro-democracy protests filled the streets of Hong Kong, a local court delivered the struggling movement a severe blow on Friday, removing four legislators from office and assuring China greater influence over the city’s government. The pro-democracy lawmakers were dismissed from the Hong Kong Legislative Council because they had used unacceptable words or even dubious tones in taking oaths of office that require declarations of loyalty to China. The ruling means that democracy advocates in the semiautonomous city’s legislature will no longer have enough votes to block legislation from their pro-Beijing counterparts. “Voters entrusted us with the task of monitoring the government,” said Leung Kwok-hung, one of those unseated. “We’ve lost that power.” Hong Kong has been rattled by episodes that have raised fears that China is reaching deeper into the city to enforce its will. A bookseller who sold lurid titles about China’s leaders … [Read more...] about Ruling Threatens Hong Kong’s Independence From China
HONG KONG — It was a classic scene from the Chinese Communist Party’s repertoire: A high-ranking official descended on the home of a poor, patriotic worker, bearing gifts and wishes for a happy National Day, receiving declarations of gratitude and loyalty in return. But the visit this month did not take place in a hardscrabble village in mainland China, where officials often make such scripted trips to show their bond with the masses. It played out in Hong Kong , the semiautonomous territory where such overt displays by the Communist Party apparatus were once rare. The much-publicized meeting carried a clear message, made all the more potent since China imposed a new national security law in Hong Kong this summer. The days of the central government exercising its will behind the scenes are over. Now, it will rule Hong Kong increasingly in the open. “Hong Kong’s responsibility to the nation should be emphasized more than ever,” Luo Huining, Beijing’s top official in … [Read more...] about In Hong Kong, Communist Party Officials Stride Out of the Shadows
BEIJING — The Chinese government seemed confident that its allies would prevail in the Hong Kong elections on Sunday. For a week, commentators wrote brassy pieces saying the Hong Kong public would go to the polls to “end social chaos and violence,” a vote against what they saw as rogues and radicals. Editors at state-run news outlets prepared stories that predicted withering losses for the protest movement. When it became clear early Monday that democracy advocates in the semiautonomous territory had won in a landslide, Beijing turned silent. The news media, for the most part, did not even report the election results. And Chinese officials directed their ire at a familiar foe: the United States. The sudden pivot reflects the ruling Communist Party’s continuing struggle to understand one of its worst political crises in decades. At various moments in the monthslong protests in Hong Kong, Beijing has been caught off guard, forced to recalibrate its propaganda machine. After … [Read more...] about Beijing Was Confident Its Hong Kong Allies Would Win. After the Election, It Went Silent.
HONG KONG — After nearly three months of protests that have rocked Hong Kong, the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, made a key concession on Wednesday in announcing her intention to formally withdraw a deeply unpopular extradition bill. But experts say the move, which comes after a weekend of violent clashes between protesters and the police, is unlikely to fully quell the demonstrations. Since the demonstrations began in June, protesters’ demands have morphed into a broader movement calling for fundamental political reforms and an independent inquiry into police conduct. Here is a look at Mrs. Lam’s action and its possible impact on a city roiled by protests. What did Carrie Lam do? In announcing her decision to withdraw a contentious bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, Mrs. Lam was trying to placate Hong Kongers concerned about being subject to China’s opaque legal system, which is controlled by the ruling Communist Party. Mrs. Lam announced … [Read more...] about Hong Kong’s Leader Partly Relents. Will the Protests Continue?
HONG KONG — In quiet negotiations as well as public protests, they have pleaded and demanded for nearly two decades that Beijing allow Hong Kong ’s leader to be elected by the general public. But in a dramatic vote on Thursday, pro-democracy lawmakers here rejected a bill that could have been their last best chance to achieve that goal. In doing so, they redrew the battle lines in the struggle over Hong Kong’s future and may have ushered in a more volatile era in the city’s politics. The measure that failed would have allowed the public to elect Hong Kong’s next chief executive in 2017 from a slate of two or three candidates nominated by a committee controlled by China ’s ruling Communist Party. But in a twist that speaks to the awkward politics of a freewheeling former British colony ruled since 1997 by an authoritarian government in Beijing — as well as a last-minute parliamentary blunder by allies of the Chinese leadership — the bill won only eight votes in the city’s … [Read more...] about Hong Kong Legislature Rejects Beijing-Backed Election Plan
Hong Kong police have made their first arrests under a new national security law, after issuing warnings to pro-democracy protesters who had gathered at a shopping centre on Wednesday. Mass detentions followed on a range of suspected offences as protests continued into the evening, which involved clashes between demonstrators and police. The protests and unrest come on the 23rd anniversary of the city's handover from the UK to China. Updating arrest figures several times, the security forces said on social media that by late evening they had made "around 370 arrests". Earlier police said those detained were held on various charges, from unlawful assembly to violation of the national security law. Ten people were arrested in connection with the new measure, they said. The European Union has reiterated its "grave concerns about this law", following earlier criticism from EU leaders and human rights groups. The British government has said it intends to give Hong Kong … [Read more...] about Hong Kong: ‘Hundreds’ arrested amid protests and clashes on first day under new security law
London’s mayor on Thursday sent a message of support to Hong Kong residents fleeing China’s crackdown on democracy to seek new live in the United Kingdom saying his office will spend 900,000 pounds ($1.2 million) to help new arrivals with housing, education and finding jobs. Mayor Sadiq Khan said London is expected to welcome the largest proportion of arrivals from Hong Kong to the U.K. this year, after Britain’s government introduced a new immigration pathway for those with a British National Overseas passport to live and work in the country. The government estimates that about 123,000 to 153,000 people will take up the visa this year. The visa, which allows those eligible to apply for British citizenship after living in the U.K. for five years, was introduced last year after Beijing imposed a sweeping new national security law in Hong Kong. The law has prompted an exodus of many young people and families who say their hometown has been transformed beyond … [Read more...] about London mayor sends message of support to Hong Kong emigres
On a cloudy day last month, thousands of soldiers massed on a beach in central Taiwan for the culmination of five days of exercises intended to demonstrate how the island’s military would repel an invasion from China. Jets, helicopters and artillery and missile batteries fired live ammunition at targets offshore, sending plumes of sea spray into the air. Then, a few hours later, a military helicopter taking part in the same exercise crashed at an airfield farther up the coast, killing two pilots and casting a shadow over the show of force. China’s growing aggression across Asia in recent months has created fears that it may make brash moves in Taiwan, the South China Sea or elsewhere. The ruling Communist Party’s recent crackdown on dissent and activism in Hong Kong, a former British colony that has long been a bastion of democratic values, has added to those concerns. Beijing’s posturing has forced Taiwan, an island of 24 million, to re-examine with new urgency whether it is … [Read more...] about With a Wary Eye on China, Taiwan Moves to Revamp Its Military