Politics

Politics

New port regulations around the world

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Eurus Yiu、Mereen SantiradEdited by: Nicole Ko、Moon Lam
  • 2020-02-07

Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced today (February 3) that four ports, including Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau, Huanggang and Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal, would be closed from 0:00 tomorrow to reduce the flow of people. WHO declared an outbreak of the new coronavirus as a "Global health emergency", but it did not recommend any restrictions on travelling to China or on trading with it. Despite this, some countries are offering travel restrictions, to prevent the epidemic from heating up or out of control. According to the data of the National Health Commision by the end of February 2, China has identified 17205 confirmed cases, 21558 suspected cases, including 15 cases from Hong Kong. Number of deaths has climbed to 361. The virus does not only spread in the mainland, but also in 23 other countries with 283 cases confirmed. Hong Kong 9 out of 13 ports in Hong Kong will be suspended at midnight. Three ports including the airport, Shenzhen Bay Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge will be opened and Kai Tak cruise terminal. The United States On January 30, the new coronavirus has been listed as a US public health emergency, imposing travel restrictions and issuing a mandatory quarantine. Foreign travellers from China in the past two weeks (except for immediate family members of US citizens and permanent residents) are banned from entering the US. In addition, US citizens who have stayed in Hubei province within the past 14 days need to be screened, and subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days. Citizens who depart from other chinese cities and return to the US will be diverted to eight designated airports for health screening procedures. Australia Effected from February 1, all persons travelling to Australia from mainland China are required to be quarantined for 14 days (except Australian citizens, Australian …

Politics

University student dies after falling from a high place near police operations

A 22-year-old student from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has died this morning. The student, Chow Tsz-lok, who fell from a high place five days ago in Tseung Kwan O and had multiple surgeries was eventually declared dead this morning. This is widely perceived as the first death in direct relation to the anti-government protests in Hong Kong, which has entered its fifth month with no sign of stopping. HKUST students marched from the campus piazza to the the school president’s residence after a memorial session at 1 PM. "Demand for Wei Shyy to condemn police violence," the students chanted as they marched. Mr. Shyy's front porch was then vandalised and filled with protest posters, while a few other restaurants on campus that have relations with the pro-Beijing company Maxim's have also been targeted and graffitied with slogans. At 6 PM in the evening, another memorial section with a higher turnout was held at the atrium of HKUST. Reverend Chu Yiu-ming sang "Amazing Grace" with a mini choir and prayed for the deceased student who has been Christian since a young age. "Although he is gone, his faith and courage will live on and shine a light into everyone’s heart," said Reverend Chu in a moving speech as many amongst the crowd shed tears. The night of mourning concluded peacefully as students sang along to a quiet piano version of "Glory to Hong Kong" and laid down piles of white flowers under candlelight. However, the death of Chow is seen by many as a sign that the conflicts will continue to escalate.

Politics

Issuing telescopic batons to off-duty police officers sparks concern

Throughout the course of the Hong Kong protests, police have been accused of using brutality tactics against protesters. What started out as a peaceful march towards the extradition bill gradually became a greater fight for democracy and investigation against police violence. A typical weekend of protests usually involves riot police with guns, batons and shields. Protesters may turn to using bricks, long sticks, metal pole and petrol bombs as weapons. Due to the escalation of protesters' violence and in the interest of operational efficiency, a new legislation that allows telescopic batons to be issued to off-duty officers from September 11 onwards has caused another ripple in this turbulent society. Chen, a 20-year-old university student who works part-time in the catering business, said he is "quite afraid" upon hearing the news.  The young man, who did not wish to disclose his full identity due to fears of authorities finding out, has shown strong doubt towards the decision made by the police force. "I will not define myself as a protester because I didn't join the protest very often. I have only participated in two rallies. However, I still feel scared," he said. Mr. Chen's occupation requires him to work till night and he only reaches back home around midnight. At the night of protest, he often sees police officers patrolling around the bus stop located somewhere in New Territories searching for protesters.  "Although I have not been checked by those officers ever, I still want to protect myself from being arrested, I will always leave some signs that I just left from my work place, in case riot police checks on me," he added. Chief Superintendent John Tse Chun-chung of the Police Public Relations Branch announced at a press conference on September 10 that numbers of telescopic batons will be specially …

Politics

Rallying international resonance: Hong Kong-Catalonia solidarity assembly

Protesters gathered at Central tonight, waving Catalonia flags to rally in support of freedom and democracy in Catalonia, after some of Catalan leaders, such as former foreign minister Raül Romeva was put behind bars for calling for independence.  Catalonia is a semi-autonomous region in the north-east of Spain. The region has about 7.5 million people, with their own flag, language, parliament and anthem. Region stirred up constitutional crisis when the people demanded independence from Spain. The Hong Kong-Catalonia Solidarity Assembly started at 7 pm in Chater Garden tonight. Videos of police brutality and interviews of Catalan protesters are shown in the event. People brought along Catalonia flags with different banners and signs.  The organizing committee announced three demands, which include calling for peaceful response to protests from Spanish government, condemning brutal force by Spanish police against protesters and quelling any imprisonment for one’s political beliefs. There were heated debates online about joining the Assembly, fearing such action would jeopardize the passing of  Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and weaken America's support to the city. It's because the US is supporting Spain’s government in the Catalonia independence dispute. On the other hand, people think that supporting solidarity does not equal to support independence on the popular online forum LIHKG.  Waving the yellow-red-striped flag is Mr. Chan, 23, who was wearing a mask in the rally is ignoring the mask ban. He believes that supporting Catalonia is showing sympathy as the Catalan protesters are being ripped off of their freedom and democracy, same as what has happened in Hong Kong.  "When we asked for international communities to stand with us, we also have the responsibilities to rally support for those people being oppressed," said the masked student. "Prison is not a solution." A woman from Australia who was identified as …

Politics

Mass rally in London to call for second Brexit referendum

LONDON - Marchers in London celebrated on Saturday after the British parliament voted in favour of withholding approval of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit plan.  Organisers of the rally, People's Vote, want a second referendum on Brexit. They claimed up to a million people joined the march. Protesters assembled on Park Lane at noon and walked to Westminster, where the Parliament is located. They waved European Union flags, carried signs and banners which read "Together for the Final Say", and shouted "Boris out!" during the march. Anger poured out in Britain when Mr. Johnson announced a Brexit plan last week, in which Northern Ireland would remain in the European single market for trade purposes but leave the customs union. That would mean Northern Ireland would become Britain's entry point into the European Union’s customs zone. Britain would need to stick to EU regulations on agrifood and industrial products, which some believe will cause huge economic damage to Britain.  "A no-deal Brexit will influence day-to-day food, medication and people's daily life in the UK," said Savannah Louie, a protester in the march. Another protester, Marnn, who came from Ireland with her husband, said, "If it [Brexit] happens, we will need to leave the UK and go back to our own country." Petts, Marnn's husband, said he would feel "desperately disappointed" if Boris Johnson's deal is passed in Parliament. Countries currently in the European Union do not share single borders with those outside the union. Whether or not there will be a hard border between Britain and Ireland has been a main point of contention in the Brexit debate. Britain's major opposition Labour Party, is against Mr. Johnson's latest deal. They want to put the country’s decision to leave the European Union to a public vote.  Rosie Rawie, aged 28, a member …

Politics

Overseas Hong Kong students defend their identity in times of protests

On her way out of the classroom, Sara, a sophomore from Hong Kong majoring in journalism at Emerson College in Boston, was asked by one of her American classmates if she was from China.  "No!" Sara flatly refuted, "I'd be offended if people said I was from China."  Given the recent tension in Hong Kong, Sara did not want to disclose her full name. Sara first became aware of her cultural identity as a Hongkonger when she was involved in the Umbrella Movement, a three-month occupation of a downtown area in Hong Kong back in 2014,  to call for universal suffrage.  Describing herself as a Hongkonger would makes Sara proud. It gives her a sense of belonging to her home city.  On her Facebook page,  most of her posts are about protests in Hong Kong.  "I'd say I'm from Hong Kong and they [her classmates] can ask me about what's going on [there]," Sara said.  She believes this is her way of contributing to her beloved city when she tells people on campus in Boston about what protesters in Hong Kong are facing. It’s her way of expressing her cultural identity. Frances Hui Wing-ting, another student from Hong Kong at Emerson College, wrote an article "I am from Hong Kong, not China" for the university newspaper.  It went viral.   "'I am from Hong Kong' has a special meaning. It means we value democracy and human rights,"  Frances explained.  In the article, Frances said it upset her to see the name of her home city listed as "Hong Kong, China" in the university's exchange programme document. She accused the university of not sufficiently "cognizant" and "knowledgeable" about Hong Kong. "It's very offensive to ignore one's identity," Ms. Hui said. She has been organising marches and assemblies in support of the anti-extradition bill …

Politics

In a leaderless movement, Hong Kong's student activists face local and international threats

In August, Zoey Leung, 19, got her first threatening phone call.  The anonymous caller accused her of being "a rioter who has ruined Hong Kong" and she was warned to "bear the consequences". Ms Leung, vice president of Hong Kong Baptist University student union and active in the ongoing pro-democracy protests, said that other student leaders got the same phone call.  Next, insulting leaflets written in abusive language that specifically targeted Ms Leung were posted all over her neighbourhood in Sai Kung district. The flyers used similar language to the phone call. Ms Leung is worried about her and her family’s safety. It also ruined her family’s relationship with their neighbours, she said. "I think I am an easy target," Ms Leung said. "There are people who would like the movement to stop because they think I am one of the leaders." Other student leaders have reported attacks. Davin Wong, the acting president of the University of Hong Kong Student Union, resigned from his post and fled the city after being attacked by masked men in Wan Chai at a bus stop on Aug. 30, he said in his resignation letter.  And in early September, the acting president of Hong Kong Polytechnic’s student union was struck in the face during an on-campus protest.  "Those thugs are threatening, and they use violence to hit us and scold us, doing whatever they like," Ms. Leung said. Ms Leung said she thinks she was followed by police in June, just after local university students held a press conference to announce a general strike.  HKBU student union president, Keith Fong, who was arrested for alleged possession of an offensive weapon, said he thought he was also being followed before his first arrest.  Local media outlet FactWire, published a report showing CCTV footage of five …

Politics

Tens of thousands commemorate the Umbrella Revolution anniversary days ahead of China National Day

Tens of thousands gathered on Saturday night at Tamar Park in Admiralty where the police fired tear gas five years ago, which triggered the Umbrella Revolution. Amidst the anti-extradition protests that are taking this city by storm, commemorating the day that started Hong Kong's struggle for political reform and autonomy holds more significance than previous years. "We will not announce the success of the protest until the five demands are fully achieved," the convener of the Civil Human Rights Front, Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit said on stage. "We should keep on fighting for our rights and genuine 'Dual Universal Suffrage'."  The Umbrella Revolution — an 81 days long protest — occurred in 2014 when people became unsatisfied with the Standing Committee's decision on electoral reform regarding future elections of Chief Executive and Legislative Council. Citizens took to the streets to express their anger but was met by tear gas and police crackdowns. Protesters then occupied multiple crucial urban areas and brought the city to a standstill in hopes of getting genuine 'Universal Suffrage'.  Though their objective eventually did not succeed, many believe that the political awakening this city had experienced five years ago gave rise to the current wave of mass social movements. Fresh memories from the ongoing anti-extradition protests and sentiments for the Umbrella Revolution combined to create a synergy that filled Tamar Park with black-clad demonstrators of all ages and walks of life. "The Umbrella Revolution and the anti-extradition bill protest have both taught us the importance of standing together hand in hand," said Ms. Chan, an elder lady who is in her sixties and supports the protests. She declined to provide her full name and was observing aside peacefully. Concerned about being arrested by the police, she decided to dress in other colors instead of black.  Ms. Chan calls the current protests …

Politics

Carrie Lam meets public in first community dialogue, but fails to quell dissent

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Carol Mang、RonaldFanEdited by: Stephanie Ma、Maisy Mok、William Tsui
  • 2019-09-26

Hong Kong's embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor held her first Community Dialogue Session on Thursday night at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai, meeting over 130 randomly picked citizens from some 20,000 applications. The public dialogue was among one of the four initiatives Lam had announced earlier on September 4 to alleviate public discontent sparked by a now-withdrawn extradition bill, as anti-government protests reach its 16th week. The two-hour session kicked off at 7pm amid heavy police presence, while hundreds of black-clad protesters gathered outside the venue -  forming human chains, holding placards and chanting slogans such as "Stand with Hong Kong, fight for freedom". Participants were banned from bringing umbrellas, gas masks or helmets - the trademark protective gear commonly used by anti-government protesters in Hong Kong's summer of discontent.  "The unrest was sparked by the government's decision to amend the bill. Therefore, this should be our biggest responsibility to initiate a direct dialogue. This is not a PR show. We want to find solutions to initiate change for the betterment of our society," said Lam in her opening remarks. The launch of an independent inquiry to investigate into the police's use of force has been at the centre of the discussion, while multiple speakers also raised concerns about allegations of police violation of human rights when detaining protestors in San Uk Ling Holding Centre. At least three participants have shown their support to Hong Kong's "One Country, Two Systems", but some said have already lost trust in the police force. "Hong Kong independence is not feasible in One Country, two systems," said Carrie Lam. She added that the five demands cannot be fulfilled as some of them violate the bottomline of "One Country, Two Systems".  A few participants don't think the dialogue session would have much …

Politics

Seeking solutions to the current impasse, Chief Executive Carrie Lam holds community dialogue

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Carol Mang、RonaldFanEdited by: Stephanie Ma、Maisy Mok、William Tsui
  • 2019-09-26

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor held her first Community Dialogue Session at 7 p.m.today at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai, meeting 150 randomly picked citizens from over 20,000 applications. [22:35] In an announcement on their official website, the police "warns protestors in the vicinity of Queen Elizabeth Stadium to stop illegal acts". They also urged the public to stay clear of that area and said that the protestors have "blocked the entrance of Queen Elizabeth Stadium, preventing certain participants of an event from leaving". [21:37] Protestors have set up barricades on Queen's Road East at the back door of Queen Elizabeth Stadium. [21:30] The dialogue has ended. The host reminded participants that they can leave their contacts for an "in-depth dialogue session" while some participants chanted "five demands, not one less". [21:20] Dozens of Riot police are heading towards Oi Kwan Road under a protesting crowd chanting "gangsters" as they passed by. [21:15] From a women who believes this to be a political performance: "I am afraid that you have missed the best timing for a dialogue. 1 million demonstrators, 2 million demonstrators, Lennon Walls everywhere, human chains, class boycotts, strikes, shops boycotts, MTR boycotts — all this is public opinion, but it feels as if you don't know that all this happened." [21:06] From a Secondary 6 student: "How have you felt, while the rest of us suffer from sleepless nights? More than a thousand arrested and 9 who took their own lives, yet you only care about broken MTR machines. Every time when something happens, you only know how to say 'condemn'." [20:55] A women in a burgundy blouse makes an appeal to young people: No matter success or failure, the future is yours. So when you fight for what you want with your …