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Archive for the ‘Hong kong’ Category

Statement From Shen Yun Performing Arts Regarding Sold-out Shows Canceled in Hong Kong

Posted by Author on January 25, 2010


Jan. 24, 2010-

STATEMENT FROM SHEN YUN PERFORMING ARTS

RE: SHEN YUN FORCED TO CANCEL HONG KONG SHOWS

NEW YORK, January 24, 2010 – Shen Yun Performing Arts regrets to inform that seven sold out shows in Hong Kong have been cancelled due to Hong Kong authorities’ last-minute denial of entry visas to several of our key production staff.

The shows were scheduled to play at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts’ Lyric Theatre January 27-31. But on January 21, the Hong Kong Immigration Department refused to give seven of our company’s core production team members entry visas. The reason given by Hong Kong immigration is that these production jobs could be filled locally.

However, as had been clearly explained to Hong Kong authorities, these production members are an integral part of Shen Yun. Our production staff are highly trained in Shen Yun’s specific artistic requirements, which are exceptionally technical and detailed. They cannot be replaced and the show cannot go on without them.

Although the visas were applied for on October 13, 2009, the denials came only three days before our departure. As Hong Kong authorities refused to change their decision after repeated requests, we have been forced to cancel the shows.

Shen Yun Performing Arts is a New York-based company that held its first tour season in 2007. Our mission is to revive China’s artistic traditions and spiritual heritage that thrived before decades of suppression. Our shows have been warmly embraced by millions of audience members of diverse backgrounds.

At the heart of our production is classical Chinese dance, along with vocalists, a live orchestra that combines Chinese and Western instruments, and colorful hand-made costumes. Our dances portray traditional legends like that of Mulan or Yue Fei, as well as events in present-day China, such as the story of Falun Gong. By artistically depicting these stories on stage, we aim to breathe new life into the spiritual essence and values of China’s divinely inspired culture.

The Chinese communist regime has been seeking to interfere with our performances for years by trying to pressure officials and theaters to cancel our shows.

We regret that the Hong Kong people are denied their right to see Shen Yun Performing Arts and understand that this incident constitutes a violation of Hong Kong people’s freedom. We hope the people of Hong Kong who treasure their freedom will urge the Hong Kong government to undo this mistake.

We are grateful to the thousands of Hong Kong people who were looking forward to seeing our performance. We look forward to returning to Hong Kong for shows on an even larger scale soon.

– Original from Shen Yun Performing Arts

Posted in all Hot Topic, Artists, Asia, Business, China, Chinese Culture, Company, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Hong kong, Human Rights, Incident, Life, Music, News, People, Politics, Shen Yun show, shows, USA, World | 3 Comments »

Seven Sold Out Chinese Shows Canceled in Hong Kong

Posted by Author on January 24, 2010


By Wu Xue’er & Matthew Robertson, Epoch Times Staff, Jan. 24, 2010-

Shen Yun Performing Arts, warmly received in more than 100 cities worldwide so far, is effectively being denied entry by the Hong Kong authorities just days before seven sold-out shows were to begin.

Shen Yun performs traditional Chinese dance and music—so traditional that it is not welcome by the communist regime in mainland China.

Shen Yun has been canceled in Hong Kong, local organizers announced at noon on Jan. 23, citing the refusal of Hong Kong authorities to issue visas to seven key production staff. The 7,000 residents of this world financial center who held tickets to the much-anticipated premier of Shen Yun will have to wait.

Six days before the show’s debut on Jan. 27, Hong Kong’s Immigration Department informed the company that seven production staff would be denied entry. Later, one of the staff members was given oral permission to enter after the organizing team made repeated entreaties for a re-evaluation.

Visa Trouble, or Political Interference?

Ostensibly the visas were canceled because, according to the authorities, it was not necessary to bring in expatriate staff to fill the roles. Hong Kong public figures have criticized the decision, claiming that it was actually a result of political pressure from Beijing.

Shen Yun’s artists include practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice banned and persecuted in China, and its performances include artistic representations of Chinese citizens standing up to end the persecution. Supporters say the sensitivity of the subject for mainland Chinese authorities is behind the refusal.

Although presenters applied for the visas on Oct. 13, 2009, the denials came only a week before the opening show. Hon. Albert Ho Chun-yan, legislative council member and chairman of the Democratic Party (Hong Kong), believes the last minute denials were intentional and politically motivated.

According to Ho, the Immigration Department may be acting under pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to prevent Shen Yun from performing in Hong Kong. Ho suspects that the authorities’ strategy was to stall the visa approval process for as long as possible and then deny the visas of key staff.

A press release from Shen Yun Performing Arts says they had “clearly explained” to Hong Kong authorities that the production members were an integral part of the show.

“Our production staff are highly trained in Shen Yun’s specific artistic requirements, which are exceptionally technical and detailed. They cannot be replaced and the show cannot go on without them,” the release said. The positions included lighting, sound effects, and a backdrop technician……. (more details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in Asia, Business, China, Chinese Culture, Company, Culture, Dance, Event, Hong kong, News, Politics, Shen Yun show, Social, USA, World | Comments Off on Seven Sold Out Chinese Shows Canceled in Hong Kong

Visa Refusal of Arts Company Staff by Hong Kong Worrys Locals and Warns the World

Posted by Author on January 24, 2010


The issue of refusal of visas by Hong Kong authorities to 6 production staff of New York based Shen Yun performing Arts company, which caused the company’s show canceled, deepens local people’s fear of losing their freedom so quickly, and warns international societies of  doing business in Hong Kong.

The Epoch Times reported that, Hong Kong’s Immigration Department informed the show’s organizers on Jan. 21, 6 days before the opening of the show, that six production staff for the show would be denied entry, saying they could be replaced by Hong Kong local workers.

A spokesperson for the show organizers, Kan Hung Cheung, remarked that the six production staff played irreplaceable roles in the performance, including lighting, sound effects and technical backdrop. “A complete staff is essential to any performing arts group. This is just common sense,” Mr. Cheung said.

Hong Kong public figures have criticized the decision, claiming that it was a result of political pressure from Beijing- Shen Yun’s artists include practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice banned and persecuted in China.

Hon. Albert Ho Chun-yan, chairman of the Democratic Party (Hong Kong) and legislative council member, condemned Hong Kong authorities for what he believed was their following Beijing’s orders to suppress freedom of expression in Hong Kong. He demanded an explanation for how it would be possible for the show to find replacements in Hong Kong within ten days, but the Immigration Department did not respond.

“Hong Kong has suffered too much suppression on political, cultural, and media issues in the past decade or so”, said by Democratic Party’s former Sai Kung District council member Lam Wing-Yin. “All these will eventually make Hong Kong deteriorate to become one of China’s regular cities.”

The above report shows, international societies have to face a fact that doing business in Hong Kong- like the US-based the Shen Yun Performing Arts does, may get political repression under different names, and cause business failure as a result.

The show, produced by Shen Yun Performing Arts, a leading classical Chinese arts company, has traveled to over 20 countries, 100 cities around the world in past years, and been seen live by million people.

Then what’s the show about? what does people around the world say about the show? Following videos can give an answer.

HD Video: Highlight of Shen Yun show 2010

HD Video: Feedback from audience around the world about the Shen Yun show

Posted in all Hot Topic, Asia, Business, China, Chinese Culture, Company, Culture, Event, Freedom of Speech, Hong kong, Human Rights, News, Politics, Shen Yun show, Social, World | 1 Comment »

US Arts Company’s Chinese Shows in Hong Kong Cancelled Due to Visa Refusal to Key Production Staff

Posted by Author on January 24, 2010


By Xu Haiqing, Epoch Times Staff, Jan. 24, 2010-

HONG KONGShen Yun‘s performances in Hong Kong will be cancelled this year, local organizers announced at noon on Jan. 23, citing the refusal of Hong Kong authorities to issue visas to six key production staff.

Hong Kong public figures have criticized the decision, claiming that it was a result of political pressure from Beijing. Shen Yun’s artists include practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice banned and persecuted in China, and its performances include artistic representations of Chinese citizens standing up to end the persecution in China.

Six days before the show’s debut, scheduled on Jan. 27, Hong Kong’s Immigration Department informed the company that seven production staff would be denied entry, saying they could be replaced by Hong Kong local workers. Later, one of the staff members was granted entry after the presenter made repeated entreaties for a reevaluation.

Kan Hung Cheung, a spokesperson for the organizers, remarked that four of the six production staff played irreplaceable roles in the performance, including lighting, sound effects, technical backdrop. Their roles were specified in the visa application, he said.

“A complete staff is essential to any performing arts group. This is just common sense,” Mr. Cheung said. “It is obvious that the Immigration Department denied their entry because Beijing wants to interfere with the show.”

The show’s organizers, the Hong Kong Falun Dafa Association, and local bureaux of New Tang Dynasty Television and The Epoch Times, said that the Hong Kong government must “bear the consequences” of the decision. “Unfortunately the Hong Kong government has chosen to cooperate with the Chinese Communist Party to stop the show,” Mr. Cheung said. “We strongly protest this.”

Hon. Albert Ho Chun-yan, chairman of the Democratic Party (Hong Kong) and legislative council member, condemned Hong Kong authorities for what he believed was their following Beijing’s orders to suppress freedom of expression in Hong Kong. He demanded an explanation for how it would be possible for the show to find replacements in Hong Kong within ten days, but the Immigration Department did not respond.

District Council Members Voice Indignation

Some of the council members in different districts of Hong Kong have already bought Shen Yun tickets and were looking forward to the show, they said.

Hong Kong’s Wong Tai Sin District Council member Chui Pak-Tai condemned the Hong Kong government along the same lines as Albert Ho. “The Hong Kong government is so incompetent,” he said. “They have shamed Hong Kong. Their dirty tricks are just appalling.”

The Democratic Party’s former Sai Kung District council member Lam Wing-Yin said he was concerned over Hong Kong’s independence from China as shown in the apparent political interference in this case.

“China promised that Hong Kong would remain unchanged for 50 years,” he said, referring to the 1997 pact between Britain and China when Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule, which stipulated that Hong Kong would remain under the British system of governance for 50 years. “Nothing in our life here should have changed, including our freedom, culture and art,” Lam said. “Exactly because of this we can demonstrate that China is making progress and opening up, and Hong Kong can continue to be a unique place in the world.

“But unfortunately over the past decade or so, Hong Kong has suffered too much suppression on political, cultural, and media issues,” he said. “All these will eventually make Hong Kong deteriorate to become one of China’s regular cities.” He said that Hong Kong people expect China to show progress through preserving Hong Kong’s democracy, freedom and human rights.

Senior Journalist Expresses Concern

Well-known senior journalist Ching Cheong said the Hong Kong government’s actions were unfortunate. “Hong Kong has been a place where legal entrance and exits are protected, and we Hong Kong people should cherish such freedom,” said Ching, who was jailed for over three years in China for “revealing state secrets” to Taiwan. “I do not want to see such freedom being interfered with by political forces,” he said.

Mr. Cheong urged Hong Kong citizens to pay attention to the incident.

Read the original Chinese articles .

– Original: The Epochtimes

Related:
Six Shen Yun Production Staff Denied Visas to Hong Kong 6 Days Before the Show’s Openning

Posted in all Hot Topic, China, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Hong kong, Music, News, Politics, shows, USA, World | Comments Off on US Arts Company’s Chinese Shows in Hong Kong Cancelled Due to Visa Refusal to Key Production Staff

Six Shen Yun Production Staff Denied Visas to Hong Kong 6 Days Before the Show’s Openning

Posted by Author on January 22, 2010


By Wu Xue’er, Epoch Times Staff, Jan. 22, 2010-

HONG KONG— Six key production staff of Shen Yun Performing Arts were denied entry visas into Hong Kong six days before the show is scheduled to debut in the Chinese autonomous region on Jan. 27. Organizers of the performance are requesting a reevaluation of the visa refusals by the Immigration Department of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Shen Yun, a New York-based performing arts group, was invited by the Hong Kong Falun Dafa Association, and local bureaux of New Tang Dynasty Television and The Epoch Times, to give seven performances from Jan. 27 to Jan. 31 in Hong Kong. According to the presenting organizations, tickets for all seven shows were sold out within the first week of sales. Shen Yun is known for depicting the traditional Chinese culture that was suppressed during the Cultural Revolution, as well as messages of hope about ending the persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that has been suppressed in China since 1999.

On Jan. 22, the Immigration Department denied entry visas for seven of the 96 artists and staff on account of alleged incompatibility with Hong Kong labor laws. After multiple requests from the presenters, the Immigration Department granted a visa for one additional artist, leaving the company short of six production staff.

Albert Ho Chun-yan, a lawyer working with the presenters to seek visa reevaluations, said that the Immigration Department knew that it would be impossible for Shen Yun to perform without the six production staff. The individuals in question have worked with the group for many years, and handle highly specialized technical duties as well as coordinate the entire company. Ho, also chairman of the Hong Kong Democratic Party, says that it would be impossible to find local replacements that are qualified.

“These production staff have accompanied the performing group to various countries for performances. They are an indispensable part of the performing group,” he said.

Reason for the Visa Denials

Although presenters applied for the visas back on Oct. 13, the denials came only a week before the opening show. Given the late decision, there is no time to file a lawsuit. Ho believes the last minute denials were intentional and politically motivated.

According to Ho, the Immigration Department may be acting under pressure from the Chinese Communist Party to prevent Shen Yun from performing in Hong Kong. Ho suspects that the authorities’ strategy was to stall the visa approval process for as long as possible and then deny the visas of key staff.

“I believe this was a political decision made by the higher ups from the beginning,” Ho said. “It could be interference from the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office or Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”

“Any organization related to Falun Gong will encounter many troubles when trying to hold an event, and anything can happen. Hong Kong is catastrophic [in this regard] and the Immigration Department is one of the disaster areas, a complete failure of the one country, two systems,” Ho added.

The presenters attempted to meet with the director, assistant director, or assistant commissioner of the Immigration Department, but haven’t received responses. They said that they are not giving up and plan to rally for international support……. (more details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Hong kong, Incident, Life, Music, News, Politics, Shen Yun show, shows, Social, World | Comments Off on Six Shen Yun Production Staff Denied Visas to Hong Kong 6 Days Before the Show’s Openning

Cross-border rail protests heighten Hong Kong- China tensions

Posted by Author on January 7, 2010


DPA, via earthtimes.org, Jan. 7, 2010 –

Hong Kong – In a protest likely to heighten political tensions with Beijing, thousands of Hong Kong activists are expected to join a demonstration against a cross-border rail link. Opponents of the proposed 8.6-billion-US-dollar high-speed rail link are calling on 10,000 people to surround Hong Kong’s legislature Friday when politicians vote on whether to approve funding.

The protest comes days after an estimated 30,000 people took part in a pro-democracy march in Hong Kong that ended in scuffles between police and activists outside the Beijing Liaison Office.

A prominent pro-Beijing politician said the Chinese leadership had “lost trust” in Hong Kong following the march and said it would make China less likely to allow the city full democracy.

Friday’s protest, similar in style to the 1999 protest in which around 10,000 Falun Gong supporters surrounded the Chinese leadership complex in Zhongnanhai, is likely to further raise tensions.

Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed leader Donald Tsang was recently told by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to better handle “deep-rooted conflicts” in the city of 7 million – seen as a reference to political unrest.

The construction of the 26-kilometre rail link, the world’s most expensive stretch of railway per kilometre according to critics, has polarized opinions in the wealthy city. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Hong kong, Life, News, People, Politics, Social, transport, World | Comments Off on Cross-border rail protests heighten Hong Kong- China tensions

First day of 2010: Thousands march in Hong Kong for democracy and jailed China writer

Posted by Author on January 1, 2010


By Polly Hui (AFP), Jan. 1, 2009-

HONG KONG — Thousands of Hong Kong democracy campaigners took to the streets on the first day of the new year Friday to call for universal suffrage and the release of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Chanting slogans and holding placards, protesters marched through the city centre to the Central Government Liaison Office — responsible for ties with Beijing — watched over by hundreds of police officers and attracting the attention of big crowds of bystanders.

Organisers said there were as many as 30,000 protesters, although the police gave an estimate of only 4,600 people.

More than 100 activists scuffled with the officers outside the Liaison Office around 1100 GMT, or four hours after the march started, as the rest of the procession dispersed peacefully.

“I don’t want fake democracy. I want genuine universal suffrage,” Lee Cheuk-yan, lawmaker and general secretary of the Confederation of Trade Unions, chanted through a loudspeaker.

The Hong Kong government last month unveiled a proposal to increase the sizes of both the legislature and the committee responsible for electing the city’s chief executive.

But the plan fell short of the expectations of pro-democracy politicians, who have urged the government to introduce universal suffrage in 2012.

Beijing has indicated that the vote “may be implemented for the Chief Executive in 2017 and the Legislative Council in 2020”.

“The large turnout today has sent the strongest signal to Beijing that we need a clear road map for universal suffrage,” Wong Yuk-man, another lawmaker and a leader of the League of Social Democrats, told AFP.

Protesters also urged Chinese authorities to release Liu Xiaobo, who was sentenced by a Beijing court a week ago to 11 years in prison for subversion, prompting strong condemnation from the international community, including the United States, the European Union and Canada.

The 54-year-old writer, previously jailed over the 1989 Tiananmen protests, was detained a year ago after co-authoring Charter 08, a bold manifesto calling for reform of China’s one-party communist system and protection of human rights.

Olivia Hu, a mainland student studying journalism in Hong Kong, said she felt it was her duty to join the march after learning about the ordeal of Liu from Hong Kong media.

“People on the mainland do not know what is happening. Had they gained access to the information we have in Hong Kong, I believe they would have felt the same as we do here,” she said.

Political commentator Ivan Choi noted that the finishing point of the march was different from previous major democracy protests, which usually ended at the Hong Kong government headquarters.

“The change indicates a shift of target from the local government to the Chinese government. This will heighten tension between the campaigners and Beijing,” Choi told broadcaster ATV.

Hong Kong, with a population of seven million, was returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and has a separate constitution guaranteeing freedoms not available to Chinese on the mainland, including the freedom to protest.

AFP

Posted in Asia, China, Hong kong, Law, News, Politics, Protest, Social, World | Comments Off on First day of 2010: Thousands march in Hong Kong for democracy and jailed China writer

China’s Export of Censorship (2)

Posted by Author on October 12, 2009


by Christopher Walker and Sarah Cook, Far Eastern Economic Review, October 12, 2009-

<< Previous

More insidious has been an indirect form of economic intimidation, whereby publications, event organizers or governments engage in self-censorship on topics deemed sensitive to the mainland, a dynamic some have dubbed “pre-emptive kowtowing.” Given their small size, proximity and relationship to the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan are particularly vulnerable to this phenomenon.

This June, the Hong Kong edition of Esquire magazine, published by South China Media, pulled a feature story by journalist Daisy Chu on the Tiananmen Square massacre slated to run on the 20th anniversary. In 2008, a prominent legal journal in Hong Kong made a last-minute decision not to publish an article on Tibetan self-determination. A blackout on independent coverage of the Falun Gong is believed to be practiced among certain Hong Kong and Taiwanese outlets whose owners have close ties to Beijing or significant business interests on the mainland.

As China’s economic clout and role on the global stage grows, it will inevitably exert greater influence beyond its borders. However, the issue is not whether China—which features one the world’s least hospitable environments for free expression—will project influence but what shape this growing power will take. The CCP plans, for instance, to spend billions of dollars on expanding its overseas media operations in a potentially massive show of “soft power.” But whether this enormous investment will simply project the deeply illiberal values that characterize China’s domestic media scene to a wider playing field is a question advocates of free expression should seriously ponder.

This critical question, so far, does not provide an encouraging answer.

China’s attempts to insinuate itself into Taiwan’s media sector, and Beijing’s ongoing efforts to limit the vitality of Hong Kong’s media, are among the examples of this phenomenon in Asia. The CCP has recently demonstrated its willingness to suppress open expression in Germany and Australia. The United States is not immune to this pressure. The Dalai Lama will be waiting a bit longer for his meeting with President Obama.

The Chinese government’s position at the vanguard of efforts to monitor and filter Internet content, using its wealth and technical acumen to devise methods to limit the free and independent flow of information online, also has serious transnational implications for free expression. China effectively serves as an incubator for new media suppression; authoritarian governments around the world carefully watch China’s censorship techniques and learn from its innovations.

The community of democratic states must acknowledge the Chinese government’s growing media ambitions and efforts to censor beyond its borders. Acquiescence in this challenge will only embolden the Chinese authorities.

Christopher Walker is director of studies and Sarah Cook is an Asia researcher at Freedom House.

<< Previous

Original report

Posted in Asia, censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Hong kong, Human Rights, Media, News, Politics, Press freedom, Speech, Taiwan, Trade, World | Tagged: , | Comments Off on China’s Export of Censorship (2)

China official newspaper’s Journalist Publicly Quits Communist Party

Posted by Author on August 25, 2009


By Lin Yi, Epoch Times Staff,  Aug 24, 2009 –

HONG KONG—Qiu Mingwei, a former journalist for the Chinese communist regime’s propaganda news paper, The People’s Daily, who fled to Hong Kong last month, announced in a press conference on August 23 that he quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations, making him the first working employee of an organization affiliated with the regime’s Central Propaganda Department to quit the CCP using his real name.

Mr. Qiu worked as the Deputy Chief of the “People’s Forum” of People’s Daily, the main mouthpiece of the CCP. He traveled to Hong Kong in late June to attend the International Federation of Journalists’ conference, and during his stay he was photographed participating in Hong Kong’s July 1 march, an annual rally supporting democracy and human rights. He fled the mainland to Hong Kong on July 30.

Many media turned out at the press conference when Mr. Qiu made his public announcement, “While working for People’s Daily, I had already used the platform in the office to visit the Epoch Times’ Quit the CCP Service Center website and I had already quit the CCP once. After coming to Hong Kong, I quit it again online. Today, I’m making a public announcement to sever all ties with the CCP, including the Young Pioneers, the Youth League, and the Party.”

“I have been working for People’s Daily for many years. Even I could not find any improvement in human rights in China. They did not keep their promises, and the human rights condition is getting worse.”

Qiu stated that he faced a series of retaliations after returning to Beijing. His boss told him that the Daily was going to revoke his journalist license and fire him. His phone was wiretapped and his apartment was searched by authorities. He was not free to move around and was charged with the crime of collaborating with the enemy.
In addition, he was forced to sign his name on a piece of blank paper, to which anyone can add any statements later and use it as an official declaration when faced with questions from the international community.

Qiu revealed the CCP’s extensive penetration in overseas countries, “The CCP sent out culture spies to penetrate overseas Chinese media and websites, attacking and framing dissidents, including media workers, like us in China, who promote democracy movements.”

Qiu said that someone from higher-up told him that the political persecution against him happened because he had done some investigations on the persecution of Falun Gong and helped some Falun Gong practitioners. “He said, ‘I had conducted some negative investigations that were related to land embezzlement, Falun Gong, and local party officials’ corruption.’ I was also told that these problems were not important. However, my investigation of Falun Gong was not a positive thing for me.”

Qiu said that he later realized, “It’s absolutely not just because I joined the Hong Kong July 1 march. It’s absolutely not just because I attended those meetings in Hong Kong or because I met with some dissidents. It’s because I dared to help Falun Gong practitioners. That’s why this is happening today. They are trying to settle new and old scores with me.”

Qiu said that he had personally witnessed the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners. He once saw a woman being chased by an official who intercepted appellants, and the woman was drowned after falling into a river. He said, “I was not the only one who saw it. Many appellants saw it happen. We were all shocked when we saw it. I asked the other appellants why they were so cruel to an appellant. An appellant told me that the woman was a Falun Gong practitioner.”

The Epochtimes

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Hong Kong worlds apart from China

Posted by Author on July 1, 2009


By Paul Wiseman, USA TODAY, 7/1/2009 –

HONG KONG — Tourists who board the Star Ferry in Hong Kong are treated to two unusual sights: the city’s famed skyline — and the demonstrators who regularly gather at the Kowloon pier to accuse the Chinese government of torture and murder.

Anywhere else in China, the protests by the spiritual group Falun Gong would be unthinkable.

In Hong Kong, they’re routine — and a sign that, exactly 12 years after China took control of the port city, life here remains very different from that on the mainland.

When the British relinquished control of Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, doomsayers predicted the worst: The government in Beijing would crush political dissent, corrupt the courts and wreck the thriving free-market economy. Fortune magazine predicted “the death of Hong Kong.” In the book Red Flag Over Hong Kong, three academics, applying computer models, forecast “a turbulent future” for the city: The Peoples Liberation Army would seize control of Hong Kong companies and shut down protests.

Yet, China has mostly left Hong Kong alone — treating it by a special, if not perfectly democratic, set of rules. In one of the most dramatic recent affirmations of the city’s unique status, at least 108,000 people filled Victoria Park last month to protest the 20th anniversary of the Chinese government’s crackdown in Tiananmen Square, according to a count by Hong Kong University.

Members of Falun Gong, whose activities are banned in China, are left alone by authorities here. Books, magazines and newspapers are free to criticize the government in Beijing.

“Civil liberties are not much of a problem,” says attorney Martin Lee, a retired Hong Kong lawmaker and longtime leader of the territory’s pro-democracy movement.

Michael DeGolyer, director of the Hong Kong Transition Project, which studies attitudes about the hand-over, says the Chinese government hasn’t interfered with Hong Kong because it believes it can learn from the city’s vibrant economy. Mainland port cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen “can’t really replace Hong Kong, especially for its finance industry and global managerial capabilities and connections,” he says.

Recent experience has suggested that democratic freedoms can’t be separated from economic growth and other issues. DeGolyer says that in the earthquake that devastated China’s Sichuan province last year, schools built by Hong Kong companies largely survived while those built by local provincial governments collapsed.

“So many provincial folks were asking: ‘What was Hong Kong doing that made this possible?’ ” says DeGolyer, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Even with its liberties, Hong Kong is far from being a democracy. The city’s chief executive, Donald Tsang, is chosen by an 800-member committee dominated by business leaders loyal to Beijing.

Half the members of the 60-person Legislative Council are directly elected. Legislators can’t even introduce their own bills without written permission from the chief executive. In effect, they can vote only on Tsang administration proposals.

“Legislators can’t do anything,” says “Long Hair” Leung Kwok Heung, a political gadfly who has been elected twice to the Legislative Council.

The Chinese government rejected pleas to introduce direct elections in 2012 but said it possibly would allow Hong Kong to vote for its chief executive in 2017 and the legislature in 2020.

“Hong Kong is quite a strange city,” Leung says. “People do enjoy some freedom, but the political structure, the social structure, the economic structure are dictated by a privileged few.”

USA TODAY

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Hong Kong carries the flame for Tiananmen Massacre

Posted by Author on June 6, 2009


By Paul Lin 林保華, The Taipei Times, Taiwan, Saturday, Jun 06, 2009-

Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. For 20 years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has created a mass of lies about what happened and has used China’s economic development to cover up its murderous acts.

Self-styled anti-communist President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has said he has been deeply moved by the CCP’s progress. In stark contrast, the people of Hong Kong have been staging a protest on the Sunday before June 4 each year; this year they also held a candlelight vigil on June 4, which was attended by tens of thousands of people in Victoria Park.

Sunday’s demonstration saw the biggest turnout since 1992, which means that it was the largest since handover. But there was more to the protest than the 20th anniversary of the massacre: Recent actions of the CCP and the Hong Kong government also set off anti-CCP feelings among Hong Kong residents.

First, the CCP has been trying to establish a second power base in Hong Kong to intervene directly in government affairs because it is unsatisfied with the administration’s insistence that “Hong Kong people rule Hong Kong.”

Second, on the eve of Tiananmen Square Massacre memorial services, Chief Executive Donald Tsang (曾蔭權) — under pressure from Beijing — tried to use China’s economic development to gloss over the murderous acts of the CCP, claiming that this represented the opinion of the people of Hong Kong. Tsang immediately apologized, but his comments caused an uproar.

Third, early last month, Hong Kong University Students’ Union chairman Ayo Chan (陳一諤) said at a forum on the Tiananmen Square Massacre that China should rehabilitate the June 4 movement. But he added that the suppression could have been avoided if students had dispersed before the crackdown. Chan also described Beijing’s bloody actions as being “slightly problematic” and said Beijing should not be blamed. As a result, students at the university organized a referendum to recall Chan.

Fourth, during the live talk show City Forum on Radio Television Hong Kong late last month, Stanley Lui (呂智偉), the convener of the Hong Kong Youth Development Network, said the early part of the student movement was patriotic. But he said that when Lee Cheuk-yan (李卓人), vice chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, brought donations from Hong Kong to Beijing, the movement changed in character. This reference to support for China’s democratic movement in Hong Kong as a “cash transfer” incensed Hong Kong’s democrats.

As many as 61.2 percent of Hong Kongers now think that the Tiananmen student movement should be rehabilitated, an increase of 12 percentage points compared with last year and the highest figure since 1997.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China and the pro-democracy camp consist of moderates and radicals, with the moderates being the mainstream. Although the factions quarrel and pro-China media and politicians take the opportunity to discredit them, they unite at crucial times to stop pro-China lawmakers from changing legislative procedures. They also stage joint protests, because they know who the common enemy is.

The people of Hong Kong are pragmatic and do nothing that strays too far from their goals. Their support for China’s democracy movement is a sincere contribution; they avoid attacking one another in order to make best use of limited resources. They stand up when the values they believe in are in crisis. They did so six years ago when China forced through its National Security Law, and they are doing so now as the truth of the Tiananmen Square Massacre struggles to be heard.

Paul Lin is a political commentator.

The Taipei Times

Posted in Asia, Beijing, China, Hong kong, Human Rights, June 4, News, People, politician, Politics, Social, Special day, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on Hong Kong carries the flame for Tiananmen Massacre

Media Watchdog Fears China’s Control on Swine Flu Reporting

Posted by Author on May 7, 2009


By Lin Yi, Epoch Times Staff,  May 6, 2009 –

The Chinese regime’s media control machine has imposed a restriction on reports about swine flu (H1N1) cases, drawing criticism from media watchdog, International Federation of Journalists (China and Hong Kong).

Ms. Serenade Woo, project coordinator of the federation, said the regime is requesting all media follow its official reports—using the excuse of avoiding a mass panic. Woo said it is a repeat of the SARS coverup in 2003.

“The SARS outbreak in 2003 was a painful lesson, because the government delayed releasing the news by suppressing the information. [As a result,] more people were infected and the delay of the information caused many deaths and unnecessary panic,” Woo said.

The public will miss out on timely alerts if information is blocked, said Woo, questioning the regime’s excuse of avoiding a public panic.

“The question is, when you release the information, is the information released with all possible means, in an honest way? If the situation is not clear, let people understand, because the public is not stupid.”

Recently, media in Guangzhou were warned by officials for reporting a suspected swine flu case.

Woo criticized the regime’s use of media as a propaganda tool and said she feared some Hong Kong media were now being influenced by the Chinese Communist Party.

The Epochtimes

Posted in Asia, censorship, China, disaster, Hong kong, Human Rights, Journalist, Media, News, People, Plague, Politics, Press freedom, World | Comments Off on Media Watchdog Fears China’s Control on Swine Flu Reporting

Hong Kong students urge China to “rectify” June 4 stance

Posted by Author on April 18, 2009


Reuters, Fri Apr 17, 2009 –

HONG KONG, April 17 (Reuters) – A poll of Hong Kong students has found China should be held accountable for its military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in and around Beijing’s Tiananamen Square in 1989 in which hundreds were killed.

Ahead of the key 20th anniversary of the crackdown on June 4th, the University of Hong Kong held a three-day campus-wide referendum on whether China should “rectify” its verdict that the June 4 protests were counter-revolutionary and be held accountable for the event it described as a “massacre”.

Only 19 percent of the roughly 10,000 undergraduate student body cast votes in the poll that ended on Thursday, but 93 percent of them supported the move, the university’s student union said.

The student union called the result a “momentous landmark” after recent signs of indifference and on-campus tensions in Hong Kong between democratic-minded students and conservative elements wanting to tone down the criticism of Beijing, particularly among students from mainland China.

“Twenty years on from Tiananmen, the students of the University of Hong Kong have not forgotten,” it said in a statement.

The demonstrations that drew more than a million people on to Beijing’s streets are now a fading memory, and the killings are still taboo in mainland Chinese media.

The formerly British-ruled Hong Kong has remained the only city on Chinese soil where annual June 4 vigils, remembrances and protests are tolerated.

Jenny Ngai, the union’s acting external affairs secretary, said that while the turnout rate was “not great”, the vote sent a strong signal to society that Hong Kong’s students, unlike those silenced by authorities on the mainland, would continue to speak out.

Reuters

Posted in Beijing, China, Hong kong, Human Rights, June 4, News, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Student, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on Hong Kong students urge China to “rectify” June 4 stance

Former Lawmaker: “Shen Yun’s magnificent performance” Would Be a Blessing for Hong Kong

Posted by Author on March 25, 2009


By Billy Shyu, Epoch Times Staff, Mar 22, 2009-

HSINCHU, Taiwan
— The New York-based Shen Yun (Divine) Performing Arts International Company successfully concluded its last show in Hsinchu on the evening of March 22. Mr. Tai Cheuk-Yin, former Member of Hong Kong Legislative Council, flew all the way from Hong Kong to Taiwan to see Shen Yun and said that he was lucky to see the show in Hsinchu.

“Shen Yun’s magnificent performance reminded us of China’s prosperity in the Tang Dynasty and the tribulations people nowadays are suffering in China. What’s more important is that it inspired us to think about our future, and how to pass down the 5,000-year-old Chinese culture.

“In fact, each piece of the program is unique, from the opening act depicting the divinely bestowed culture [The Five Millennia Begin], to the Tibetan folk dance [Dance of the Snow-Capped Mountain] performed later. Every act was embedded with different meanings and implications. Every program was really wonderful, and every dancer’s performance was at an international standard.”

Mr. Tai also mentioned that Shen Yun had broadened his horizons. He added, “I really admire them, and I really benefitted by coming here.”

As an overseas Chinese who values Chinese history very much, Mr. Tai praised Shen Yun highly, saying, “It is indeed very remarkable to interpret the 5,000-year-old traditional culture so well in such a short period of time.

“People in China nowadays and those who have moved overseas should see the show presented by Shen Yun, so they are able to carefully ponder their future. I felt it [the Shen Yun show] conveyed many important messages, which deserve to be considered, so that people can better plan their future.

“If Hong Kong people have the opportunity to see this wonderful show, it would a blessing for them. They would be able to gain enlightenment from it, and their inner world would be more peaceful. I felt that they [Hong Kong people] have many choices,” he continued. In addition, he said that as a resident of Hong Kong, he looked forward to the time when Shen Yun would perform there.

As to his flying thousands of miles from Hong Kong to see this magnificent show, Mr. Tai said, “I have benefited tremendously from it. The entire show conveys strong messages. If more people were able to enjoy this wonderful performance, I think it would be great. As a matter of fact, this is something that needs our concerted efforts. Let’s look forward to it together.”

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Shen Yun Performing Arts 2009 World Tour. For more information please visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org

Posted in Asia, China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Hong kong, intellectual, Life, News, People, Taiwan, World | Comments Off on Former Lawmaker: “Shen Yun’s magnificent performance” Would Be a Blessing for Hong Kong

China bird flu effort in question after new cases

Posted by Author on March 16, 2009


AFP, Mar.14, 2009-

HONG KONG (AFP) — A probe into an outbreak of bird flu at a Hong Kong chicken farm and carcasses popping up in city waters have raised questions over whether the H5N1 virus is going undetected in southern China.

The report released this month said wild birds were the most likely carriers of the virus that broke out in December on a farm close to the territory’s border with the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, prompting the culling of 90,000 chickens.

While the authors could not say for certain where in Asia the wild bird may have contracted H5N1, the report said the specific version of the virus was the same as that “currently circulating among poultry in southern China”.

The report came days after two dead chickens with H5N1 were found floating in the sea off Hong Kong, the latest of more than a dozen chickens, ducks and other birds to wash up along the city’s coastline since the start of year.

“From the various investigations we have done (the washed-up carcasses) are most likely drifting down from the Pearl River,” Hong Kong’s health secretary York Chow said in early February.

Hong Kong sits at the southern tip of a Guangdong’s large Pearl River delta.

Malik Peiris, a virologist at Hong Kong University and one of the world’s leading bird flu researchers, said he agreed with Chow’s assessment.

“It is not really plausible that they came from Hong Kong,” he told AFP.

While Hong Kong has publicly confirmed 15 bird flu cases this year in addition to the December outbreak on the poultry farm, Guangdong has posted no bird flu findings since June 2008.

“Up to now we have no explanation as to why (bird carcasses have appeared), from the mainland authorities. This is a cause for concern,” said Lo Wing-lok, a member of Hong Kong’s government scientific committee on emerging diseases.

Peter Cordingley, the Asia-Pacific spokesman for the World Health Organisation, said the appearance of the dead birds was an issue of concern.

“From a public health point of view we are concerned about South China,” he said, adding that Hong Kong’s surveillance systems for outbreaks in humans and poultry was the “international gold standard”.

A spokesman for China’s health ministry declined to comment.

In early February, a grey heron was found dead in boggy water at the Mai Po nature reserve within sight of the border.

The heron tested positive for H5N1, the first at the reserve since testing began in 2003, shifting the focus onto the role of wild birds in the spread of the disease.

This was reinforced by the poultry outbreak investigation that found wild birds the “most likely” carrier.

But most experts believe wild birds cannot explain the prevalence of the disease in the region.

“The wild birds are more like canaries in a coal mine (for infected poultry),” said Martin Williams, a bird expert and environmental activist.

Peiris said that although the role of wild birds in the spread of the virus needed to be studied, intensive farming should be the main focus.

“Poultry production and the movement of poultry are probably far more important as the route of the maintenance and dissemination of these viruses,” said Peiris.

Scientists are concerned that poultry farms act as an ideal breeding ground for the virus to mutate as so many carriers are in close proximity.

H5N1 has killed more than 250 people worldwide since 2003 — and also led to the culling of millions of chickens — but scientists’ deepest fear is that a pandemic killing millions could be triggered if the virus mutated to become easily transferable between humans.

And so any outbreak must be reported quickly.

“Controlling the poultry outbreak, I would say, is the most important element in the overall control of H5N1,” said Lo.

While no H5N1 reports have come out of Guangdong this year, eight people elsewhere in the mainland are known to have caught the virus, and five of them have died.

Seven of the eight had known close contact with poultry, but despite extensive testing — praised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation — only one poultry outbreak has been found, in the northwestern province of Xinjiang.

“Human cases have become increasingly difficult not to report,” Lo said.

However “we always ask the question, when human cases are reported, where is the source of the infection?”

AFP

Posted in Asia, Bird flu, China, Health, Hong kong, Life, News, Social, South China, World | Comments Off on China bird flu effort in question after new cases

China: Return to outdated rules for Hong Kong and Macau journalists

Posted by Author on February 11, 2009


Reporters Without Borders, 6 February 2009 –

Reporters Without Borders
deplores the fact that the more relaxed regulations for the foreign press that were introduced for the Olympic Games will no longer apply to Hong Kong and Macau journalists visiting the mainland although they have been maintained for foreign journalists. The Chinese authorities have told the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) that reporters from Hong Kong and Macau must obtain a press card from an official body in order to work on the mainland and must request permission from the authorities before every trip into the interior, much as they did before the more new regulations took effect.

“Why are journalists from Hong Kong and Macau being treated less well than foreign journalists?” Reporters Without Borders asked. “It is inexplicable. We urge the Chinese authorities not to return to the past in this way, reversing one of the few positive effects of the Olympic Games.”

Reporters Without Borders has just published an evaluation of the human rights situation in China six months after inauguration of the Olympic Games on 8 August.

It was the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of China’s State Council that today announced that journalists from the two special administrative regions would no longer enjoy the freedoms that were introduced for the Olympic Games period. They will now have to obtain a press card from the All-China Journalists Association (the official union) before working on the mainland, and they will have to show the card before interviewing Chinese citizens. The will also have to notify the authorities before travelling.

According to the government news agency Xinhua, the new regulations state that: “Journalists from Hong Kong and Macau must abide by national laws and journalism ethics and should carry out coverage objectively and fairly.”

Mak Yin-ting, a journalist and former general secretary of the HKJA, said: “In principle, it is unfair. In practice, it will depend on the good will of the authorities. In either case, it is not normal that this should be worse than the Olympic regulations”. Tam Chi-keung, the HKJA’s current chairperson, told Reuters: “This is returning to the old ways … this cannot fulfil the actual needs of Hong Kong and Macao journalists.”

A Hong Kong journalist who often visits the mainland told Reporters Without Borders: “The impact on our work depends on the way the local authorities apply it. I fear that, as regards sensitive stories, this will prevent us from doing our reporting properly. There could be a restrictive attitude during this coming year, which is a sensitive one.” The Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) told Reporters Without Borders that, if confirmed, this decision would be very disturbing and contrary to the open attitude displayed by the Chinese authorities during and after the Olympic Games.

Reporters Without Borders

Posted in Beijing Olympics, China, Freedom of Speech, Hong kong, Human Rights, Journalist, Macao, Media, News, People, Politics, Press freedom, Sports, World | Comments Off on China: Return to outdated rules for Hong Kong and Macau journalists

Bird flu found at Hong Kong farm, 80,000 chickens to be killed

Posted by Author on December 10, 2008


AFP, Dec. 9, 2008-

HONG KONG (AFP) — More than 80,000 chickens will be slaughtered in Hong Kong after bird flu was found on a poultry farm, the first outbreak at a farm here in nearly six years, health authorities said Tuesday.

“We have discovered up to 60 dead chickens in that farm. After a series of tests we have confirmed this morning that the chickens did die from the H5 virus,” health secretary York Chow told reporters.

A health department spokeswoman said further tests were needed to determine if it was the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus, which has killed about 250 people worldwide since late 2003.

Chow said the outbreak was discovered after a dead chicken had been reported on Monday at the farm in the New Territories area of Hong Kong, near the border with China.

All chickens within a three-kilometre (1.9-mile) radius of the farm would be slaughtered, he said.

Chow said it was the first outbreak at a farm in Hong Kong since early 2003, and that he had raised the avian flu alert level in the city to “serious”.

Local farms would be barred from selling chickens and eggs for 21 days and imports of chickens would be banned for the same period, Chow said.

All live chickens at one of the city’s major wholesale markets, Cheung Sha Wan, would also be slaughtered.

The owner of the affected farm, surnamed Wong, told local broadcaster Cable TV that the chicken deaths had not been sudden.

“The chickens did not die in large numbers. They died one by one,” he said.

Hong Kong was the scene of the world’s first reported major H5N1 bird flu outbreak among humans in 1997, when six people died.

Infectious disease expert Lo Wing-lok said the outbreak could evolve into a crisis if the authorities failed to locate the source of the virus soon.

“It is a serious outbreak because we are not just talking about the death of one or two wild birds as happened over the last few years. The outbreak took place in a licensed farm and involved a much larger number of chickens,” Lo told AFP.

“The authorities must locate the root of the outbreak and watch out for possible human infection cases in the next couple of weeks. Otherwise, the outbreak can evolve into a crisis.”

Lo said the outbreak also brought the bird flu vaccine into question, as some of the infected chickens were vaccinated.

“This also makes us wonder whether the other vaccinated chickens in Hong Kong are also infected,” he said, adding that the virus might have already mutated……. (more details from AFP)

Posted in Bird flu, China, Health, Hong kong, Life, News, World | Comments Off on Bird flu found at Hong Kong farm, 80,000 chickens to be killed

China’s Fake Space Walk Astronauts Visit Hong Kong

Posted by Author on December 10, 2008


By Shi Yu & Zhang Haishan, Epoch Times Staff, Dec 9, 2008 –

It was supposed to be a trip to show off the Communist Party’s glory, but it only displayed its stupidity.

A delegation of 40, including the three astronauts on China’s faked historical space walk, arrived in Hong Kong for a four-day visit as part of the original plan on December 5. Because the live broadcast of the spacewalk has been heavily questioned as a prerecorded video taken in the training base, the visit kept a very low profile compared to previous visits of Shenzho 5 and 6 astronauts.

About two months ago, two major scandals about China’s historical space walk, the Shenzhou 7, were exposed. One day before spacecraft’s launch, Xinhua News, Beijing’s mouthpiece had reported the spacecraft making its thirtieth orbit… http://en.epochtimes.com/n2/china/fake-article-china-spacewalk-4920.html

Xinhua later apologized for the mistake. However the claimed live broadcast of China’s historic space walk caused even big jokes.  http://en.epochtimes.com/n2/china/shenzhou-vii-fake-spacewalk-5809.html

Internet surfers first discovered air bubbles in the “live-broadcast” footage released by China’s Central TV Station. These cannot exist in ultra high vacuum conditions such as outer space.

Like the regime’s faked girl’s singing and faked fantastic fire-walk in its Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, http://en.epochtimes.com/n2/opinion/beijing-olympics-fake-2796.html the Space walk’s credibility was also very questionable.

NASA Engineer Finds More Evidence

Dr. Qu Zheng, Senior Physics Engineer of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, analyzed the inconsistencies in the live video-feed. The questionable points include that earth’s atmosphere was not visible. A cloud suddenly changed in an obvious fashion, there was no background noise as in past conversations between the astronauts in the spacecraft and regime leader Hu Jintao on earth. The video showed the craft flying over the ocean while it was supposed to be over land according orbit calculations.

Since the Shenzhou 5 space craft launched in 2003, the CCP has always made arrangements for the astronauts to visit Hong Kong and Macau to show off it space technology and stir up nationalism. However, Beijing’s media lost their clamor due to the scandals, delaying the scheduled trip to Hong Kong from November to December.

Beijing’s reports on Shenzhou 7 also turned low key and the official honors ceremony ended hastily. Shenzhou 7’s national tour also kept an unusually low profile.

Promoting Pseudo-Science

On November 14, the day after the regime announced the Shenzhou 7 trip to Hong Kong, it was delayed. As a prelude to the visit, Wang Zhonggui, deputy director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, and Yu Dengyun, deputy director of the China Academy of Space Technology, came out to defend the authenticity of the space walk on different media. They even attempted to bend the laws of physics in front of thousands of viewers by arguing that it is possible to form air bubbles in an ultra high vacuum condition.

This is the regime’s first public defense after the scandal broke out over a month ago.

Read this article in the original Chinese: http://epochtimes.com/gb/8/12/6/n2354146.htm.

The Epochtimes

Posted in China, Hong kong, News, People, Politics, Technology, World | 2 Comments »

China, national security and a tale of two cities

Posted by Author on November 28, 2008


By Tom Mitchell in Hong Kong and Justine Lau in Macao, The Financial Times, November 26 2008 –

Macao and Hong Kong, China’s two special administrative regions, speak the same dialect, watch the same television programmes and are just an hour away from each other by ferry. But when it comes to politics, the two cities are a world apart.

Five years ago a debate over national security legislation mandated by article 23 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, rocked the territory’s political establishment. On Sunday in Macao, fewer than 100 people attended a rally against a similar law.

“It is always stressful to oppose the government in Macao because it is such a small place,” said Au Kam-san, a Macao legislator. “If your boss sees you march and doesn’t like it, you may lose your job.”

“I am not joining,” Ms Chan, a housewife, said as she walked past the demonstration. “I don’t really know anything about politics. I am happy as long as my husband and my two children have jobs and pay rises.”

In Hong Kong five years ago, opposition to article 23 legislation, a severe economic slump and the unpopularity of Hong Kong’s first Chinese chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, inspired more than 500,000 people to take to the streets in protest. It was the beginning of a period of political turmoil that forced the Hong Kong government to scrap the proposed national security measures and led to the resignations of Hong Kong’s security and finance chiefs. Mr Tung also stepped down two years later.

A stew of econ-omic and political grievance is bubbling up in Macao, however, posing a challenge to the government and its chief executive, Edmund Ho. Strains arising from rampant growth of the former Portuguese enclave’s gambling industry, the world’s largest, were already eroding popular support for Mr Ho before the economy began to turn.This month Las Vegas Sands made 11,000 people redundant after the casino operator suspended work on two construction sites.

That said, the situation remains much less explosive in Macao than it did in Hong Kong, in part because China looms a lot larger in tiny Macao.

China’s sovereign power laps at Macao’s own shores. Unlike Hong Kong, Macao does not have territorial waters and reclamation projects require special approval from Beijing. With a population of 550,000 and land area of just 29.2 sq km, the territory is so small that residents have a diminutive nickname for it: “Macao Street”. Hong Kong, by contrast, has a population of 7m spread across more than 1,100 sq km.

Hong Kong inherited a much more robust legal system and civil society from its former British colonial rulers than Macao did from Portugal, which never reasserted its authority after riots in December 1966 inspired by the Cultural Revolution. A full-scale invasion of Macao by Maoist red guards was averted only after the People’s Liberation Army mobilised to protect the then Portuguese enclave. Adding insult to injury, Macao’s colonial rulers were also forced to negotiate a humiliating truce with a pro-Beijing cabal of local labour leaders and businessmen known as the “committee of thirteen”.

Ronnie Tong, a barrister and Hong Kong legislator, got a taste of the claustrophobia on Macao Street when he travelled there on Saturday at the invitation of activists and students opposed to Mr Ho’s proposed national security laws. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, China, Event, Hong kong, Human Rights, Law, Life, Macao, News, People, Politics, Rally, Social, World | 1 Comment »

China’s second-richest person detained: state media

Posted by Author on November 24, 2008


AFP, Nov. 23, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — China’s second-richest person, who made his fortune building up the nation’s largest home appliance chain, has been detained on suspicion of market manipulation, state media reported on Monday.

Hong Kong-listed shares in Huang Guangyu’s company, Gome Electrical Appliances Holdings, were also suspended on Monday, according to a statement from the firm to the city’s stock exchange.

The shares were suspended “pending the release of an announcement in relation to price sensitive information”, the statement said.

This followed a report on the website of Chinese state-run finance magazine Caijing saying Huang had been detained and was under investigation on suspicion of market manipulation.

The magazine, which did not reveal its sources, said the detention took place Wednesday last week, and other Chinese media outlets carried the story.

With assets of 18.4 billion yuan (2.7 billion dollars), Huang was ranked as number two on a list of China’s richest people issued by US magazine Forbes in October.

An executive at Gome’s investor relations department contacted by AFP Monday morning said she was not aware of the reported case.

AFP

Posted in Business, Businessman, China, corruption, Economy, Hong kong, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on China’s second-richest person detained: state media

‘China is a threat to democracy’: former Hong Kong Governor

Posted by Author on November 24, 2008


By Vaudine England, BBC News, Hong Kong, Sunday, 23 November 2008-

The threat looming from China is not to do with cheap exports but the “dooming of democracy”, former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten has told the BBC.

Lord Patten said China promoted the idea that one could get rich without needing democracy – and such an idea posed a threat to the West.

He said regional bodies such as Asean should be strengthened so they could do more to tackle regional problems.

Lord Patten was mobbed by fans while in Hong Kong to promote his latest book.

The book, What’s Next? Surviving the Twenty-first Century, tries to assess where the challenges of the future will come from.

It discusses climate change, trafficking of people, guns and drugs and other aspects of the “dark side of globalisation”.

Most provocative in Asia will be his views on Burma, China and democracy, some of which have sparked anger among Asian governments in the past.

Despite interest in his book, the territory’s former governor remains a divisive figure…….. (more details from BBC News)

Posted in Asia, China, Hong kong, News, People, politician, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on ‘China is a threat to democracy’: former Hong Kong Governor

Taiwan Falun Gong Fights Back in Hong Kong

Posted by Author on November 4, 2008


Taiwanese Falun Gong members are taking on Hong Kong’s immigration department in the territory’s courts over alleged discrimination

By Celia Llopis-Jepsen, STAFF REPORTER, The Taipei Times, Taiwan, Sunday, Nov 02, 2008-

Human rights lawyer Theresa Chu (朱婉琪) has been blocked from entering Hong Kong four times since 2002 at “sensitive” times. Like other Taiwanese Falun Gong followers who have been pulled aside by immigration officers and put on a plane back home, each time Chu had valid travel documents. She was not told why Hong Kong had issued her a visa in advance of her trip yet was turning her back at Hong Kong International Airport. Once, she said, airport police even strapped her to a stretcher to transport her to her return flight.

But Chu has also entered Hong Kong dozens of times, most recently last month — to appear in court. She is one of a group of five Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners who have taken their grievances to court, accusing the territory’s immigration department of discriminating against them based on their religion. The case stems from an incident in February 2003, when some 80 Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners were turned back at Hong Kong International Airport by Hong Kong immigration on their way to a conference.

The complaint was filed more than five years ago against Lai Tung-kwok (黎棟國), then-director of the Immigration Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region. In September, the case reached the Court of Appeal of the High Court, where Chu and her fellow plaintiffs finally saw some signs of hope. The court demanded that the immigration department provide evidence supporting its claim that the five people in question posed a threat to national security.

The court is currently reviewing an affidavit submitted by the immigration department and there will be a final hearing on March 12 to March 13 next year. “According to the affidavit the Hong Kong government immigration department provided to the court, the papers and related computer records about the five Taiwanese Falun gong practitioners were destroyed in accordance with standard procedures on March 12, 2003,” said Chu, who is not allowed to show the affidavit or quote directly from it to a third party.

Chu’s tale is not unusual. In June 2007 a dozen Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners were blocked from entering Hong Kong. The movement was planning a demonstration on July 1, 2007, the 10th anniversary of the territory’s handover to China, and the Taiwanese intended to participate.

The US State Department expressed its concern about the June 2007 incident in a statement asking Hong Kong to “continue to uphold its high standards of personal and political freedom.”

In Taiwan, the Mainland Affairs Council and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications have looked into allegations that Hong Kong immigration authorities had asked Taiwanese airlines to block Falun Gong practitioners from boarding flights to Hong Kong ahead of the anniversary. Local airlines confirmed the allegations but emphasized they had not complied with the request.

Representatives of a Taiwanese airline attended a “meeting held by the Hong Kong Immigration Department on June 25, 2007,” the council wrote in a formal letter to Chu after investigating a complaint submitted by the repatriated Falun Gong practitioners. “They didn’t cooperate … in dissuading some Taiwanese nationals from boarding and flying to Hong Kong,” said the council, which sent a formal complaint to Hong Kong and issued a statement condemning its actions. The council did not name the airline in question.

Some followers of Falun Gong planning to attend the 2007 rally had received faxes from their Taichung travel agency of an e-mail, a copy of which was obtained by the Taipei Times, from China Airlines saying the airline had been told that a list of known Falun Gong practitioners would be barred from entering Hong Kong. The agency and airline wanted to make clear they would not refund tickets if people on the list were repatriated.

Beijing has never been subtle about its persecution of Falun Gong, which it banned in 1999 after thousands of the movement’s practitioners organized a peaceful demonstration at the Chinese Communist Party’s central compound, Zhongnanhai (中南海), in Beijing. The movement has attracted millions of followers with a mix of traditional Chinese calisthenics and doctrines drawn from Buddhism, Taoism and the ideas of its founder, Li Hongzhi (李洪志), a former government clerk who now lives in the US.

In Hong Kong, however, where the movement is legal, authorities have to play by different rules. But human rights groups in the special administrative region say Beijing is tightening its control over Hong Kong, resulting in the erosion of freedoms for Falun Gong practitioners guaranteed under the territory’s Basic Law.

Law Yuk Kai (羅沃啟), director of the nonprofit organization Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, said discrimination against the Falun Gong is evident. His organization is following the proceedings of the case filed by Chu and her peers.

“Hong Kong enjoys ‘one country, two systems.’ In this kind of system, our [immigration] director is expected to work independently,” of China, Law said in a telephone interview. But this is not the case when it comes to the Falun Gong, he said. “It seems quite obvious that Falun Gong people have been denied entry,” he said. “We have a tradition of a free society, we do not dismiss people on the grounds of their religious beliefs.”

Hong Kong’s immigration department said the five Taiwanese who filed the court case were not denied entry because of their religion, but because of national security concerns.

Law is skeptical of this claim. “We don’t see these people as a threat to security; they have been allowed to enter Hong Kong in the past. So it seems motivated by something else,” he said. “And the time when they wanted to enter Hong Kong [and were rejected] there were important things going on here.”

Chu said she has only been denied entry when planning to attend Falun Gong demonstrations or conferences or at “sensitive times,” such as the Olympics or when important Chinese officials were visiting Hong Kong.

“They bound me, even tightly,” she said, referring to the incident when she was wrapped in a blanket and strapped to a gurney by airport police before being wheeled to a Taiwan-bound flight. “I said, ‘How can you treat me like this?’ I said, ‘I am on your side, I protected your rights against Article 23,’” recalled Chu, who was active in the fight to block the implementation of Article 23 of the Basic Law. The proposed legislation, which would have dealt a severe blow to freedom of association and religion in Hong Kong, sparked mass street protests in the territory in 2003.

According to Chu, one of the female immigration officers walked away crying. “The orders come from Zhongnanhai,” the woman said.

Taiwanese Falun Gong followers are not the only ones who say they have experienced this kind of treatment……. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Asia, China, Falun Gong, Freedom of Belief, Hong kong, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, Taiwan, World | Comments Off on Taiwan Falun Gong Fights Back in Hong Kong

China accused of covering up outbreak of maggots in oranges

Posted by Author on November 2, 2008


By Richard Spencer in Beijing, The Telegraph, UK, 31 Oct 2008-

Many mandarin orange trees have had their year’s fruition destroyed

The Chinese authorities, already battling a food safety scandal over melamine contamination of milk and eggs, have been accused of covering up an outbreak of maggots in oranges.

Tens of thousands of tons of mandarin oranges have had to be destroyed in recent weeks, state media have revealed in the past few days.

Yet persistent rumours of an infestation of fruit fly maggots, spread by text message, were denied or played down before the extent of the problem was confirmed.

The problem with oranges comes as rural regions report that chickens are being culled as egg sales fall in the wake of the latest melamine scandal.

Hong Kong complained that batches of eggs imported from a company based in the north of China were tainted with the chemical, and now it has been confirmed that widespread adulteration of animal feed may be to blame.

Thousands of babies are still in hospital being treated for poisoning by melamine that had been added to their milk in a major health scare which killed at least four children. Melamine is added to foodstuffs in bulk to improve readings of tests supposedly to gauge protein levels, but can cause kidney stones.

Health inspectors in Shanghai are now also testing to see if the problem has spread to farmed fish.

According to state media, a farm in Sichuan, in the south-west of the country, first reported its crop of mandarin oranges had failed on September 21, and fruit fly was diagnosed.

But though surveys found orchards across major mandarin-producing counties of Sichuan had been affected, the provincial authorities did not publicly confirm the outbreak until after a local newspaper had broken the story on October 4.

Even since then, the authorities had tried to insist that the contamination was local, even though by that time infected oranges were on sale across the country. The full extent of the problem, which has led to tens of thousands of oranges being destroyed, was only revealed at a press conference at the end of last week.

The government is still refusing to give full figures on losses, but one neighbouring province said it expected losses there alone to amount to 1.5 billion yuan (£135 million) from falling sales due to loss of confidence, even though it was not affected by the outbreak directly.

The Telegraph

Posted in censorship, China, Economy, Food, Hong kong, Incident, News, Politics, products, Sichuan, SW China, Trade, World | Comments Off on China accused of covering up outbreak of maggots in oranges