(SAN FRANCISCO) #Coronavirus Report: New travel restrictions will go into effect on Monday as a new #COVID19 variant is circulating across Europe and as far a Hong Kong #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Nov.28: The new restrictions apply to travelers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi. It does not apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

#CoronavirusNewsDesk says according to CBSLocal a ‘Highly Contagious Omicron Variant Prompts New Travel Restrictions: The Omicron variant (OMEGA)’ was first discovered in South Africa, but now it’s believed to have reached Europe and Hong Kong according to report by 27, 2021 at 5:55 am

SAN JOSE (KPIX) — President Biden joined other countries in restricting travel from the South Africa region where a new “concerning” coronavirus variant has been detected. The new restrictions take effect on Monday By November 27, 2021 at 5:58 am

The World Health Organization says the “omicron” variant, which has been spreading in South Africa, is “a highly transmissible variant of concern.”

No cases have yet been reported in California, but health officials are calling this new variant a concern for the world. It’s another reason to appreciate the relatively high vaccination rate here in the Bay Area.

“Number one, it doesn’t look like it evades vaccines,” says UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Monica Gandhi. “That’s really important. Number two, it’s likely more transmissible. But they’re still figuring that out.”

While there is still much not known about Omicron, it is yet another variant with multiple mutations and it does appear to be more contagious. So it is, in some ways, a bit like another version of Delta.

“Before Delta, we didn’t think we were going to need 75% to 80% of an area vaccinated before you’re safe,” Gandhi says.

Susan Wacek says Omicron was in the back of her mind as she got her booster in Pleasanton on Friday.

“Moderna, half dose,” Wacek said. “Feel pretty good about it. So far I’m ok.”

The Bay Area has largely surpassed that 80% vaccination goal, which has helped keep hospitalization numbers down here, even as they surge in other parts of the country.

“Very glad to be boosted,” Clover Catskill said in Richmond this week. “I’m hoping this doesn’t continue on forever. But I realize it might.”

Omicron is another reminder that much of the world, and even the United States, is less vaccinated than the Bay Area – and less protected.

“Where variants will arise is in places with low rates of vaccination,” Gandhi says. “If this shows us anything, it is to get the world vaccinated so this ends for all of us.“

Moderna and Pfizer both say they will update their vaccines to adapt for Omicron. That process will take as long as six weeks.

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Nov.28: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#covid19, #europe, #hong-kong, #san-francisco

(HONG KONG) District Court Report: Eight Hong pro-democracy figures including media tycoon Jimmy Lai appeared on Monday accused of involvement in last year’s banned Tiananmen Massacre vigil, with some of them saying that mourning the dead should not be a crime #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Nov.02: Appearing in the District Court in front of Judge Amanda Woodcock were Lai; two leaders of the former vigil organiser, the now-defunct Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, Lee Cheuk-yan and Chow Hang-tung; executive committee member of the Alliance Simon Leung, liquidator of the Alliance Richard Tsoi; former lawmakers Wu Chi-wai and Leung Yiu-chung; and activist Gwyneth Ho.

#AceDailyNews says according to HKFP Report: ‘Mourning needs no approval’ some democrats still defiant as 8 appear in court over banned Tiananmen Massacre vigil……Sixteen people have been brought to court or sentenced to jail over the vigil organised on June 4, 2020, to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the bloody 1989 crackdown by Chinese troops on demonstrators in Beijing. Five of the eight in the latest group pleaded guilty.

HKFP By Candice Chau: 1 November 2021: The annual vigil at Victoria Park on June 4, 2020, to commemorate victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. Photo: May James:

Supporters shout encouragement from the public gallery as group appears in court over banned vigil.

The annual vigil at Victoria Park on June 4, 2020, to commemorate victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. Photo: May James/HKFP.

The eight are accused of incitement to take part in, holding, or knowingly taking part in an unauthorised assembly The vigil, once an annual event attracting tens of thousands of Hongkongers, was banned in 2020 and this year on Covid-19 health grounds.

‘No regrets’

Lee pleaded guilty to inciting others to take part, organising, and taking part himself in the banned assembly. “Mourning June 4th is what should be done: no regrets,” he said.

Tsoi, Leung Yiu-chung and Simon Leung also pleaded guilty to the incitement and participation charges. Wu pleaded guilty to taking part in the rally. 

Lai, facing an incitement charge, pleaded not guilty. Chow, accused of inciting others and taking part in the vigil, said she “understood each word of the charge, but did not understand why it was a charge” and pleaded not guilty.

“Mourning needs no approval. I plead not guilty,” she said.

Ho, facing the participation charge, said: “No matter if I understand the charge, I will plead not guilty.”

As some of the defendants stepped into the dock, people in the public gallery waved at them. Lai was sat between two correctional services officers, while Chow and Ho were also separated by two officers. Richard Tsoi, liquidator of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China arriving at the District Court on November 1, 2021. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP. 

Chow shouted “Vindicate June 4th!” as she entered the dock, and some people in the public gallery shouted back. Court staff tried to stop them and said that those shouting slogans would be asked to leave the courtroom. 

The court session was adjourned for over an hour soon after it began, as some defence counsel said they needed time to get instructions from their clients. As those in remand were leaving the dock, some people shouted “Brother Yan [referring to Lee], hang in there!” and “Chi-wai.”

The mitigation hearing for those who pleaded guilty was fixed for November 12, For the three defendants who pleaded not guilty, the trial will continue on Monday afternoon. 

All defendants apart from Richard Tsoi and Leung Yiu-chung were either remanded in custody or already serving jail sentences for other protest-related charges. 

Protests outside court: Ahead of the trial, members of the pro-establishment group Politihk Social Strategic demonstrated outside the court with a banner reading: “Stirring up trouble in Hong Kong, colluding with foreign forces, must result in imprisonment.”Protest organised by Politihk Social Strategic against pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai outside the District Court on November 1, 2021:

Pro-democracy protester “Grandma Wong” was also outside the courthouse, wrapped in a British Union Jack flag and shouting slogans including “Vindicate June 4th!”Pro-democracy activist Grandma Wong protesting outside the District Court on November 1, 2021. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The Tiananmen Massacre on June 4, 1989 ended months of student-led demonstrations for democracy and other issues in Beijing and elsewhere in China. It is estimated that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people died when the People’s Liberation Army was deployed to crack down on the protesters in Beijing. 

Hongkongers commemorated the event every year until 2020 with a mass candlelight rally in Victoria Park, the only major commemoration on Chinese territory.

#AceNewsDesk report …………..Published: Nov.02: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#china, #court, #hong-kong, #tiananmen-square

(HONG KONG) China Security Law Report: Legislature has passed a new law banning films deemed to violate China’s national security interests, the latest blow to freedom of expression in the territory #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Oct.28: Punishment for violating the law includes up to three years imprisonment and $130,000 (£95,000) in fines: Critics say the legislation will stifle the vibrant local film industry....

#AceDailyNews says according to BBC Asia Hong Kong has passed a passes ‘new film censorship law’ that they say violates their ‘security interests’ thus clamping further on ‘Freedom Of Speech’ in the country …..

Customers looking at movies for sale at a store inside a cinema in Hong Kong on 2 September
Getty Images: Critics say the new law will affect Hong Kong’s vibrant film industry

Last year, China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong that effectively outlawed dissent: The legislation, which came after huge pro-democracy protests in 2019, criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. Critics say it is aimed at crushing dissent but China says it is meant to maintain stability.

The film censorship law was approved in the opposition-free Legislative Council. It gives the chief secretary – the second-most powerful figure in the city’s administration – the power to revoke a film’s licence if it is found to “endorse, support, glorify, encourage and incite activities that might endanger national security”.

Experts and content producers have raised worries about the impact of the legislation, which does not cover films posted online, on creativity and freedom of expression.

Filmmaker Kiwi Chow, whose documentary Revolution of Our Times about the 2019 protests was featured at the Cannes Film Festival this year, told Reuters news agency the law would “worsen self-censorship and fuel fear among filmmakers”.

A speedy job

By Martin Yip, BBC News Chinese, Hong Kong

The bill was passed by a simple showing of hands, at the last meeting of the council’s much extended current term. And despite the lack of opposition in the legislature, lawmakers still debate.

Councillor Luk Chung-hung claimed it was political films that hindered creativity, not the proposed censorship law. Another councillor, Priscilla Leung, who is also a law professor, insisted the bill was in full compliance with human rights laws, and she hoped to stop such films from “brainwashing” young people.

Filmmakers will certainly be concerned. Dr Kenny Ng of the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Film Academy said the new law would see film distributors worrying if their already-approved films would be withdrawn, meaning more uncertainty in the industry. 

As for the lawmakers, it is time to prepare for winning their job back as the election takes place in December – under completely new election laws. 

The arts industry was already being targeted even before the new law. In June, a local theatre pulled the award-winning documentary Inside The Red Brick Wall, also about the 2019 protests, and its distributor lost government funding.

Book publishers have admitted to self-censoring and the largest pro-democracy paper, Apple Daily, closed earlier this year amid a national security investigation.

Meanwhile, many opposition figures are already in prison or in exile.The Hong Kong director standing up to China

#AceNewsDesk report …………….Published: Oct.28: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#censorship, #china, #films, #hong-kong, #law

(NEW YORK) Amnesty International Report: Will close its two offices in Hong Kong by the end of the year, the organisation announced on Monday #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Oct.26: This decision, made with a heavy heart, has been driven by Hong Kong’s national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government,” said Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty’s International Board.

#AceDailyNews says according to Amnesty International Report: On closure Hong Kong offices: The local ‘section’ office will cease operations on 31 October while the regional office – which is part of Amnesty’s global International Secretariat – is due to close by the end of 2021. Regional operations will be moved to the organization’s other offices in the Asia-Pacific.

© Amnesty International
© Amnesty International

“Hong Kong has long been an ideal regional base for international civil society organizations, but the recent targeting of local human rights and trade union groups signals an intensification of the authorities’ campaign to rid the city of all dissenting voices. It is increasingly difficult for us to keep operating in such an unstable environment.”

There are two Amnesty International offices based in Hong Kong: a local membership section focused on human rights education in the city; and a regional office which carries out research, advocacy and campaigning work on East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific. All of the regional office’s work will continue from new locations.

“We are deeply indebted to Amnesty members and staff who over the last 40 years have worked tirelessly to protect human rights in and from Hong Kong. From successfully pushing for the full abolition of the death penalty in Hong Kong in 1993, to exposing evidence of excessive use of force by police during the 2019 mass protests, Amnesty in Hong Kong has shone a light on human rights violations in the darkest of days,” said Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

“In the wider region, our research and campaigning has tackled subjects including freedom of expression in North Korea, conscientious objection to military service in South Korea, the right to housing in Mongolia, Japan’s wartime atrocities against “comfort women”, and the crackdown on human rights lawyers in China.

“Moreover, Amnesty International Hong Kong’s education programmes – from classroom talks to a documentary film festival – have enhanced awareness of human rights not only in the city’s schools but among the general public as well. No one and no power can demolish that legacy.”

The national security law, imposed by the Chinese central government, was enacted on 30 June 2020. It targets alleged acts of “secession”, “subversion of state power”, “terrorist activities” and “collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security”. 

Its sweeping and vaguely worded definition of “national security”, which follows that of the Beijing authorities, has been used arbitrarily as a pretext to restrict the human rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, as well as to repress dissent and political opposition.

Amnesty documented the rapid deterioration of human rights in Hong Kong one year after the enactment of the national security law in a June 2021 briefing.

“The environment of repression and perpetual uncertainty created by the national security law makes it impossible to know what activities might lead to criminal sanctions. The law has repeatedly been used to target people who have upset the authorities for any number of reasons – from singing political songs to discussing human rights issues in the classroom,” said Anjhula Mya Singh Bais.

“The pattern of raids, arrests and prosecutions against perceived opponents has highlighted how the vagueness of the law can be manipulated to build a case against whomsoever the authorities choose.”

A government crackdown targeting activists, opposition politicians and independent media has recently expanded to include civil society organizations. At least 35 groups have disbanded since the law was enacted, including some of the city’s largest unions and activist groups.

“There are difficult days ahead for human rights in Hong Kong, but Amnesty International will continue to stand with the people of Hong Kong.  We will fight for their rights to be respected and we will be vigilant in our scrutiny of those who abuse them,” said Agnes Callamard.

“While leaving the city that we have called home for decades is devastating, we do so proud of our achievements over that time, and confident that the strength of Amnesty’s 10 million-plus supporters worldwide will enable us to continue our work together to end human rights abuses everywhere.”

Background

Amnesty International is a global human rights movement of 10 million people, with operations in more than 70 countries. The organization holds governments around the world accountable to equal standards under international law.

Amnesty’s local Hong Kong section works principally on building awareness of human rights issues in the city and is funded primarily by individual donations from the Hong Kong public.

The Hong Kong regional office – which has a sister location in Bangkok – conducts research, campaigning and advocacy work across the region including on mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Singapore, Timor-Leste, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands.

The overwhelming majority of Amnesty’s income comes from individuals the world over. These personal and unaffiliated donations allow the organization to maintain full independence from any and all governments, political ideologies, economic interests or religions. Amnesty neither seeks nor accepts any funds for human rights research from governments or political parties.

#AceNewsDesk report …………Published: Oct.26: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#amnesty, #asia-pacific, #hong-kong, #new-york

(HONG KONG) JUST IN: Sixteen more democratically-elected district councillors ousted over loyalty oaths, as democrats left in the minority #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Oct.22: The Hong Kong government has disqualified another 16 district councillors from the New Territories following the final oaths of loyalty ceremony. It leaves about 60 pro-democracy councillors in office – a fraction of the approximately 388 seats once held by the pro-democracy camp after they swept the elections. The oath-taking ceremony was administered by Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui.

#AceDailyNews says according to HKFP reports that only around 16 percent of the pro-democracy district councillors elected in 2019 are left in office. Among those unseated on Thursday – without explanation was Roy Kwong….

Photo: GovHK: by Selina Cheng – Published: 21 October 2021:

The Home Affairs Bureau announced on Thursday its final list of district councillors whose oaths of allegiance to the government were considered invalid. The government’s oath administrator initially questioned the validity of oaths offered by 17 councillors, with one opting for resignation before the final decision came down. It left 16 disqualified.

The last batch of district councillors disqualified for invalid oaths were unseated with immediate effect, including Roy Kwong.

Huge cheers from crowds inside a nearby mall, as democrat Roy Kwong passes through. He bows as protesters applaud him.

In full: https://t.co/kmLJLFCnSX 
2019 Funding Drive: https://t.co/biDMrS7Y5Y #NoToChinaExtraditionpic.twitter.com/BWmTHY2O1s— Hong Kong Free Press HKFP (@hkfp) June 16, 2019

Kwong was a prominent figure during the 2019 protests, and one of the few democrats spared any protest or national security-related prosecutions.

Invalid oaths announced on 21.10.2021: Pro-democracy candidates took control of 17 of the 18 district councils during the 2019 November election, in the wake of the anti-extradition bill protests. Roy Kwong. File photo: Etan Liam, via Flickr.

But the government introduced mandatory oaths of allegiance for the city’s local-level representatives earlier this year, after requiring all civil servants to take the same pledge shortly after Beijing’s passing of the national security law last June.

The polls were the only fully democratic elections in the city.

Over 260 resigned

The introduction of the oaths, and the ensuing rumours that salary and benefits will be recouped from councillors who faced disqualification, prompted over 260 individuals to resign ahead of the ceremonies.

Following four oath-taking ceremonies, which began in early September, oaths taken by 49 district councillors have been ruled invalid, although no explanation was provided. Under the amended Oaths and Declarations Ordinance, the disqualified district councillors will be banned from standing in elections for the next five years. Tsuen Wan District Council’s first meeting in 2020. File Photo: Stand News.

In other words, the oaths taken by 147 councillors were ruled valid – of which 120 were directly elected, and 27 were ex-officio rural committee members. 

Four others requested to delay their oath-taking. The government also cancelled the oath-taking ceremony for Leung Kam-wai, who is in custody on national security charges, awaiting trial. 

In December, 2019, Chief Executive Carrie Lam vowed that the new pro-democracy councillors would be respected and treated equally, though said they should “respect the conventions and rules” established over the year.

#AceNewsDesk report ………….Published: Oct.22: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#councillors, #hong-kong, #pro-democracy

(HONG KONG) Court Report: Nine pro-democracy activists have been sentenced to between six and 10 months in prison for taking part in a banned vigil last year commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Sept.16: Officials banned the 4 June vigil for the victims of China’s deadly crackdown on protesters, citing Covid measures: Critics believe the decision was part of a push to silence the opposition.

#AceDailyNews says that H.K Activists have been jailed for between 6-10-months for joining the banned ‘Tiananmen Vigil’ there were among 12 people who pleaded guilty to participating in the event and three were given suspended sentences……

People take part in a vigil to remember the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre in Hong Kong, on 4 June, 2020
Thousands of people joined the vigil in Hong Kong in 2020, despite the ban

Despite the ban, thousands of people turned up to light candles and sing songs in 2020. Smaller crowds did the same this year, when authorities banned the event, again citing pandemic restrictions on public gatherings.

Albert Ho, a veteran vigil organiser and former vice chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, the organiser of the vigils, was handed a 10-month sentence for incitement and attending the event.

Former lawmaker Eddie Chu and Figo Chan, a former leader of the Civil Human Rights Front, known for organising large-scale pro-democracy rallies, were also given jail terms.

“The defendants ignored and belittled a genuine public health crisis,” District Court Judge Amanda Woodcock said.

“They wrongly and arrogantly believed their common purpose was more important than protecting the community or the public’s right to protection from a serious health risk.”

Supporters sitting in the public gallery stood up as some defendants entered the dock and shouted “hang in there”, the Hong Kong Free Press website reported.

The sentencing came a week after several leaders of the Hong Kong Alliance were arrested under the national security law imposed by Beijing last year. They were accused of working as a “foreign agent”, which they deny.

The legislation criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. Critics say it is aimed at crushing dissent but China says it is meant to maintain stability.

Reacting to the sentencing, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director Yamini Mishra said this was “another outrageous attack on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly”.

“Depressingly, this unjust verdict was entirely expected amid the accelerating collapse of human rights in Hong Kong,” she added.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Sept.16: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#china, #hong-kong, #sentenced, #tiananmen-square

(HONG KONG) JUST IN: Police have charged the group that organises the city’s annual Tiananmen Square massacre candlelight vigil as well as three of its leaders with subversion under the national security law #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Sept.11: The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China said the group, its chairman Lee Cheuk-yan, and vice-chairs Albert Ho and Chow Hang-tung were charged with “inciting subversion of state power” under the national security law…..

#AceDailyNews says that Hong Kong Tiananmen vigil leaders have been charged with subversion after Tiananmen museum raided: Three former Apple Daily reporters are taking the risk of speaking out to 7.30, saying they fear more media outlets could be targeted next.

The case was brought before court on Friday. Mr Lee and Mr Ho are already serving jail terms for their roles in unauthorised protests in 2019.

Mr Chow and four others arrested this week were also charged with failing to comply with the requirement to provide information for a national security investigation.‘Nobody is safe’: Hong Kong journalists speak out about crackdown on press freedomThree

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian described the arrests as “a legitimate, just and necessary action to defend the authority of the national security law and ensure Hong Kong’s lasting stability”.

Mr Zhao reiterated that Hong Kong was governed by law and that anyone who violates the national security law must be punished by the law.

Mainland China bans commemorations and heavily censors the topic of the the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing on June 4, 1989.

China has never provided a full account of the 1989 event.

The death toll given by officials days later was about 300, most of them soldiers, but rights groups and witnesses say thousands of people may have been killed.

Raid on Tiananmen democracy museum

Police earlier raided the closed June 4 museum, which was run by the alliance to commemorate Tiananmen Square, and confiscated computers, documents and promotional materials from the venue. 

A large cardboard cutout of a woman's head is carried by police officers.
Police were seen removing items from the museum.(AP: Kin Cheung)

Police said 2.2 million Hong Kong dollars ($385,000) worth of assets belonging to the alliance, which is best known for organising annual vigils to mark the anniversary of the 1989 event, were also frozen.

The vigil was attended annually by massive crowds, and was the only large-scale public commemoration of the June 4 crackdown on Chinese soil. 

Authorities have banned the vigils for the past two years, citing public health risks due to the pandemic, although critics believe the ban is part of an ongoing crackdown on dissent in the city following months of anti-government protests in 2019.

Police sent a letter to the alliance in August requesting information about its membership, finances and activities by September 7, according to a copy the group sent to reporters.

The letter accused the alliance of being “an agent of foreign forces”. The group said it would not provide the information requested. Wednesday’s arrests were for failing to comply with national security law requirements.

A large cardboard flame is put in the back of a truck by police in a Hong Kong street.
The raid on the museum came hours after pro-democracy activists pleaded guilty to an unauthorised gathering.(AP: Kin Cheung)

Dozens of pro-democracy activists have been arrested, others have left the city for exile abroad, and the city has amended electoral laws to increase the number of seats for pro-Beijing legislators while reducing those that are directly elected.’

The national security law, imposed by Beijing on the Hong Kong in June last year, criminalises subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign collusion to interfere in the city’s affairs.

Critics say the national security law, which has been used to arrest more than 100 people, rolls back freedoms promised to the former British colony when it was handed over to China in 1997.

Hong Kong had been promised it could maintain freedoms not found on the mainland for 50 years, such as freedom of speech and assembly.

Reuters/AP

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Sept.11: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#hong-kong, #national-security-law, #police, #tiananmen-square

(HONG KONG) Kowloon Magistrates Court Report: Seven democrats plead guilty to offences linked to 2019 protests and unrest #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.22; Seven prominent Hong Kong democrats – including former League of Social Democrats (LSD) chairs Raphael Wong and Avery Ng, and LSD members Figo Chan, and “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung – have pleaded guilty to offences in connection with 2019 protests and unrest.

#AceDailyNews says that six of the seven are already serving jail time for other offences during the months of demonstrations in 2019: The four LSD figures and veteran democrats Yeung Sum and Cyd Ho admitted organising a demonstration on October 20 that year in Kowloon.

by Selina Cheng 20 August 2021 From left to right: Albert Ho, Cyd Ho, Leung Kwok-hung, Raphael Wong, Figo Chan, Avery Ng, Yeung Sum. Photo: HKFP Remix.

Chan, Leung, Cyd Ho, and Albert Ho admitted another charge of conspiring to incite others to attend an unauthorised protest on October 19 that year, near the Court of Final Appeal in Central. 

Already in jail

Prosecutors said the defendants used social media to urge people to take part in the Kowloon demonstration, despite knowing that police had not issued a letter of no objection. They were also accused of marching with banners in the protest, where violence erupted later, Citizen News reported

Apart from Raphael Wong, the democrats are currently serving sentences in connection with other 2019 protest-related offences. Wong was granted bail until Friday, when the defendants will make their mitigation submissions. Wan Chai government tower and courts. File Photo: Selina Cheng/HKFP.

Protests erupted in June 2019 over a since-axed bill that would have allowed extradition of suspects to mainland China. They escalated into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police behaviour, amid calls for democracy and anger over Beijing’s encroachment into Hong Kong’s affairs.

Demonstrators demanded an independent probe into police conduct, amnesty for those arrested and a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots.”

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Aug.22: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#court, #hong-kong, #kowloon, #lsd

(HONG KONG) Kowloon Magistrates Court Report: Denies bail to 3 student leaders charged under national security law with ‘advocating terrorism’ #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.22: A Hong Kong court has denied bail to three University of Hong Kong (HKU) student leaders charged under the Beijing-imposed national security law after expressing sympathy for a man who stabbed a police officer and then killed himself…..

#AceDailyNews says that the group was arrested over a student union motion expressing sympathy for a man who stabbed a police officer before killing himself …

by HKFP Candice Chau 19:38, 19 August 2021:

The group was arrested over a student union motion expressing sympathy for a man who stabbed a police officer before killing himself.

A fourth defendant was granted bail but remains in custody for the time being after prosecutors appealed against the decision.

The four appeared at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday before acting Chief Magistrate Peter Law, one of the city’s judicial officers specially selected to hear security law cases.West Kowloon Law Courts Building. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Student Union Council chairperson Kinson Cheung King-sang, 19, council member Anthony Yung Chung-hei, 19, student union former chairperson Charles Kwok Wing-ho, 20, and former student residence representative on the Union Council Chris Todorovski, 18, were arrested on Wednesday.

Only Yung was granted bail. 

The four are accused of “advocating terrorism” under Article 27 of the national security law. The group also faces an alternative charge of “incitement to wound with intent” for allegedly inciting others to “unlawfully and maliciously wound police officers” to cause “grievous bodily harm.”

The national security offence is punishable by not less than five years in prison and not more than 10 if the circumstances are “of a serious nature.” Less serious cases are punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment or other forms of detention.

The magistrate rejected an application to lift court reporting restrictions. Under these restrictions, written and broadcast reports are limited to the result of bail proceedings, the name of the person applying for bail and their representative, and the offence concerned. 

The group will appear in court for mention on September 14. It was not clear when the review of Yung’s bail would be heard.

Timeline

The HKU Students’ Union Council passed a motion on July 7 to mourn Leung Kin-fai, the 50-year-old who committed suicide after stabbing and injuring a police officer on July 1, the 24th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover.

“The Union Council expresses its deep sadness at the death of Mr Leung Kin-fai; offers its sympathy and condolences to his family and friends; appreciates his sacrifice to Hong Kong,” the motion read.

The motion attracted widespread criticism from the Security Bureau, which said it was “no different from supporting and encouraging terrorism” and that the students should be ashamed.Staff and officers seen entering HKUSU premises to conduct a raid in connection with the case on July 16, 2021. File Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The HKUSU Council withdrew the declaration in the early hours of July 9. Kwok apologised on behalf of the council and said that the motion was “seriously inappropriate.” The executive committee of the student union also resigned.

Despite the apology and resignation, the university announced on July 13 that it had stopped recognising the student body, hours after Chief Executive Carrie Lam called for further action against students responsible for the declaration.

National security police searched the union’s office on campus three days later, as well as the offices of student union media CampusTV. The university later announced it was barring those involved with the motion from campus, a decision criticised by many alumni. More than 1,000 HKU graduates have signed a petition demanding the university revoke its ban.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Aug.22: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#court, #hku, #hong-kong, #stabbing

(HONG KONG) JUST IN: Profits at banking giant HSBC more than doubled in the first half of the year as it benefited from an economic rebound in Britain & H.K #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.02: Europe’s biggest bank by assets saw pre-tax profit for the period rise to $10.8bn (£7.8bn), compared to $4.3bn for the same time last year…….

#AceDailyNews says ….Banking giant HSBC sees first half profit more than double as the lender highlighted that its UK bank had reported profit before tax of more than $2.1bn in the period: HSBC boss to hot-desk as executive floor abolished

Pedestrians walk past the British multinational banking and financial services holding company, HSBC in Hong Kong.
The figures come as the global economy emerges from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic

The UK-based bank said all regions had been profitable in the period.

The figures come as the global economy emerges from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I’m pleased with the momentum generated around our growth and transformation plans, with good delivery against all four pillars of our strategy. In particular, we have taken firm steps to define the future of our US and continental Europe businesses”, said HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn.

Boosted by the economic rebound in its two biggest markets, Britain and Hong Kong, the bank reinstated dividend payments to shareholders.

It plans to pay an interim dividend of seven cents a share after the Bank of England last month scrapped curbs on such pay-outs to investors.

However, Laura Foll, manager of UK income funds at Janus Henderson Investors, told the BBC that the key factor behind the rise in HSBC’s profits had been the lower-than-expected losses on loans during the pandemic.

She said that last year most banks set aside money based on estimates of how much they could potentially lose if loans went bad and its customers were unable to repay them. In HSBC’s case, it set aside $700m.

“In all cases, the banks are now rolling back on that number… and it is that number that has boosted the profitability at HSBC more than any other improvement.”

Restructuring

HSBC said its restructuring programme remains on track after announcing in February last year that it would shed 35,000 jobs as part of a plan to cut $4.5bn of costs by 2022.

In February, HSBC had signalled a “pivot to Asia”, outlining plans to invest about $6bn in the region.

It said it would target wealth management and commercial banking to drive “double-digit growth” and has singled out Asian markets such as Singapore, China and Hong Kong. HSBC already generates the bulk of its revenues from Asia.

In January, UK MPs accused HSBC – a Hong Kong founded bank – of “aiding and abetting” China’s crackdown in Hong Kong. 

HSBC faced accusations of acting in a political manner and being too close to the Chinese authorities after it emerged that the bank had frozen accounts belonging to Hong Kong pro-democracy politician Ted Hui and members of his family.

Appearing before the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Quinn was told the bank was turning a blind eye to the situation.

Mr Quinn mounted a robust defence of the bank, saying: “I can’t cherry-pick which laws to follow.”

You may also be interested in: From protests to ‘patriots’: Why China is bent on crushing Hong Kong dissent

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Aug.02: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#hong-kong, #hsbc, #profits, #u-k

(BEIJING) Sanctions Report: The ‘counter-sanctions’ are in response to Washington’s actions and are the first under China’s new anti-foreign sanction law #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – July.30: Barely 48 hours before the arrival in China of one of Biden’s most-trusted diplomats, Beijing has announced its decision to impose counter-sanctions on seven American citizens and entities, including former commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, in retaliation against Washington’s earlier sanctions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong crackdowns….

#AceDailyNews reports that China retaliates with sanctions on former commerce secretary Wilbur Ross after the Biden administration announced sanctions on seven Chinese officials on 16 July and warned US businesses of the “growing risks” posed by Beijing & Hong Kong.

The Guardian by

Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory

Updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory

On July 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of State, alongside the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Department of Labor issued an updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory to highlight the heightened risks for businesses with supply chain and investment links to Xinjiang, given the entities complicit in forced labor and other human rights abuses there and throughout China. This updates the original Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory issued by U.S. government agencies on July 1, 2020.

It is not the first time Washington and Beijing have imposed mutual sanctions, but the latest round marks the first time China has done so using its new anti-foreign sanction law, which was passed in June.

Others affected in Beijing’s “reciprocal counter-sanctions” are the current or former heads of a range of US organisations, including the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the Washington-based Hong Kong Democracy Council.

In response to Beijing’s counter sanctions, one of the affected US citizens, HRW’s China director Sophie Richardson tweeted, sarcastically: “thanks, for the extra motivation!” She added in another tweet, in reply to Jo Smith Finley, a British Xinjiang expert who was sanctioned by Beijing in March: “Seriously: so much work to do! And this ain’t about us.”

Since the enactment of the anti-foreign sanctions law last month, Beijing’s decision to impose counter-sanctions has been expected, but the timing of it is indicative of the deteriorating US-China relations. It also comes just less than 48 hours before US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman’s China visit on Sunday.

“Washington has reiterated that Sherman’s visit and talk with the Chinese side will be from ‘a position of strength’, but Beijing may want to remind [the Biden administration] that they are equals,” said Ma Ji, a senior CV Starr lecturer at Peking University’s school of transnational law.

Ma added: “Of course, none of those targeted are in Biden’s inner circle, which means that Beijing still wants to continue the conversation with Washington. But by issuing this list shortly before Sherman’s visit, Beijing clearly intends to reduce her expectations.”

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: July.30: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#beijing, #china, #chinese, #hong-kong, #sanctions, #united-states, #washington

(HONG KONG) JUST IN: Court Report: H.K. Man has been sentenced to nine years in prison on Friday ‘under new security law’ after he rode a motorbike into police officers while flying a flag with a protest slogan #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – July.30: Hong Kong activist Tong Ying-kit has been jailed for nine years, after he became the first person to be convicted under the national security law Beijing imposed on the city.

#AceDailyNews says …Hong Kong Press reports that Activist Tong Ying-kit was jailed for 9 years in H.K’s first national security case after Tong drove a motorcycle with a flag reading “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” into three police officers during a 2020 demo and with trials now being held in secret and without a jury: The law also allows for judges to be handpicked by Hong Kong’s chief executive, who is directly answerable to Beijing.

H.K. Press: Photo: Screenshot.

ZUMA Press Inc / AlamyTong Ying-kit was found guilty of inciting secession and terrorism….

by Kelly Ho: 30 July 2021Tong drove a motorcycle with a flag reading “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” into three police officers during a 2020 demo.

On Friday, in a landmark sentencing for the city four days after he was found guilty of inciting secession and terrorist activities, 24-year-old Tong was handed the custodial jail term by the the High Court. His sentencing marks the end of Hong Kong’s first-ever trial under the sweeping security legislation which was enacted on June 30 last year.

Tong Ying-kit, whose flag bore the phrase “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times”, was earlier found guilty of inciting secession and terrorism.

He was the first person to be charged under Hong Kong’s controversial national security law.

Friday’s verdict has set the tone for how future cases might be interpreted.

More than 100 people have been arrested since the law came into force in 2020.

Critics say it reduces Hong Kong’s autonomy and makes it easier to punish activists. But Beijing insists that the law is needed to bring stability to the city.

“We consider that this overall term should sufficiently reflect the defendant’s culpability in the two offences and the abhorrence of society, at the same time, achieving the deterrent effect required,” the judges who presided over the case said in a written judgement, according to Reuters.

Tong’s conviction for secession was because of the slogan on his flag, with police adding that he was guilty of terrorist activities as his actions were a “deliberate challenge against the police”.

Why is the protest slogan so sensitive?

Part of Tong’s 15-day trial focused on the meaning of the “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” slogan, which was popular during pro-democracy protests.

The prosecution argued that the phrase literally called for Hong Kong’s independence from the mainland, while the defence said its meaning was more ambiguous.

In the end the judge ruled that the phrase was capable of inciting others to commit “secession” and found Tong guilty.

Hong Kong human rights lawyer Mark Daly told the BBC that he felt the sentence was “unreasonably long”, as dangerous driving offences usually result in jail sentences of only a few years in Hong Kong.

The “massive mark-up” to nine years was because of the political slogan, he said. “The casualty here is freedom of expression.”

But Andrew Powner, managing partner of Hong Kong law firm, Haldanes, felt the sentence was within guidelines for the national security law, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for grave offences.

The fact that Tong got nine years showed the judges felt his offence was on a “lesser scale” since it did not result in serious injuries but was still “an affront to law and order in Hong Kong”, he told the BBC.

‘Hang in there!’

Grace Tsoi, BBC News, from the court: The people were present in court to hear the sentencing. Tong, dressed in a navy suit, made a heart shape with his fingers to his family from the dock. The judge said that although Tong – who was the main breadwinner of his family – was “previously of good character”, it was not enough to mitigate the “serious offences”.

When the sentencing was read out, Tong remained expressionless, but his family was in tears,While being led out of the dock, he shouted: “You should hang in there!” to his family. At least a dozen police officers were stationed at a nearby shopping centre, where a crowd was waiting for Tong’s prison van to emerge.Why is the national security law controversial?

A former British colony, Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997 but under the “one country, two systems” principle.This was supposed to guarantee certain freedoms for the territory – including freedom of assembly and speech, an independent judiciary and some democratic rights – which mainland China does not have.These freedoms are enshrined in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, which was meant to last until 2047.

But in June last year, Beijing passed the national security law – which lawyers and legal experts said would fundamentally change the territory’s legal system.

Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific regional director Yamini Mishra said Tong’s sentencing showed the law was “not merely a tool to instil terror into government critics… it is a weapon that will be used to incarcerate them”.

Additional reporting by Tessa Wong.

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: July.30: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#beijing, #court, #hong-kong, #jailed, #security-law

(HONG KONG) Court Report: Sentenced seven men to jail after they were convicted of violently attacking pro-democracy protesters and commuters at a train station in 2019 #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – July.25: The men got between three-and-a-half and seven years of jail time: The attack in Yuen Long, which was captured by victims and bystanders on mobile phones, left the city in shock.

#AceDailyNews reports on the Yuen Long Attack 2019: Hong Kong court jails seven men after violent attack on pro-democracy protestors and the men got between three-and-a-half and seven years of jail time: The attack in Yuen Long, which was captured by victims and bystanders on mobile phones, left the city in shock:

Men in white T-shirts with poles are seen in Yuen Long after attacked anti-extradition bill demonstrators at a train station, in Hong Kong, China July 22, 2019.
Men in white T-shirts with poles were seen in Yuen Long after the attack on protesters

Hong Kong reels from armed mob violence

Police were accused of arriving late to the scene and doing little to stop the violence, charges they have denied.

They were also accused of colluding with the attackers, some of whom had triad connections. 

However, these denials did little to stop to growing mistrust of the police at a time when Hong Kong was facing widespread anti-government protests. 

The footage inside Yuen Long, which went viral on social media, showed groups of men, suspected to be triad gangsters, dressed in white shirts and beating passengers with sticks, metal rods and bats.

Tens of thousands took to the streets in the days afterwards to protest against the violence.

The seven-year jail term for one of the convicted men is the highest sentence that the District Court could impose.

The judge was insulted by supporters of the men, with some referring to him as “dog judge” as he walked outside the court, AFP reported: HK police accused of ‘re-writing history’ of attack

Earlier, while hearing mitigation pleas from lawyers, the judge said that the “indiscriminate assault” needed to be “severely” punished. 

One of those convicted apologised to his victims and said he had acted on impulse. A large group of masked men in white T-shirts stormed Yuen Long station

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: July.25: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#hong-kong, #jailed, #pro-democracy, #protestors

(HONG KONG) JUST IN: Police have arrested five people on sedition charges for publishing children’s books that allegedly incite hatred towards the city’s government #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – July.23: The arrests were the latest involving suspected critics of Hong Kong’s government that have raised fears about the shrinking space for dissent since Beijing imposed a national security law in June 2020 to put an end to pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous city.

HONG KONG: Police arrest publishers of ‘seditious’ children’s books featuring wolves and sheep and the General Union of H.K Speech Therapists could not be reached for comment.

Remember these faces, their trial and this moment in China’s history These people once ran for local office, founded unions and fought for democratic freedoms.

Police said one book, Defenders of the Sheep Village, was connected to the protests.

In the story, wolves want to occupy the village and eat the sheep, who in turn use their horns to fight back.

The two men and three women arrested were members of a speech therapists’ union who produced books for children.

The five were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to publish seditious material under a colonial-era law which had been rarely used before the anti-government protests began in the former British colony.

A person in handcuffs and with a bag over their head is escorted out of a building.
The five people arrested on sedition charges were all members of a speech therapists’ union.(Reuters: Tyrone Siu)

Senior Superintendent Steve Li told a media briefing that police were concerned by the books because the information inside for children “turns their mind and develops a moral standard to be against society”.

Another book told the story of 12 sheep taken by wolves to a beasts’ village where they would be cooked.

Allegedly it could be potentially seen as alluding to the 12 Hong Kong people captured by China in August last year at sea as they tried to flee the city by boat.

Superintendent Li said the story was not factual and incited hatred against authorities.

A third book told the story of wolves sneaking through a hole into a sheep village and shows the wolves as dirty and the sheep as clean.

This aimed to create hatred against the government, Superintendent Li said.

Piles of children's books with Chinese writing on the covers.
All three of the books cited by the police featured wolves and sheep.(Reuters: Tyrone Siu)

First convictions under the sedition law can carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison, the police said.

Now, they’re political prisoners and the faces of dramatic change in Hong Kong.

The arrests came as a Hong Kong court denied bail to four top editors and journalists from the now-defunct Apple Daily pro-democracy newspaper.

They were arrested Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to collude with foreign powers to endanger national security.

So far, eight former employees have been arrested. Apply Daily ceased operations in June after police raided the newspaper’s offices, confiscating hard drives and laptops, and seized its assets.

Authorities have denied any erosion of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong — which returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula aimed at preserving its freedoms and role as a financial hub — but say China’s national security is a red line.

Security officials have said law enforcement action is based on evidence and has nothing to do with an individual’s political stance, background or profession.

Reuters/AP

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: July.23: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#arrested, #books, #hate-crime, #hong-kong, #police, #sedition

(WASHINGTON) JUST IN: The Biden administration issued a blanket warning Friday to U.S. firms about the risks of doing business in Hong Kong as China continues to clamp down on political and economic freedoms in the territory #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – July.20: Four Cabinet agencies — the departments of State, Treasury, Commerce and Homeland Security — released the nine-page advisory that alerts companies about the shifting legal landscape in Hong Kong and the possibility that engaging with Hong Kong business could incur reputational and legal damages.

#AceDailyNews says that Biden has warned US companies about doing business in Hong Kong as control by China over political and economic freedoms

China News: July: 17, 2021

WPRI

People visit the annual book fair in Hong Kong

At the same time, Treasury announced sanctions against seven Chinese officials for violating the terms of the 2020 Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which calls for asset freezes and other penalties against those who participate in the crackdown.

President Joe Biden had previewed the new advisory Thursday, telling reporters at the White House that the business environment in Hong Kong is “deteriorating” and could worsen.

“Businesses, individuals, and other persons, including academic institutions, research service providers, and investors that operate in Hong Kong, or have exposure to sanctioned individuals or entities, should be aware of changes to Hong Kong’s laws and regulations,” said the notice, which is titled “Risks and Considerations for Businesses Operating in Hong Kong.”

“This new legal landscape … could adversely affect businesses and individuals operating in Hong Kong. As a result of these changes, they should be aware of potential reputational, regulatory, financial, and, in certain instances, legal risks associated with their Hong Kong operations,” it said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted the advisory in a statement marking the one-year anniversary of the passage of China’s new national security law that he said had a profoundly negative effect on Hong Kong.

Blinken said the risks to business include “potential electronic surveillance and lack of data privacy, reduced access to information, and potential retaliation against companies for their compliance with U.S. sanctions.”

“The business advisory outlines these emerging risks to inform U.S. individuals and businesses and recommends increased awareness and due diligence,” he said.

Hong Kong’s government responded with a statement calling the U.S. advisory “totally ridiculous and unfounded fear-mongering” driven by ideology. “The main victims of this latest fallout will sadly be those U.S. businesses and U.S. citizens who have taken Hong Kong as their home,” the statement said.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, meanwhile, responded to the advisory by acknowledging the business environment “is more complex and challenging” but saying that it would continue its work.

“We are here to support our members to navigate those challenges and risks while also capturing the opportunities of doing business in this region,” it said in a statement. It added that “Hong Kong remains a critical and vibrant facilitator of trade and financial flow between the East and West.”

The United States under both the Trump and Biden administrations has determined that since the passage of the national security law, Hong Kong no longer enjoys the significant autonomy from mainland China that Beijing had pledged to respect for 50 years when it assumed control of the former British colony in 1997.

As such, Hong Kong no longer enjoys preferential U.S. trade and commercial privileges and certain officials in Hong Kong have been hit with U.S. sanctions for their actions in cracking down on democracy.

China is one of the rare areas in which the Biden administration has largely hewed to Trump’s policies.

Friday’s warning came on the heels of a similar advisory issued earlier this week reminding American companies about potential sanctions liability if they engage in business with Chinese entities that operate in the western Xinjiang region, where China is accused of widespread repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities.

The seven officials targeted for sanctions are Chen Dong, He Jing, Lu Xinning, Qiu Hong, Tan Tieniu, Yang Jianping and Yin Zonghua. All seven serve as deputy directors of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, an agency the U.S. accuses of repeatedly undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#china, #hong-kong, #united-states, #washington

(HONG KONG) #Coronavirus Travel Report: Ban on all flights from the UK to curb the spread of the Delta variant of #COVID19 #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – June.30: The UK is to be classified as an “extremely high-risk” country, the highest rating Hong Kong has for #pandemic travel.

#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Hong Kong bans all incoming flights from UK over #COVID19 concerns as the new ban comes into effect on 1 July and affect all incoming passenger flights from Britain amid rising tensions over Hong Kong’s recent pressure on opposition media and dissenting voices under a controversial national security law.

Cathay Pacific plane
No more flights to Hong Kong for now

It also comes amid political tensions between China and the West over a crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong. 

The ban means people who’d recently spent more than two hours in Britain wouldn’t be allowed to board flights to Hong Kong from any airport. 

The city’s authorities said the decision was based on the “recent rebound” of the pandemic in the UK and the “widespread Delta variant virus strain” in the country.

There are around 8 daily non-stop flights from the UK to Hong Kong, all flying out of London. 

Flights outbound from Hong Kong to the UK are not affected by the upcoming ban.

Record spike in the UK

Despite high vaccination rates, the UK is currently seeing Europe’s highest number of daily new cases by far. Most of the new infections are linked to the Delta variant, first detected in India. 

Hong Kong however confirmed its first local Delta variant only last week, ending a 16-day streak of zero local cases.

The city has had some of the strictest border curbs in the world since 2020, which helped to keep infections numbers low throughout the entire pandemic.

Officials said the city recently recorded a growing number of Delta variant cases in people arriving from the UK, who like all incoming travellers have to quarantine. 

According to news agency Reuters, parents in Hong Kong with children who are studying in the UK have reacted with shock that they would now be stranded abroad. 

Reuters: Throughtout the pandemic, Hong Kong has managed to keep cases low

The 1 July flight ban is the second time Hong Kong has stopped arrivals from Britain after a ban from December 2020 until May of this year.

Hong Kong already bars flights from several other countries over rising cases of the Delta strain, including Indonesia, India, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines.

The UK government said it “restricts the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong and constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration”.From protests to ‘patriots’: Why China is bent on crushing Hong Kong dissent

#AceHealthDesk report …..Published: Jun.30: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#health, #hong-kong, #travel, #u-k

(HONG KONG) JUST IN: On June 14, China’s Taishan Nuclear Power Plant H.K experienced damaged fuel rods that triggered a build-up of radioactive gases #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.29: Radioactive gasses were released, and US officials at the time said the situation at the nuclear plant did not “pose a severe safety threat to workers at the plant or Chinese public.” But three days later, Zhang Zhijian, one of China’s top nuclear scientists and the Vice-President of Harbin Engineering University, allegedly committed suicide after jumping off a build.

Top Chinese Nuclear Expert Jumps To His Death After Accident At Taishan Nuclear Power Plant: French company Framatome, a part-owner of the plant, requested the US Department of Energy for assistance as an “imminent radiological threat” seemed inevitable according to South Front report

Published: 28.Jun: 2021:

Support SouthFront

Top Chinese Nuclear Expert Jumps To His Death After Accident At Taishan Nuclear Power Plant

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Originally published by ZeroHedge.

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Top Chinese Nuclear Expert Jumps To His Death After Accident At Taishan Nuclear Power Plant

South China Morning Post (SCMP) said police in the capital of Heilongjiang ruled out homicide as the cause of death.

“Harbin Engineering University announces with deep grief that Professor Zhang Zhijian regrettably fell off a building and died at 9.34 am on June 17, 2021,” the university’s official account on Weibo wrote in a statement. “The university expresses deep sorrow over the passing of comrade Zhang Zhijian and deep condolences to his family.”

Zhang was a professor at the College of Nuclear Science and Technology at the Harbin Engineering University and was also the Vice President of the Chinese Nuclear Society.

In China’s northern Heilongjiang province, Harbin Technical University is one of two Chinese universities that have close relations with the People’s Liberation Army. Last June, the university was banned from using a US-developed computer software amid souring relations with the West.

What’s notable is that western media or most media outlets did not attempt to piece together the puzzle that days after a nuclear power plant mishap occurred, a top scientist in the country allegedly committed suicide. Seems odd right?

Except for the blog “Jennifer’s World,” which explains the possible connection between Zhijian’s death and his relationships to the plant. 

Now, the question is, why did Zhang Zhijian kill himself?

Let’s show picture 6. This is a screenshot of the Harbin Engineering University’s announcement about his death. It only says that he “unfortunately dropped from the building and passed away at about 9:34 am on June 17.” And the police had ruled out the possibility of murder, and we feel very sorry about his death, etc.

Top Chinese Nuclear Expert Jumps To His Death After Accident At Taishan Nuclear Power Plant

So, there was no explanation about the cause of his death.

An interesting thing is, as early as 2005, Taishan Nuclear Power Plant’s Chinese owner, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, signed a cooperation agreement with Harbin Engineering University. According to the agreement, Harbin Engineering University would on the one hand train more talents in nuclear power for  China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, and on the other hand, do more research.

It was said that the cooperation would promote the transformation of scientific research results into productivity through the combination of industry, academia and research.

Several months after the agreement was signed, in December 2005, Harbin Engineering University established its College of Nuclear Science and Technology, and Zhang Zhijian was the head of this college.

Then, two years later, in 2007, China and France signed an agreement to co-build Tashan Nuclear Power Plant.

The construction of Unit 1 and Unit 2 of Tashan Nuclear Power Plant started in 2009, and Unit 1 entered commercial operation on December 13, 2018.

Then, if you check Zhang Zhijian’s bio, you would find that he had been the head of the College of Nuclear Science and Technology for ten years, from 2005 to 2015. 

This overlapped with Tashan Nuclear Power Plant’s design and construction period. 

During this period of time, it is very likely that Zhang Zhijian had formed a huge network with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group and maybe other companies, institutions and officials involved in nuclear energy.

So, Chinese commentator Zhou Xiaohui said in his article that he highly suspected that Zhang Zhijian’s suicide had something to do with the leak of Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, given he killed himself right after the CCP publicly responded to the leak, and given his close ties with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, as well as the entire nuclear power industry in China.

Zhou Xiaohui said, maybe Zhang Zhijian had already been questioned by the authorities, or maybe he was given some sort of pressure, or maybe he was too frightened by the incident, or maybe he was afraid that he would be held responsible, or maybe there was something he needed to cover up with his death, etc. 

While nothing is conclusive, the tragic death of the top scientist coming days after the nuclear power plant mishap is certainly suspicious. A lot of questions remained unanswered.

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Jun.29: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#chinese, #hong-kong, #taishan-nuclear

(HONG KONG) JUST IN: Trading on the Stock Exchange finally got under way on Monday afternoon after its morning session was cancelled due to extreme weather #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.28: The decision to open the market came after the government cancelled an earlier “black rainstorm” warning: The city has three levels of rainstorm warning, with black being the highest after amber and red: Landslides and flooding were reported in some parts of Hong Kong as it was hit with high amounts of rainfall.

#AceNewsDesk says …..trading starts after ‘black rainstorm’ delay warning cancelled after landslides and flooding reported after being hit with the highest level of rainfall according to BBC Asia on Monday ..

A woman carries an umbrella as she crosses a street during a rain storm in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange announced that trading would start from 1.30pm local time after the black rainstorm warning was lifted as the extreme weather conditions eased.

It was the city’s first black rainstorm warning this year, with more than 150mm of rain reported in the Western part of Hong Kong and the islands of Lantau and Lamma. Several other districts saw at least 70mm of rain. 

The storm delayed a flight carrying Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and her delegation to Beijing for the Chinese Communist Party’s 100th anniversary celebrations by around an hour, according to the South China Morning Post.

Schools and Covid-19 vaccination services were also suspended due to safety concerns.

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Jun.28: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#black-rainstorm, #hong-kong, #stock-exchange

(HONG KONG) LATEST: Apple Daily largest pro-democracy paper has announced its closure, in a blow to media freedom in the city #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.24: We published an article about the publications offices that were raided last week over allegations that several reports had breached a controversial national security law:

#AceDailyNews recently reported that Apple Daily was rumoured closure on Wednesday BBC China & Asia confirmed thats its pro-democracy paper has CLOSED ITS DOORS in a another nail in the coffin of press freedom

Apple Daily logo
After 26 years, Apple Daily will shut down

Company-linked assets worth HK$18m ($2.3m; £1.64m) were later frozen. Police also detained its chief editor and five other executives. 

The tabloid has been critical of the Hong Kong and Chinese leadership.

Its founder Jimmy Lai is already in jail on a string of charges.

Board members said said in a statement that the 26-year old paper would publish its last edition “no later than Saturday” and that the digital version would go offline no later than 11:59 on Saturday evening. 

The announcement also thanked the readers for their “loyal support” as well as its journalists, staff and advertisers. 

Mark Simon, a close adviser of Jimmy Lai, told the BBC that police had disrupted a board meeting earlier on Wednesday and arrested one journalist. 

“We are already closing to be honest, but they still had to show up and to make an arrest,” he said. “[The police wanted to] influence the outcome of the board meeting… they wanted to make sure [Apple Daily] closes quickly.”

It later emerged that a 55-year-old man, identified as an Apple Daily columnist, had been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to collude with a foreign country or foreign forces, local media reports said. 

EPAAfter last week’s raid, the paper sold record numbers

Last Thursday, some 500 police officers raided the publication’s newsroom, saying its reports had breached the city’s controversial national security law.

In a press briefing following the raid, police accused the newspaper of publishing more than 30 articles calling on countries to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and mainland China since 2019.

Police also arrested the editor-in-chief and four other executives at their homes and froze assets owned by three companies linked to Apple Daily – Apple Daily Limited, Apple Daily Printing Limited and AD internet Limited.

The paper then said it only had enough cash to continue normal operations for “several weeks”.

Jimmy Lai, the paper’s founder, is currently in jail for a series of charges, including participating in an unauthorised assembly in 2019.

The media tycoon had been one of the most prominent supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

In his last interview with the BBC before he was sentenced to jail, he said he would not give in to intimidation.Jimmy Lai: The Hong Kong billionaire becomes emotional as he faces prison

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Jun.24: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#apple-daily, #hong-kong, #lai

(HONG KONG) LATEST: Apple Daily Pro-Democracy Paper rumoured to close in days after raid by police officers and removal of material #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.22: Authorities last week froze HK$18m ($2.3m; £1.64m) of assets owned by three companies linked to Apple Daily:

#AceDailyNews reported that HK sends 500 officers to raid pro-democracy paper the other day as Pro-democracy paper Apple Daily could be forced to shut down in a “matter of days”, said an adviser of the paper’s jailed founder Jimmy Lai and there is a rush to buy Apple Daily after police raid

A supporter of two executives from Hong Kong's pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper, chief editor Ryan Law and CEO Cheung Kim-hung, holds up a copy of the newspaper during a protest outside court in Hong Kong on June 19, 2021.

Mark Simon told the BBC that the paper could “do nothing while none of its bank accounts are functioning”.

Apple Daily, a well-read tabloid, is frequently critical of Hong Kong and mainland Chinese leadership.

“If you don’t have money you can’t order services. Most importantly, you can’t promise to pay people when you don’t have access to the cash to cover those expenses. That’s illegal in Hong Kong,” said Mr Simon.

“The paper is still on the news stands today but it is only a matter of days before it won’t be there unless its bank accounts are unfrozen.”

The paper’s publisher, Next Digital, is holding a board meeting on Monday to discuss the paper’s future.

Apple Daily had on Sunday said it only had enough cash to continue normal operations for “several weeks”

The Hong Kong paper that pushed the boundary

What has happened to Apple Daily?

Last Thursday, some 500 police officers raided the offices of Apple Daily in Hong Kong, saying its reports had breached the national security law.

Police also arrested the editor-in-chief and four other executives at their homes and froze HK$18m ($2.3m; £1.64m) of assets owned by three companies linked to Apple Daily – Apple Daily Limited, Apple Daily Printing Limited and AD internet Limited. 

Photos published online by Apple Daily showed police going through reporters’ computers.

In a statement, police said their warrant “covered the power of searching and seizure of journalistic materials”.

In a press briefing later that day, police said that Apple Daily had published more than 30 articles calling on countries to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and mainland China since 2019. 

Jimmy Lai, the paper’s founder, is currently in jail for a series of charges, including participating in an unauthorised assembly in 2019.

Who is Jimmy Lai?

Lai is one of the most prominent supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Jimmy Lai: The Hong Kong billionaire becomes emotional as he faces prison

Estimated to be worth more than $1bn (£766m), he made his initial fortune in the clothing industry and later ventured into media and founded Next Digital.

In May, authorities froze assets belonging to Lai, including his bank accounts and his stake of 71.26% in Next Digital – estimated to be worth $45m. 

Banking giants HSBC and Citibank were also sent letters by Hong Kong’s security chief, who threatened up to seven years’ jail for any dealings with Mr Lai’s accounts in the city. 

In his last interview with the BBC before he was sentenced to jail, he said he would not give in to intimidation.

“If they can induce fear in you, that’s the cheapest way to control you and the most effective way and they know it. The only way to defeat the way of intimidation is to face up to fear and don’t let it frighten you,” he said.

How has China cracked down on Hong Kong dissent?

The national security law was introduced in 2020 in response to massive pro-democracy protests that swept the city state the previous year.

It essentially reduced Hong Kong’s judicial autonomy and made it easier to punish demonstrators. It criminalises secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces with the maximum sentence life in prison.

Beijing said the law would target “sedition” and bring stability, but critics have said it violates the agreement under which Britain handed back Hong Kong to China in 1997.

Since the law was enacted in June, more than 100 people have been arrested under its provisions, including Lai.

Reporting by the BBC’s Peter Hoskins

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#apple-daily, #hong-kong, #lai, #pro-democracy