China flood death toll hits 61, over 350,000 evacuated
Robie de Guzman • June 14, 2019 • 5968
As many as 61 people have been killed and 356,000 evacuated from their homes as heavy rain and floods swept through large parts of southern and central China this week, Chinese rescue authorities said on Thursday (June 13).
In a notice published late on Thursday (June 13), China’s Ministry of Emergency Management said 9,300 homes have collapsed and 3.71 million hectares of farmland damaged during the floods, with direct economic losses now estimated at 13.35 billion yuan ($1.93 billion).
It said more than 4,300 people had been rescued from floodwaters, which have affected regions stretching from Guangdong province in the southeast to southwest China’s Chongqing on the upper reaches of the Yangtze river.
During the summer, China routinely suffers from droughts in the far north and floods in the south. The emergency ministry has warned that northern regions face even lower precipitation levels this year, while heavy rains are expected to raise flood risks on the Yellow river’s upstream. (REUTERS)
MANILA, Philippines – The Manila Veterinary Inspection Board confiscated on Friday morning (December 13) over 10 tons of hot meat in a warehouse in Tondo.
According to Manila Mayor Isko Domagoso, the contraband composed of various meat products, Peking duck, sausage and other similar items sealed inside boxes imprinted with Chinese characters, may worth up to more than P10 million.
Authorities are now tracing the whereabouts of the warehouse owner identified as Daniel Yulo.
The seized products will be turned over to the Department of Agriculture (DA) for disposal.
Those behind the smuggling of the said hot meat will face criminal charges, according to Domagoso.
Currently, the Philippines is implementing an import ban on pork and chicken from China due to the outbreak of avian flu and the African Swine Fever. – MNP (with details from Bernard Dadis)
MANILA, Philippines – Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario insisted that the International Criminal Court (ICC) did not reject the communication they filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping for Beijing’s actions in the West Philippine Sea.
This is after the ICC said in its report that it had no jurisdiction over the case.
In a report released Thursday, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the tribunal does not have jurisdiction over Morales and Del Rosario’s complaint against China’s alleged crimes against humanity in the West Philippine Sea.
The Court also found it does not have jurisdiction over the complaint as the accused are from China, which is not a state party to the Rome Statute – the treaty which formed the tribunal.
“The crimes referred to in the communication were allegedly committed by Chinese nationals in the territory of the Philippines. China is not a State Party to the Rome Statute. Accordingly, the Court lacks personal jurisdiction,” the report read.
On March 15, 2019, Morales and Del Rosario filed a communication before the ICC against Xi and other Chinese officials over China’s alleged “atrocious actions” in the West Philippine Sea.
They accused the Chinese executives of committing of crimes against humanity for purportedly damaging the resources at the disputed territory through Beijing’s ongoing reclamation activities in the area.
The ICC noted that while the alleged crimes of Xi and other Chinese officials occurred in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), it cannot be considered a territory of the state.
“Criminal conduct which takes place in the EEZ and continental shelf is thus in principle outside of the territory of a Coastal State… This circumstance is not altered by the fact that certain rights of the Coastal State are recognised in these areas,” it said.
Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales, however, said in a joint statement that the ICC’s report only strengthened their resolve, adding that the Prosecutor welcomes new facts and evidence to proceed with the case.
“Let them gloat in the meantime. This is just the beginning. Abangan,” Carpio-Morales said.
The ICC report stated that its findings may be reconsidered in light of new facts and evidence, which Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales vowed to provide. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
Beijing – The Chinese government Thursday threatened the United States with “countermeasures” and “consequences” after the US president signed two bills into law backing Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters.
Donald Trump in a statement said he had signed the bills — the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act 2019 and one against crowd control munition exports to the territory — out of “respect” to Chinese President Xi Jinping and the people of Hong Kong.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement Thursday responded by reminding “the US that Hong Kong is part of China and Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs where no foreign government or force shall interfere. This Act will only further expose the malicious and hegemonic nature of US intentions to the Chinese people, including our Hong Kong compatriots.”
“We urge the US to not continue going down the wrong path, or China will take countermeasures, and the US must bear all consequences,” it added.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng also summoned US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad “to lodge stern representations and strong protest” to the passing of the Act, state news agency Xinhua reported Thursday.
The two countries are still immersed in negotiations to end their trade war, which could be affected by the bills, however the statement does not specify the countermeasures it intends to apply.
The Hong Kong government also expressed its “strong opposition” to the new laws, saying in a statement that they “contravene in Hong Kong’s internal affairs” and would harm relations with the US.
“The two acts are unreasonable. Although human rights and democracy are mentioned in the title of the Act, some of the provisions in the Act are actually about export control and enforcement of the sanctions imposed by the United Nations in Hong Kong, which are totally unrelated to human rights and democracy in Hong Kong,” a government spokesman said.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act 2019, passed last week by the US Senate, requires the US State Department to conduct a review at least annually as to whether Hong Kong retains enough autonomy from mainland China to qualify for special trade considerations, and threatens sanctions against officials responsible for human rights violations.
Following the approval by the Senate last week, the Chinese government threatened that “China will take strong opposing measures and the US has to bear all the consequences” if it was passed into law. Beijing also reportedly summoned a senior US diplomat over the move.
The second bill signed into law Wednesday prohibits US exports of specified police equipment such as teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and stun guns to Hong Kong.
“They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all,” Trump said.
At the weekend, the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong swept the local elections, winning 388 of the total 452 district council seats up for grabs. The side aligned with Beijing suffered a crushing defeat with only 59 councilors, compared to the almost 300 it had, while independents won five seats in the elections which saw a record 71.2% turnout.
Hong Kong was passed to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, although it still retains a degree of independence from Beijing under the “one country, two systems” formula. According to the handover deal between London and Beijing, this political system — which includes certain legal freedoms not recognized in mainland China — must be preserved until 2047. EFE-EPA
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