Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong released from jail

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2019   •   1034

Courtesy : Reuters

Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong walked free from prison on Monday (June 17) after serving nearly five weeks for contempt of court, pledging to join a mass protest movement demanding that the city’s Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam, to step down.

His release comes a day after organizers of the protest calling for Lam to quit over a controversial extradition bill said almost two million black-clad people joined Sunday’s march to government offices.

“Millions of Hong Kong people joined the demonstration and protest within the past few weeks. It shows the spirit and dignity of Hong Kong people. What we ask for is to urge Carrie Lam the evil chief executive should withdraw the extradition amendment,” he said.

“And what we are trying to do is just through civil disobedience and direct action and let the whole world, let the international communities to realize that how Hong Kong people will not keep silence under the suppression of President Xi and the Chief Executive Carrie Lam,” he added.

Wong continued with: “Carrie Lam must step down, otherwise I believe in the next few weeks before the 22 anniversary of Hong Kong transfer of sovereignty, more and more Hong Kong people not only one million or two million people will come and join our fight until the day we get back our basic human rights and freedom.”

Before he was jailed, both Wong, 22, and his supporters had called for the Hong Kong government to scrap the extradition proposal.

Wong who was one of the leaders of the 2014 “Umbrella” pro-democracy protests that blocked major roads in the Chinese-ruled city for 79 days presenting China’s Communist Party rulers in Beijing with one of their biggest political challenges in decades.

While Lam delayed the bill at the weekend, it has yet to be completely shelved, despite widespread concern that the status of Hong Kong as a financial hub could be eroded by changes to the rule of law. (REUTERS)

Heavy security as China opens national security office in Hong Kong

UNTV News   •   July 8, 2020

A special office to oversee national security in Hong Kong officially commenced operations on Wednesday (July 8) amidst heavy security.

The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government, charged with overseeing implementation of the controversial new national security law for Hong Kong, held a ceremony in the early hours of the morning.

The new law punishes crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison, heralding a more authoritarian era for China’s freest city.

There was a heavy police presence outside the Metropark Hotel in Hong Kong, which will serve as the temporary headquarters of the new office. Police had erected water barriers and put in place crowd control measures overnight, restricting residents and foreign media from observing the ceremony.

Residents in the area expressed surprise about the rapid speed of opening in the new office, and the apparent lack of advance notice to the community.

“Everything that they have organized is quite secret”, said one resident, a 62-year-old interior designer giving his name as John Lee. “They have to let the citizens be informed earlier.”

The Metropark Hotel in Causeway Bay is located opposite Victoria Park, home of the annual candlelight rallies in memory of China’s bloody 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy crackdown. (Reuters)

(Production: Aleksander Solum)

TikTok says it will exit Hong Kong market within days

UNTV News   •   July 7, 2020

TikTok said it will exit the Hong Kong market within days, a spokesman told Reuters late on Monday (July 6), as other technology companies including Facebook Inc have suspended processing government requests for user data in the region.

The short form video app owned by China-based ByteDance has made the decision to exit the region following China’s establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the semi-autonomous city.

Late on Monday, the U.S. secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said that the United States is “certainly looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.

U.S. lawmakers have raised national security concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data, saying they were worried about Chinese laws requiring domestic companies “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”

The company, now run by former Walt Disney Co executive Kevin Mayer, has said in the past that the app’s user data is not stored in China. (Reuters)

(Production: Irene Wang, Thomas Suen)

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Hong Kong residents worry about online freedom of expression amid new law

UNTV News   •   July 7, 2020

Hong Kong residents said on Tuesday (July 7) that they believe fear is spreading over freedom of expression online and expressed worries that some social media platforms may simply become unavailable amid a new sweeping national security law in the semi-autonomous city.

It comes as Facebook Inc, Google Inc and Twitter Inc said that they had suspended processing of government requests for user data in Hong Kong on Monday (July 6).

China’s parliament passed the national security legislation last week, setting the stage for the most radical changes to the former British colony’s way of life since it returned to Chinese rule 23 years ago.

Despite the tech companies’ announcement, resident Yan Pat-to, 45, said he believes authorities will find other ways to access users’ data.

“I think the worry or the fear is already spread over Hong Kong about the cyber expression of the freedoms here,” he said.

Tech companies have long operated freely in Hong Kong, a regional financial hub where internet access has been unaffected by the firewall imposed in mainland China, which blocks Google, Twitter and Facebook.

In addition to the announcements by the U.S tech giants, TikTok, the short-form video app owned by China-based ByteDance, said it would pull out of the Hong Kong market within days. (Reuters)

(Production: Yoyo Chow)

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