Emergency Hotlines: LANDLINE (+63) 2 911 – 8688

Thousands take to Hong Kong streets to protest new extradition laws

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, April 29th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Thousands of people marched to Hong Kong’s legislative council on Sunday to protest against proposed extradition rules that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Some feared the move puts the city’s core freedoms at risk.

Opponents of the proposal fear further erosion of rights and legal protections in the free-wheeling financial hub — freedoms which were guaranteed under the city’s handover from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

Several thousand people had joined the march along Hong Kong island from Causeway Bay to the council in the Admiralty business district.

Protesters expressed fears that the new legislation would put ordinary Hong Kongers at risk.

“Once this law has been passed it won’t matter if you are an average person or a foreigner coming through Hong Kong, there will be a real possibility you’ll be taken and sent off to the mainland,” said Jayson Shing, a bank employee.

“It basically won’t matter whether you travel into the mainland. Just staying here in Hong Kong it’s hopeless anyway. The way they have organized this, as soon as they want to extradite you, it’s hopeless. The scariest thing is that in the mainland they can detain you via executive order, no crime is needed,” legal clerk Edward Wen said.

The peaceful marchers also chanted demands for Hong Kong’s executive Carrie Lam to step down, saying she had “betrayed” Hong Kong.

Many sported yellow umbrellas — the symbol of the Occupy civil disobedience movement that paralyzed parts of Hong Kong for 11 weeks in 2014. (REUTERS)

Tags: , , ,

Eleven pulled alive from rubble in China building collapse

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

A team of rescuers are trying to find survivors under rubble after a building collapsed in Shanghai, China on May 16. | Photo grabbed from Reuters footage

Rescue services pulled out 11 people alive from a collapsed building in China’s financial hub of Shanghai on Thursday (May 16), and about same number are believed to be still trapped in the rubble.

The building in Shanghai’s Changning district was being renovated when it collapsed late in the morning, trapping some 20 people inside, fire services said in a statement.

Witnesses heard a big bang which lasted for five to six second and a cloud of dust that enveloped the building.

“The accident happened at 11 am and a big bang lasted five to six seconds. I immediately ran to the balcony and saw the entire factory was surrounded by dust. After the dust dispersed, I found the factory collapsed. As it was my first time to witness this, I was quiet shocked,” said Zhang Lei, who was working in an office next to the collapsed building

More than 150 rescuers are on the scene but they have not said how the building collapsed. (REUTERS)

Tags: , , ,

Trump: China “broke the deal” in U.S.-China trade talks

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 9th, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (May 8) that he would be happy to keep tariffs on Chinese imports as the two countries prepare for new talks to try to rescue a faltering trade deal amid a sharp increase in U.S. duties as he charged China with “breaking the deal.”

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office announced that tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods would increase to 25 percent from 10 percent at 12:01 a.m. ET (0401) GMT on Friday (May 10), right in the middle of two days of meetings between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and Trump’s top trade officials in Washington.

Beijing announced it would retaliate if tariffs rise.

“The Chinese side deeply regrets that if the U.S. tariff measures are implemented, China will have to take necessary countermeasures,” China’s Commerce Ministry said on its website, without elaborating.

The world’s two largest economies have been embroiled in a tit-for-tat tariff war since July 2018 over the U.S. demands that the Asian powerhouse adopt policy changes that would, among other things, better protect American intellectual property and make China’s market more accessible to U.S. companies.

Expectations were recently riding high that a deal could be reached but a deep rift over the language of the proposed agreement opened up last weekend.

Reuters, citing U.S. government and private-sector sources, reported on Wednesday that China had backtracked on almost all aspects of a draft trade agreement, threatening to blow up the negotiations and prompting Trump to order the tariff increase.

Trump, who has embraced largely protectionist policies as part of his “America First” agenda, warned China on Wednesday that it was mistaken if it hoped to delay a trade deal until a Democrat controlled the White House.

The United States is demanding that Beijing make sweeping changes to its trade and regulatory practices, including protecting U.S. intellectual property from theft and forced transfers to Chinese firms, curbs on Chinese government subsidies and increased American access to China’s markets.

Trump also has sought massive hikes in Chinese purchases of U.S. farm, energy, and manufactured products to shrink a gaping U.S. trade deficit with China.

Sources familiar with the talks said China’s latest demands for changes to a 150-page document that had been drafted over several months would make it hard to avoid the U.S. tariff hike on Friday.

That increase would affect Chinese imports from computer modems and routers to vacuum cleaners, furniture, lighting, and building materials. (REUTERS)

Tags: , , , ,

China pledges $148-M grant, other economic measures to PH

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, April 26th, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping

China has pledged to provide a grant of one billion yuan or approximately $148 million to help boost the Philippine economy, Malacañang said on Thursday (April 25).

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Beijing made the commitment to Manila during the bilateral meeting between Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the second Belt and Road Forum.

READ: PH to explore new areas of cooperation, partnership with China

“President Xi committed to provide one billion yuan grant to the Philippines,” Panelo said in a statement issued on Thursday night.

Panelo added that Xi also committed to pouring more investments into Luzon and Mindanao “to spur regional economic growth as well as promote Clark Green City through the building of an industrial park.”

“The Palace hopes to highlight the discussion between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and how this will further help in the economic development of the Philippines,” he said.  

“President Xi manifested that China will provide more resources to Luzon and Mindanao to spur regional economic growth, as well as promote Clark Green City through the building of an industrial park,” he added.

Panelo also quoted Xi as saying that the BRI would have an important role in the relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), where Philippines plays an effective role as a country coordinator.

He also stressed BRI’s role in increasing cooperation in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area or BIMP-EAGA.

“We consider the BRI, as articulated by PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte), as another opportunity to renew and reaffirm our valued relationship, which we must continue to foster in the coming years with an aspiration that our fellow Filipinos will feel the true benefits of the PH-China relations,” he added.

Apart from China’s commitment in relation to the BRI, Panelo said Xi also mentioned that the first group of Filipino teachers may soon start teaching English in China.

Xi also committed to continuing donating rice and fingerlings and importing our local fruits, Panelo added. – Robie de Guzman

Tags: , , ,