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Q: Raid in HK on Pro-Democracy leaders ...

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/beijing-arrests-hong-kong-media-t...

Beijing Arrests Hong Kong Media Tycoon & 14 Activists In Sweeping Pro-Democracy Crackdown

We've been watching Hong Kong closely these past few weeks to see if Beijing, having mostly reopened the mainland economy, relieving the pressure for the first time in months, would turn its attention back to its top priority pre-corona: Crushing an insurgent pro-democracy movement in the Special Administrative Region.

Early on Saturday morning in Hong Kong, HK police arrested 15 pro-democracy movement activists, including a high-profile tycoon who was one of the few members of the HK business community to vehemently back the protest movement, according to the SCMP.

The targets included Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, and 14 other supporters. The pretext for the arrest was their involvement in last year's protests.

 

Jimmy Lai

Even if the name isn't widely known in the US, Lai is a major figure in the leaderless and mostly amorphous Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. He has been targeted before, including an attack on his home carried out last fall by thugs likely backed by the Communist Party.

The sweeping crackdown comes more than six months after the last major pro-democracy demonstration in the city, though some protesters took to the streets during the early weeks of the corona outbreak to demand that borders be closed and other heavy handed measures be taken by the city government to prevent a re-run of the SARS outbreak, which killed more than 300 in HK. That movement, of course, was first set in motion last spring in response to an extradition bill being expedited by the government that would have made Hong Kongers subject to prosecution (and, they feared, persecution) in mainland Communist Party-controlled courts.

Details provided by SCMP claimed that police tried to arrest Lai n the middle of the night, but were forced to wait until he returned home (American cops could definitely show their colleagues in Hong Kong a thing or two about how to pull off a 'tactical GPS takedown').

The arrest were reportedly sanctioned by Hong Kong Chief Executive and Beijing puppet Carrie Lam.

 

Officers earlier showed up at the home of the Apple Daily founder, but he was not in at the time. He returned in the afternoon and was arrested at 2.50pm. He was accused of organising and participating in unlawful marches on August 18 and October 1 from Causeway Bay to Chater Road in Central.

Police also entered and searched his place under a warrant.

Others arrested included former lawmakers Martin Lee Chu-ming, Albert Ho Chun-yan, Lee Cheuk-yan, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung and Au Nok-hin, according to legal sources.

Several former lawmakers were also detained and arrested (Beijing has already pushed out many of the most progressive pro-democracy hardliners from the HK legislature), including those named by the SCMP below:

Also held were former lawmakers Yeung Sum, Sin Chung-kai, Cyd Ho Sau-lan, and activists Raphael Wong Ho-ming, Figo-Chan Ho-wun and Avery Ng Man-yuen.

They were detained over organising and joining unlawful assemblies on August 18, October 1 or October 20 last year. The suspects were taken to several police stations.

Martin Lee was taken to Central Police Station in Sheung Wan, while Leung Kwok-hung was sent to Ngau Tau Kok Police Station.

Police also showed up at the home of former legal sector lawmaker Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee. She later reported to Central Police Station and was arrested there. She was involved in the August 18 rally.

Several of those arrested were charged with additional crimes - that is, appearing at more rallies than the demonstrations cited above, according to a police superintendent. Lam added that the operations are "still ongoing" and that more arrests might follow. The arrested will be arraigned in a Hong Kong court on May 18.

 

Of course, this crackdown will be seen as nothing less than a brutal outrage and a betrayal by most democracy-minded Hong Kongers (the vast majority of the population). By arresting Lai and targeting other well-known figures in the movement, authorities almost seem like they're trying to bait Hong Kongers into returning to the streets.

Perhaps that's their strategy: If anybody tries to march this time, police can resort to brutally suppressive tactics in the name of safeguarding public health. However, we can't help but notice that it almost seems like Beijing is trying to trigger a return to the massive rallies of last summer.

But why is Beijing even willing to risk the possibility that thousands - potentially hundreds of thousands - of Hong Kongers might react by crowding into the streets in the middle of a resurgence of the virus? Recent reports from Hong Kong suggest the economy is already reopening, and locals are growing more comfortable being back out in the street.

Why did Beijing pick now to rock the boat, and prosecute individuals for crimes that roughly one-third of HK's population engaged in at one time or another?

     

    32 weeks 3 days ago in  Health & Safety - China

     
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    Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Lawmakers Quit En Masse After Beijing Moves To Stamp Out Last Bastion Of Political Dissent

    Just like that, Hong Kong's last remaining bastion of political dissent has been crushed by a swift stomp of the CCP jackboot.

     

    NOV 11, 2020 6:22 AM

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    3 weeks 1 day ago
     
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    Rabobank's assessment: USA vs. China - Game Over angel

     

    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/rabobank-game-over-man-game-over

     

    Moreover, we argued “we can expect a further significant deterioration in US-China relations.” This looks to be arriving – and yet it is not an area where the market seems willing to play fast-forward…for the moment.

     

    For example, from the US side President Trump openly says he is “not happy” with China and is threatening unspecified “consequences” if evidence emerges that Beijing was complicit in allowing COVID-19 to spread internationally. Even meeker voices such as the UK and Australia are demanding transparency on this front – and bolder ones, like the Henry Jackson Society, have posited that China could be liable for USD trillions in damages. Indeed, as we enter the 2020 US election run-up we also have Trump dubbing his likely Democratic challenger as “Beijing Biden”, while Biden is attacking Trump as having been duped by China’s leaders in allowing COVID-19 to spread. None of this bodes well for future US-China relations – or what parts of the “Phase One Trade Deal” will remain once the dust settles.

    Meanwhile, from the Chinese side we have seen aggressive “Wolf Warrior” rhetoric from Chinese diplomats, which has ruffled feathers globally. There have been widespread reports of discriminatory actions targeting foreigners in China, who are now seen as potential virus carriers: this has led to official protests from some African states, for example. Moreover, last week saw a slew of actions in Hong Kong, which has obviously slipped from global focus this year compared to last.

    First, China’s liaison office (the de facto embassy) accused opposition law-makers of “malicious filibustering”, suggesting they should be dismissed from office for breach of oath; Reuters reported three anonymous senior judges had told them that judicial independence and rule of law are under threat from Beijing interference – a claim rebutted by Hong Kong and Chinese officials; the liaison office then openly lobbied for the rapid passage of new national security legislation to “prevent foreign interference” and prohibit “treason, secession, sedition, and subversion” against Beijing, which Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam partly echoed; the same office then announced it is not bound by Article 22 of the Basic Law, which states mainland agencies cannot interfere with Hong Kong’s autonomy – again Lam demurred; and this weekend saw the arrest of 15 high-profile pro-democracy politicians, advocates, and activists in Hong Kong for partaking in illegal protests last year. This last step has drawn international condemnation and recent developments have worrying potential implications for the annual review the US undertakes on Hong Kong’s autonomous status. (And, again, Biden is attacking Trump for being too soft on China in this area.)

     One other recent action in China also speaks volumes. Taiwanese media reports that China is to ban online gamers from interacting with foreigners. (Note this is a massive industry where China is the world’s largest single market). What is a vast informal channel of communication between China and the outside world is apparently to be severed. Moreover, the report also claims that online games will be monitored at all times and can no longer contain plagues, zombies, map-editing, role-playing, or any in-game group organizations, clans, or unions. Does this all speak to far larger Great Game playing out?

     

    Of course, one can easily be distracted when China slashes its benchmark lending rate 20bp from 4.05% to 3.85% (for 1-year loans), which underlines that it is not recovering as well as it wishes to project, and yet is still far, far less stimulus than we are seeing elsewhere. Equally, one can be dragged aside by reports that the ECB is pushing for the establishment of a ‘bad bank’ in the Eurozone to suck up non-performing loans – which Brussels apparently does not want to see. Let’s also not forget chatter that the US might have to start using yield curve control policies to keep T-bill yields where they want them to be as issuance soars – which would be a further nail in the coffin for capital markets as actual markets rather than political liquidity channels, something we have long suggested would be logically congruent to MMT. Naturally we should also not overlook that West Texas Intermediate oil dipped below USD15 per barrel on Monday morning, a 21-year low.

    However, if we really are seeing 'game over' for US-China relations post-COVID then at some point markets are going to go into fast-forward again... and this time they can’t bully the Fed into cutting rates to zero because we are already there.

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    32 weeks 3 days ago
     
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    it's convinient to do this now. I certainly am not watching anything but Covid news

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    32 weeks 3 days ago
     
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    Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Lawmakers Quit En Masse After Beijing Moves To Stamp Out Last Bastion Of Political Dissent

    Just like that, Hong Kong's last remaining bastion of political dissent has been crushed by a swift stomp of the CCP jackboot.

     

    NOV 11, 2020 6:22 AM

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    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/hong-kong-activists-joshua-wong-a...

     

    Hong Kong Activists Joshua Wong & Agnes Chow Jailed For Defying Beijing

    Wed, 12/02/2020 - 07:02

     

    Wong on Wednesday was sentenced to 13.5 months in jail, while Chow was given 10 months.

     

    In the latest act of repression from the Hong Kong government, which recently presided over the expulsion of pro-democracy 'opposition' lawmakers from its Legislative Council, activists Agnes Chow and Joshua Wong have been sentenced to prison time for their roles in the 2019 pro-democracy movement.

    Wong on Wednesday was sentenced to 13.5 months in jail, while Chow was given 10 months. The former student leaders, along with another activist named Ivan Lam, who also received a short prison sentenced, pleaded guilty last week to charges related to a protest on June 21, 2019, just one of dozens of chaotic street protests/skirmishes between demonstrators and the HK Police.

    They stood accused of organizing, taking part in and inciting others to participate in an unauthorized assembly. They had faced maximum sentences of five years.

    Wong also faced other protest-related charges tied to "unauthorized" assemblies in October 2019 and on June 4, 2020, when Hong Kongers gathered to commemorate the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre, officially known in China as "the June 4th incident".

    Chow is also accused of inciting secession, a charge under the new national security law, which could lead to her extradition to mainland China to face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

    The 23-year-old who turns 24 on Thursday told friends visiting the detention center that she was "prepared" to go to prison for the first time, although she was "a bit worried" and disappointed she wouldn't get to celebrate her birthday with family.

    Before a hearing on Monday, Wong, who first came to international prominence for his role in the 2014 Umbrella movement demanding universal suffrage in the city-state, vowed to continue his activism despite the "political suppression" he faced under Hong Kong authorities, and the Beijing-imposed 'national security' law that was effectively bolted on to Hong Kong's constitution (known as the "Basic Law") by the CCP earlier this year.

    For Wong, this will be his third jail term in 4 years.

    "I want to be frank that, in the face of uncertainties, I just feel uneasy and anxious," Wong wrote in an open letter penned during his detention. "However, as I said when I stepped into the dock in the courtroom, 'Hang in everyone, I know the situation that the people outside face will be more difficult. Keep fighting.'"

    Wong also called attention to the plight of 12 Hong Kong activists who were arrested this past summer and detained in mainland China after attempting to flee to Taiwan by boat.

    icnif77:

    https://www.rt.com/news/508431-joshua-wong-pleaded-guilty/

     

    Activist Joshua Wong was jailed for 13-and-a-half months on Wednesday by a Hong Kong court for his role in last year’s riots in the city.

     

    Last month, Wong pleaded guilty to organizing and inciting an unauthorized assembly outside a police station during 2019’s anti-government protests. As the offenses had taken place before China implemented its new national security law, he was only facing up to five years in prison, avoiding a potential life sentence.

    Wong’s associates Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam were jailed alongside him for 10 and seven months respectively, after also pleading guilty to charges related to the same unlawful assembly. 

    Wong and Lam were previously jailed for their role in pro-democracy protests. Chow is facing further charges under the national security law, accused of colluding with foreign forces, which, if she is found guilty, could carry a life sentence.

     

    Around 100 supporters had gathered in the court ahead of the sentencing, while a group of pro-Beijing protesters rallied outside the building, calling on the judge to hand down a long prison term.

     

    Sentencing the group, Magistrate Wong Sze-lai said:

    “The defendants called on protesters to besiege the headquarters and chanted slogans that undermine the police force. Immediate imprisonment is the only appropriate option."

    As he was escorted out of the court, Wong shouted to his supporters: “The days ahead will be tough but we will hang in there.”

    Following the sentencing, Human Rights Group condemned the jail term, describing it as both heartbreaking and outrageous.”Beijing has rejected the criticism that it’s faced, accusing Wong and his associates of being the ‘black hand’ of foreign forces, arguing that the sentences and its new national security law are required to restore stability.

    1 day 12 hours ago
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    icnif77:

    https://news.yahoo.com/155-mps-write-carrie-lam-112302430.html

    The Telegraph

    155 MPs write to Carrie Lam, asking her to advocate for better rights for the "Hong Kong 12"

     

    An international coalition of more than 150 parliamentarians has urged Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, to guarantee a fair legal process for 12 young people who were detained in China in August after allegedly trying to flee the former British colony to reach Taiwan by sea.

    The open letter issued on Tuesday by 155 politicians from the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Myanmar and multiple European nations adds weight to a global campaign that has sprung up since the so-called “Hong Kong 12” were intercepted by the Chinese coastguard and jailed in the mainland city of Shenzhen. They were facing accusations of illegally crossing the border between Hong Kong and China.

    The group had tried to escape Hong Kong by speedboat, fearing political persecution amid an ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy activists and the introduction in June of a draconian national security law.

    The law punishes broadly defined crimes such as “secession” with up to life in prison.

    Beijing imposed the law to curb year-long anti-government protests.

    Hong Kong's Security Bureau has said all 12 were suspected of committing crimes including manufacturing or possessing explosives, arson and rioting in Hong Kong. The group consists of unnamed individuals aged 16 to 33.

    Signatories to the letter, who include Tom Tugendhat, the Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, and fellow MPs Iain Duncan Smith, Damian Green, Hilary Benn and John McDonnell, have appealed to Ms Lam to intervene to bring the group back to Hong Kong to face trial in local courts. 

    Further requests include ensuring the right of the activists to nominate their own legal representatives, have contact with their families and be allowed access to prescribed medication. 

    Human rights groups and lawyers fear the 12 are at risk of torture and injustice if they disappear into China’s notoriously opaque justice system.

    “This is a watershed case for Hong Kong, which will influence whether the extradition of pro-democracy activists to stand trial in the mainland becomes a common occurrence,” said Benedict Rogers, chief executive of Hong Kong Watch, the London-based advocacy group that organised the letter. 

    Families of the activists have issued their own emotional appeals for their safe return.

    In a joint statement last week they revealed they had heard for the first time from their loved ones in formulaic letters claiming they were being well treated. 

    "It is doubtful that they wrote the letter out of their own free will," it said.

    1 day 11 hours ago
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    A: Going to HK would be the best bet I reckon, especially if you were loo
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