Hong Kong’s government might curb access to the Internet in a bid to contain months of increasingly violent pro-democracy protests, a senior pro-Beijing politician said yesterday, after an emergency law banning demonstrators wearing masks failed to quell the unrest.
The surge in protests was in response to the Hong Kong government’s announcement on Friday it would invoke colonial-era emergency laws not used for more than 50 years to ban demonstrators from wearing face masks.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) said the ban was needed to contain the unrest.
“The government will not rule out the possibility of placing a ban on the Internet,” said Ip Kwok-him (葉國謙), a member of Lam’s Executive Council.
The Internet has been crucial to protesters, who have no public leaders and use online forums and encrypted messaging apps to mobilize, he said.
However, he said the government recognized any online shutdown could have a knock-on effect.
“I think a condition for implementing the Internet ban would be not to affect any businesses in Hong Kong,” he said.
Protests remained small last night as the territory cleaned up from the weekend.
Pro-democracy activists had called for protests across Hong Kong again last night, starting at 8pm, but they failed to gain significant traction, although gatherings of masked protesters took place at multiple malls yesterday afternoon, with police firing brief volleys of tear gas in the district of Mongkok.
Riot police were on standby in parts of the territory, despite the sparse groups of black-shirted demonstrators milling around areas including the central Causeway Bay shopping district, a focal point for the violence, where some shops had pulled their shutters down early.
The MTR Corp provided only limited train service yesterday, a public holiday, and ended it completely at 6pm, except for an express to the airport, to allow for repairs to vandalized stations.
The Hong Kong Education Bureau yesterday urged students to steer clear of “unlawful activities” and advised them to check traffic conditions before heading to school today.
The bureau also asked principals of secondary schools to report before 11am today how many of their students are wearing masks, are boycotting classes or are absent for other reasons, Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools chair Teddy Tang (鄧振強) told a Hong Kong, Radio Television (RTHK) radio program.
“I don’t believe it is to put pressure on schools… the bureau may be hoping to understand more about the emotional status of students,” the Hong Kong Free Press quoted him as saying.
The bureau was not intending to confirm the figures submitted to it, he said.
“There is growing distrust against the government, against the police,” said Eric Cheung (張達明), a law lecturer at the University of Hong Kong and a member of the committee that elects the chief executive.
Earlier in the day a small crowd gathered outside the Eastern Magistrates’ courthouse where two protesters — an 18-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman detained early on Saturday and charged with unlawful assembly as well as violating the mask ban — faced a hearing.
They were released on bail and ordered to abide by a curfew and not leave Hong Kong, RTHK reported.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg and staff writer
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
Americans awoke yesterday to charred and glass-strewn streets in dozens of cities after another night of unrest fueled by rage over the mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of police, who responded to the violence with tear gas and rubber bullets. Tens of thousands marched peacefully through streets to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Monday last week after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. However, many demonstrations sank into chaos as night fell: Vehicles and businesses were torched. The words “I can’t breathe” were
EXTRA INVITATIONS: Russia, Australia, South Korea and India would be asked to a later summit dedicated to countering China, Donald Trump said US President Donald Trump has been forced to cancel a planned face-to-face summit of G7 leaders this month and now wants to host an expanded meeting in September dedicated to countering China to which Russian President Vladimir Putin would be invited. Trump on Saturday announced that he had canceled the June meeting, which he had billed as a symbol of the US “transitioning back to greatness,” after German Chancellor Angela Merkel told him in a telephone call that she saw the summit in Washington as a health risk. Hundreds of security staff, journalists and officials also attend the two-day summits. Reports suggest