Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) toured Hong Kong yesterday and praised its work in fighting SARS as the territory prepared to mark the anniversary of its July 1, 1997 return to Beijing's sovereignty with a massive protest against a new security law planned to coincide with the celebrations. \nProtest organizers say about 100,000 people are expected to demonstrate during the festivities today against an anti-subversion law due to be passed this month that many fear will curtail human rights in the territory. \nIt is feared the new law -- which bans treason, sedition, theft of state secrets and subversion -- could curtail freedoms previously guaranteed for 50 years in the "one country, two systems" principle under which the city was returned to China. \nBut reportedly Wen said Sunday that China was committed to preserving Hong Kong's autonomy. \n"We will unswervingly commit ourselves to the policies of `one country, two systems,' 'Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong' and high degree of autonomy," he said. \nThe South China Morning Post commented yesterday that even though his statement sounded familiar, "Mr Wen hit the right note, as it marked the first time that an official of his stature from the nation's new leadership has articulated this reassuring message on Hong Kong soil." \nAsked by reporters if the planned mass protest could scare away foreign businesses, Wen avoided a direct reply but said yesterday, "we hope Hong Kong will create a stable environment beneficial in attracting foreign investors." \nHong Kong is required to pass the anti-subversion law in terms of the agreement on its return to China on July 1, 1997. The legislation is expected to be passed on July 9. \nThe US and Britain have joined international human rights and press groups to condemn the planned laws. \nOn the first day of his tour Sunday, Wen attended the signing of a free-trade pact between China and Hong Kong, the first Beijing has forged since it joined the WTO 18 months ago. \nThe pact will take effect on Jan. 1, 2004, giving firms and professionals in the former British colony a head start in the race to establish a footing in the potentially lucrative Chinese market. \nYesterday, Wen visited the site of one of Hong Kong's worst outbreaks of the SARS virus that killed 297 people here, and a busy container port. \nThe premier inspected the Amoy Gardens housing complex where faulty sewage pipes led to some 329 people becoming infected with SARS in March, 42 of whom later died. \nWen praised Hong Kong's fight against SARS with a handwritten note honoring hospital workers, but one said he had come too late now that the crisis has ended. \n"If you come, you should come earlier," health-care assistant Kwok Yan-ngor told a reporter after she spoke briefly with Wen about conditions in a hard-hit SARS ward at the Prince of Wales Hospital. \n"People are dead already," Kwok said. "What's there to talk about?" \nHong Kong was removed from a World Health Organization list of areas affected by SARS a week ago. \nIt is Wen's first visit to Hong Kong since he assumed the post of premier in March.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”