HONG KONG, June 16 -- Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong has called on residents not to be used as pawns by foreign forces amid the US-China trade war, and said more than 60 statements issued by overseas powers had fuelled tension over the controversial extradition bill.
More than 200 Hong Kong delegates to the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) met officials from the liaison office on Sunday, when they were also asked to support the Hong Kong government in riding out the storm. The meeting was held hours before people took to the streets for a second consecutive Sunday, despite Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announcing the suspension of the legislation the day before. The bill, if passed, would allow the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions Hong Kong lacks an extradition agreement with, including mainland China. “The liaison office officials recognised the Hong Kong government’s intention to pass the extradition bill to plug legal loopholes. But it’s a shame that … many foreign forces keep interfering and smearing the bill,” said Tam Yiu-chung, the city’s only representative to the NPC’s Standing Committee. He and the other delegates met Wang Zhimin, director of the liaison office, and other duty chiefs for about an hour.
ROTTERDAM, June 16 -- Have you ever wondered what the "Q" in LGBTQ stands for? Or what the other letters mean? Just as language constantly evolves, the words we use to describe ourselves and other facets of identity are changing, too.
Here are some terms you should be familiar with, based on resources from the American Psychological Association; NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists; National Center for Transgender Equality. After you read them, test your knowledge using the memory game below.
LGBTQ: The first four letters of this standard abbreviation are fairly straightforward: “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.” The Q can stand for “questioning” -- as in still exploring one’s sexuality -- or “queer,” or sometimes both.
QUEER: Once considered a demeaning slur for being gay, “queer” is being reclaimed by some as a self-affirming umbrella term, especially among those who consider other labels restrictive. Some still believe it’s a homophobic slur, so it’s always best to ask or wait for the person whom you’re speaking with to use it.
SEX: The scientific community views sex as different from gender. Sex is assigned at birth based on a newborn’s physical and biological characteristics, such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence and anatomy. Generally, a newborn’s sex is assigned male or female, though some states and countries provide a third option for those who are intersex.
INTERSEX: People born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia or an internal reproductive system that is not considered standard for males or females. Parents and physicians usually choose the sex of the child, resulting in surgery or hormone treatment. Some intersex adults want this practice to end because one’s sex at birth may not align with their own sense of gender or identity.
GENDER: The socially constructed roles, behaviors and attributes that serve as cultural indicators of someone’s personal and social identity. Typically, these roles are grouped into one of two categories: male or female. That’s starting to change, as society grows more comfortable with the idea of gender as a spectrum and not binary.
GENDER IDENTITY: A person’s emotional and psychological sense of their gender, which may not align with the sex they were assigned at birth. The most common examples of gender identity are male and female, but there are several terms for people who don’t fit into those categories, such as the following…
NON-BINARY: One of the more common terms to describe people who don’t identify as male or female. Some may have a gender that blends male and female elements, or they may not identify with any gender. Common synonyms or alternatives to non-binary terms include genderqueer and gender nonconforming.
TRANSGENDER: Unlike non-binary people, transgender people may identify as male or female. What the two groups share is the innate sense that their gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.
CISGENDER: The prefix “cis” means “on this side.” Adding it to the suffix “gender” creates a word for someone whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth. In other words, someone who does not identify as transgender.
SEXUAL ORIENTATION: One’s innate sexual attraction to other men, women or others who identify as non-binary. Not to be confused with gender, sex or gender identity.
LESBIAN: A noun and an adjective for women who are attracted to other women, although some women prefer to be called gay or queer – it’s always best to ask!
GAY: An adjective and not a noun, most often used to describe men who are attracted to other men (except in the aforementioned cases).
BISEXUAL: Someone who is attracted to more than one gender.
ASEXUAL: Asexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by a lack of sexual attraction, but it doesn’t rule out romantic attraction.
PANSEXUAL: The prefix “pan” says it all. Pansexual is an adjective for those who are attracted to all types of people, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
HONG KONG, June 15 -- Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is set to announce a pause in the passage of the controversial extradition bill at a press conference at the government’s headquarters, capping the last 48 hours of rapidly moving developments.
She held a meeting with key government officials at nearly midnight on Friday, and on Saturday morning met pro-establishment lawmakers. The pause is to break the biggest impasse in city politics in recent years, after hundreds of thousands marched in protest last Sunday and violent clashes broke out between protesters and police on Wednesday, with injuries sustained on both sides. But the organisers of the historic march on June 9, the Civil Human Rights Front, and the pro-democracy Confederation of Trade Unions (CTU), have vowed to carry on with another march this Sunday.
LONDON, June 14 -- The UK home secretary, Sajid Javid, has revealed he has signed a request for Julian Assange to be extradited to the U.S. where he faces charges of computer hacking, The Guardian reports.
Speaking on the Today Programme on Thursday, June 13, Javid said: “He’s rightly behind bars. There’s an extradition request from the U.S. that is before the courts tomorrow but yesterday I signed the extradition order and certified it and that will be going in front of the courts tomorrow.” Javid’s decision opens the way to the court sending the WikiLeaks founder to America. Assange faces an 18-count indictment, issued by the U.S. Justice Department, that includes charges under the Espionage Act. He is accused of soliciting and publishing classified information and conspiring to hack into a government computer. Javid said: “It is a decision ultimately for the courts, but there is a very important part of it for the home secretary and I want to see justice done at all times and we’ve got a legitimate extradition request, so I’ve signed it, but the final decision is now with the courts.”
Javid’s decision follows news last week that an attempt to extradite Assange to Sweden had suffered a setback when a court in Uppsala said he did not need to be detained. The ruling by the district court prevented Swedish prosecutors from applying immediately for an extradition warrant for Assange to face an allegation of rape dating back to 2010. Assange denies the accusation. Assange is serving a 50-week sentence in Britain for skipping bail after he spent seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London attempting to avoid extradition to Sweden. Swedish prosecutors dropped their rape investigation in 2017 but reopened it after Ecuador rescinded its offer of asylum to Assange in April this year and allowed British police to arrest him.
It issued another notice in the afternoon saying that it will also not hold a session on Friday. The notice added that further announcement will be made once the council president sets the time of the meeting. For security reasons, the Central Government Offices are closed on Thursday and Friday. The city’s transport operator suspended services to Admiralty station, said RTHK on Thursday morning. The government headquarters are located in Admiralty. The station was reopened for services from 2pm on Thursday.
Hong Kong’s General Chamber of Commerce, which says it represents businesses employing a third of the local workforce, said large-scale protests show that the public has serious apprehensions about the bill, reported Bloomberg.
“We sincerely urge the government to continue to listen to stakeholders and engage in meaningful dialogue with the public,” said Mr Aron Harilela, the group’s chairman, adding that it agrees with the underlying principle of the Bill. “We call for restraint from all parties to ensure that this issue will not undermine business confidence in Hong Kong and our international reputation,” Chamber chief executive officer Shirley Yuen added, according to a statement. Meanwhile, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters on Thursday that Hong Kongers have the right to pursue their way of life and system they want. She said that her government would not accept the Hong Kong extradition Bill, adding that it violates Taiwan’s sovereignty. China considers self-governed Taiwan a renegade province with no right to state-to-state ties, and territory to be “reunified” by force if necessary. On Thursday morning, more than a hundred protesters were seen lingering on Hong Kong’s streets as heavy rain fell. Some of them turned up at the LegCo complex at Admiralty before 11am to clear debris left behind from the protests overnight but riot police turned up and lined up before them. Uniformed police with helmets and shields blocked overhead walkways, while a long row of police vans were parked nearby, according to Reuters. Tensions spiked for a while before the officers left. The protesters then resumed clearing debris while others clustered around the LegCo complex.
Labour Party politician Fernando Cheung emerged from the complex and told those gathering around that there would be no debate on Thursday. He also urged the people to go home and rest. Chinese state media said in editorials published on Thursday that the protests were “hammering” Hong Kong’s reputation. “It is lawlessness that will hurt Hong Kong, not the proposed amendments to its fugitive law,” said the English-language China Daily. Security remained tight and police reopened several roads in the affected area, including Harcourt Road and Queensway.
LONDON, June 13 -- Former colonial ruler Britain urged the Hong Kong government to "listen to the concerns of its people" amid violent protests on Wednesday (June 12) against plans to allow extraditions to mainland China.
"The ongoing protests in Hong Kong are a clear sign of significant public concern about the proposed changes to extradition laws. I call on all sides to remain calm and peaceful," Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement. "I urge the Hong Kong government to listen to the concerns of its people and its friends in the international community and to pause and reflect on these controversial measures."
"It is essential that the authorities engage in meaningful dialogue and take steps to preserve Hong Kong's rights and freedoms and high degree of autonomy, which underpin its international reputation." "Upholding the principle of 'One Country, Two Systems', provided for in the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration, is vital to Hong Kong's future success." Britain handed control of Hong Kong back to China in 1997 on the basis of the Joint Declaration it signed with Beijing, which guarantees freedoms in the semi-autonomous city until 2047.
Violent clashes broke out in Hong Kong on Wednesday as police tried to stop protesters storming the city's Parliament, while tens of thousands of people blocked key arteries in a show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and batons to disperse crowds of black-clad demonstrators - most of them young people and students - calling on the authorities to scrap the Beijing-backed law. Speaking in Parliament, British Prime Minister Theresa May said London was concerned about the potential effect of the proposals, particularly given the large number of UK citizens in Hong Kong.
"We have been unequivocal in our views," she told MPs. "It is vital that those extradition arrangements are in line with the rights and freedoms that were set down in that... Joint Declaration." Foreign Office Asia minister Mark Field told Parliament on Monday that Britain fears a "chilling effect" on Hong Kong freedoms if the extradition laws are approved. He said Britain "remains acutely aware" of its enduring responsibilities towards Hong Kong through the Joint Declaration. "Many fear, above all, that Hong Kong nationals and residents risk being pulled into China's legal system, which can involve lengthy pre-trial detentions, television confessions and an absence of many of the judicial safeguards that we see in Hong Kong," Mr Field said. "The changes that they have proposed fail to address fully a number of the core issues that we and others have raised."
MOSCOW, June 12 -- Reporters Without Borders (RSF) hails the historic level of pressure from Russian civil society that led to investigative journalist Ivan Golunov’s release yesterday but points out that at least six other journalists are still detained in Russia.
Their profiles are presented below.
Ivan Golunov’s arrest highlighted the complete impunity enjoyed by corrupt police officers ready to bring the most absurd trumped-up charges against troublesome journalists. Their behaviour shocked Moscow but it is quite common in the rest of Russia. A young Chechen journalist, Zhalaudi Geriyev, has just completed a three-year jail sentence on equally fanciful drug charges. At least six other journalists continue to be detained arbitrarily just for doing their job. One of them, Igor Rudnikov, is due to be sentenced on 17 June and is facing up to ten years in a prison camp. “The past few days have shown that it is possible to snatch journalists from censorship’s claws in Russia if the level of support and solidarity is strong enough,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “But the scale of this victory will be limited if we allow Ivan Golunov’s fellow journalists to continue festering in prison. The time has come to mobilize for all the other journalists who are unjustly detained in Russia. I am and we are Igor Rudnikov, Remzi Bekirov, Alexei Nazimov, Roman Sushchenko, Alexander Tolmachev and Alexander Valov.”
A reporter for the alternative news website Grani.ru in Crimea (the Ukrainian region annexed in 2014), Bekirov particularly covered the persecution of the Tatar population and pro-Ukraine activists by the Russian de-facto authorities. He was arrested along with a number of other people in Crimea in March 2019 and is facing a possible life sentence on a charge of being one of the “leaders of a terrorist organization,” Hizb-ut-Tahrir.
The editor of the opposition newspaper Tvoya Gazeta in the Crimean city of Alushta, Nazimov was arrested in October 2016 and was sentenced to four years and seven months in prison for supposedly trying to extort money from the local branch of the ruling United Russia party, which he had criticized in his reporting.
The founder and editor of the leading independent newspaper in Russia’s western enclave of Kaliningrad, Rudnikov is well known for hard-hitting investigative reporting and had been the target of two murder attempts. He was arrested in November 2017 on a charge of trying to extort money from the local head of the special police, who had been the subject of some of his investigative reporting. A verdict is due in his trial on 17 June. His newspaper, Novye Kolesa, has meanwhile been forced to close.
The Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform’s Paris correspondent, Sushchenko was arrested while visiting a friend in Russia in September 2016 and was sentenced to 12 years in a harsh-regime prison camp at the end of a trial held behind closed doors. Most of the indictment was classified as a defence secret.
The editor of two publications in the southwestern Rostov-on-Don region, Upolnomochen Zayavit and Pro Rostov, Tolmachev arrested in December 2011 and was illegally maintained in pre-trial detention for nearly three years despite serious health problems. He was finally sentenced to nine years in a prison camp for allegedly extorting money from people he had criticized in his reporting.
The editor of the BlogSochi news website in the southwestern Sochi region, Valov is well known for criticizing the local authorities. He was arrested in January 2018 on a charge of trying to extort money from a local parliamentarian he had criticized, and was sentenced to six years in prison at the end of a sham trial. BlogSochi has meanwhile been hacked and is no longer accessible.
Russia is ranked 149thout of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.
HONG KONG, June 12 -- Tens of thousands of masked protesters armed with umbrellas and goggles are occupying all roads leading to Hong Kong's legislature as the government is forced to delay the debate on the highly contentious extradition bill.
Protesters, mostly young people who had camped there overnight, are building metal barricades and walls of loose bricks in a face-off with riot police bearing shields and batons. Police fired pepper jets and rubber bullets into the crowds earlier. Pro-government lawmakers are nowhere in sight. Today’s protest follows Sunday’s march, the biggest since the 1997 handover.
不只如此，ThisAV 日前於官網打出「香港生死存亡，仲挂住打丁？」、「今日要射出嘅唔應該係寂寞，而係你還剩餘的一股熱血！」等標語，呼籲香港民眾 6 月 9 日參與遊行
香港知名成人雜誌《龍虎豹》也曾在 1989 年支持六四事件，以「國家興亡，人人有責」為口號進行義賣活動。而在歐美縱使備受爭議，但全球最大色情網站 Pornhub 近年來也一直投入公益，不遺餘力。
DAMASCUS, June 10 -- Authorities in northeast Syria have been urging Western countries to take back citizens who joined Islamic State.
France and the Netherlands have taken custody of 14 French and Dutch orphans of Islamic State (IS) fighters in northeast Syria, an official in the Kurdish-led administration there said on Monday. Authorities in northeast Syria have been urging Western countries to take back citizens who joined IS and their relatives after the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured the group's last enclave earlier this year. Abdulkarim Omar, co-chair of the foreign relations committee of the administration that runs the northeastern quarter of Syria held by the SDF, said it had handed over the children to foreign ministry delegations from France and the Netherlands. France took back 12 orphaned French children from IS families and the Netherlands took back two Dutch orphans, he said in Tweets. Last week, the Kurdish-led authorities said they had repatriated two US women along with six children. Few countries have yet seemed willing to take back their citizens, who may be hard to prosecute. The Kurdish-led administration and the SDF have said they cannot indefinitely hold thousands of foreigners, but no clear international policy has emerged over how to handle the issue. Many of the relatives of captured IS fighters are located in al-Hol, a camp for displaced people where aid agencies have warned of dire humanitarian conditions.
Under British and international law, it is illegal to make an individual stateless. Britain, however, can make its citizens stateless if they have dual nationality. Critics of the move claim that Javid made the decision to revoke Begum's citizenship because she would be eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship because of her parents' heritage. The Bangladesh government has rejected the UK claim that she is a Bangladesh citizen.
On Sunday, one of Britain's most senior judges questioned Javid's decision to revoke Begum of her British citizenship. Jonathan Sumption, who retired as a justice of the Supreme Court in December, indicated that the Home Secretary may have broken international law with his actions. Speaking on the BBC's Reith Lecture, Lord Sumption said: "I am frankly surprised at the suggestion that she can be regarded as the citizen of a country with which she has never had anything to do [with], but that is the government's position and I have no doubt it will be tested in the courts in due course." Asked if the removal of citizenship also meant a person lost their standing under human rights, Lord Sumption said: "What they lose is their citizenship. That doesn't necessarily deprive them of their standing when it comes to human rights. "I have no problem with the notion of depriving people of their citizenship who have gone abroad to fight in foreign wars save this. "It's an established principle of international law that you cannot deprive somebody of his or her citizenship if the result would be to render them stateless. "And whatever they may have done in Syria or anywhere else, that rule has always been applied and will no doubt be applied in this case." Two independent legal challenges have been launched in response to Javid's decision to revoke Begum of her citizenship.