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Canadian singer and activist Denise Ho among group arrested in Hong Kong: report

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HONG KONG — Canadian singer and activist Denise Ho is one of at least four people who have been arrested in Hong Kong on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces to endanger China’s national security, reports said Wednesday.

U.K.-based human rights group Hong Kong Watch said Ho was detained by Hong Kong’s National Security Police, along with Cardinal Joseph Zen, lawyer Margaret Ng and scholar Hui Po-keung.

The rights group says the arrests are apparently related to their roles as trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which provided legal aid to people who took part in 2019 pro-democracy protests that were quashed by security forces.

Scores of pro-democracy activists have been arrested under a sweeping National Security Law imposed on the city by Beijing in 2020. Ho was previously arrested and briefly detained in December.

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Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, who had voiced her concern following Ho’s first arrest, reiterated that sentiment on Wednesday.

“The news of multiple arrests in Hong Kong of former trustees of a legal defence fund, including Denise Ho, is deeply troubling,” she wrote on Twitter.

“The ongoing targeting of civil society groups erodes the rights and freedoms of (Hong Kong) residents guaranteed under (Hong Kong’s) basic law,” Joly added, using pictograms of Hong Kong’s flag in place of words.

A spokeswoman for the group Alliance Canada Hong Kong says the arrests are a sign of worsening repression in Hong Kong. “It’s not exactly surprising that it happened, but it’s still shocking,” Ai-Men Lau said. “Especially arresting a 90-year-old cardinal for his peaceful activities,” she added in reference to Zen.

Lau said Ho was born in Hong Kong but grew up in Brossard, Que., on Montreal’s South Shore. Ho has previously cited her time in Canada as a source of inspiration for her activism, Lau said.

Since returning to Hong Kong, Ho has become a “significant figure” in the pro-democracy community, and she helped run the 612 Fund, said Lau, who urged the Canadian government to ensure Ho receives proper consular support.

Global Affairs Canada said in a statement Wednesday the department was providing consular services to Ho.

Ho’s manager, Jelly Cheng, confirmed Ho’s arrest on Wednesday but said she had no other information.

The arrests follow the selection on Sunday of Hong Kong’s new leader, John Lee, a hardline former security chief who ran unopposed in a process controlled by Beijing.

The European Union and foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized countries — including Canada — condemned the election as fundamentally undemocratic and a betrayal of the “one country, two systems” principle under which Hong Kong was supposed to retain its own political, legal and economic system for 50 years after the end of British colonial rule.

Lau, however, urged the Canadian government to go even further in supporting democracy in Hong Kong.

While the statement was a good step, “we haven’t seen that followed up with concrete actions: for example, sanctions against Hong Kong officials responsible for the political crackdowns,” she said.

She said she also believes Canada should further expand humanitarian programs for those impacted or those seeking to flee Hong Kong due to political persecution.

Hong Kong’s government and police had no immediate comment on the reported arrests.

Zen, the retired archbishop of Hong Kong, is a fierce critic of China and has been blistering in his condemnation of the Vatican’s 2018 agreement with Beijing over bishop nominations, which he has said was a sellout of underground Christians in China.

The Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, said the Holy See “learned with concern the news of the arrest of Cardinal Zen and is following the evolution of the situation with extreme attention.”

Hui was arrested at Hong Kong’s international airport as he sought to leave the city, Hong Kong Watch said.

“Today’s arrests signal beyond a doubt that Beijing intends to intensify its crackdown on basic rights and freedoms in Hong Kong,” said the group’s chief executive, Benedict Rogers.

“We urge the international community to shine a light on this brutal crackdown and call for the immediate release of these activists,” Rogers said.

The White House also called on China and Hong Kong authorities to cease targeting Hong Kong advocates and immediately release Zen and others who were “unjustly detained and charged,” deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday.

Several leading Hong Kong activists have fled to Taiwan, Britain or elsewhere, while thousands of other Hong Kongers have chosen to leave the city, raising concerns about the economic future of the Asian financial centre of 7.4 million.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2022.

— by Morgan Lowrie in Montreal; with files from The Associated Press.

 

The Canadian Press

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"Doors Not Closed, But Need Something To Look At": India On Canada's Charges – NDTV

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Begin Your Musical Journey With Guitar Lessons

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Beginning a guitar lesson will likely start off by asking about their goals and what they would like to learn, before teaching basic chords and the universal strumming pattern.

Understanding that mastering any instrument takes time is crucial, but consistent practice will yield tangible results within weeks or two.

  1. Know the Instrument

As you embark on your guitar journey, it is crucial that you establish the essential foundational knowledge. This includes becoming acquainted with your instrument and how it operates; having this understanding will allow for improved playing performance and lessen frustration.

Study the names and placement of strings on the fretboard, as well as chords; chords are groups of notes you strum together to produce harmony; more chords you know means more songs you can play! Open chords such as Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd or Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival are easy-to-play examples of open chords that use open strings with fretted ones on the first three frets; these chords may help get you started playing more advanced songs!

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Fretting and unfretting each chord to become familiar with its shape will help build strength and confidence in your fingers, making chord playing more natural and intuitive.

  1. Know the Basics

Once you arrive for your first lesson, your instructor will ask for some information about yourself to gain a sense of what goals and learning styles you wish to accomplish through guitar lessons.

At first, you’ll learn to hold and number each string on the guitar; picking individual strings while developing an understanding of how much pressure must be applied in order to play each note is also taught during these early lessons.

Soon you will start strumming along to songs and developing an understanding of rhythm. While this process can seem cumbersome and time-consuming, keep in mind that professional guitarists spend hours each day working on developing their rhythm skills! Once you find your groove with playing chords you will soon be on your way to creating music that uplifts and motivates! Although this might take a while it will ultimately pay off!

  1. Set Goals

Once you’ve built rapport with your instructor, it is crucial that you discuss what your goals for guitar are. This will enable them to tailor a practice routine just for you that will help realize your musical ambitions.

Beginner students of guitar can sometimes have unrealistic expectations that can undermine their motivation to practice guitar. Expectations such as effortlessly smooth chord changes or effortless strumming can become discouraging when they don’t come immediately.

Your first objective should be getting your fretting hand fingers to form simple chords together with ease, taking time and practice. Your fingertips may hurt until calluses form; don’t be discouraged though as without hard work there will never be success in anything!

Setting specific guitar goals will enable you to monitor your progress and achievements more easily. A good goal can be as straightforward as “Improvise a slow blues song using Eric Clapton’s style within 3 months”. Tying these goals to rewards and discussing them with your instructor will keep you accountable and help ensure success.

  1. Practice

No matter whether it’s scales, chord progressions or songs – knowing your goals and practicing to reach them is key to reaching them. Achieve success requires having a clear image of what success looks like (such as being able to improvise over a slow blues in Eric Clapton’s style within three months) as well as tracking progress towards that goal.

To ensure you meet your goals, it’s essential to create a detailed plan and set aside specific times each week that you can dedicate to practicing. Discuss your objectives with your instructor to establish what a realistic timeline might look like for achieving musical aspirations.

Take steps outside your comfort zone during practice sessions to keep motivated and expand your guitar abilities in novel ways. Try playing songs in different keys than usual or adding some advanced chords to your repertoire. This may keep your practice sessions interesting and help to keep you moving forward!

Begin your musical journey with guitar lessons and discover the joy of playing your favorite songs on this versatile instrument. With expert instruction, you’ll learn the skills you need to play your favorite pieces and express yourself creatively through music. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned musician, guitar lessons can help you take your playing to the next level.

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