China’s state media and the government of Hong Kong lashed out on Sunday at U.S. President Donald Trump’s vow to end Hong Kong’s special status if Beijing imposes new national security laws on the city, which is bracing for fresh protests.
Trump on Friday pledged to “take action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory,” and to impose sanctions on unspecified individuals over Beijing’s new laws on the Asian financial centre.
But China’s state media pushed back, saying this would hurt the United States more than China.
“The baton of sanctions that the United States is brandishing will not scare Hong Kong and will not bring China down,” China’s Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, wrote in a commentary. It used the pen name “Zhong Sheng,” meaning “Voice of China,” often used to give the paper’s view on foreign policy issues.
The Global Times wrote, “China has already prepared for the worst. No matter how far the U.S. goes, China will keep its company.”
A Hong Kong government spokesman expressed regret the United States continued to “smear and demonize the legitimate rights and duty of our sovereign” to safeguard national security.
In a sign of diplomatic manoeuvring, the U.S. government said it would put one of its prime Hong Kong properties up for sale – a luxury residential complex worth up to HK$5 billion ($650 million).
A spokesman for the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong said this was part of a global program that “reinforces the U.S. government’s presence in Hong Kong” through reinvestment in other areas.
China and Hong Kong officials have justified the laws that will be directly imposed by China to restore order to a city that has been racked by sometimes violent anti-China, anti-government protests over the past year. They said the laws will only apply to a small number of “troublemakers.”
Protesters, however, have said they are railing against China’s deep encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms despite Beijing’s promise to grant the city a high degree of autonomy under a so-called “one-country, two systems” formula since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
More protests are planned in the coming weeks.
Countries including the United States, Canada and Britain have expressed deep concerns about the law, with Britain saying it may grant expanded visa rights to large numbers of Hong Kongers.
Demosisto, an advocacy group led by prominent young Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong, said the security law will be “the death of freedom in Hong Kong.”
A senior Hong Kong official, Erick Tsang, said he couldn’t care less if he were sanctioned by the Washington. “I wouldn’t even go to Canada, just in case they try to catch me” there, Tsang told local radio.
Details of the laws remain unclear, even to Hong Kong officials, but are expected to be enacted by China’s parliament this summer. The laws will outlaw secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in Hong Kong, and will be imposed without any local legislative scrutiny.
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Pompeo says U.S. looking at banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok: Fox – TheChronicleHerald.ca
(Reuters) – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late on Monday that the United States is “certainly looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.
“I don’t want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it’s something we’re looking at,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News.
U.S. lawmakers have raised national security concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data, saying they were worried about Chinese laws requiring domestic companies “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”
The app, which is not available in China, has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience and has emphasized its independence from China.
Pompeo’s remarks also come amid increasing U.S.-China tensions over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, China’s actions in Hong Kong and a nearly two-year trade war.
TikTok, a short-form video app owned by China-based ByteDance, was recently banned in India along with 58 other Chinese apps after a border clash between India and China.
Reuters reported late on Monday that TikTok would exit the Hong Kong market within days, deciding to do so after China’s establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the semi-autonomous city.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Hogue and Gerry Doyle)
Kamloops RCMP officer's conduct under review after blackface jokes on social media – Chilliwack Progress
A Kamloops police officer’s conduct is under review after he made black face jokes in a series of posts on his personal Instagram account.
RCMP Const. Rupert Meinke’s posts showed him receiving a skin treatment. In one photo, a woman is apparently applying a black cleansing mask to his face; another appears to be a selfie with the cleansing mask on.
The photo of the mask being applied is accompanied by this caption: “Black face session. It’s suppose to help my looks. I don’t think it’s working,” followed by a laughing emoji.
The selfie is accompanied by this caption: “Is my skin racist? Micro aggressions matter.”
Meinke’s Instagram is private and it’s unclear when the posts were made, but screenshots of them began circulating on social media late last week.
Kamloops RCMP Supt. Syd Lecky told KTW he cannot speak to specifics regarding Meinke’s Instagram posts or duty status, but said making black face jokes on social media would not be smart.
“In this day and age that we’re in, that would be a dumb thing to do,” Lecky said. “I would certainly look into it.”
Lecky said he is unable to discuss Meinke’s posts because they were made on a personal Instagram account.
“It’s a social media account that is private and it isn’t linked to policing or the RCMP,” Lecky said. “So, I can’t even confirm to you if it’s a member.”
If he were to be made aware of such posts coming from a constable, Lecky said, an internal code-of-conduct investigation would be launched.
Meinke has also worked as a part-time instructor at Thompson Rivers University. He has taught police and justice studies classes.
University spokeswoman Darshan Lindsay told KTW the institution is “looking into” Meinke’s Instagram posts.
“Our commitment is to create a university where everyone belongs, where we show our respect for one another through our actions and in our words,” she said. “While we won’t be providing further comment on this matter, we can confirm the individual has taught courses part-time at TRU in the past.”
Lindsay said Meinke is not currently employed by or teaching at TRU.
Lecky said he was first made aware of the Instagram posts on Sunday, July 5.
CTV News Vancouver also reported on this story and was among media outlets to reach out to Meinke for comment. He replied, saying: “Sorry I cannot comment other than it is a skin care product. Take care.”
“Charcoal face masks, no harm, no foul,” Vanessa Simon, an activist and organizer for Black Lives Matter, told CTV. “But then you’re posting on your social media for the public to see, asking, ‘Is this racist? Micro aggression matters,’ you’re setting yourself up to be ridiculed by the community and he is getting what is coming to him.”
Simon told CTV News she was frustrated when she first saw the posts, opining they are insensitive and in poor taste.
“It’s concerning to me that there’s someone like that in the police department,” she said.
China launches political policing task force: state media – TheChronicleHerald.ca
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China has launched a special taskforce to ramp up political policing to maintain social stability, said the official Procuratorial Daily, the latest move to rein in dissent over Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus and protests in Hong Kong.
The taskforce should “crack down on all kinds of infiltration, subversion, sabotage, violent terrorist activities, ethnic separatist activities, and extreme religious activities,” according to the undated notes from a meeting of the taskforce published in the paper on Monday.
The news of the taskforce came on the same day that a Beijing law professor who has been an outspoken critic of China’s ruling Communist Party and President Xi Jinping was taken away by authorities.
The main responsibility of the taskforce is to safeguard China’s political system. “Political security is related to national safety and people’s well-being,” according to the notes.
Referencing the fight against coronavirus, the notes said a government can only guarantee its people’s safety if it maintains a stable political environment.
The taskforce is part of the “Build a Peaceful China” coordination group set up in April and led by Guo Shengkun, China’s top law enforcement official.
It’s launch comes after China’s parliament passed national security legislation for Hong Kong at the end of June which punishes crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.
Hong Kong has been rocked by large, and sometimes violent, pro-democracy protests since mid-2019.
The new security laws have been criticised by pro-democracy activists, lawyers and foreign governments who fear it would be used to stifle dissent and undermine freedoms the former British colony was promised when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
The day after the law came into effect, one man was arrested for carrying a Hong Kong independence flag.
(Reporting by Engen Tham and Wang Jing; Editing by Michael Perry)
Pompeo says U.S. looking at banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok: Fox – TheChronicleHerald.ca
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