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Kamloops Mountie criticized for social media post comparing cosmetic face mask to blackface – CBC.ca

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A Kamloops RCMP officer is being criticized for comments made on his personal Instagram account in regards to blackface and microaggressions.

Const. Rupert Meinke posted two images of himself using a charcoal face mask. He captioned the photos with comments about blackface. 

“Is my skin care racist? Micro-aggressions matter,” one post said.

“Blackface session. It’s supposed to help my looks. I don’t think it’s working,” said the other.

CBC has reached out to Meinke on social media, but has not yet heard back. 

The B.C. RCMP is aware of the posts and is reviewing them.

“The review remains ongoing and will seek to determine further context, as well as a greater picture of the social media profile in question,” an RCMP statement said.

Ex-cop calls jokes about blackface ‘concerning’

Former RCMP officer Chad Haggerty, who has used his own social media channels to talk about systemic racism he faced while on the force, said that when it comes to comments about blackface and racism of any kind, sensitivity needs to be demonstrated. 

“During a time when racial bias is a topic of great concern for Canadian society, to have a police officer not being sensitive to that issue and to make jokes about blackface is concerning,” he told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce. 

“We need to step outside of our own personal circumstance, view how these comments in the grand scheme of things are leading to a mistrust of police or a feeling that police aren’t sensitive to the needs of the entire community.”

Haggerty, who is Métis, said during his 17 years serving with the RCMP, he heard all kinds of racist language from fellow officers.

“I was privy to comments like being told that I was hired to work with Indians and I should go back to the reserve, being called chief and scout,” he said. 

“When I tried to raise a complaint about some of the actions, I was cautioned by two supervisors to essentially keep my mouth shut and keep my head down.”

Though he doesn’t know Meinke personally or professionally, and doesn’t know the intent behind the posts, Haggerty said — based on what he’s seen — Meinke needs to engage with people that are impacted by his comments, and undergo some educational training from an organization outside of the RCMP.

“There may be things that can be addressed in his behaviour that will allow him to continue to be a police officer and perhaps he generally displays respect for everybody that he deals with,” Haggerty said. 

“He just needs to develop the skills and the practices to be consistent in his appearance and in his approach to the public.”

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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested, newsroom searched – Pique Newsmagazine

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Hong Kong police arrested media tycoon Jimmy Lai and raided the publisher’s headquarters Monday in the highest-profile use yet of a new national security law Beijing imposed on the city in June.

“Jimmy Lai is being arrested for collusion with foreign powers at this time,” Mark Simon, an executive of Lai’s media group and his aide, wrote on Twitter.

The 71-year-old owns popular tabloid Apple Daily and is an outspoken pro-democracy figure in Hong Kong who regularly criticizes China’s authoritarian rule and Hong Kong’s government.

Masked and wearing a blue shirt and a light gray blazer, Lai was led out of his mansion in Kowloon by police officers also wearing surgical masks and was taken away.

Hong Kong police said seven people between 39 and 72 years old had been arrested on suspicion of violating the new security law, with offences including collusion with a foreign country, but the statement did not reveal the names of those arrested. The police did not rule out further arrests being made.

The move, coming days after the U.S. government announced sanctions on Hong Kong and mainland Chinese officials, shows China’s determination to move forward with enforcement of the new law despite outside pressure.

The officials shrugged off the sanctions, which may have limited practical effect, with one saying that being named by the U.S. showed that he was doing the right thing for Hong Kong and China. They have rejected any criticism of Hong Kong policy as foreign interference in China’s domestic affairs.

Simon said police searched both Lai’s and his son’s home, and detained several other members of media group Next Digital, which Lai founded.

In May, shortly after Beijing announced its intention to pass the national security law in Hong Kong, Lai penned an op-ed in the New York Times stating that China was repressing Hong Kong with the legislation.

“I have always thought I might one day be sent to jail for my publications or for my calls for democracy in Hong Kong,” Lai wrote.

“But for a few tweets, and because they are said to threaten the national security of mighty China? That’s a new one, even for me,” he said.

Lai had previously been arrested in February and April, for allegedly participating in an unauthorized protests last year. He also faces charges for joining an unauthorized vigil on June 4 aimed at marking the anniversary of Beijing’s crackdown on protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The details behind the accusation that Lai or others at the newspaper may have colluded with foreign forces were not clear.

Last year, Lai met Vice-President of the United States Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the White House to discuss Hong Kong’s controversial legislation — since withdrawn — that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China to stand trial.

But Hong Kong officials have said the national security law, which took effect June 30, would not be applied retroactively. The law is widely seen as a means to curb dissent after anti-government protests rocked the semi-autonomous city for months last year.

The legislation outlaws secessionist, subversive and terrorist acts, as well as collusion with foreign forces in the city’s internal affairs. The maximum punishment for serious offenders is life imprisonment.

Over a hundred police raided Next Digital’s headquarters, cordoning off the area, searching desks in the newsroom and at times getting into heated exchanges with Next Digital staff. What police were looking for in the building wasn’t clear. Simon said in a tweet that the police were executing a search warrant.

Next Digital operates the Apple Daily tabloid, which Lai founded in 1995, ahead of Britain’s handover of Hong Kong to China. Like Lai, Apple Daily has a strong pro-democracy stance and often urged its readers to take part in pro-democracy protests.

“We are completely shocked by what’s happening now, with the arrest and followed by the ongoing raid inside the headquarters of Next Digital,” said Chris Yeung, chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association.

“With the passage of the national security law and the really tough powers given to the police in their operations, we have seen now, what we call ‘white terror’ become a reality, which will affect media organizations and journalists’ reporting.”

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council condemned the arrests in a statement, saying that such arrests were a tool for the Chinese Communist Party’s “political cleansing and hegemonic expansion.” It said the law was abused to suppress the freedom of speech, press freedom and the civil rights of Hong Kong people.

Last month, Chinese broadcaster CCTV said pro-democracy activist Nathan Law and five others were wanted under the law, although all six had fled overseas. Law had relocated to Britain in July to continue international advocacy work for Hong Kong.

Zen Soo, The Associated Press











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Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai arrested under national security law: top aide – The Globe and Mail

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In this file photo taken on June 16, 2020, millionaire media tycoon Jimmy Lai, 72, poses during an interview with AFP at the Next Digital offices in Hong Kong.

ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai became the highest-profile arrest under a new national security law on Monday, detained over suspected collusion with foreign forces as scores of police searched the offices of his Apple Daily newspaper.

Lai, 71, has been one of the most prominent democracy activists in the Chinese-ruled city and an ardent critic of Beijing, which imposed the sweeping new law on Hong Kong on June 30, drawing condemnation from Western countries.

His arrest comes amid Beijing’s crackdown against pro-democracy opposition in the city and further stokes concerns about media and other freedoms promised to the former British colony when it returned to China in 1997.

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It “bears out the worst fears that Hong Kong’s National Security Law would be used to suppress critical pro-democracy opinion and restrict press freedom,” said Steven Butler, the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Asia program co-ordinator. “Jimmy Lai should be released at once and any charges dropped.”

Ryan Law, Apple Daily’s chief editor, told Reuters the paper would not intimidated by the raid.

“Business as usual,” he said.

The new security law punishes anything China considers subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison. Critics say it crushes freedoms, while supporters say it will bring stability after prolonged pro-democracy protests last year.

Lai had been a frequent visitor to Washington, where he has met senior officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to rally support for Hong Kong democracy, prompting Beijing to label him a “traitor.”

Hong Kong police said they had arrested seven men, aged 39-72, on suspicion of breaching the new security law, without naming them, adding that further arrests were possible.

Apple Daily, which posted on its Facebook page a livestream of dozens of police officers entering its premises, reported Lai was taken away from his home early on Monday. The paper said one of Lai’s sons, Ian, was also arrested at his home.

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In the live feed, officers were seen roaming through the newsroom, rifling through files.

Staff were asked to show identity documents. Some executive offices were sealed off with red cordons. The police later wheeled in stacks of empty plastic containers.

Lai himself was brought back to the office in handcuffs later. One Apple Daily reporter asked Lai what he thinks of his arrest, and Lai responded: “They have to arrest me, what can I think?”

Police said they had a court warrant. The law allows police to search premises without one “under exceptional circumstances,” and also allows seizing documents, equipment and financial assets.

‘HARASSMENT’

An Apple Daily source said that other senior executives in the company were among those targeted and that police were searching their homes.

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“We are arranging lawyers and so on to defend ourselves. We see this as straight harassment,” the source said, adding that Lai was arrested on suspicion of sedition, criminal fraud and colluding with foreign forces.

Shares of media company Next Digital, which publishes Apple Daily, plunged as much as 15.5%.

Prominent young activist Joshua Wong said on Twitter he “strongly” condemned Lai’s arrest. The Hong Kong Journalists Association said it was “extremely concerned.”

Answering questions on Lai’s arrest, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters in Taipei: “China should not treat Hong Kong this way.”

“We still urge the Chinese government to keep its promise and respect Hong Kong’s democracy and freedom,” Su said.

The law has steered China further on a collision course with the West, prompting countries including Australia, Canada and Britain to suspend extradition treaties with Hong Kong.

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On major cases in Hong Kong, the central government in Beijing can claim jurisdiction. The legislation allows agents to take suspects across the border for trials in Communist Party-controlled courts.

CHILLING EFFECT

Lai was also arrested this year on illegal assembly charges, along with other leading activists, relating to protests last year.

In an interview with Reuters in May, Lai pledged to stay in Hong Kong and continue to fight for democracy even though he expected to be one of the targets of the new legislation.

Before Monday, 15 people had been arrested under the law, including four aged 16-21 late last month.

The new legislation has sent a chill through Hong Kong. Activists have disbanded their organizations, while some have fled the city altogether, prompting, in some cases, arrest warrants in their name for suspected violation of the new law.

The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the territory’s current and former police chiefs and eight other top officials for what Washington says is their role in curtailing political freedoms in the territory, drawing mockery and condemnation from Beijing.

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Beijing and the Hong Kong government have said the law, needed to plug security loopholes, will not affect rights and freedoms and will only target a few “troublemakers.”

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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested under controversial national security law – CBC.ca

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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been arrested over suspected collusion with foreign forces under the new national security law, his top aide said on Twitter, in what is the highest-profile arrest yet under the legislation.

Lai has been one of the most prominent democracy activists in the Chinese-ruled city and an ardent critic of Beijing, which imposed the sweeping new law on Hong Kong on June 30, drawing condemnation from Western countries.

The new security law punishes anything China considers subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.

Critics say it crushes freedoms in the semiautonomous city, while supporters say it will bring stability after prolonged pro-democracy protests last year.

“Jimmy Lai is being arrested for collusion with foreign powers at this time,” Mark Simon, a senior executive at Lai’s media company Next Digital, which publishes local tabloid Apple Daily, said early on Monday.

Police did not immediately comment.

Apple Daily reported that Lai was taken away from his home in Ho Man Tin early on Monday. The paper says one of Lai’s sons, Ian, was also arrested at his home.

Around 10 other people were expected to be arrested on Monday, local newspaper South China Morning Post reported, without naming its sources.

Lai was also arrested this year on illegal assembly charges, along with other leading activists, relating to protests last year.

In an interview with Reuters in May, Lai pledged to stay in Hong Kong and continue to fight for democracy even though he expected to be one of the targets of the new legislation.

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, left, and pro-democracy lawmaker Martin Lee, wear face masks as they enter court on charges related to unlawful protests in Hong Kong on May 18. (Vincent Yu/The Associated Press)

Before Monday, 15 people had been arrested under the law, including four aged 16-21 late last month over posts on social media.

The new legislation has sent a chill through Hong Kong, affecting many aspects of life. Activists have disbanded their organizations, while some have fled the city altogether.

Slogans have been declared illegal, certain songs and activities such as forming human chains have been banned in schools, and books have been taken off shelves in public libraries.

The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the territory’s current and former police chiefs and eight other top officials for what Washington says is their role in curtailing political freedoms in the territory.

Beijing’s top representative office in Hong Kong described the sanctions as “clowning actions.”

Beijing and the Hong Kong government have said the law will not affect rights and freedoms, and that it is needed to plug security loopholes. They said it will only target a small minority of “troublemakers.”

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