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🔥 Hong Kong protesters rally again to demand freedoms from China
« Reply #825 on: June 27, 2019, 01:56:15 AM »
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🔥 Hong Kong protesters storm legislature, smash doors and walls
« Reply #826 on: July 01, 2019, 12:32:02 PM »
Improvized Battering Ram! Nice, but they should rent some Heavy Equipment.  A Daiwoo Front End Loader would make mincemeat out of that door in one shot.  Or just drive an SUV through the door.

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Hong Kong protesters storm legislature, smash doors and walls

Demonstrators rip portraits of chief executives from walls and spray graffiti as hundreds of riot police converge.
36 minutes ago

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Hundreds of Hong Kong police fired tear gas and surrounded the legislature after protesters smashed their way in and occupied the building in unprecedented scenes.

Police restored control early Tuesday after clashes with protesters on the streets of Hong Kong at the end of a day of unrest.

Demonstrators in their hundreds overran in the Chinese territory's legislature late on Monday, smashing walls, spray-painting graffiti, and taking over the chamber as the weeks-long crisis over a controversial extradition bill came to a head.

Police carrying riot shields, batons, and firing tear gas moved in shortly after midnight to clear surrounding streets. Plumes of smoke billowed across major thoroughfares and in between some of the world's tallest skyscrapers.

The authorities earlier warned demonstrators to clear the building immediately, calling the occupation "illegal" and saying they would deploy "appropriate force" if the protesters remained inside.

The extraordinary scenes came on the anniversary of the semi-autonomous territory's return from British control to mainland China 22 years ago.
Hong Kong protesters try to break into legislative building

Riot police apparently retreated as hundreds of demonstrators streamed into the building after a small group of mostly students wearing hard hats and masks used a metal trolley, poles and scaffolding to repeatedly charge at the compound's reinforced glass doors, which finally gave way.
Hong Kong demonstrations turn violent as crisis escalates

Once inside, protesters ripped portraits of officials from walls and spray painted slogans calling for the release of arrested demonstrators. An old colonial-era flag was draped over the speaker's chair and a plaque showing a white flower, the symbol of Hong Kong, was blacked-out with spray paint.

The flag was later replaced by a black sign that read: "There is no way left. There's no rioters, there's only tyranny."

Some effort was made to safeguard a number of precious objects, however, with protesters placing items on shelves next to signs saying: "Don't break these".
Peaceful march

Police estimated 190,000 people joined a peaceful march throughout the city on Monday, the third major one in as many weeks. Protest leaders told Al Jazeera about 550,000 people had taken part part in the annual July 1 march, dwarfing previous rallies.

A protester in his early 20s, who gave his name as M, told Al Jazeera from inside the legislative chamber that many planned to remain in the building overnight and their storming of the building was "inevitable" as authorities had ignored previous peaceful protests.
The portrait of chairman of the Legislative Council Andrew Leung is destroyed after protesters broke into the parliament chamber of the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019, on the 22n
Protesters destroyed portraits of Hong Kong officials  [Philip Fong/AFP]

Andrew K P Leung, an independent political analyst, said police so far had shown "uncharacteristic restraint" after being criticised for using excessive force at previous protests.

"They were extremely patient by allowing the kind of violence and riotous acts to play out to the fullest extent for all to see, but I think police will now have to exercise force to maintain law and order," Leung told Al Jazeera.
Hong Kong protests
Protesters say they may occupy the legislative building overnight [Al Jazeera/Euan McKirdy]
Danger point
Hong Kong's controversial extradition bill explained

Steve Tsang, the director of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, said the actions of protesters were "not helping their cause" and Hong Kong was "getting to a point of danger".

"If they keep on with the way they are doing it [protesting], then the risk of the Chinese government taking much more drastic action gets that much closer," he told Al Jazeera.

"It is not in the interest of Hong Kong to force a situation where Beijing feels it has to take direct actions to intervene".

Tsang added while the majority in Hong Kong supported the removal of the extradition bill, the actions of protesters threatened to divide the territory's pro-democracy movement.

Al Jazeera's Katrina Yu, reporting from Beijing, said Chinese authorities had so far been silent on Monday's protests and state television channel CGTN was broadcasting footage of celebrations in Hong Kong to mark the July 1 anniversary, rather than scenes of the occupation.
Hong Kong protests
Demonstrators spray-painted slogans throughout the legislature building [Euan McKirdy/Al Jazeera]
Weeks of protests

Protests first began last month over an extradition bill that would allow criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China for trial.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended the controversial bill on June 18 after some of the largest and most violent demonstrations in the city in decades - with millions attending - but she stopped short of protesters' demands to scrap it entirely.

The Beijing-backed leader is now clinging to her job as protesters call for her resignation at a time of unprecedented backlash against the government, which poses the greatest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.
Hong Kong's lame duck? Leader Lam faces fight for political life

Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" framework that allows the territory freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including freedom to protest and an independent judiciary.

Opponents of the extradition bill fear it is a threat to Hong Kong's much-cherished rule of law and would allow Beijing to target opponents.
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🏦 Hong Kong Protests Are Giving Banks a Headache
« Reply #827 on: July 02, 2019, 08:14:49 AM »
A Major Victory for the Boyz in the Black Pajamas!  :icon_sunny:


Hong Kong Protests Are Giving Banks a Headache

Monday’s unprecedented unrest may heap further trouble on a financial sector already suffering from soaring funding costs.
By Shuli Ren
July 1, 2019, 8:38 PM AKDT

Hong Kong is losing its aura of wealth and stability.

Hong Kong is losing its aura of wealth and stability. Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg
Shuli Ren is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Asian markets. She previously wrote on markets for Barron's, following a career as an investment banker, and is a CFA charterholder.
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For years, global investors and financiers have identified Hong Kong as a wealthy, stable city. On many fronts, this assumption is now being called into question.

Hong Kong dollar funding costs have soared amid tightening liquidity and political protests. Three-month Hibor rose above its U.S. dollar counterpart last month for the first time since December 2016. As central banks elsewhere start to cut rates, Hong Kong is singularly walking the other way, tightening money-market conditions to defend the city’s currency peg to the dollar.

Role Reversal

Hong Kong's interbank rate has risen above Libor for the first time since December 2016, breaking a long-standing assumption of cheaper funding costs

Source: Bloomberg

One may say this is just a sign that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is doing its job. A shrinkage in the central bank’s aggregate balance causes interbank rates to rise: This is the mechanism that keeps the peg stable, raising the return for investing in Hong Kong dollars when liquidity flows out.

Nonetheless, soaring Hibor deals a blow to the city’s investment banks. Investors have long borrowed in Hong Kong dollars to fund the purchase of new IPO shares or dollar bonds. I documented how private bankers were offering up to 90% margin financing for jazzy listings such as China Literature Ltd. during Hong Kong’s IPO frenzy in late 2017.

With one-week Hibor doubling since then, investors playing the IPO game will require a much bigger first-day pop to make a profit. That threatens to damp enthusiasm just as investment banks prepare for a couple of marquee listings. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has filed for a share sale that could raise $10 billion, according to Caixin, and the Asia-Pacific unit of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV is targeting as much as $9.8 billion, IFRAsia reported Monday.
Gold Chest

China's high-yield developers are issuing dollar bonds at a record pace

Source: Bloomberg

Note: Includes bonds with at least 6% coupon rate.

It’s a similar picture for dollar bonds. Private banks have long offered 60% leverage to wealthy clients keen to buy into China’s high-yield developers. Higher borrowing costs may dim the appetite of these investors, too.

Meanwhile, speculation over whether Hong Kong will abandon the peg has caused some savers to question whether they should move funds into U.S. dollars. It’s never been a foregone conclusion for locals to keep spare funds in their home currency. As of 2018, roughly half of deposits in the city were denominated in the Hong Kong dollar, with more than a third in greenbacks.
Where the Money Is

Speculation over the future of the Hong Kong currency peg could encourage consumers and corporation to put more savings into dollars

Source: Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Note: Data as of 2018.

Against this backdrop, the last thing Hong Kong financial firms need is another spike in borrowing costs caused by social unrest. The unprecedented ransacking of the legislature Monday has taken the city’s political crisis to a fresh level of intensity. Previous protests have coincided with increases in Hibor. Banks such as HSBC Holdings Plc can expect volatility in their net interest margins.

To be sure, the interbank tension could dissipate in a matter of days. Local rates tend to rise near the end of the first half, as banks improve deposit rate offerings to burnish their accounting numbers. Three-month Hibor fell slightly on Tuesday morning, the first trading day of the second half.

Global banks have long suffered from poor trading activity in their Hong Kong operations. They may be in for an even hotter and stickier summer than usual.
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⛩️ Hong Kong protests have sparked a new level of Chinese paranoia
« Reply #828 on: July 07, 2019, 01:02:52 AM »

Hong Kong protests have sparked a new level of Chinese paranoia

By Steven W. Mosher

July 6, 2019 | 10:35am

Up to 2 million people have taken to the streets of Hong Kong to protest in recent weeks.

The immediate trigger was an “extradition agreement” that China had demanded the city’s usually complaisant Legislative Council to pass. The agreement would put every Hong Konger who got on the wrong side of the Beijing authorities at risk of being hustled across the border where they would be at the mercy of China’s notoriously corrupt criminal justice system.

But the real causes of the unrest go much deeper.

China has been stealthily encroaching on the freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kongers since seizing control of the former British crown colony in 1997. Beijing began pre-selecting candidates for “Chief Executive” in 2014, a move that led to the Umbrella Revolution of that year.

More recently, Chinese public-security agents have been arresting — even kidnapping — Hong Kongers who criticize Beijing. Publishers have disappeared on trips to China in retaliation for releasing books critical of the Communist leadership. And in January, a Chinese-Canadian billionaire was abducted from Hong Kong by Chinese agents.

The people of Hong Kong were understandably alarmed by Beijing’s heavy-handed actions.
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In fact, it was public anger at these abductions that led directly to China’s push for a formal extradition agreement — a clumsy attempt by the Beijing authorities to paper over their lawless actions with the fig leaf of a formal agreement.

The original Hong Kong agreement, negotiated between Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping, was supposed to guarantee citizens freedoms for 50 years — a full half-century — after China’s 1997 takeover.

China’s Communist dictators, however, are no great respecters of agreements. They were never comfortable with the “one country, two systems” formula that — on paper at least — puts Hong Kong’s separate political and economic “system” beyond their direct control.

For the moment, despite the ongoing protests, China is still content to operate through puppets like their handpicked chief executive, Carrie Lam, who decided to table the extradition agreement, hoping that this would quell the unrest.
Enlarge Image
Protesters take part in a rally against the extradition bill in Hong Kong, China.
Protesters take part in a rally against the extradition bill in Hong Kong, China.Getty Images

It hasn’t. And now Beijing is taking no chances. Right across the border in Shenzhen it has set up an emergency command post, prepared to intervene if the Hong Kong police cannot control the situation.

Obviously sending in troops and tanks would be a last resort. But the regime is determined to maintain “stability” — in other words, crush any organized opposition to continued party rule the way it obliterated the Tiananmen demonstrations 30 years ago.

Beijing’s biggest fear is that the demonstrations will spread across the border. That’s why China’s battalions of censors are working overtime, trying to keep news about the demonstrations in Hong Kong from reaching the 1.4 billion Chinese in China itself.

Anything connected with the protests goes immediately into the dustbin of history. Videos showing the marchers singing “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Les Mis, and “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” have been taken down, and any audio versions of these two songs — the unofficial protest anthems of the marchers — have been scrubbed from behind China’s Great Firewall, as well.

Meanwhile, Beijing has been critical of comments by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accusing them of interfering in China’s internal affairs. And Xi Jinping’s handlers insisted upon assurances that President Trump would not bring up the issue of Hong Kong during his meeting with the Chinese president at the G-20 summit last week.
Enlarge Image
Carrie Lam
Carrie LamGetty Images

But Beijing has reserved its real rancor for the British, who had the gall to suggest China should actually abide by its treaty obligations towards Hong Kong.

When British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested that China should respect the rights and freedoms set down in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accused Hunt of “grossly interfering in Hong Kong affairs” and laboring under a “colonial illusion.”

As far as the Sino-British agreement itself was concerned, China’s Foreign Ministry declared it “no longer has any practical significance.”

That’s what happens when you ask China to keep its word.

So far, there have not been copycat demonstrations in Chinese cities like Guangzhou or Shanghai. But that does not mean there is no sympathy for those in Hong Kong.

As one Chinese citizen wrote on the Web: “I feel such sympathy for those brave young people in Hong Kong. They’ve suffered for me, a coward who doesn’t dare to step out for fighting for those rights. I owe them.”

Steven W. Mosher is the president of the Population Research Institute and the author of “Bully of Asia: Why China’s ‘Dream’ is the New Threat to World Order.”
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⛩️ The Chinese Lehman?
« Reply #829 on: July 10, 2019, 04:03:02 AM »
Lehmans here, Lehmans there, Lehmans EVERYWHERE!


The Role of Debt and China’s Shadow Banking System: Is Baoshang Bank China’s Lehman Brothers?
By F. William Engdahl
Global Research, July 08, 2019
Region: Asia
Theme: Global Economy

Modern fractional reserve banking is ultimately a confidence game. If lenders or depositors are confident their bank is solvent, it stands. If confidence is broken, that historically leads to bank panics, deposit runs and domino collapse of a financial system or worse. The surprise collapse in late May of a small Inner-Mongolia Chinese bank, Baoshang, has suddenly focused attention on the fragility of the world’s largest and largely opaque banking system, that of the Peoples Republic of China. The timing is very bad, as China struggles with a sharp domestic economic slowdown, rising food inflation, combined with the uncertainties of the US trade war.

At the end of May, for the first time in three decades, the Chinese Peoples’ Bank of China (PBOC) and the State banking regulators seized an insolvent bank. They did so publicly and in a way that apparently was aimed at sending a message to other banks to control lending risks. By doing so, they may have detonated a domino-collapse of one of the world’s largest and most opaque and under-regulated banking systems—China’s poorly-regulated regional and local banks sometimes called shadow banks. Total assets of China’s small and medium banks are estimated to approximately equal that of the four regulated giant state banks, so a spreading crisis here could be nasty. That clearly is why Beijing stepped in so quickly to contain Baoshang.

The Baoshang Bank to all appearances looked healthy. Its last financial report issued in 2017 showed a profit of $600 million for 2016, assets of near $90 billion and bad loans of less than 2%. The insolvency shock has created a growing risk crisis in China’s interbank lending markets not unlike the early stages of America’s 2007 sub-prime mortgage interbank crisis. It has forced the PBOC, the national bank, to inject billions of yuan, so far $125 billion equivalent, and to issue a guarantee of all bank deposits to contain fears of a larger systemic banking crisis. Indications are the crisis is far from over.

The problem is that China has built one of the most impressive construction and modernization efforts in human history in an astonishingly brief three decades or more– entire cities, tens of thousands of miles of high-speed rail, mechanized container ports, like no other nation in history–all on debt. The servicing of that debt depends on an economy whose profits are continually growing. If contraction once begins, the consequences are incalculable.

Now as the economy is clearly slowing down, some say even in recession, risky investments across the country are suddenly facing insolvency. Lenders of all sorts are suddenly looking again at the risks of new lending. The auto sector is sharply down in recent months, but other industries as well. To make matters worse, a severe epidemic of African Swine Fever is decimating China’s huge pig population leading to almost 8% food inflation. In this climate the PBOC is valiantly trying to avoid turning on the printing presses that creates more inflation and weakens the Renminbi for fear of igniting a new financial bubble.

An added Achilles heel in all this is China’s dependence on global dollar financial markets for trillions of dollars of that debt at a time when dollar export earnings are declining even before the US trade war tariffs. Were China insulated from the global economy as in the 1970’s, the state could simply deal with the problems internally, wipe out the insolvent loans and reorganize banks.

China Debt Model

In critical respects the China credit model is unlike that of the West. The currency, Renminbi, is not yet freely convertible. Control of money is not in the hands of privately-owned independent central banks as in the USA or the ECB in the EU. Rather it is in the hands of the wholly-state-owned Peoples’ Bank of China, itself answerable to the Politburo of the Communist Party. Its largest industrial conglomerates are not private but State-Owned Enterprises, including the four largest banks in the world, the world’s largest rail construction company and giant oil companies. That gives a huge apparent advantage. When the government gives an order, things happen. Rails get built with little obstruction, or highways. However, when the order is flawed, under a command or central planning model, it can magnify errors.
CHINA’S RENMINBI VERSUS THE US DOLLAR: People’s Bank of China widens trading range of the yuan

Now for the past two years Beijing has been clearly concerned with how it can correct the uncontrolled explosion of “off-balance-sheet” or shadow bank lending across the economy. Since the 2008 Lehman crisis, China has financed a staggering volume of construction projects to modernize what was one of the world’s poorest nations a mere four decades ago, and to prevent economic contraction and exploding unemployment and social unrest. Since 2013 it has added the ambitious Belt, Road Initiative to the spending list, partly to sustain the pace of China steel and infrastructure industrial growth, as the domestic economy neared saturation.

With the 2008 global Lehman crisis, Beijing expanded that debt balloon like no other country in history. Since 2009, the China money supply grew nearly 400% or by $20 trillion (133 trillion Yuan) while China’s annual GDP grew by only $8.4 trillion. That is inherently not sustainable. Suspicion is that within that huge monetary expansion lie more than one Baoshang Bank insolvency today. At this point, however, as the financial regulation is still in its relative infancy, no one knows the true risks of insolvency contagion, not even Beijing.

Interbank risks unclear

The problem with the lending that is implied in these numbers is that the credits issued by so-called shadow banks–loosely-regulated small to middle size banks not part of the big state bank system– are poorly controlled and now facing widespread loan defaults and bankruptcies from high-risk loans they have made. Baoshang Bank’s collapse has suddenly turned all eyes to those risks.

Big banks are hesitant to continue to lend to the small banks via the interbank market, forcing borrowing rates up. Assurances by the PBOC that the Baoshang case is an “isolated” one are not likely to reassure. Bloomberg estimates that for the first 4 months of 2019, Chinese companies have defaulted on some $5.8 billion in domestic bonds, more than three times the rate a year ago.

Beijing authorities including the PBOC have made it clear for months that they want to reduce such risky lending by local shadow banks and others to get the situation under control. However, it will not be easy to restrain risky local bank lending without triggering a wave of bankruptcy failures in China’s slowing economy.

As a result of the unexpected Baoshang collapse, China’s interbank lending market is suddenly in crisis. It is not yet clear whether Beijing authorities are acting sufficiently to calm the crisis or whether a quiet drying up of lending from large banks via interbank lending to small regional or shadow banks is underway that will cause further economic woes, bankruptcies and unemployment. A sign all is not well, on June 24 the PBOC announced that it will allow select brokerages to borrow up to three times more 90-days short-term commercial paper to keep liquidity flowing as they try to sort the mess out, according to Caixin financial news. This is clearly a stop gap to buy time.

Another sign Beijing is concerned, in early June authorities gave the green light for municipalities to further increase their already enormous borrowing for infrastructure. Local government officials will be allowed to use proceeds of bond sales to count as equity in the new infrastructure projects including more railways and highways, adding to the debt mountain.

China Finance Minister Liu Kun just issued a report on the regional and local and national fiscal situation for the five months to end May. The numbers were not encouraging for Beijing’s stated policy of controlling inflation and asset bubbles. He noted that all government revenue grew by just 3.8% year on year. Tax revenue grew only 2.2% owing to a big tax cut. At the same time, government spending grew by 12.5% annually. In response he announced that the government would demand austerity of “more than 10%” to reduce the gap.

China is governed by highly intelligent and hard-working people. There is no question. However, to put the easy money genie back in the bottle without major mishaps will require extraordinary skill and quite a bit of luck.

China external debt at the beginning of 2019 stood officially at just under $2 trillion, two thirds of that short-term. Unofficially, reports are that the large State-Owned Enterprises have taken on far more than that in low-interest foreign borrowings from the dollar and Euro. Nobody knows precisely.

This current situation will be the test for Beijing to show that it has banking crises like Baoshang under firm control, and that it is serious about opening China financial markets to foreign firms as part of its globalization. China needs the good cooperation of Western banks to maintain its impressive economy.

Until now China has been the apparent winner of the post-1990s globalization model. How Beijing manages its banking problems in the coming months may determine if that incredible record will continue. The challenge is real.
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⛩️ Hong Kong protests target China border as demands for change evolve
« Reply #830 on: July 13, 2019, 01:58:40 PM »

Hong Kong protests target China border as demands for change evolve
Mass demonstrations began weeks ago in opposition to a proposed extradition bill that would allow for suspects to be sent to the mainland to face trial.

Protests against the bill had largely taken place in the central business district, but demonstrators have recently begun to look elsewhere to widen support by taking up narrower, more domestic issues.PHILIP FONG / AFP - Getty Images

July 13, 2019, 3:28 AM AKDT / Updated July 13, 2019, 4:04 AM AKDT
By Samantha Topp and Linda Givetash

SHEUNG SHUI, Hong Kong — A protest movement that began in the heart of Hong Kong edged closer to the mainland Saturday as activists opposed to China's influence over the territory took their fight to the border.

Thousands of people took to the streets of the Hong Kong territorial town of Sheung Shui, not far from the Chinese city of Shenzhen.

The march was aimed at mainland Chinese traders who locals claim have fueled inflation, driven up property prices, dodged taxes and diluted the town's identity.

It started peacefully but devolved into scuffles and shouting. Protesters threw umbrellas and hardhats at police, who retaliated by swinging batons and firing pepper spray.

Mass demonstrations began weeks ago in opposition to a proposed extradition bill that would allow for suspects to be sent to the mainland to face trial, but have since expanded into a broader repudiation of Beijing's growing influence.

Although Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam seemingly backed down on the bill — first postponing it indefinitely and then pronouncing it "dead" earlier this week — protesters have continued to organize.
Hong Kong extradition bill 'is dead,' chief executive says

"I hope for the people overseas to know that Hong Kong is seeking democracy," protest organizer Ronald Leung, 42, told NBC News.

Leung said the initial movement has inspired smaller communities to voice an array of concerns.

"We can see a lot of mainland Chinese coming in, and our government is taking their side, and it’s making people in Hong Kong not happy," said Leung.

"I feel it is almost like the Chinese government are sending people on purpose to disrupt our community," he added.
Protesters chant slogans and face off with police in the Sheung Shui district of Hong Kong Saturday.Chris McGrath / Getty Images

Sheung Shui is frequented by Chinese visitors because of its proximity to the mainland.

Residents of the town claim it's resulting in an influx of "grey market" pharmacies that are selling knock-off medicines from the mainland that are unregulated and potentially fake.

These pharmacies are also driving up the cost of rent in the district, forcing other businesses to close, protesters said.

Local residents also take issue with the conduct of Chinese visitors, claiming they have contributed to a lack of cleanliness in the area with more litter.

Saturday's march was largely peaceful, though tensions rose when police blocked demonstrators from reaching a train station in Sheung Shui.

One man among the protesters shouted, "Return to China," while marching through the town's streets — a sentiment which was met with cheers.
Hong Kong mass protests are just the start of a wider human rights battle

Another older woman waved a British flag in defiance of the current political leadership.

Alexandra Wong, 63, said she was trying to remind older residents of the territory’s past and encourage them to join the protests.

“The Englishmen set up democracy, free power, independence for us,” she said. “Right now, everything is out of order.”

The former British colony became a special administrative region of China in 1997.

Unlike those living in mainland, the territory's seven million residents can freely surf the internet and participate in public protests.

But many have expressed fear that their rights are being eroded under Beijing's rule. At its peak, the demonstrations have seen as many as 2 million people march the street of Hong Kong.

Tensions reached their high point recently when protesters smashed their way into Hong Kong's Legislative Council building, eventually being forced back by police firing teargas.

The political crisis has also reverberated overseas.

China's ambassador to London Liu Xiaoming accused Britain of meddling in its affairs by continuing to act as Hong Kong's colonial master.

The crisis in Hong Kong shows no signs of relenting either.

Samantha Topp reported from Hong Kong and Linda Givetash reported from London.
Samantha Topp
Linda Givetash

Linda Givetash is a reporter based in London. She previously worked for The Canadian Press in Vancouver and Nation Media in Uganda.
Reuters contributed.h
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⛩️ When will Hong Kong protests end? | Inside Story
« Reply #831 on: July 14, 2019, 03:24:57 PM »
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China's economic growth slumps to lowest in 27 years as the trade war hits

Laura He, CNN Business
Updated 2:46 AM ET, Mon July 15, 2019

Trump: We're not adding tariffs on China

Hong Kong (CNN Business)China's economic growth slumped to its lowest level in nearly three decades as the world's second largest economy feels the effects of a prolonged trade war with the United States.
The country's gross domestic product grew at 6.2% in the quarter ended June, the slowest quarterly growth rate since 1992 and down from 6.4% in the previous quarter, according to government figures released on Monday.
And the Chinese economy will continue to face "downward pressure" in the second half of this year, the country's National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.
"The Chinese economy is still in a complex and grave situation," it said. "Global growth has slowed and external uncertainties are on the rise."

While Beijing and Washington recently agreed a temporary truce in their months-long trade war, analysts say a lot of question marks remain about whether they can reach a deal.
The global economy just dodged another bullet. But the US-China trade truce won&#39;t fix it
The global economy just dodged another bullet. But the US-China trade truce won't fix it
"Uncertainty caused by the US-China trade war was an important factor and we think this will persist," said Tom Rafferty, principal economist, China at The Economist Intelligence Unit.
"Businesses remain skeptical that the two countries will reach a broader trade agreement and recognise that trade tensions may escalate again," he added.

Analysts expect Beijing to unveil more stimulus measures to boost the economy, including possible interest rate cuts by the country's central bank, the People's Bank of China. The US Federal Reserve has also signaled it may lower interest rates.
"While the PBOC has already delivered stimulus this year, markets are awaiting... additional measures, which will probably come if trade talks collapse," said Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at Oanda. "If talks steadily progress, we will still probably see the [bank] deliver fresh stimulus following the Fed's highly anticipated rate cut at the end of the month. "

Nanlin Fang contributed to this report.
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Chinese Toast - 36% PLUMMET in U.S. Home Sales to China, exit in droves....
« Reply #833 on: July 17, 2019, 01:30:37 PM »

Foreign purchases of American homes plunge 36% as Chinese buyers flee the market
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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⛩️ Beijing suggests it could mobilize troops in Hong Kong if necessary
« Reply #834 on: July 25, 2019, 01:12:33 AM »
It appears "necessary".  It doen't look like the Boys in Black Pajamas willquit without an overwhelming demonstration of FORCE by the state.


Beijing suggests it could mobilize troops in Hong Kong if necessary
Published Wed, Jul 24 2019 4:48 AM EDTUpdated Wed, Jul 24 2019 5:59 AM EDT
Huileng Tan  @huileng_tan

Key Points

    Asked how Beijing would handle a rise of calls for Hong Kong “independence,” a spokesman for China’s defense ministry reportedly said a local law had “clear provisions.”
    That article stipulates that the Hong Kong government may ask for assistance from Chinese military troops stationed in the city “in the maintenance of public order.”

A National Emblem splashed with paint after a protest is seen outside the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong, on July 21, 2019.
Tyrone Siu | Reuters

China’s defense ministry on Wednesday indicated that the People’s Liberation Army could be deployed in Hong Kong as protests continue in the semi-autonomous city.

Ministry spokesman Wu Qian suggested such a deployment may occur if the Hong Kong government requests it, multiple news outlets reported.

For over two months, political tensions in Hong Kong have escalated over a proposed extradition bill that would allow those arrested in the territory to be sent to mainland China for trial. Hong Kong citizens are concerned that their civil rights are slowly eroding under Beijing’s control.

Asked how China’s Defense Ministry would handle a rise of calls for Hong Kong “independence,” Wu pointed to “clear provisions” in Hong Kong’s Garrison Law, section 3, article 14, the Financial Times reported, citing the spokesman’s comments at a news briefing.

Wu said the “behavior of some radical demonstrators ... is absolutely intolerable” and did not elaborate beyond pointing to the legal passage, the Associated Press reported.

The article stipulates that the Hong Kong government may ask for assistance from Chinese military troops stationed in the city “in the maintenance of public order.”
What is Hong Kong’s relationship with China?

Last Sunday, protesters surrounded China’s main representative office in Hong Kong and defaced walls and signs. They also clashed with police.

Later the same day, men in white t-shirts — some armed with clubs — flooded the rural Yuen Long station, and stormed a train, attacking passengers with pipes, poles and other objects, according to video footage.

China has so far not directly intervened in the crisis but its state media denounced the vandalism at Beijing’s Central Government Liaison Office in Hong Kong.

Wu on Wednesday echoed that sentiment, saying that “the behavior of some radical protesters challenges the central government’s authority, touching on the bottom line principle of ‘one country, two systems,’” according to The New York Times.

“That absolutely cannot be tolerated,” he reportedly added.

Former British colony Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997 under a “one country, two systems” framework. The territory was guaranteed a high degree of control over its own affairs for at least 50 years.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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⛩️ Hong Kong Protests Become a Global Problem
« Reply #835 on: July 27, 2019, 12:24:16 AM »

Hong Kong Protests Become a Global Problem
By Enda Curran
July 26, 2019, 3:00 AM AKDT Updated on July 26, 2019, 3:57 AM AKDT

    U.S. and China trade barbs; punches thrown in Australia
    No end in sight as demonstrations extend into eighth weekend

Tensions between Hong Kong and the government in Beijing are increasingly spilling outside China’s borders.

China’s foreign ministry this week accused the U.S. of being a “black hand” behind protests that have rocked Hong Kong since early June, while Secretary of State Michael Pompeo urged Beijing to “do the right thing.” An encounter at an Australian university between supporters and critics of the Hong Kong demonstrators ended with punches being thrown.

With no end to the protests in sight -- hundreds of people staged a sit-in at Asia’s busiest airport Friday -- the dispute over Hong Kong’s future risks dragging in parties from all over the world. That could include diplomats, tourists, universities and multinational businesses caught up in the territory’s tinderbox political climate.

For the Trump administration and the Communist Party in Beijing, the issue has become one of many flash points ranging from trade to technological dominance to corporate espionage. The debate over Hong Kong is getting more heated, just as U.S. negotiators prepare to restart trade talks next week in Shanghai.

There are “signs of foreign forces behind the protests,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters Tuesday in Beijing. “I wonder if these U.S. officials can truthfully answer to the world the role the U.S. has played in recent events in Hong Kong.”
For the latest on Hong Kong’s political crisis:

    Yellow Vests Show Hong Kong Protests Are With Us for a While Yet
    Who Are Triads? Are They Behind Hong Kong Attacks?: QuickTake
    Hong Kong’s Despair Runs Deeper Than Violent Street Protests
    What Hong Kong’s New Monetary Guardian Has to Worry About
    How Hong Kong Can Break the Cycle of Violence: Antony Dapiran

The accusation of meddling was rebutted by Harvey Sernovitz, a spokesman for the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong.

“This is a ridiculous statement,” he said on Wednesday. “The ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong reflect the sentiment of the people of Hong Kong and their broad concerns about the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy.”

Still, Donald Trump has indicated he does not want the Hong Kong protests to interfere with the broader relationship with China, particularly his personal rapport with President Xi Jinping. Trump has said several times in recent months that Hong Kong’s affairs are a matter for Beijing.

Earlier this week he said Xi had “acted responsibly, very responsibly -- they’ve been out there protesting for a long time.” He told reporters at the White House he hoped Xi would “do the right thing,” adding that China could stop the protests “if they wanted.”

Pompeo, who has slammed China in recent months for alleged abuses against the Uighur Islamic minority population of Xinjiang, urged all sides to avoid violence.

“We hope that the protests will remain peaceful,” Pompeo told Bloomberg Television Thursday.
Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo Interview

Mike Pompeo during a Bloomberg Television interview, on July 25.
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

At the University of Queensland in Brisbane on Wednesday, rival groups faced off over the situation in Hong Kong, with one side singing pro-China songs and the other chanting “free Hong Kong.” Footage posted on Twitter showed protesters hurling verbal abuse as police tried to restore calm, while two people exchanged punches.

The Chinese consulate in Brisbane issued a statement Thursday praising students for staging “a voluntary patriotic rally in response to two consecutive anti-China and secessionist protests held at the university campus,” according to a website run by the Communist Party’s Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid.
Further Protests

The Hong Kong protests have also resonated in Taiwan, a democratically-run island that China considers a province. President Tsai Ing-wen said last month that people in Hong Kong people have the right to pursue their way of life and system they want.

For now, differences of opinion over Hong Kong haven’t prevented China from cooperating with its critics on other issues.

Boris Johnson, the U.K.’s new prime minister, told Phoenix Television his country was “very pro China.” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told Johnson in a congratulatory letter that he’s willing to expand bilateral cooperation in all sectors and push for steady development in a “golden era” of ties, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The warm words came less than a month after officials openly accused each other of behaving inappropriately toward Hong Kong, which was a British colony before its handover to China in 1997.

More opportunities for tensions to escalate could come this weekend. Protest groups are seeking to hold a demonstration on Saturday in the same area where unidentified groups of men attacked people at a train station in the northwestern suburb of Yuen Long on July 21. Police have withheld approval for the protest, but organizers insist they’ll go ahead.
(Updates with Trump comments, Taiwan context.)
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My new Cripple Cart/TANK has a receiver to hold an Oxygen Tank.  :icon_sunny:


Hong Kong Protests: Police Fire Tear Gas as Tens of Thousands Demonstrate Where Mob Rampaged

Tens of thousands of people marched in Yuen Long, Hong Kong, on Saturday to protest a mob assault on demonstrators there last Sunday. Credit: Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

By Austin Ramzy

    July 27, 2019

HONG KONG — Riot police officers fired many rounds of tear gas as they tried to disperse tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong who converged on Saturday on the satellite town where an armed mob attacked some demonstrators last weekend.

The protest in the district, Yuen Long, is an angry response to an assault by more than 100 men, armed with sticks and metal bars, on demonstrators and others in a train station there last Sunday night that left at least 45 people injured.

As hundreds of demonstrators in black shirts arrived at the station where the attack occurred, Cary Lo, a 37-year-old compliance officer and community officer for the Democratic Party of Hong Kong, said they had gathered there in defiance of a police ban because they believed there was safety in numbers.

“We have come here because we still support all the actions of the people here today,” Mr. Lo said, adding that the protesters were demanding the withdrawal of an unpopular extradition bill and wanted to oppose violence. He held a yellow umbrella, a symbol of the pro-democracy protest movement.
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The wave of protests sweeping Hong Kong began in early June and has targeted a draft legislation, since shelved, that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. The demands have since grown to include broader democracy and an independent investigation into accusations that the police used excessive force against demonstrators.

“Hong Kong people have to unite and stand up for Hong Kong,” says Rita Tang, a 56-year-old health consultant who joined Saturday’s protest in Yuen Long. “We have neglected our rights. We must fight for our future generation for their rights that they deserve.”
ImageThe authorities had warned that a march in Yuen Long would threaten public security and risk clashes between protesters and residents.
The authorities had warned that a march in Yuen Long would threaten public security and risk clashes between protesters and residents.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Protesters filled the main street of Yuen Long in the afternoon, marching peacefully for about two hours. But the police began to push the back after a group occupied a road on the edge of the town center, surrounding a police van, smashing a window and covering it with graffiti.

For several hours in the afternoon, as protesters tried to advance toward a police line, riot officers fired round after round of tear gas at them, forcing them back. A leading pro-democracy lawmaker, Roy Kwong, said the tear gas was being fired near a home for older people.


“It’s an elderly home,” he shouted at the police. “If an elderly person dies, you need to be responsible.”

The protesters dragged steel barricades and pulled down metal fences to assemble makeshift roadblocks as they tried to get closer to a low-rise village where gang members were thought to have fled after last Sunday’s mob attack. Riot police drove them back with tear gas.

Across the masses of demonstrators, a chorus of banging could be heard as the crowd used sticks and umbrellas to strike road dividers and other metallic surfaces. The police said some demonstrators were throwing bricks and other hard objects at officers.

Most businesses along the protest route and in Yuen Long’s otherwise bustling malls shut down as the demonstrators marched through the area. Many protesters gathered around the town’s police station, throwing “ghost money” — a type of fake money usually meant for the dead — at the building.

The Hong Kong police have been criticized for their slow response to the mob attack on Sunday, and for not detaining anyone in Yuen Long that night. They have since arrested 12 men in connection with the attack, including some accused of having connections with the gangs known as triads.
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Men armed with sticks and poles on Sunday outside a train station in Yuen Long.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung, the No. 2 official in Hong Kong, apologized on Friday for the police response.


But in an unusually public sign of divisions between the police and the government, some officers posted images online late Friday saying that Mr. Cheung did not speak for them, and that his words undermined their work. A letter from the Junior Police Officers’ Association “severely condemned” Mr. Cheung’s comments.

The authorities had warned that a march in Yuen Long would threaten public security and risk clashes between protesters and residents. To skirt the ban, some protesters suggested alternate reasons for going to Yuen Long: shopping, jogging, playing Pokemon Go or even, most sarcastically, holding a memorial for Li Peng, the recently deceased ex-premier of China who was loathed by many for his role in crushing the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Among those attending the protest was Leonard Cheng, the president of Lingnan University, who said he wanted “to know and understand the situation because many students are here.” He warned students away from violence, saying, “Please run if you see danger.”

Yuen Long, which sits near fish and shrimp farms across a bay from the mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen, has both old villages and urban new towns, which were built in the 1970s and ’80s to handle Hong Kong’s population growth. For many years, dating back to when Hong Kong was a British colony, the authorities have trodden carefully with the village residents.

Descendants of people who lived in the villages in the late 19th century, when Britain took over the area, are still given special land rights and representation in elected bodies — privileges seen as unfair by many in the wider population.

Eddie Chu, a pro-democracy lawmaker, warned protesters this week to avoid villages, graves and ancestral halls in the area. Any such incursion, he wrote on Facebook, would help justify the arguments of Junius Ho, a pro-establishment politician from the area. Mr. Ho was seen with men in white T-shirts on the night of the train station attack, and he later said that Yuen Long needed to be defended from protesters. Soon after the attack, the graves of Mr. Ho’s parents were vandalized.

Earlier this past week, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense said the military, which has several thousand troops based in Hong Kong, could be called in if the police were unable to maintain order. Hong Kong officials have had the right to ask for military intervention ever since the territory was returned to Chinese rule, but they have repeatedly said that they have no plans to take such a drastic step.

Katherine Li, Ezra Cheung and Tiffany May contributed reporting.
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When do the Chinese roll in the Tanks?


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IMHO, the Chinese will get fed up and roll in the Tanks.


Violence is escalating in Hong Kong. Here are three possible outcomes
Published 2 hours agoUpdated an hour ago
Grace Shao @Gracemzshao

Riot police fire tear gas, after a march to call for democratic reforms in Hong Kong
Edgar Su | Reuters
Key Points

    Protests continue to roil Hong Kong as demonstrators clash with police and call for full democracy and autonomy in the city.
    According to one think tank expert, the most likely outcome of the demonstrations will be for authorities to wait out the protests, arrest rally leaders and “slowly bring the city back to order.”
    It’s also possible, although less likely, that Beijing could send in its military — or that it could acquiesce to some protester demands.

Beijing is set to deliver a formal response to the ongoing Hong Kong protests at 3 p.m. local time on Monday.

Demonstrations started eight weeks ago in the city against a legislative push to allow people in Hong Kong to be extradited to Mainland China, but they’ve snowballed into a movement for full democracy and autonomy from Beijing.

Over the weekend, protesters again took to the streets, clashing with authorities. A march on Saturday against an assault the previous weekend by suspected triad gang members ended in violent turmoil as riot police waded in to disperse crowds. On Sunday, riot police fired rounds of tear gas and rubber bullets as demonstrators marched toward the Chinese government’s office in the city.

As tensions escalate, China watchers are waiting to see how Beijing will respond. According to Ben Bland, director of the Southeast Asia Project at Sydney-based think tank the Lowy institute, there are three possible scenarios how the demonstrations could pan out from here.

Three directions Hong Kong could head from here:

    Authorities wait out protesters
    Beijing intervenes directly, imposes martial law
    Authorities make meaningful concessions

The most likely outcome, said Bland, is that Beijing and Hong Kong will try to wait out the protests, arrest rally leaders after the momentum slows down and “slowly bring the city back to order.”

It’s unlikely, but possible, that Mainland authorities would directly intervene, Bland said, explaining that Beijing could exercise martial law but that would be the end of the “one country, two systems” principle. That concept was promised to Hong Kong when the former British colony was reunited with the mainland, and guarantees that the city maintains a separate economic and legal system.

If Beijing were to send the People’s Liberation Army out into Hong Kong’s streets to “stabilize the situation” (which it suggested last week it could do) that would have “a big negative impact” on markets, according to Jackson Wong, asset manager director at Amber Hill Capital. Such a move would “break a lot of beliefs that Hong Kong is autonomous,” he explained, adding that “investors would probably flee initially.”

Wong echoed Bland’s assessment, saying “the situation in Hong Kong is not good. But it’s not to an extent that we need the PLA in Hong Kong.”
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What is Hong Kong’s relationship with China?

On the other end of possibilities, Chinese authorities could give “real concessions” and allow Hong Kongers full democracy — the right to an unrestricted vote for their own parliament and leader — which is what many protesters demand, Bland said.

A day after protesters stormed the legislative building, demonstration leaders released a statement making five demands: a full withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill; a retraction of the characterization of the movement as a “riot,” a retraction of the charges against anti-extradition protesters, the establishment of an independent committee to investigate the Hong Kong Police Force’s use of force, and the implementation of universal suffrage for the city’s chief executive officer role and its legislature by 2020.

Some experts have pointed out that there has not been a singular protest leader with whom authorities could negotiate, but Bland said that isn’t the issue. At the end of the day, he explained, the Mainland Chinese government has not shown interest in negotiating a resolution.

“There is no sign yet from Beijing or the Hong Kong government that they are willing to make any meaningful concessions beyond the suspension of the extradition bill which started this,” said Bland.

Sean King, senior vice president of public policy and business development strategy firm Park Strategies offered similar analysis to Bland.

Citing the mass killing of pro-democracy student protesters at Tiananmen Square 30 years ago, King said, “Beijing will have no moral qualms about” bringing in the military to intervene. But such an act “would totally lose the Hong Kong populace once and for all,” said King.

He said he expects the protests to continue on for weeks or even months before any settlement might be reached. As for why Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer Carrie Lam has yet to step down, King said if she resigns then it would symbolize Beijing admitting defeat.

“That would be giving into the masses,” said King. He added that, if mainland authorities give Hong Kongers what they demand, which is full fledged democracy, then it’s conceivable that citizens of Beijing, Shanghai and other mainland cities will ask for the same.
Signals from Beijing

The ongoing protests have drawn hundreds of thousands of supporters within the city and abroad. What started off as a peaceful demonstration hit a turning point after a small group of extreme protesters stormed the Hong Kong Legislative Building.

Beijing is increasingly signaling displeasure about the situation in Hong Kong. Last week, protests vandalized the National Emblem at the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong and Beijing responded with the charge that the acts were a “blatant challenge to the central government” that won’t be tolerated.

“The problem has really been the pressure on Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy,” said Bland. He added that there’s been “relentless and concerted pressure over the last five or 10 years, and that’s really driven the backlash because people feel it’s not just their rights that are under pressure but their identity, their very way of life.”

Bland added, the anger in Hong Kongers toward Lam, stems from the feeling that the Hong Kong government isn’t on the people’s side. Under the current system, the city’s leader is elected from a pre-approved list.

Beijing, meanwhile, has pointed fingers at hostile outside forces and blamed U.S. and European politicians for interfering in China’s “internal affairs. ” The country more recently accused the CIA of involvement in the unrest, according to a China Daily, Beijing’s English-language state newspaper.

In another article, the newspaper called the demonstrations “illegal assemblies,” and a “clear demonstration of the protesters’ total defiance of the law.” It suggested that the political uproar in Hong Kong is similar to what has been “instigated in the Middle East and North Africa — local anti-government elements colluding with external forces to topple governments utilizing modern communication technology to spread rumors, distrust and fear.”

Bland, for his part, said such claims “aren’t very convincing but the Chinese government has been sticking with this line.” Still, he added, Beijing isn’t giving “any strong indications that they want direct intervention.”

He added that the lack of explicit intervention from the mainland “is partly because it suits Beijing to have the Hong Kong government and the Hong Kong police on the front line absorbing all these problems. It keeps it local rather than explicitly making it a national crisis.”

– Reuters and CNBC’s Weizhen Tan and Vivian Kam contributed to this report.
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⛩️ MOAR Tear Gas in Hong Kong
« Reply #839 on: August 03, 2019, 04:22:35 PM »
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