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Hong Kong needs a debatable new security law to deal with “growing terrorism”, the territory’s safety chief has said.
John Lee said the city had become “shrouded in the shadow of violence”.
After months of silence, this weekend saw a fresh start of protest after the government in Beijing put forward a security law which would severely change Hong Kong’s rarely status.
The opposition say it is a direct strive to curtail freedoms and silence critics.
The bill was put forward on Thursday as China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), come together for its obstructed annual gathering.
China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said the legislation – which would ban “treason, secession, sedition and subversion” – should be brought in “without the slightest delay”.
‘On Sunday, thousands of people defied government warnings and marched through the city centre to protest against the bill.’
‘Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon at demonstrators, who were wearing face masks to protect against the spread of coronavirus. There were at least 180 arrests.’
In a statement on Monday, Secretary for Security John Lee said that in the past year, “the violence in Hong Kong has been escalating, with many cases involving explosives and genuine firearms”.
“Terrorism is growing in the city and activities which harm national security, such as ‘Hong Kong independence’, become more rampant.”
He said the fight on Sunday showed “the need and urgency of the decision to be deliberated by the NPC” and that the law would ensure Hong Kong’s “long-term prosperity and stability”.
The Commissioner of Police Chris Tang also embraced the bill, saying weapons and explosives take from protesters showed Hong Kong was “at the risk point of national security and there is a need to take effective measures to prevent the situation from deteriorating”.
China will put forward a great disputable national security law for Hong Kong, in what could be the biggest blow to the city’s autonomy and civil liberties since its render to Chinese rule in 1997.
‘The move by China’s rubber stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), which is meeting in Beijing this week, is sure to fuel further anger and protests in the city, which was rocked by over six months of increasingly violent anti-government unrest last year.’
The law, which is anticipated to disallow sedition, ‘secession’ and ‘subversion’ of the central government in Beijing, will be put into existence through a uniquely used constitutional method that could effectively bypass Hong Kong’s legislature.
News of the plans was met with instant backlash by opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong, human rights groups and the US State Department.
The US Senate has passed a bill that could reject some Chinese companies from putting up for sales shares on American stock exchanges.
It would require foreign firms to follow US ways for audits and other financial management.
The procedure now has to be passed by the House of Representatives before being signed into law by President Trump.
It comes as US-China agitation increases over the virus pandemic and after the Luckin Coffee accounting rumours.
The planned legislation would also require publicly traded companies to reveal whether they are owned or controlled by a foreign government.
The bill applies to all foreign companies, but is targeted at China, and follows intense criticism of Beijing by Mr Trump and other US politicians.
Mr Trump and officials in his administration argue that China mishandled the coronavirus outbreak in its early stages.
The escalation has now getting out of hand to become a pandemic that has killed almost 330,000 people worldwide and crippled the global economy.
*US-listed Chinese companies have already come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks after Luckin Coffee revealed that an internal investigation found hundreds of millions of dollars of its sales last year were “fabricated”.*
The company said its own findings had found that fabricated sales from the second quarter of last year to the fourth quarter amounted to about 2.2bn yuan ($310m; £254m). That equates to about 40% of its real gained annual sales.
The Chinese coffee chain has since ceased its chief executive and chief operating officer, while six other employees who were told to have been involved in or known about the transactions have been taken back or put on leave.
The novel coronavirus has taken a lot of lives and livelihoods in both the United States and China.
But rather than bonding the two nations together to overcome the pandemic, it has sent their already stress relations on a rapid sinking spiral — and fanned the flames of a potentially dangerous strain of nationalism.
China has been denounced at home and abroad over its controling of the virus, especially during the initial escalation.
“Pushing back such criticism with increasingly fierce rhetoric, Beijing says it is merely “responding” to false accusations, particularly from the US.”
A few days later, US President Donald Trump refered the coronavirus the “Chinese virus,” putting the blame on China as the escalation began to take hold in major American cities.
But the ill feeling goes deeper than a mere war of words. “The Trump administration is reportedly drawing up plans to punish China for the pandemic — retaliation options include sanctions, canceling US debt obligations and drawing up new trade policies. Trump and several administration officials are also enlisting foreign allies to join the pressure campaign against China.”
Bing Liu, a 37-year-old Chinese assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was discovered dead in his house on Saturday.
Close friends said he was near to making “significant findings” on his studies of Covid-19, tracing online opinion it was an assassination.
But police say it was a murder-suicide.
The Chinese Professor was discovered with multiple gunshot wounds to the head, neck, torso and extremities at his home in the Pittsburgh suburbs, as said by the local police department.The gunman was later identified as 46-year-old software engineer Hao Gu. Authorities say he took his own life after returning to his car.
“Liu and Gu knew each other,” homicide detectives said.
The findings has determined it was a murder-suicide resulting from “a lengthy dispute regarding an intimate partner”.
They said there was “zero prove” the case was anything close to Liu’s research work and the current public health crisis.
In a statement, Liu’s colleagues eulogies him as an outstanding researcher who “was on the verge of making very significant findings” towards improving the cellular mechanisms of Covid-19 escalation.
According Liu’ online CV, he had joined with biologists and clinicians to study human immunity.
What are the conspiracy theorists saying?
“Oh my god,” a user on the Chinese social media platform Weibo wrote. “This seems like coming straight out of Mission Impossible. Perhaps he found out that the virus originated from an American lab.”
Many similar comments suggested Liu was killed because he was seemingly about to straighten out the mystery of coronavirus’ origin.
Chinese officials and state media had earlier on promoted an unfounded claim that the virus originated in the US and was brought to Wuhan by Americans.
The swaying economic pain — might be one of the trounce since the 1930s — of the American economy in the time of the Corona Virus pandemic will be graphically intensified in two new rounds of unemployment data that are due on Thursday and Friday.
“The figures will show Americans who have and will lose their livelihoods as common victims of the most cruel public health crisis in 100 years, along with the sick and the more than 73,000 people who have so far died.”
The anticipation of an extended economic hovel will have vital implications in politics. It is already threatening to humidify memories of the roaring economy that President Donald Trump was banking on to carry him to a second term.
“It may also provide an opening to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden who helped bring the country back from the last economic crisis in the Obama administration.”
The coming reality that the “rocket” like glance the President foretell is unlikely may be behind Trump’s drastically frantic statements on a emergency he has also declared will soon be over.
“We went through the worst attack we’ve ever had on our country,” he said on Wednesday. For weeks early this year, Trump was in denial and painted the threat from the virus as tiny.
“This is really the worst attack we’ve ever had. This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center,” Trump said Wednesday.
Trump also called on schools to resume and cut off a nurse visiting the Oval Office who observed that personal preventive equipment had been “sporadic” in hospitals.
The Trump administration is “turbocharging” an inventiveness to detach global industrial supply chains from China as it contemplates new tariffs to make an example of Beijing for its tackling of the coronavirus outbreak, according to officials familiar with U.S. planning.
President Donald Trump, who has crush up recent backfires on China ahead of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election, has since pledged to bring manufacturing way then from overseas.
Now, economic demolition and the enormous U.S. coronavirus death toll are driving a government-wide strive to move U.S. production and supply bond dependency away from China, even if it goes to other more friendly nations as an alternative, current and former senior U.S. administration officials said.
“We’ve been working on [reducing the reliance of our supply chains in China] over the last few years but we are now turbo-charging that initiative,” Keith Krach, undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment at the U.S. State Department told Reuters.
“I think it is essential to understand where the critical areas are and where critical bottlenecks exist,” Krach said, adding that the matter was important to U.S. security and one the government could make known new action on soon.
The U.S. Commerce Department, State and other agencies are looking for means to push companies to move both bearing out and manufacturing out of China. Tax incentives and potential re-shoring subsidies are among measures put in place to pervade changes, the current and former officials told Reuters.
“There is a whole of government push on this,” said one. Agencies are probing which manufacturing should be deemed “essential” and how to make these goods outside of China.
“This moment is a perfect storm; the pandemic has crystallized all the worries that people have had about doing business with China,” said another senior U.S. official.
First flight from China arrives in Kenya after banFirst flight from China arrives in Kenya after ban
The first flight from China has arrived in Kenya are a two-week ban imposed because of the coronavirus outrbeak.
The authorities have allowed the 239 passengers off the China Southern Airlines flight after it landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the capital, Nairobi.
They were screened on board to check for any signs that they were carrying the deadly virus.
The health ministry said the passengers had been advised to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution – the first time such a large number of passengers have been told to do so.
The Guangzhou-Nairobi route, suspended two weeks ago, will now provide one flight per week, down from the usual four.
Health Minister Sicily Kariuki said in a statement that a total of 17 suspected cases had been reported in the East African nation but they had all tested negative for the virus that causes the respiratory disease Covid-19.
She also advised Kenyans against non-essential travel to countries with confirmed cases.
Globally, more than 80,000 people in more than 40 countries have now been infected and more than 2,700 people have died.
Many Kenyans on social media have expressed disbelief at the government’s decision to let in the passengers from China.
On Wednesday, Algeria became the second country in Africa to confirm a coronavirus case after Egypt. The country’s health ministry said the patient arrived from Italy on 17 February.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Africa regional director Matshidiso Moeti has warned that Africa’s “window of opportunity to prepare for the Covid19 disease is closing”
A hotel in Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands has been locked down after a visiting Italian doctor tested positive for coronavirus.
Hundreds of guests at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel were initially told to stay in their rooms as medical tests were carried out, Spanish media report.
The doctor is reportedly from the Lombardy region, where Italian authorities are battling an outbreak.
Global cases of the virus have passed 80,000, the vast majority in China.
Iran, one of the worst-affected nations outside China, on Tuesday said its deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, had tested positive for the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday the world should do more to prepare for a possible pandemic – a situation where an infectious disease spreads easily between people in many countries.
The proportion of infected people who die appears to be between 1% and 2%, although the WHO cautions that the precise mortality rate is not known yet.
What’s the latest from the hotel in Tenerife?
Agence France-Presse quoted a health authority spokeswoman, Veronica Martin, as saying that guests at the four-star hotel in the south-west of the island were being monitored for “health reasons and the degree of supervision will be assessed during the day, but so far, we’re not talking about quarantine”.
One guest posted on Facebook an image of a note put under the door of their room on Tuesday saying: “We regret to inform you that for health reasons, the hotel has been closed down. Until the sanitary authorities warn, you must remain in your rooms.”
Another guest, John Turton, told the BBC he and his wife had seen the note but then heard people walking outside and heading to breakfast.
He said: “The hotel has been cordoned off but we’re trying to make the best of what’s going on. We haven’t been given any more information other than the note but we’re going to just wait, try and enjoy the holiday and see what happens.”
People were now walking around the hotel and using sun loungers, he said, but the police cordon was preventing people from leaving.
Mr Turton said he had not yet been tested.
The Italian doctor, who had been staying at the hotel with his wife, tested positive on Monday and has been placed in isolation at the University Hospital Nuestra Señora de Candelaria. He will undergo a second test to confirm the virus.
Previously, Spain had had two confirmed cases, both tourists – one German and one British.
What’s happening with the virus globally?
On Tuesday, a plane carrying more than 130 passengers and crew from the Iranian capital, Tehran, to Istanbul was diverted to the Turkish capital, Ankara, amid suspicion of infections on board. Turkey’s health minister said all would be quarantined for 14 days.
Iran on Tuesday announced three more deaths, raising fatalities there to 15.
Italy is badly affected, with the largest number of cases in Europe – 231. Seven people have died.
It announced a series of drastic measures over the weekend to try to contain the outbreak. The regions of Lombardy and Veneto have locked down several small towns. For the next two weeks, 50,000 residents will not be able to leave without special permission.
However, there are signs the virus is spreading, with new cases reported on Tuesday in Tuscany and Sicily.
China, the source of the outbreak, still has by far the largest number of infections – more than 77,000 – and deaths, 2,663. The bulk of the cases are in the city of Wuhan.
South Korea’s infections rose to 977 on Tuesday, with 10 deaths. Americans have been warned against all but essential travel to the nation.
The US plans to spend $2.5bn (£1.93bn) fighting the coronavirus, with funds for quarantine, vaccine research and aiding affected states, US media reported. There are 53 cases in the country so far.
Japanese media reported that a fourth passenger on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise liner had died. The country has confirmed more than 850 people are infected, most of them on the liner.
Gulf states, including the UAE and Bahrain, have imposed more flight restrictions in an effort to try to slow the spread of the virus.
And the coronavirus outbreak has continued to hit shares, with Japan’s markets slumping in the wake of big falls in London and New York.
A video featuring a pregnant nurse treating patients in a hospital in the virus epicentre of Wuhan has sparked a backlash across China.
The video by state media outlet CCTV was meant to portray nine-month pregnant Zhao Yu as a hero.
But instead social media users criticised the hospital for allowing a heavily pregnant nurse to work in a highly contagious environment.
One user said the woman was being used as a “propaganda tool”.
More than 2,200 people have now died from the coronavirus in China, with the majority of deaths coming out Wuhan, capital of Hubei province.
In China alone, there have been more than 75,000 cases of infection. The virus has also spread around the globe with more than 1,000 cases and several deaths worldwide.
A show of ‘propaganda’
State media outlet CCTV had last week released a video featuring Zhao Yu, who works in the emergency ward at a military hospital in Wuhan.
The video shows her walking around the hospital in a hazmat suit while heavily pregnant. She’s seen making the rounds and testing a patient who is later sent to the fever department. The patient is heard telling her not to work as it is “dangerous”.
Zhao Yu acknowledges in the video that her family objects to her continuing to work, but adds that she hopes to do her part in fighting the virus.
But the video – which was meant to be a touching tribute to her self-sacrifice – touched a nerve, with many accusing the broadcaster of using her story as a form of “propaganda”.
“Can we stop all this propaganda? Who made the decision that this video was okay? Pregnant women should not be [on the frontlines], that’s it,” another said.
“What is this, a show for political purposes? Don’t send a woman who is nine months pregnant to do this,” said one comment.
“I really think that this message… blindly advocating women to fight on the frontlines regardless of their health… it’s really sick,” one person said.
And it’s not the only video that has got netizens angry.
Another video posted this week by state-owned media outlets in Gansu showed several female nurses weeping as they had their heads shaved.
The video explained that the head-shaving exercise took place so it would be easier for women to wear protective head gear while treating patients.
But many doubted the logic of this, asking why women couldn’t simply have short hair instead of shaving their heads off entirely. Others asked why there weren’t videos of men having their heads shaved.
The hashtag #SeeingFemaleWorkers – calling for people to recognise the contribution of women on their front lines – also started to go viral on Weibo.
“Professionalism. Faith. Loyalty. Strength. These are all qualities worth being proud of. Women aren’t capable and great just because they’re shaving off their long hair,” said one comment.
“Why does the media always use women’s sacrifices as a tool for propaganda? Wouldn’t it be equally as admirable for these women to go on the front line with their long hair? For women who are not pregnant to be fighting?” said one commentary on WeChat.
“They must be beautiful, a mother, a partner, and then make sacrifices. Only then will they be considered great.”