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Is Hong Kong US Or Chinese Territory?

Is Hong Kong US Or Chinese Territory?

Is Hong Kong US Or Chinese Territory?2020-05-25PopularResistance.Orghttps://popularresistance-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2019/08/62-e1567359839783.jpg200px200px

Above photo: Protesters hold a placard featuring U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. flags as they take part in a march at Victoria Park in Hong Kong, July 21, 2019. Vincent Yu for AP.

Note: To help understand the recent protests in Hong Kong we recommend these two articles:

Liberal Confusion About The Hong Kong Protests And The US Role by KJ Noh.

Hong Kong In The Crosshairs Of A Global Power Struggle by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

We Are Not Fooled By The Hong Kong Protests By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

KZ

The New Security Law Is About Undue US Intervention.

Blatant interference by the US is prompting Beijing’s new legislation to protect national security.

So Beijing has decided enough is enough and is taking matters into its own hands to bulldoze ahead with a national security law tailor-made for Hong Kong, because the city is utterly incapable of fulfilling its constitutional duty to come up with the necessary legislation of its own, 23 years after its return to Chinese sovereignty.

And now, the very people who brought all this upon us are having conniptions over what it means for our basic freedoms and fundamentals, which the government is insisting will remain untouched.

Smelling blood in the water, certain Western media outlets are in a feeding frenzy of sensational reports and apocalyptic headlines chronicling the “end/death of Hong Kong”, reminiscent of their sanctimonious divinations about the demise of our city during the 1997 handover, which turned out to be greatly exaggerated.

To understand what has really happened here, you have to take a look back at last year’s social turmoil and anti-government protest violence in the context of Beijing’s complaints about the “black hand” of foreign interference in the city’s affairs, particularly with a hostile Washington using Hong Kong as a pawn in the wider Sino-US political game.

We’re not discussing conspiracy theories here, just the relentless, in-your-face provocativeness of protesters openly waving the star-spangled banner and singing the US national anthem on the streets while spitting at and stomping on their own national symbols, loud calls for President Donald Trump to “save” the city from its own sovereign, opposition politicians’ successful campaign to have the US Congress spite Beijing’s face by cutting off Hong Kong’s nose through punitive policy acts, American politicians coming here to preach – on Chinese soil – the anti-China gospel … the list goes on ad nauseam.

Top that with how belligerent US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has become these days, neck pouch inflating in self-righteous indignation as he effectively warns China “you dare not do this and you dare not say that” when it comes to Hong Kong. He’s now calling Beijing’s move a “death knell” for the city and threatening sanctions because only Washington, apparently, has the authority to decide which parts of China can be subject to national security laws, if at all.

When did this city become a major territory of the United States of America? Last I checked, Hong Kong used to be a colony of Britain, which, as a signatory to the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984, arguably has the right to carry on flagging concerns about Beijing’s tightening grip over the city, but has curiously taken to letting the Americans do all the shouting nowadays.

The thing is, Beijing would have allowed the city to carry on burning like it did last year in the bonfires of the “revolution of our times” and sort out its own problems as long they remained internal. Because of the external element, the carrot makes way for the stick.

Hong Kong has long been the Achilles’ heel for China in its new Cold War with the US, which has been employing the city – citing American business interests here to claim a stake in its future – as a bargaining chip of sorts. Now that the gloves are off, with Washington’s rhetoric becoming increasingly bellicose over the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Beijing feels it might as well bite the bullet to plug this particular leak.

The details of the new law are still to be spelled out and we don’t know what protections will be built into it to prevent abuse. If you believe the likes of cabinet-level government adviser Arthur Li Kwok-Cheung, “There is nothing for Hong Kong people to worry about … unless they are revolutionaries, terrorists or those colluding with foreign powers.”

I’m none of the above myself, but, until I see the fine print, I don’t know what it will mean when it comes to even what I say in this space someday.

Yonden Lhatoo is the chief news editor at the Post.

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Hong Kong Police Fire Tear Gas As Thousands Protest Planned Security Law

Demonstrators defied social distancing rules and thronged some of the busiest retail districts Sunday. China’s parliament is planning legislation to tighten its grip on the semi-autonomous territory.

(Image credit: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images)



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Daily Beast News

China’s ‘Great Firewall’ Is Closing Around Hong Kong

HONG KONG—In the Chinese Communist Party’s collective headspace, open dissent in Hong Kong is a problem to be solved. The city of 7.5 million people has been a thorn in the party’s side for many years and CCP chairman Xi Jinping wants to change that while he is still in command of China’s government. 

Chinese authorities utilize automation and a fleet of human censors to control the flow of information and, more importantly, its tone.

On Thursday evening, the party said it will “improve” the way Hong Kong is governed—not by addressing the demands of the city’s denizens, but by implementing a vague security law that would bypass the local legislature’s law-making process, thus rendering moot Hong Kong’s status as an autonomous region.

Unlike mainland China, where the CCP has erected barriers on the internet that are called, inevitably, the Great Firewall, Hong Kong provides freedom of speech and expression, including in cyberspace—at least for now. But China’s pledge to “improve” Hong Kong’s governance, paired with its hallmark vagueness in the proposed security bill’s legal language, has people in the city concerned that this may soon be a thing of the past.

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Beijing accuses Pompeo of using ‘democracy’ bill to blackmail Hong Kong govt — RT World News

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is using self-described human rights legislation to put pressure on the Hong Kong government and threaten China’s sovereignty, Beijing has claimed.

Pompeo is “blackmailing” the semi-autonomous city with the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Office of the Commissioner to Hong Kong said on Thursday. He added that China was not intimidated by Washington’s political maneuvering and that Beijing would protect its national interests from all foreign threats.

Signed into law in November 2019, the act requires the State Department to audit Hong Kong’s level of “autonomy” annually. The legislation calls for sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials if Washington determines that human rights are not being respected by the city.




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‘It all comes from the top’: Trump unloads on Beijing in fiery coronavirus rant, alleging ‘propaganda attack’ on US & EU



The Secretary of State signaled on Wednesday that he was still assessing whether the situation in Hong Kong would warrant sanctions. Claiming that activists at the forefront of months-long anti-China demonstrations were being “hauled into court,” Pompeo said that it was “difficult to assess that Hong Kong remains highly autonomous from mainland China.”

Washington has shown vocal support for the violent protests that have rocked Hong Kong since March of last year. The issue has further exacerbated strained relations between the US and China, which have hit a new low amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Pulitzer Committee Favors False US Empire Stories On Hong Kong, Russia And China

Pulitzer Committee Favors False US Empire Stories On Hong Kong, Russia And China

Pulitzer Committee Favors False US Empire Stories On Hong Kong, Russia And China2020-05-18PopularResistance.Orghttps://popularresistance-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2017/08/Nytimes_hq-300×199-150×99.jpg200px200px

Above photo: New York Times building in New York City. (Photo from Wikipedia)

The New York Times has apparently stolen its Pulitzer Prize-winning stories from Russian journalists – the same liberal anti-Putin reporters its correspondents have lionized.

The New York Times has been accused for the second time of stealing major scoops from Russian journalists. One of those stories won the Times a Pulitzer Prize this May.

The journalists who have accused the Times of taking their work without credit also happen to be the same liberal media crusaders against Vladimir Putin that Western correspondents at the Times and other mainstream outlets have cast as persecuted heroes.

The Pulitzer Prize Board is comprised of a who’s who of media aristocrats and Ivy League bigwigs. Given the elite backgrounds of the judges, it is hardly a surprise that they reward reporting that reinforces the narrative of the new US Cold War against official enemies like Russia and China.

Stephen Kinzer, a former New York Times correspondent who has since become a critic of US foreign policy, noted that the three finalists in the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting “were one story about how evil Russia is and two about how evil China is. These choices encourage reporters to write stories that reinforce rather than question Washington’s foreign-policy narrative.”

The finalists nominated in this category were Reuters and the New York Times for two separate sets of stories.

The US newspaper of record ended up winning the 2020 award in international reporting, for what the Pulitzer jury described as “a set of enthralling stories, reported at great risk, exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin’s regime.”

The Times was nominated again as a finalist for what the jury called its “gripping accounts that disclosed China’s top-secret efforts to repress millions of Muslims through a system of labor camps, brutality and surveillance.”

The staff of Reuters was selected as the third finalist for its reporting in support of anti-China protesters in Hong Kong. (The photography staff of Reuters ended up winning the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news photography for the same coverage.)

Among the five members of the Pulitzer jury who selected these finalists was Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of the neoliberal magazine The Atlantic and a former volunteer in the Israeli army who worked as a guard at a prison camp where Palestinians who rose up in the First Intifada were interned.

Joining Goldberg on the jury was Susan Chira, a former New York Times editor.

While this elite Pulitzer jury praised the New York Times for “at great risk, exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin’s regime,” it is not exactly clear what that “risk” is supposed to entail – because the major US newspaper appears to have stolen at least part of its reporting from Russian journalists.

On May 4, journalist Roman Badanin published a Facebook post accusing the Times of ripping off a story he had released months before without credit.

Badanin is the founder and editor-in-chief of the liberal anti-Putin news website Proekt, known as The Project in English.

“I have no illusions about the real role of Russian journalism in the world, but I have to note: the two The New York Times’s investigations, for which this honored newspaper won the Pulitzer prize yesterday, repeat the findings of The Project’s articles published a few months before,” Badanin wrote on Facebook.

“I would also like to note that the winners did not put a single link to the English version of our article, even when, for example, 8 months after The Project, they told about the activities of Eugene Prigozhin’s emissaries in Madagascar,” he added.

Badanin linked to an article he published, both in Russian and English, back in March 2019 titled “Master and Chef: How Evgeny Prigozhin led the Russian offensive in Africa.” The story details how the businessman Evgenу Prigozhin, who is sanctioned by the US government, has been promoting business opportunities in Africa. The piece focuses specifically on Madagascar, where Russia also has a military agreement.

This report is eerily similar to a report published by the New York Times eight months later, in November, titled “How Russia Meddles Abroad for Profit: Cash, Trolls and a Cult Leader.” This story, which was filed in Madagascar, does not once link to or credit Proekt’s original reporting.

Another anti-Putin Russian news website, Meduza, published an article on May 7 drawing attention to these allegations, titled “‘Fuck the Pulitzer — I just want a hyperlink’: Russian journalists say ‘The New York Times’ should have acknowledged their investigative work in the newspaper’s award-winning reports about the Putin regime’s ‘predations.’”

Meduza interviewed Badanin, who said the New York Times “report about Madagascar from November 2019 repeats all the main and even secondary conclusions from our reporting about Madagascar and Africa generally between March and April last year.”

While Badanin did not outright accuse the Times of plagiarism, he was frustrated that “nowhere in the story did they acknowledge that we’d already reported on this topic,” and said it was either a “professional issue” or an “ethical problem.”

A New York Times spokesperson denied that Proekt’s reporting was used in any way. And the Times reporter who authored this report from Madagascar, Michael Schwirtz, responded dismissively to the accusations in a Twitter thread full of sarcastic quips.

Another anti-Putin Russian activist accuses the New York Times of lifting his reporting

Michael Schwirtz authored another New York Times article in December that was cited by the Pulitzer jury for the 2020 prize. This piece, “How a Poisoning in Bulgaria Exposed Russian Assassins in Europe,” is also suspiciously similar to reporting published before by yet another anti-Putin website, called The Insider.

The Insider is edited by the Western-backed, diehard anti-Putin activist Roman Dobrokhotov. In response to Schwirtz’s Twitter thread, Dobrohotov angrily asked why The Insider’s reports were not credited as well. Schwirtz denied having used information from the previous stories.

Schwirtz’s Twitter thread tagged four Russian accounts: Proekt, The Insider, Dobrokhotov, and Yasha Levine, the last of whom is an occasional contributor to The Grayzone and the author of “Surveillance Valley.”

Levine reflected on the scandal writing, “Time to learn the hard truth: The New York Times — like the Empire it represents — doesn’t give a fuck about you. It’ll take whatever it wants, give nothing in return, and suffer no consequences. And who’ll believe you Russians anyway?”

“The reverence with which liberal Russian journalists have treated the New York Times has always been baffling to me,” Levine continued. “But that’s what you get when you’re a colonial subject like Russia. You fetishize the master. That reverence is starting to wear off, but it’s still there.”

New York Times was also accused of stealing Russian journalists’ reporting back in 2017

This is not even the first time that the US newspaper of record has been accused of stealing reporting from Russian journalists.

Back in 2017, the New York Times won the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting for its reports on “Vladimir Putin’s efforts to project Russia’s power abroad.”

At the time, journalists from the anti-Putin website Meduza accused the Times of ripping off their reporting. The website Global Voices highlighted the controversy, in an article titled “Russian Journalists Say One of NYT’s Pulitzer-Winning Stories Was Stolen.”

Meduza reported Daniil Turovsky accused New York Times Moscow correspondent Andrew E. Kramer of lifting his reporting. Kramer actually took the time to respond in a Facebook comment, acknowledging that his report was based on the Russian journalist’s.

“Daniil, I spoke with you while preparing this article and explained that I intended to follow in the footsteps of your fine work, that I would credit Meduza, as I did, and thanked you for your help,” Kramer said.

This did not satisfy Meduza, which also reminded readers in its latest 2020 article that the Times had ripped off its 2017 reporting.

The Grayzone has also experienced this kind of shameless journalistic pickpocketing. In March 2019, the New York Times released a report acknowledging that the so-called “humanitarian aid” convoy that the US government tried to ram across the Venezuelan border in a February coup attempt had been set on fire not by government forces, but rather Washington-backed right-wing opposition hooligans.

At the time of this February 23 putsch attempt, the Times had initially joined US politicians like Senator Marco Rubio and the majority of the corporate media in blaming Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. But The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal, who was reporting in Venezuela, published a report showing that all of the available evidence pointed to the opposition being responsible.

When the Times finally admitted this fact weeks later, it made no mention whatsoever of Blumenthal’s reporting. Glenn Greenwald was the only high-profile journalist to credit Blumenthal and The Grayzone.

New York Times had ironically heroized these Russian journalists before stealing their reporting

Further compounding this staggering hypocrisy is the fact that the New York Times has in fact published numerous articles lionizing these anti-Putin Russian journalists, while simultaneously ripping off their work.

Proekt founder and editor Roman Badanin is not some kind of crypto pro-Kremlin activist – far from it. He has spent years working within mainstream outlets, and was previously the editor-in-chief of the decidedly anti-Putin Russian edition of Forbes magazine

Badanin does friendly interviews with US-based neoconservative think tanks like the Free Russia Foundation, a right-wing anti-Putin lobbying group that appointed regime-changer Michael Weiss as its director for special investigations.

In an interview conducted by Valeria Jegisman, a neoconservative anti-Russian activist who worked as a spokesperson for the government of Estonia and now works at the US government’s propaganda arm Voice of America, group accused the Kremlin of spreading false information, claiming “Russia will continue its disinformation tactics.”

Badanin also called for “the West” to “support independent media projects with non-profit funding,” stating clearly: “I think that what the West can do is to continue to support independent media in the most transparent and clear way, and to stop being afraid of the million tricks that the Russian authorities come up with to force the West to abandon these investments.”

The Russian journalist’s pro-Western perspective has been rewarded. Badanin was honored by the European Press Prize, a program backed by Western governments and the top corporate media outlets in Europe, particularly The Guardian and Reuters.

Badanin was also given a Stanford John S. Knight international fellowship in journalism. Stanford University has established itself as an outpost for Russian pro-Western liberals, and its journalist fellowship program provides institutional support for dissidents in countries targeted by Washington for regime change.

Badanin’s extensive links to Western regime-change institutions should not come as a surprise to the New York Times; it has in fact honored him in numerous articles.

In 2017, the Times published an entire article framed around Badanin. Reporter Jim Rutenberg explained, “I wanted to better understand President Trump’s America… So I went to Russia.”

In Moscow, Rutenberg met with Badanin at the headquarters of the anti-Putin station TV Rain, which he described as a “warehouse complex here, populated by young people with beards, tattoos, piercings and colored hair. (Brooklyn hipster imperialism knows no bounds.)”

While praising Badanin and TV Rain, the Times also noted that the channel published a poll suggesting that the Soviet Union “should have abandoned Leningrad to the Nazis to save lives.”

The Times even featured Badanin prominently in the header image of the story — just two years before the same newspaper would go on to rip off his reporting.

The New York Times also reported on Roman Badanin in 2016 and 2011. It is abundantly clear the newspaper knew who he was.

The Gray Lady’s willingness to snatch Badanin’s reporting shows how little respect newspapers like the New York Times actually have for the anti-Putin journalists they claim to lionize. For the jet-setting correspondents of Western corporate media outlets, liberal Russian reporters are just tools to advance their own ambitions.

Ben Norton is a journalist, writer, and filmmaker. He is the assistant editor of The Grayzone, and the producer of the Moderate Rebels podcast, which he co-hosts with editor Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.



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Hong Kong’s Been Beating COVID-19 With Moderation, Not Magic Bullets

HONG KONG—This city of 7.6 million, one of the most densely populated in the world, has recorded no local transmissions of the novel coronavirus for more than three weeks. Since the onset of the outbreak, Hong Kong has logged four deaths due to complications brought on by COVID-19; the last was in mid-March. 

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16 Detained in China on Charges of Elaborate Hong Kong-Connected Gold Smuggling Ring

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Gold smuggling is a lucrative criminal enterprise throughout Asia and around the world, given the plentiful supply of investors ready to pay top dollar to find a recognized store of value that’s an attractive alternative to the greenback.

16 suspects have been arrested in the southeastern Chinese coastal province of Fujian in connection with a major suspected gold smuggling operation, Xinhua has reported, citing local customs authorities.

The suspects are accused of illegally smuggling roughly three tonnes of gold and gold-related products out of the country in an elaborate plot which took place over the space of over three years.

The plot is said to have involved the purchase of pure gold from local merchants, its soldering into electronics components, and transport to the Hong Kong Special administrative region, where the gold would be extracted and sold to bullion buyers in the financial hub.

Authorities suspect the smugglers of beginning their operation in February 2017, and of earning about 820 million yuan ($116 million US) from their illegal activities. In addition to the smuggling, the suspects are accused of illegally collecting export tax rebates worth some 120 million yuan ($16.9 million US).

China maintains strict regulations on the import and export of gold and gold products, with the People’s Bank of China maintaining a monopoly on the precious commodity’s export, as well as the right to examine and control the export of products containing a high percentage of gold according to strict limits. Breaking the rules can be punishable by serious administrative and criminal sanctions.

The illegal export and import of gold is a relatively commonly reported on occurrence throughout Asia, with some incidents leading to comical if grave predicaments. Late last year, a Chinese national was detained in Nepal after attempting to smuggle about a kilogram of gold packed in his rectum into the country. Earlier, another person was arrested in India after trying to smuggle gold worth over $8,900 from Hong Kong. Gold smuggling is a particularly lucrative enterprise in India, where the precious commodity is highly valued as jewelry. Last month, Indian media reported that cases of gold seizures by customs had reached an all-time high amid soaring bullion prices, with the Chennai International Airport in Tmil Nadu, India alone scoring some 375 kg of gold over the past year, up from 271 kg seized a year earlier.

Gold prices have been on a rollercoaster ride of sharp ups and downs over the past month amid the global economic turmoil over the coronavirus pandemic, with spot prices settling at $1,701 per ounce in early morning trading Monday.

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