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Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong quits pro-democracy group as China passes security law – National



Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong said on Tuesday he is stepping down as leader of his democracy group Demosisto, just hours after local media reported that Beijing had passed national security legislation for the Chinese-ruled city.

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Chinese lawmakers pass controversial security law for Hong Kong: reports

Wong has said he will be a “prime target” of Beijing’s national security law, which critics fear will crush freedoms in the former British colony.

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“If my voice will not be heard soon, I hope that the international community will continue to speak up for Hong Kong and step up concrete efforts to defend out last bit of freedom,” Wong wrote in a tweet.

-With a file from Global News








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Pandas Mate After 10 Years Together At Hong Kong Zoo


The journalists at BuzzFeed News are proud to bring you trustworthy and relevant reporting about the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter, Outbreak Today.

If being quarantined during the coronavirus pandemic has you feeling a little horny, you’re not alone.

Two giant pandas at a Hong Kong zoo mated successfully on Monday for the first time in almost 10 years together at the park.

Staff at the Ocean Park theme park and zoo announced female Ying Ying and male Le Le, both 14, finally sealed the deal around 9 a.m. local time after showing signs that they had entered their hormonal estrous cycle, or mating cycle, in late March.

Giant pandas are notoriously bad at breeding, at least in captivity, so news of the bonking bears had staff thrilled.

“Since Ying Ying and Le Le’s arrival in Hong Kong in 2007 and attempts at natural mating since 2010, they unfortunately have yet to succeed until this year upon years of trial and learning,” said Michael Boos, executive director of zoological operation and conservation. “The successful natural mating process today is extremely exciting for all of us, as the chance of pregnancy via natural mating is higher than by artificial insemination.”

Images released by the park, which has been empty of visitors since Jan. 26 due to the coronavirus outbreak, show the black-and-white beaus embracing and doing the deed.

Zoo staff noticed that last month that Ying Ying had begun spending more time in the water, while Le Le was leaving scent markings around his habitat as he looked for his panda paramour — both apparently signs that the bears were feeling a little more randy than usual.

Vets at the zoo have been monitoring the pair closely and will continue to do so in the hopes that Ying Ying is expecting.

“If successful, signs of pregnancy, including hormonal level fluctuations and behavioral changes may be observed as early as late June, though there is always a chance that Ying Ying could experience a pseudo-pregnancy,” said Boos.

“We hope to bear wonderful pregnancy news to Hong Kongers this year,” he added, “and make further contributions to the conservation of this vulnerable species.”

According to the zoo, a panda’s gestation period ranges between 72–324 days, but the pregnancy can only be detected by an ultrasound about two weeks before birth.

Reacting to the news, people on social media were both happy for the bears — and jealous.

Panda numbers are slowly increasing in the wild. In 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature shifted giant pandas from the endangered category to being listed as vulnerable due to a 17% rise in the number of pandas between 2004 and 2014.



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Hong Kong Protesters Clash With Police as Lam Visits Beijing


(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong’s demonstrators clashed with police late Sunday as Chief Executive Carrie Lam visited Beijing where she’s expected to update Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior officials on the violent protests that have gripped the city for the past six months.

Roads in Mong Kok, a tourist area known for its night market, were blocked with bricks as protesters threw glass bottles and other items at police officers at about 11 p.m. Sunday. Police sprayed tear gas to disperse the crowds, according to a statement from the city’s government.

A traffic light was smashed and dismantled as protesters set boxes on fire to block more roads at about 1:30 a.m. Monday. Riot police responded through a loudspeaker that it was their “final warning.”

The clash late Sunday followed a more subdued weekend for the city’s demonstrations. Protests have raged in Asia’s premier financial hub since June, when large crowds took to the streets to oppose a bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

Although Lam’s government eventually withdrew the proposed law, the protesters’ demands have broadened to include universal suffrage and the creation of an independent inquiry into police conduct during the increasingly violent unrest.

The visit by Lam, whose administration has been criticized for its handling of the unrest, comes after an estimated 800,000 people took to the streets in a demonstration last week. It also follows a landslide victory by opposition pro-democracy parties over her pro-establishment allies in local elections.

“The purpose of the duty visit is to give a full account of what has happened in Hong Kong over the past year,” Lam said in a press briefing last week. “Particularly what has happened in Hong Kong in the last six months.”

Throughout the chaos, China has steadfastly supported Lam, even as her popularity in the former British colony sunk to record lows. Chinese officials have condemned the protesters and voiced their backing for the city’s police.

Economic Impact

The clashes have taken a toll on Hong Kong’s economy, which is expected to enter its first annual recession in a decade.

Tourists have stayed away in droves — arrivals from mainland China were down 35% in September compared with the same month of 2018, and the hotel occupancy rate averaged 63%. The Hong Kong International Airport handled 5 million passengers in November, down 16% from a year earlier, the Hong Kong Airport Authority said in a statement.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan wrote in his weekly blog that foreign investors may choose centers other than Hong Kong if unrest continues in the city, RTHK reported.

Adam Kwok, executive director of Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., one of the city’s biggest developers, called on the government to help the hospitality sector. Hotel revenue for the company had fallen by as much as 40% in November and December due to the unrest, he said. This half, hotel revenue is forecast to be down around 30%.

“We strongly urge the government to help the hotel industry,” Kwok said in a rare public address for a new hotel Friday. “We really need it.”

The clash in Mong Kok late Sunday followed a gathering of several hundreds in Edinburgh Place in central Hong Kong earlier in the evening, calling for a strike by social workers in support of the protests. In the New Territories town of Shatin, police said they had taken “enforcement actions” after scuffles with protesters in a mall broke out earlier in the day. Demonstrators threw a smoke bomb and blocked entrances of the shopping center, security forces said in a statement.

Masked demonstrators also clashed earlier with bystanders who were trying to prevent them from drawing graffiti on walls and windows of a mall in the New Territories town of Shatin. Riot police moved into the shopping center to disperse the groups of protesters.

Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of people also gathered in Tamar Park in Hong Kong’s city center for a rally in support of the government. People waved China flags and chanted “say no to violence” as speakers called for an end to anti-Beijing protests.

On Saturday, police arrested three people suspected of making an explosive device in Tuen Mun, the force said in a statement on its Facebook page. On Monday, security services defused what they described as two homemade bombs in Wanchai.

Earlier in the day, police also arrested five people between the ages of 15 and 18 in connection with the death of a 70-year-old man who was hit by a brick near the site of a protest in Sheung Shui last month, according to a government press release.

–With assistance from Jinshan Hong.

To contact the reporters on this story: Gregor Stuart Hunter in Hong Kong at [email protected];Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at [email protected], Linus Chua, Ian Fisher

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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China says it banning US military visits to Hong Kong


“In response to the unreasonable behaviors of the US side, the Chinese government decides to suspend the review of requests by US military ships and aircraft to visit Hong Kong as of today,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a news conference in Beijing.

Hua also announced that Beijing would impose sanctions on several US non-governmental human rights organizations that have been monitoring and reporting on the protests in Hong Kong.

US President Donald Trump last week signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law after it sailed through both Houses of the US Congress with almost unanimous bipartisan approval.

The new law would permit Washington to impose sanctions or even suspend Hong Kong’s special trading status over rights violations.

The USS Blue Ridge, the flagship of the US Navy's 7th Fleet, makes a port call in Hong Kong in April 2019.

Shortly after the bill was signed into law, China’s Foreign Ministry accused the US of “bullying behavior,” “disregarding the facts” and “publicly supporting violent criminals.”

On Monday it took more concrete action, banning consideration of visits by US warships to one of their longtime ports of call in Asia and a favorite spot for those aboard to get rest and relaxation after long periods at sea.

Just over a year ago, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and ships in its strike group carried some 7,000 personnel into Hong Kong in what at the time was seen as an easing of tensions between Washington and Beijing over China’s military buildup in the South China Sea. That visit came after China had denied a similar port call earlier in 2018.

Since the Reagan visit, the amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge, the flagship of the US Seventh Fleet, and the US Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf have made notable stops in Hong Kong, both in April.

But in August, while protests were heating up in the city, China rejected scheduled visits by the amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay and the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie.

South China Sea tensions

Monday’s Chinese Foreign Ministry announcement followed harsh words from Beijing last week after the US Navy sailed warships within 12 miles of Chinese-claimed islands in the South China Sea on Wednesday and Thursday in so-called “freedom on navigation” operations.

Those actions “upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea,” Cmdr. Reann Mommsen, a spokeswoman for the Navy’s 7th Fleet, told CNN in a statement.

But China called them “a highly dangerous provocation,” according to Ren Guoqiang, spokesman for Beijing’s Defense Ministry.

“The trespassing hurts regional peace and stability, harms China’s sovereignty and security, and endangers the lives of frontline officers and soldiers of both sides,” Ren said, according to a story posted on the military’s English-language website.

Human rights groups face sanctions

In addition to the rebuke to the US military on Monday, China said it was sanctioning several US NGOs for so-called bad behavior during the Hong Kong protests.

“China decides to sanction on the organizations that behave badly during the Hong Kong extradition-bill unrest, including National Endowment for Democracy, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, International Republican Institute, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua said.

The Chinese government accused the NGOs of supporting “anti-China people” and said they were instigating protesters “engaging in extreme crimes” in pursuit of Hong Kong’s separation from China.

It is unclear what sanctions will be imposed on the NGOs or how the organizations might be affected.

CNN’s Yong Xiong, Josh Berlinger, Jamie Crawford, Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne contributed to this report.



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Alibaba shares set to rise 6.3% in Hong Kong debut



Alibaba Group’s Hong Kong shares are set to rise 6.3% in their debut after marking the city’s biggest share sale in nine years, Trend reports citing Reuters.

Alibaba has raised at least $11.3 billion from the secondary listing and could go as high as $12.9 billion if an over-allotment option is exercised.

The company sold the shares at HK$176, which was a 2.9% discount to the company’s closing price in New York last Tuesday. Each American Depository Receipt (ADR) represents eight Hong Kong shares.

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Hong Kong election: Pro-democracy candidates make stunning gains after record turnout



Pro-democracy candidates in Hong Kong surged to an early lead in the first polls since the start of anti-government protests in the city.

Record numbers of people turned out to vote in the district council election which is seen as a test of support for the pro-Beijing chief executive, Carrie Lam,

Initial results suggested that by 4am local time establishment candidates had only won around 18 seats, compared to 207 for pro-democracy candidates, out of a total of 457, according to local media.

Hong Kong’s district councils control some spending and decide issues such as recycling and public health.

If the pro-democracy camp gains control, it could get six seats on Hong Kong’s semi-representative Legislative Council and 117 seats on the 1,200-member panel that selects the city’s chief executive.

“The performance of the pro-democracy camp will send a signal to Beijing,” said Andrew Li, a 22-year-old student who supported a pro-democracy candidate. “By ignoring people’s demands, it wakes up all Hong Kong people to come out and vote.”

After the polls closed at 10.30pm local time, electoral affairs chief Barnabus Fung said at least 2.94 million people voted – a turnout of 71 per cent and double the 1.47 million who took part four years ago.

Among the successful pro-democracy candidates were Lester Shum, a former student leader of the umbrella movement in 2014, and Kelvin Lam, who stood in after activist Joshua Wong was barred from running.

There was no major disruption during the day, despite recent attacks on candidates including Junius Ho, a pro-Beijing incumbent who suffered stab wounds earlier this month. Mr Ho lost to a pro-democracy challenger.

However the standoff continued at Polytechnic University, where protesters have been surrounded by police.

“The government needs to know that if they don’t answer our demands, we will continue demanding and the protests will not stop,” said a 26-year-old pro-democracy voter who gave her name as Cda.

Anti-government demonstrations began six months ago over an extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

While the bill has since been withdrawn, protesters remain angry at alleged police brutality and what they see as Beijing’s interference in the freedoms promised to the former British colony when it returned to China in 1997.

Ms Lam pledged that her government would listen more closely to the views of district councils when she cast her ballot.

“I hope this kind of stability and calm is not only for today’s election, but to show that everyone does not want Hong Kong to fall into a chaotic situation again,” Lam said.

Additional reporting by Reuters



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Trump national security adviser won’t say if president will sign Hong Kong bill


“If it weren’t for me, Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes,” Trump told the hosts of “Fox & Friends.”

And he said he had warned Chinese leader Xi Jinping not to crack down on the protesters, which Beijing describes as rioters and criminals. “He’s got a million soldiers standing outside of Hong Kong that aren’t going in,” Trump said, “only because I asked him, ‘Please don’t do that. You’ll be making a big mistake. It’s going to have a tremendous negative impact on the trade deal.’”

But the president pointedly declined to say whether he’d veto the Hong Kong legislation, which passed the House this week with just one ‘no’ vote. Among other measures, it authorizes sanctions against Chinese officials.

“We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi,” Trump said. “He’s a friend of mine. He’s an incredible guy,” the president continued. “But I’d like to see them work it out, OK? We have to see and work it out. But I stand with Hong Kong. I stand with freedom. I stand with all of the things that we want to do, but we also are in the process of making the largest trade deal in history. And if we could do that, that would be great.”

Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien indicated on Saturday that even he didn’t know which way the president was leaning, though he acknowledged the bill passed with “a pretty significant majority.”

“So I don’t have any information on the signing,” he said, noting that he had been traveling.

“What’s happening in Hong Kong is terrible, and our hearts go out to the people of Hong Kong,” O’Brien said, and that the U.S. was “monitoring the situation closely.”

“At the same time, we have a broad range of issues to deal with the Chinese on,” he added. But he said the U.S. expected the Chinese government to live up to the commitment it made to “one country, two systems” at the time of the handover from British rule.

O’Brien’s comments were made in a news conference with reporters at the Halifax International Security Forum, a gathering of diplomats and military officials from leading democracies.

In a public session afterwards, O’Brien said, “The president may very well sign the bill… but that bill is going to become law, looking at the numbers. … I’d be very surprised if that bill does not become law soon.“

The theme of this year’s forum is the rise of China, and panelists have repeatedly highlighted the growing threat the Beijing government poses to the freedom and security of democracies around the world.

O’Brien’s remarks came hours after Cindy McCain presented an award in the name of her late husband, Sen. John McCain, to “the Hong Kong people.”

In an impassioned speech accepting the prize, Hong Kong lawmaker Emily Lau said she hoped the president would sign the Hong Kong bill and called on attendees to “do your best to ensure that there will be no rivers of blood in Hong Kong.”

Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute in London, warned that a presidential veto of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act “would send a very clear signal to China that at the end of the day he will turn in favor of China, so China can do whatever it wants in Hong Kong.”

Beijing, meanwhile, warned Washington against passing the bill into law. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement: “We urge the U.S. to grasp the situation, stop its wrongdoing before it’s too late, and immediately take measures to prevent this act from becoming law.”

Lau and Figo Chan, a 23-year-old social democrat who coordinated the participation of 50 political parties and activists groups in the current protest movement, told POLITICO they also called for targeted sanctions against Chinese officials over their efforts to weaken checks and balances in Hong Kong and their sometimes violent response to protests.

“I support legislation to punish officials who violate human rights by banning them and freezing their assets,” Lau said, but she acknowledged that Hong Kong may become a pawn in Trump’s trade war with China.

“We are sort of caught right in the middle. We know he changes his mind every day. We were not born yesterday. There are certain things we cannot influence,” Lau said.

While defiant, both Lau and Chan are pessimistic that the democracy movement can succeed in the absence of a more coordinated Western strategy against China’s attempts to roll back democratic checks and balances in the territory.

“We don’t trust China,” Chan said. He expects a wave of “massive imprisonment, arrest and prosecution.”

Hong Kong holds council elections on Sunday, which some have characterized as a referendum on the democracy protests. But Lau warned the international community to keep Sunday’s vote in perspective.

“These councils have no power. You know, they are advisory bodies” only, she said.

Lau — a legislator for 25 years and former Hong Kong Democratic Party chair — says the new generation of protestors still have a lot to prove: “They can’t just suddenly say, oh, I protest three weeks, I’m going to stand for election. If people still vote for them, good luck. But I want people to really do the work and then stand.”

Asked what the U.S. was prepared to do if China launched a bloody crackdown in Hong Kong as it did in Tiananmen in 1989, O’Brien declined to specify on the grounds that it was a “hypothetical question.”

“I’m hoping that doesn’t happen. We’ve already seen too much violence in Hong Kong,” he said. “I hope the violence doesn’t continue, and we hope that we don’t have a Tiananmen Square situation in Hong Kong. That would be a terrible thing.”

“The United States will do its part,” he said.

But citing how some other Western countries seem more interested in dealing with Beijing than in standing up to Chinese leaders, he the real question is, “What is the world prepared to do about China if there’s that sort of crackdown?”

Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, a former Conservative minister and chair of Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee, told the Halifax forum that there are doubts “there would be any price to pay” if the Chinese military rolled into Hong Kong to quell the protests.

“We’re basically more interested in the trade,” Neville-Jones concluded.



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Hong Kong protesters pin hopes on the ballot box after weeks of violence | World news


Clarisse Yeung believes the road to full democracy in Hong Kong will pass through a dog park. Specifically a dog park that she has promised to build if her coalition sweeps local elections today.

The district council elections held in Hong Kong every four years are normally a sleepy affair, with low turnout, mostly because councillors have very limited powers and budget, as well as a reputation for graft.

But this year’s poll has come to be seen as a de-facto referendum on the nearly six-month-old protest movement, sparked by opposition to an extradition law that would have destroyed Hong Kong’s legal protections, but which has morphed into a broader pro-democracy campaign.

Yeung, an energetic young artist, says she spent a dispiriting four years as the sole opposition member of a 13-strong council controlled by pro-Beijing representatives in central Wan Chai, battling inertia and outright opposition to even modest plans for the neighbourhood, from pet-friendly gardens to better buses.

Now she hopes a wave of protest-driven outrage, which has mobilised both voters and candidates, combined with her track record of commitment to local issues, could swing control of the council.

“I had been questioning if I should run again. It’s been so heavy, being the only pro-democracy representative in Wan Chai,” she said, as she campaigned on a street corner with a band of supporters, handing out leaflets, stroking dogs and chatting to toddlers. “I’m glad all these friends are coming out after the [protest] movement: they are my hope.”

While Hong Kong enjoys civil rights such as freedom of assembly and the press, its residents do not choose their leader, or all members of its mini-parliament, the legislative council. The district council poll is the only direct election.

For the first time, pro-democracy candidates are challenging every one of the 452 wards up for grabs, and have coordinated campaigns so they don’t split the vote. Former one-person campaigns are newly flush with volunteers. Young people in particular have raced to register to vote, to volunteer on campaigns and even to run for office themselves.

Yeung has taken advantage of this city-wide political awakening to recruit nine other candidates to stand in neighbouring wards on a “kickstart Wan Chai” platform. They range from a graphic designer to the veteran former policewoman Cathy Yau, who resigned her post in June as the protest movement kicked off, shocked by colleagues’ brutality.

Louis Mak, who gave up his job as a data analyst to campaign, canvassing in Canal Road, Wan Chai district.



Louis Mak, who gave up his job as a data analyst to campaign, canvassing in Canal Road, Wan Chai district. Photograph: Miguel Candela/The Observer

All are novice candidates, and many decided to stand only in the past few months, despite the very real threat of physical violence; several pro-democratic candidates have been attacked, with one losing his ear after an attacker bit him and stabbed others. A pro-Beijing candidate was also stabbed. The attacks have led to fears about voter intimidation or fraud, particularly after authorities announced riot police would guard all polling stations. In a hint at the febrile atmosphere, the government sent out an official press release stating “the ballot is secret”, apparently to counter rumours that facial recognition software might be used, and voters would be filmed.

“I always wanted to go into politics eventually, after becoming expert in my field. But I was inspired by the protests, and realised I can’t wait any longer,” said Louis Mak, a data analyst who has given up his job to campaign full time for the Canal Road ward.

“Maybe in four years or eight years, we won’t have real elections any more. China may take actions against our civil society. And so that’s why I have stood in this election.”

Deep pockets, a powerful electoral machine, lack of voter interest and a fractured opposition have meant pro-Beijing parties control all but one of the city’s 18 district councils.

.

In Wan Chai, the battlegrounds are tiny, densely populated areas, and the margins small. Mak says his district is just a couple of blocks, where the winner in 2015 claimed victory with 1,000 votes and a margin of 200.

Mak put his chance of winning office at “around 50-50”, and is campaigning more than 10 hours a day. “We have to pull voting rates up to historical levels so we can take over Wan Chai.”

Pro-Beijing politicians have been open about concerns they might be swept from power. One of the most prominent, the lawmaker Regina Ip, warned against voting for pro-democracy candidates in a column in the South China Morning Post. “Hong Kong’s story doesn’t have to end in tragedy”, she told readers.

An opposition landslide would have little immediate political effect, as the councils are fairly toothless. But longer term, it could slightly shift the balance of power, because district councils have a role in arcane, complex elections to choose the city’s leader and part of its legislature.

Another well-known establishment politician defending a seat in Wan Chai said he remained optimistic, but admitted that a loss would be devastating.

“The people here are the pillars, the ones who uphold the establishment. If we lose this constituency that means something is really, really wrong and troubled in HK,” said the lawyer Paul Tse, who also holds a seat in the city’s legislative council. “It sounds very serious, but it’s very difficult to have so many people against the government.”

At one point there were widespread fears that the poll would be delayed amid unrest and unprecedented disruption. But China appears to have decided that would be so inflammatory in a city already on edge,that a possible drubbing at the ballot box is the lesser of two evils.

“Its not the right sort of atmosphere for a fair election, but in a way we are constrained,” Tse said. “If we don’t do the election they will blame us for being afraid.”

Candidates Arthur Yeung (blue jacket) and Tse Wai Chun Paul canvassing for votes in Broadwood district.



Candidates Arthur Yeung (blue jacket) and Tse Wai Chun Paul canvassing for votes in Broadwood district. Photograph: Miguel Candela/The Observer

But where Tse sees a canker at the heart of Hong Kong, his challenger in the prosperous Broadwood district – part of the “Kickstart Wan Chai’” slate – sees hope.

Arthur Yeung, who is no relation to Clarisse, turned 24 the day before the poll. He spent his birthday at a campaign stand on the main road, waving to drivers, thrusting leaflets through windows and chatting to any who stopped.

Dawn and her dog Chicco, his collar bearing a rosette supporting Yeung, campaigned beside him for hours. “I want to support youth, and passion for change,” she said.

Yeung always hoped to run for office and spent much of the last year in Broadwood organising against an unpopular development, canvassing support for Clarisse’s dog park plans – easy in an area famous for dog lovers – and running other grassroots projects.

But until the protests kicked off, most of his friends thought he was crazy. Councils were widely seen as irrelevant, incompetent, self-serving political machines. There is even a Cantonese shorthand for the corruption, a list of the local delicacies that candidates ply supporters with to secure votes.

Dawn with her dog Chicco who is in favour of a proposed dog park supports candidate Arthur Yeung.



Dawn with her dog Chicco who is in favour of a proposed dog park supports candidate Arthur Yeung. Photograph: Miguel Candela/The Observer

“Half a year ago, people would say to me: ‘Why don’t you get a normal job,’” he says with a wry smile. “Now they say: ‘You are very inspiring to our generation. Your mission is very clear and passionate, so thank you for bringing some good things for Hong Kong’. Its a very big change.”



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Chinese spy says he tried to infiltrate Hong Kong universities



In another alarming claim for the island of Taiwan, Mr Wang said his Chinese handlers issued him with a fake South Korean passport to travel there to manage a “cyber army” and to support China’s campaign to infiltrate its political system and meddle in its municipal and presidential elections.

China wants to annex Taiwan, a democracy of 23 million which operates like any other country with its own government, military and currency.

Taipei has consistently accused Beijing of trying to sway its January presidential election – by poaching from its small group of remaining formal diplomatic allies and by switching off lucrative income from Chinese tourists.

Mr Wang went further, alleging that his intelligence operation was in contact with media executives as part of a systematic influence campaign to topple candidates Beijing considered hostile, including Tsai Ing-wen, the current president.

A spokeswoman for Ms Tsai’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party said that the information was a reminder of China’s interference. .

“We solemnly appeal to the Taiwanese public to face up to the fact that whether it is the Chinese internet army or the Chinese government, it is using the democratic system of Taiwan to infringe upon our democracy,” the spokeswoman, Lee Yen-jong, said.





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Kaye Adams caught up in gunfire as she tried to escape Hong Kong riots


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Kaye Adams revealed she was caught up in gunfire when trying to escape riots in Hong Kong.

The 56-year-old explained there was one moment she had to flee from danger, during her recent holiday.

During an appearance on Loose Women, she joked that co-star Nadia Sawalha had begged her to come home to safety.

‘There has been a lot of trouble out in Hong Kong recently, the protests have been going on all summer,’ she began. ‘But they did come to a head in the time that I was there.

‘On the last day, we were going around this tourist market, typical thing.

‘Suddenly I just saw people rushing towards me and I heard gunfire. I saw the tear gas and then felt the tear gas, it’s in the back of the throat and the eyes…’

Speaking about her instant reaction to flee, Kaye admitted she had no idea where to run to.

Kaye was forced to flee in Hong Kong (Picture: ITV)

‘You go to run, as a tourist, and you don’t know where you’re running,’ she continued. ‘Because you don’t know this city.

‘Are you going to run into it? Do you run away from it?’

‘It’s not that I really feared for my life, but it was a real reminder that, in life, you can’t be too complacent.

‘A young Hong Kong gave me this mask and said, “Wear this and stay safe.”’

Kaye shared videos of the protests on her Instagram page, admitting things had become ‘too much’ and that it was ‘scary’.

The protests in Hong Kong have entered their sixth month, with more violence erupting in the city over the weekend.

More: TV

Demonstrations started peacefully in early June, sparked by proposed legislation that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China.

But by the time the bill was withdrawn, the protests had hardened and broadened into a resistance movement against the territory’s government and Beijing.

Loose Women continues on weekdays, at 12.30, on ITV.



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