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Non-binding Bill Passed - The EU Parliament Will Not Recognise Lukashenko as Belarus President after November

The European Parliament passed a non-binding motion with a majority vote yesterday (17 Sep) that the parliament will no longer recognise Alexander Lukashenko as Belarus President after November, urging the European Union (EU) to impose economic sanctions on him. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will also investigate this presidential election. Lukashenko announced that some borders with Poland and Lithuania will be closed, and the border troops are on high alert.

Lukashenko’s current term will expire in November. He will be re-elected as the next president that month because he won the general election. However, the local opposition and many people believed that Lukashenko was involved in fraud in the election, which triggered a series of demonstrations and deportation of many opposition leaders. Maria Kolesnikova, the only female opposition leader who stayed in the country, was charged with incitement to undermine national security yesterday (17 Sep).

Source: Stand News #Sep18

#Belarus #EuropeanParliament #Lukashenko #BelarusPresident #MariaKolesnikova #EuropeanUnion
US halts imports from China's Uighur region for forced labor

Four companies and a manufacturing facility in northwestern China were blocked Monday from shipping their products to the U.S. because of their suspected reliance on forced labor from people detained as part of a massive campaign against ethnic minorities in the region.

Many Uyghurs in Xinjiang have been detained in re-education camps, and the Human Rights Watch has alleged that these camps have been used to indoctrinate Uyghurs and other Muslims since 2017 as part of a "people's war on terror," a policy announced in 2014. The re-educarion camps also functioned as forced labor camps, in which the detainees labor to produce products such as cotton for export.

Cotton is central to the industry of the region, and majority of China's cotton is produced in the Xinjiang province.

#US #Xinjiang #Uyghurs #Uighurs

Source: Associate Press #Sep15
https://apnews.com/0a2b64d4b2dfee8dc6be8d402a96ecbe
University at centre of China's controversy commissioned 'sensitive'

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) presented the "China Engagement Review and Recommendations Discussion Paper" to its board in August last year.

UNSW was last month embroiled in China-related controversy after a tweet from a university account was deleted and an article calling for greater protections for Hong Kong citizens was temporarily removed from the university's website.

Many actions taken by the UNSW seemed to be in favour of China, which has caused people to question the university's allegiance and protection of academic freedom.

The Federal Government is also currently in preparations for an inquiry into universities, as it fears Australian researchers are being targeted to quietly patent technology and innovation in China.

#Australia #China #UNSW

Source: ABC News #Sep11
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-11/unsw-refuses-to-release-report-into-chinese-influence/12646286
#PressFreedom #Censorship
#RTHK Probes Reporter Famous for Critical Questions to Authorities and Extends her Probation Period Following Complaints from Beijing Loyalists

According to the staff union at Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), on Sept 27, 2020, the public broadcaster in Hong Kong has reopened an investigation into complaints against a reporter Nabela Qoser who was known for her critical questions to the authorities. Qoser has been attacked by pro-Beijing, pro-government figures since the Anti-ELAB protests in 2019.

Qoser famously asked Carrie Lam, "Where were you all last night?," the day after the Yuen Long triad attack on July 21, 2019, where civilians were assaulted by gangsters in the absence of the police.

In addition, Qoser has been informed that her three-year probation period as a civil servant will be extended by RTHK for another 120 days.

Source: RTHK #Sept27
#PoliticalOppression #WhiteTerror #NabelaQoser #Professionalism
#GeoffreyMa #JudicialIndependence
Hong Kong's top judge rebuts, “Duty of judges is strictly to apply the law and nothing else”

Source: Stand News, Apple Daily #Sept23

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#GeoffreyMa #JudicialIndependence
Hong Kong's top judge rebuts, “Duty of judges is strictly to apply the law and nothing else”

Geoffrey Ma, the chief justice of the Court of Final Appeal, issued a rare statement on September 23 to remind the public that any criticism of judges and court decisions must be informed, solidly based and properly made, otherwise it would be detrimental to public confidence in the administration of justice and, ultimately, to the rule of law in the city.

Ma’s statement came amidst heated debates over Hong Kong’s judicial independence, after claims by both the Communist Party and the local government that the city does not exercise separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The pro-Beijing camp, including media outlets, has also rounded magistrates for supposedly being too lenient with young protesters.

Ma explained to the public that the constitutional duty of judges was “strictly to apply the law and nothing else.”

Judges must be impartial, he said, and when they were not, a number of channels were available: redress by way of an appeal or review, an application for recusal filed by the accused or the prosecution, and the established complaints mechanism of the judiciary.

Notable among other principles were the requirement of a fair trial, the presumption of innocence, the need for the prosecution to prove that an accused committed a crime beyond reasonable doubt before there could be a conviction, and the right to an appeal.

Ma also singled out the topics of bail, sentencing, and appeals and reviews, which had attracted comment and criticism. He said it was important that such comments were informed and understood in the proper context.

“In this respect, the role and responsibilities of the Secretary for Justice (as representing the public interest in the prosecution of crimes) must also be properly understood,” he wrote.

Source: Stand News; Apple Daily #Sept23
#SeperationofPowers #RuleofLaw #ChiefJustice
#WhiteTerror #FreeSpeech
Chanting protest slogan at home could risk an offence of rioting, legal practitioner warns

//Department Of Justice was reportedly attempting to stretch the interpretation of “joint enterprise” to cover all “indirect participants” of an illegal assembly or rioting, disregarding their presence at the scene, including those acting as sentry, drivers assisting protesters to escape, arms and equipment suppliers, members of material stations, and those responsible for brick-digging blocks away from a clash. //

Source: Citizens News #Sept21

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#WhiteTerror
Chanting protest slogan at home could risk an offence of rioting, legal practitioner warns

Citing Section 81D of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, the Hong Kong's Department of Justice (DOJ) sought clarification from the Court of Appeal on the principles of joint enterprise stemming from Elaine To and Henry Tong’s case, where the couple was acquitted of riotting, as the Judge said there was “no direct evidence against the defendants, although they were arrested near the site of clashes between protesters and the police”.

DOJ, however, took a different view. It reasoned that as illegal assembly and rioting activities are taking different forms nowadays, becoming increasingly fluid. Many “participants” of such illegal events do not have to show up physically at the scene, such as acting as sentry, drivers assisting protesters to escape, arms and equipment suppliers, members of material stations, or those responsible for brick-digging blocks away from a clash.

DOJ was reportedly attempting to stretch the interpretation of “joint enterprise” to cover all “indirect participants” of an illegal assembly or rioting, disregarding their presence at the scene.

Some members of legal profession explained, the essence of DOJ’s inquiry lies in alibi: even if a defendant is not present at the scene of an illegal assembly, he/she could still be charged over an illegal assembly or rioting offence, for example, by chanting slogans on the balcony of their home in support of an ongoing rally on the street.

Senior Counsel Hectar Pun confirmed that DOJ has applied to the Court of Appeal under section 81D of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance for the first time since 1997. Pun opined that it is a rare situation and outcome of which could have far-reaching implications for similar cases in the future.

Source: Citizens News #Sept21
#PoliceState #DOJ #JointEnterprise #Injustice
#Save12HKYouths #ExtraditiontoChina
Detainee's Father Suspects HK Police Assisted the Arrest: HK Police Held My Son Whatsapp Record

Source: InMedia #Sept20

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#Save12HKYouths #ExtraditiontoChina
Detainee's Father Suspects HK Police Assisted the Arrest: HK Police Held My Son Whatsapp Record

Pro-democracy legislator Eddie Chu Hoi-dick said information about the 12 Hong Kong citizens has, so far, only been released by the Chinese authority. Although the HKSAR government is aware of the incident, they have never disclosed specific information as to where the arrest was made and at what time.

Chu pointed out that the Hong Kong Marine Police has 24-hour radar surveillance over Hong Kong waters. He doubted that the Police have been holding up information from the families of the detainees and general public.

The father of one of the detained youths who is called Cheng Tsz-ho told reporters that he went to Tsuen Wan Police Station on August 26, 2020 in person to report his son’s missing. The officers refused to take down the case, claiming it is a normal situation for people to go out of reach in a 6/7-day fishing trip on the sea. Police officers even showed to him history of his son’s WhatsApp chats as proof.

Cheng’s father said that it is “highly likely” for HK Police to watch over his son, monitoring his phone records and handing useful intelligence to the Chinese authorities to make an arrest.

He scorned the so-called “maintaining status quo for 50 years” as a fake commitment under Carrie Lam Administration. He reiterated the rights every Hong Kong citizen rightfully deserved. He believes that his son is in good health condition and he “can make it through”. He admitted that he was not supportive of anti-ELAB movement as it first sparked, even considered youngsters involved in the movement “trouble-makers”. He now has changed his view and he wanted to tell his son, “Well done, boy!”

Li Tsz-yin’s father reported his son’s missing to the Wanchai Police Station on August 28, 2020 where he was told that his son has been detained in China. Li’s father said it is hard for him to know for sure whether his son has been detained in Yantin Detention Center when they were not allowed to make any visit. He opined that if a face-to-face visit is prohibited, they should be allowed to reach out in alternative means, such as via a letter or a photograph.

Tang Kai-yin’s brother said the Hong Kong waters are under HKSAR jurisdiction. He urged Hong Kong Police to investigate. With regards to Chief Secretary for Administration, Matthew Cheung Kin-chun's claim that the Hong Kong Office in Guangdong has been in close contact with Chinese authorities on this matter for as many as 80 times, Tang’s brother said, the Office in Guangdong has been providing the same response to his inquiry all along, instructing him to pass his letter via Immigration Office which will then be passed to relevant Chinese authority.

Source: Inmedia #Sept20
https://bit.ly/2ROQSiV

#PoliceState #MassSurveillance #WhatsApp
#PoliceState #NationalSecurityLaw #Court
Young pro-democracy protester coerced to confess or risk his family being charged violation of National Security Law


Source: Stand News #Sept26

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#PoliceState #NationalSecurityLaw #Court
Young pro-democracy protester coerced to confess or risk his family being charged violation of National Security Law

A 23-year-old university student who was arrested with his mother at their Fanling home on September 24 for alleged weapons possession has been denied bail while his mother was released on police bail.

The Polytechnic University (#PolyU) student has been charged with possession of arms without a licence and import of strategic commodities without permission. The police hsd ntimidated him and his family with charges of National Security Law violations and the case was said handled by the National Security Department.

In thd court hearing on September 26, the defendant raised a complaint to the Court that the defendant had been intimidated by a man claiming to be an officer of the police's National Security Department and coerced him to confess, otherwise his mother and girlfriend could be sued.

Source: Stand News #Sept26
https://bit.ly/3i3Qt72

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Police Charge a University Student and his Mother With National Security Law Violation

https://t.me/guardiansofhongkong/25530
#OpenLetter

A Personal Letter to my Cousin the Magistrate

by Chan Kwok-kuen

To my cousin the magistrate:

I have been pondering whether I should write, what to write, when to write and how to publish this letter. In the end, I decided to speak my mind and typed out this letter.

Among our many cousins, some are in the catering industry, some work for the media, and there are professionals such as pharmacists and accountants. Frankly speaking, you, being a magistrate, have a role to play in the judiciary and this makes Uncle and Auntie Seven especially proud in front of the relatives. Nevertheless, “news” about you in social media are widely circulating these days which even made headlines with your photo published on the front page. I believe this is the “talk of the town” for the many relatives and friends in your former residence of Macau.

My cousin the magistrate, my mom is the eldest granddaughter and your mother is the seventh among the siblings. The two are more than ten years apart and thus I am also a fair bit elder than you. Now that I am aged, you are still in your prime. In Chinese kin groups, there are cousins of patrilineal and matrilineal lineages which determine the closeness of relationship. In fact, cousins of our matrilineal lineage do not have frequent and close contacts. Gatherings such as tea and dinner are mostly occasion for greetings, socialisation and festivity. As I recall, the last time we met was more than a year ago when Uncle and Auntie Six came back from Australia. We had a meal at Yixin Restaurant in Wanchai.

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#OpenLetter

A Personal Letter to my Cousin the Magistrate

My cousin the magistrate, since the onset of the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement, I have been paying attention to your name and the cases you have tried. Hong Kong’s “rule of law” has been challenged and trashed as the social situation deteriorates and the central government cum party intervenes ruthlessly. And now there are people lamenting that Hong Kong's "rule of law is dead"! Frankly, Hong Kong has lost its unique characteristics and has become one of the mainland cities. In the “reforming” process of mainlandisation, I can hardly imagine how you, as a member of the judiciary, can maintain clearheaded, fair, composed and steadfast as required to defend Hong Kong’s “rule of law”?!

My cousin the magistrate, I have no legal expertise. Hence, with regard to court cases, I form my opinion based on general knowledge and common sense. I read newspaper reports that your verdicts in some cases were “biased and unfair”, including ten months’ imprisonment for a 20-year-old student carrying a spray can and a lighter in his backpack; imprisonment of five-and-a-half months for a real estate agent in possession of 48 six-inch long cable ties; a year’s imprisonment for a 37-year-old lecturer in possession of a homemade crossbow and sharp wooden sticks. Putting aside my pro-democracy stance as much as I can, other than expressing that I sympathise with the guilty protesters. I do understand where they come from and am frustrated at your “harsh sentencing”. I did not accuse you of “passing unfair verdicts” as these cases were substantiated. However, in this case of the 81-year-old man who stabbed and injured a person with an almost foot-long “solid, sharp and heavy duty” chisel, in court he pleaded guilty while “bragging” that “I did this on purpose” … “in the name of heaven”. Expressing no remorse, he even cursed other people and more. To my surprise, you stated that this old man “loves society and committed the crime merely out of differences in political views”. In addition, you granted him bail while waiting to be sentenced. To me, this is “unfathomable”!


My cousin the magistrate, the names of your elder sister and younger brother have the meaning of "shipping and ocean freight”. I believe this is related to Uncle Seven’s work in engine rooms of river vessels when he was young. I know his ambition is to further shipping and freight. However, do you know that Uncle Seven fled to Macau during the Cultural Revolution? He is no stranger to the tyranny of the Communist Party and his personal experience should have been extremely painful. I wonder if he has shared with you his tragic experiences. In the past year or so, I have disconnected from social networks of friends in church, ex-colleagues and friends who have “different values and paths”. On top of that, at dinner or mahjong gatherings with relatives which I could not avoid, we all have an “implicit understanding” to talk about only “healthy eating” and “travel anecdotes”. There was never a word about “current and political affairs” and “rights and wrongs of yellow (pro-democracy) and blue (pro-establishment) camps”, so as not to rock the boat.

My cousin the magistrate, we should understand that the relationship among "cousins" is not our choice. However, whether to maintain the relationship is up to us. In order to avoid embarrassments at meetings, having to socialise reluctantly, and even having to say something not from the heart, I have made a clear choice: I will regretfully decline invitations to any gatherings of my cousins except for celebrations and funerals. My cousin the magistrate, I hope you will understand my decision and I wish Uncle and Auntie Seven good health. You are on your own, good luck!

Cousin Kuen
2020/09/20

Source: https://www.thestandnews.com/politics/%E7%B5%A6%E8%A3%81%E5%88%A4%E5%AE%98%E8%A1%A8%E5%BC%9F%E7%9A%84%E4%B8%80%E5%B0%81%E7%A7%81%E5%87%BD/
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#FirstHand #Sept27
Uncle Chan from 'Protect the Children' Encourages Journalists to Stand Strong

After attending the press conference held by on September 27, 2020, Uncle Chan from 'Protect the Children', a group formed by elderly citizens to observe police operations at the frontline, sent his encouragement to journalists in Hong Kong:

"Please do not back off and carry on your duty in face of oppression"

After the police's unilateral redefinition of "media representative", the police will only allow designated media to cover news in the cordoned area. Many journalists, scholars and citizens fear that this would lead to biased reports, as a large number of independent journalists and journalists working for online media outlets would be barred from uncovering truth at the frontline.

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Read the press release issued by over 70 online media outlets in Hong Kong on Sept 27, 2020:

https://telegra.ph/The-Alliance-of-Hong-Kong-Online-Media-Practitioners-09-27

#OnlineMedia #PressFreedom #UncleChan
Attacks on media coverage of protests increase worldwide. UNESCO: Police don’t have to fear punishment.

Source:Appledaily #Sep15

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Attacks on media coverage of protests increase worldwide. UNESCO: Police don’t have to fear punishment.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released a report on Monday, stating that violence against journalists covering protests has risen sharply across the world, mainly due to police not fear of punishment. The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, urged governments to take positive steps to ensure the safety of journalists at work.

UNESCO monitoring media development stated that journalists attacked, arrested and even killed in 21 protests around the world between January and June this year were just the tip of the iceberg. The report pointed to “a wide upward trend in the use of unlawful force by police and security forces over the past five years”.

According to a report investigated protests in study 65 countries, at least 10 journalists were killed during protests, and there were 125 instances of attacks on, or arrests of journalists who worked in Syria, Mexico, Israel, Nicaragua, Northern Ireland, Nigeria and Iraq. “Hundreds of journalists around the world trying to cover protests have been harassed, assaulted, intimidated, arrested, put under surveillance and kidnapped and their work equipment have been destroyed, “ mentioned in the report.

The report stated that the police and security forces carried out most of the attacks. "The police use of non-lethal ammunition such as rubber bullets and pepper bullets has injured dozens of journalists, and some lost their eyes." Police don’t fear to attack reporters. Impunity has continued to be the norm in recent years."

#UNESCO #PoliceBrutality #ViolenceAgainstJounalists #AFP

Source:Appledaily #Sep15

https://hk.appledaily.com/international/20200915/MOUCF7VSHFAJFBTS6AGJEM4VEA/
Shots fired for the first time in 45 years, PLA claimed Indian army fired initial shot and China took “counter-measures”

Source: Stand News #Sep08

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Shots fired for the first time in 45 years, PLA claimed Indian army fired initial shot and China took “counter-measures”

The conflict between China and India escalates again, with the first shooting incident in 45 years since their ceasefire agreement.

The People Liberation Army (PLA) Western Theater Command spokesman, Zhang Shui, accused Indian troops of illegally crossing the China-India border into Shenpao mountain near the south bank of Pangong Tso Lake on Monday (7/9), and fired warning shots after the PLA were about to negotiate. He said that the PLA were forced to take "counter-measures” to stablize the situation.

However, the Chinese statement did not clarify what type of “counter-measures” were taken by the PLA and how they did it.

China Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Zhao Lijian, stressed at a press conference that the Indian army had illegally crossed the Chinese border and opened fire in the first place. He said that it was a serious provocation and demanded the Indian side to restrain frontline troops.

However, the Indian side said that it was the PLA who fire the warning shot. The Hindustan Times quoted a statement from the Indian military saying that the Indian army kept restraint and did not open fire at any stage, but alleged that it was the PLA who acted aggressively in blatant violation of the ceasefire agreement.

#China #India #PLA #BorderDispute #CeasefireAgreement

Source: Stand News #Sep08

, https://bit.ly/2HqVwBS
#ProvisionalCouncil
Hong Kong's Pro-democracy Legislators Refused to Have their Term Extended by Beijing

Hong Kong's pro-democracy legislators Chu Hoi-dick and Ray Chan filed an official letter to the Legislative Council's Secretariat that they refuse to have their current tern be extended into the new legislative year without an election.

Editor's note: After the HKSAR government cancelled the legislative election originally scheduled in Sept 2020, the authorities in Beijing has asked the current legislature to be extended until the next election will take place in at least one year.

Source: InMedia #Sept28
https://bit.ly/3jaZnBa

#RayChan #ChuHoiDick #Legco #LegcoElection #boycott