Monday, 23 September, 2019


Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam says violence will not solve social issues

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas right and Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong shake hands during a reception for German newspaper Bild in Berlin Germany Sept. 9 2019 Hong Kong August visitors plunge 40pc year-on-year, hotels half-full: finance chief
Bennie Garza | 11 September, 2019, 07:44

Hong Kong visitor arrivals plunged almost 40% in August from a year earlier, deepening from July's 5 per cent fall, the finance secretary said as sometimes violent anti-government protests take a rising toll on the city's tourism, retail and hotel businesses.

"It's extremely inappropriate for foreign parliaments to interfere in HKSAR internal affairs in any way, and (we) will not allow (the United States) to become a stakeholder in HKSAR matters", she said, referring to Hong Kong by its status as a special administrative region of China.

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong has met Germany's foreign minister during a visit to Berlin as he carries overseas his call to support the growing pro-democracy movement in the former British colony.

Speaking in NY on Monday, the retired U.S. Marine general said that while President Donald Trump's administration should use caution given the sensitivity of the Hong Kong protests, America should at least be morally standing with those fighting for their freedoms (via Reuters). Her popularity rating rose to 25.4 out of 100 points in the latest survey conducted by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Program between September 2 and 4, up from from 24.6 in a similar poll in late August. The protests were originally triggered by a draft law which would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China.

On Monday, hundreds of uniformed school students formed human chains in districts across Hong Kong in support of anti-government protesters after another weekend of clashes in the Chinese-ruled city.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has just returned from a trip to China, during which she faced criticism from Germany for not engaging more directly with the Hong Kong protesters, whose cause is popular in Germany, though she did call for a peaceful solution to the Hong Kong unrest.

On Monday, former US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said the anti-government protests were not an internal Chinese matter and the United States should offer at least moral support to the demonstrators.

The government promised last week to withdraw an extradition bill that sparked three months of protests, but failed to placate protesters, whose demands also include democratic reforms and police accountability. Many of them also began chanting "Glory to Hong Kong", a de facto anthem in Hong Kong, according to South China Morning Post.

"To interfere into Hong Kong's internal affairs in terms of what we are doing under the Basic Law protection of freedoms and liberties - this is totally unnecessary", Lam told reporters at a briefing.

China denies meddling in the city and Chinese officials have accused foreign forces of trying to hurt Beijing by creating chaos in Hong Kong. "It will only deepen the conflict, contradiction, splits, and even hatred in society".

Wong, however, pointed out that he and his fellow protesters have been seeking talks with Lam since July 1.

The protests, beamed live to the world since June, have prompted some of the city's powerful tycoons to appeal for calm.

She said her decision to formally withdraw the extradition bill and her other initiatives reflected her sincerity to heal society and bring back peace.

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