HK bans protest song and political expressions at schools

Source: NYT (7/8/20)
Hong Kong Bans Protest Song and Other Political Expression at Schools
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Singing “Glory to Hong Kong,” posting slogans and forming human chains as a form of protest are banned under new guidelines issued by the city’s education secretary.
By Gerry Mullany

Students formed a human chain during a pro-democracy protest near their school in Hong Kong last month. Credit…Isaac Lawrence/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Hong Kong’s education secretary on Wednesday banned students from singing the protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong,” posting slogans with political messages or forming human chains, saying “the schools are obliged to stop” such activities.

The statement by the secretary, Kevin Yeung, ratcheted up the pressure on the pro-democracy movement as Hong Kong residents struggle to determine what is acceptable behavior under a strict new national security law that China imposed on the semiautonomous territory last week.

Students, including middle schoolers, have been a driving force in Hong Kong’s protest movement. Beijing’s imposition of the national security law last Wednesday — and the subsequent arrests of teenagers at protests — has led some families to express concerns that their children could be in jeopardy for singing pro-democracy songs or even for expressing such sentiments in their homes. Continue reading

HK law chokes a broadcaster RTHK

Source: NYT (7/8/20)
China’s Leash on Hong Kong Tightens, Choking a Broadcaster
RTHK, a government-funded news organization, has a fierce independent streak that has long angered the authorities.
By Austin Ramzy and Ezra Cheung

The “Headliner” set at Radio Television Hong Kong in June. The show, which has taken pointed jabs at the police, was suspended after government complaints. Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s public broadcaster has long been a rare example of a government-funded news organization operating on Chinese soil that fearlessly attempts to hold officials accountable.

The broadcaster, Radio Television Hong Kong, dug into security footage last year to show how the police failed to respond when a mob attacked protesters in a train station, leading to widespread criticism of the authorities. The broadcaster also produced a three-part documentary on China’s crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang. One RTHK journalist, Nabela Qoser, became famous in Hong Kong for her persistent questioning of top officials.

Now, RTHK’s journalists and hard-hitting investigations appear vulnerable to China’s new national security law, which takes aim at dissent and could rein in the city’s largely freewheeling news organizations. The broadcaster, modeled on the British Broadcasting Corporation, has already been feeling pressure. Continue reading

HK security law and police powers

Source: Hong Kong Free Press (7/6/10)
Hong Kong security law: Police handed power to do warrantless searches, freeze assets, intercept comms, control internet

national security committee

Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR. Photo: GovHK.

Hong Kong police will be authorised to conduct searches at private properties without a warrant, restrict suspects’ movements, freeze their assets, intercept communications and require internet service providers to remove information, as the city’s leader handed more powers to the force for implementing the new national security law.

On Monday night, the government gazetted the details of Article 43 of the controverisal legislation, which criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference. It came after the first meeting of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR, chaired by Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

According to the latest legal document, an officer of – or above – the rank of assistant commissioner can authorise officers to enter premises without a warrant under “urgent” situations to search for evidence. Police can also apply for a warrant to demand suspected violators of the national security law to surrender their travel documents to restrict them from leaving the territory. Continue reading

Pro-democracy books pulled from HK libraries

Source: BBC News (7/5/20)
Hong Kong security law: Pro-democracy books pulled from libraries

Protesters demonstrate against the national security law in Hong Kong (01/07/20)

There have been protests against the new law in Hong Kong, despite fears of stiff punishments. AFP

Books by pro-democracy figures have been removed from public libraries in Hong Kong in the wake of a controversial new security law. The works will be reviewed to see if they violate the new law, the authority which runs the libraries said.

The legislation targets secession, subversion and terrorism with punishments of up to life in prison. Opponents say it erodes the territory’s freedoms as a semi-autonomous region of China. Beijing rejects this.

Hong Kong’s sovereignty was handed back to China by Britain in 1997 and certain rights were supposed to be guaranteed for at least 50 years under the “one country, two systems” agreement.

Since the security law came into effect on Tuesday, several leading pro-democracy activists have stepped down from their roles. One of them – one-time student leader and local legislator Nathan Law – has fled the territory. Continue reading

Human rights and social justice radio show

Soundcloud recording of the radio show “Human rights and social justice” on in Ithaca, NY, USA, July 3, 2020, Friday.

I speak with program host Ute Ritz-Deutch, about China’s crackdown on Hong Kong, and genocide in Xinjiang (East Turkestan):

“Magnus Fiskesjö, anthropology professor at Cornell University, talks about China’s new security law for Hong Kong, which makes it easier to prosecute demonstrators and further undermines the city’s autonomy. The details of the law were not revealed until after it already passed. This is a blow to the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, where Chinese officials can now arrest critics (even foreigners) without involving local authorities. He also gives an update on the Muslim Uyghur minority on mainland China. Over one million have been detained in camps and many are now working in slave labor conditions in manufacturing sites across China. For more information visit”

On HK: from 0-30:00; on Xinjiang: from 30:00-

Sincerely, Magnus Fiskesjö <>

China won’t be ‘threatened’

Source: SCMP (7/3/20)
National security law: China won’t be ‘threatened’ but is braced for US financial sanctions, Beijing official says
Hong Kong adopted the national security law on Tuesday which criminalises behaviour and acts under the four categories of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with a foreign power. US lawmakers on Thursday passed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act that requires sanctions against individuals and banks over the erosion of the city’s autonomy
By Frank Tang in Beijing

Hong Kong adopted the national security law on Tuesday, with protetests taking place in the city the following day. Photo: Sun Yeung

Hong Kong adopted the national security law on Tuesday, with protetests taking place in the city the following day. Photo: Sun Yeung

China is braced for possible financial sanctions from the United States over the Hong Kong national security law, but still hopes to ease tensions with Washington, according to a source close to China’s financial authority.

“The Chinese mainland and Hong Kong financial authorities certainly have prearranged plans. We won’t allow others to threaten or make trouble freely,” the source, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the topic, told the South China Morning Post.

The official did not elaborate on China’s possible responses after the controversial national security law was adopted by Hong Kong law on Tuesday evening amid international outcry. Continue reading

HK security law sends chill over the city

Source: NYT (7/1/20)
‘It Could Be Anyone’: Hong Kong Security Law Sends Chill Over the City
Protesters are deleting their accounts on Twitter and Telegram. Booksellers, professors and nonprofits are questioning their future.
By Vivian Wang and 

Protesters marched in the Causeway Bay neighborhood on Wednesday, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese control. Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — A museum that commemorates the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre is rushing to digitize its archives, afraid its artifacts could be seized. Booksellers are nervously eyeing customers, worried they could be government spies. Writers have asked a news site to delete more than 100 articles, anxious that old posts could be used against them.

And on Wednesday, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese control — a day usually observed by huge pro-democracy marches — a scattered crowd of protesters tried to rekindle that energy, only to be corralled by the police and arrested over offenses that did not exist a day earlier.

The Chinese government’s new security law for Hong Kong is less than a day old, and already the city is feeling its chilling effect. The law was designed to stamp out the anti-government demonstrations that have wracked the semiautonomous territory for more than a year. But it also threatens the fabric of life that has made Hong Kong, with its freewheeling cultural scene and civil society, distinct from the rest of China. Continue reading

As China strengthens grip on HK, Taiwan sees threat

Source: NYT (7/1/20)
As China Strengthens Grip on Hong Kong, Taiwan Sees a Threat
The sweeping new security law in Hong Kong has further eroded what little support there was in Taiwan for unifying with the mainland.
By Javier C. Hernández and 

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, center, has repeatedly pledged to defend the island’s sovereignty against threats from China. Credit…Taiwan Presidential Office, via Associated Press

TAIPEI, Taiwan — China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has long tried to convince Taiwan that unification was a historical inevitability, alternately enticing the democratic island with economic incentives while bluntly warning that any move toward formal independence would be answered with military force.

Now, the incentives are gone and the warnings seem more ominous following Mr. Xi’s swift move to strengthen China’s grip on Hong Kong, a semiautonomous territory that only last year he held out as a model for Taiwan’s future.

The new security rules for Hong Kong that China passed this week — without input from the city’s Beijing-backed leadership — have made Mr. Xi’s promise of autonomy under the “one country, two systems” framework seem hollow. And it has raised fears that China will move more aggressively to bring Taiwan, too, under its control. Continue reading

China pass HK security law

Source: NYT (6/29/20)
China Passes Security Law With Sweeping Powers Over Hong Kong
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Lawmakers in Beijing voted in a process that has been criticized for its secrecy and haste. The law will extend the Communist Party’s reach into Hong Kong.
By Chris Buckley and Keith Bradsher

A billboard in Hong Kong promoting China’s national security law for the city on Monday. Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

China passed a contentious new law for Hong Kong on Tuesday that would empower the authorities to crack down on opposition to Beijing, risking deeper rifts with Western governments that have warned about the erosion of freedoms in the territory.

Lawmakers in Beijing voted unanimously to approve the national security law for Hong Kong, according to Lau Siu-kai, a senior Beijing adviser on Hong Kong policy, as well as two ​Hong Kong newspapers​ that serve as conduits for ​official policy from Beijing, Wen Wei Po an​d Ta Kung Pao.

The swift action, less than two weeks after lawmakers first formally considered it, signaled the urgency that the Communist Party leader, Xi Jinping, has given to expanding control in Hong Kong after the territory was convulsed by pro-democracy protests last year. Continue reading

Vigil: Hong on the Brink (1)

MCLC readers interested in Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink, publication of which was previously announced on the list, may also find this podcast that Jeff Wasserstrom did at UCLA a few months ago as part of a roundtable with Bellette Lee (UCLA) and John Mok (UCI).

There is also an excerpt from Vigil available here:

Warm regards,

Michael Berry <>

Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink

List members might be interested in the following recent publication–Kirk

Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink, by Jeffrey Wasserstrom 
On the frontlines of the battle for democracy in China

The rise of Hong Kong is the story of a miraculous post-War boom, when Chinese refugees flocked to a small British colony, and, in less than fifty years, transformed it into one of the great financial centers of the world. The unraveling of Hong Kong, on the other hand, shatters the grand illusion of China ever having the intention of allowing democratic norms to take root inside its borders. Hong Kong’s people were subjects of the British Empire for more than a hundred years, and now seem destined to remain the subordinates of today’s greatest rising power.

But although we are witnessing the death of Hong Kong as we know it, this is also the story of the biggest challenge to China’s authoritarianism in 30 years. Activists who are passionately committed to defending the special qualities of a home they love are fighting against Beijing’s crafty efforts to bring the city into its fold—of making it a centerpiece of its “Greater Bay Area” megalopolis.

Jeffrey Wasserstrom, one of America’s leading China specialists, draws on his many visits to the city, and knowledge of the history of repression and resistance, to help us understand the deep roots and the broad significance of the events we see unfolding day by day in Hong Kong. The result is a riveting tale of tragedy but also heroism—one of the great David-versus-Goliath battles of our time, pitting determined street protesters against the intransigence of Xi Jinping, the most ambitious leader of China since the days of Mao.

Protesters in HK defy ban

Source: SCMP (6/4/20)
Tiananmen vigil: protesters and police clash as Hong Kong defies ban to mark ​anniversary of June 4 crackdown
Trouble in Mong Kok near Langham Place mall, police move on protesters trying to block road. Thousands on Hong Kong streets on Thursday night amid social-distancing rules limiting public gatherings to eight people
By SCMP Reports

Photo: Felix Wong

Photo: Felix Wong

Hong Kong is marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on Thursday amid a police ban against the Victoria Park vigil because of Covid-19 rules limiting gatherings.
Residents were stocking up on candles on Thursday afternoon in preparation for small-scale vigils to be held across the city.

Police cited health reasons for prohibiting the mass commemoration in Causeway Bay, while social-distancing regulations for the coronavirus limit the size of groups meeting in public to eight people.

Earlier, organisers vowed to keep the tradition alive in groups small enough to observe the Covid-19 laws.

More than 3,000 riot officers were due to be deployed to enforce the ban against the mass June 4 rally and other public gatherings, police insiders said on Wednesday.

Hong Kong has been the only place on Chinese soil to hold an annual, large-scale commemoration of the 1989 crackdown. The anniversary comes after protesters took to Hong Kong’s streets against the national security law and national anthem bill.

Follow our live coverage here:

HK International School position

We are partnering with Hong Kong International School to find the next Director of Chinese Studies and World Languages. An excellent opportunity for an educational leader in language acquisition and Chinese culture, the Director leads a team of Mandarin and World Language teachers across four divisions, serving 2,800 students from 40 nations. Designed as a second language learning program, Chinese Studies fully embraces the individual needs of a diverse range of students and their linguistic and cultural backgrounds. In partnership with the principals, the Director designs curriculum and professional development, supports faculty growth, and seeks continuous improvement. Here is the link to the position description:

We’re looking for an educational leader who is compassionate, collaborative, sensitive to cultural nuances, emotionally intelligent and excited by the challenge of working in a school that offers a rigorous American-style curriculum in an international and multi-cultural setting. If you know of someone who may be interested in and qualified for this position, we would certainly appreciate your recommendations.

Karen Whitaker| Search Consultant |415-383-7298|Skype: karen.whitaker301
Office: San Francisco Bay Area

The Search & Consulting Group @ Carney, Sandoe & Associates
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HK bans Tiananmen vigil

Source: NYT (6/1/20)
Hong Kong Bans Tiananmen Vigil for 1st Time, in New Challenge to Protests
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Days after China moved to enact new security laws for Hong Kong, the territory’s police rejected permission for an annual vigil to honor the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
By Austin Ramzy

Hong Kong had held a vigil every year on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.  Thousands gathered for it in 2019. Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Hong Kong on Monday prohibited for the first time the annual June 4 vigil to honor victims of the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, which the Chinese government crushed with deadly force.

The prohibition order was issued by the Hong Kong police force, and came less than a week after the Chinese Communist authorities in Beijing moved to enact new security laws on the former British colony. The order cited the need to enforce social-distancing rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as the justification for the ban.

The gathering to remember Tiananmen, held annually since 1990, had become a major rallying point for Hong Kongers worried about what they see as China’s rising repression. In the crackdown 31 years ago on the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in Beijing and other cities, Chinese soldiers killed hundreds, and possibly thousands, of protesters.

Fears about limits on free speech and political expression have intensified in the past few days, after Beijing defied an international outcry and announced that it would impose new national security restrictions on Hong Kong that could effectively criminalize anything deemed subversive. Continue reading