Category Archives: Hong Kong

What turns a Hong Kong maid towards Islamic State?

Hery Ramawati, 32, from Indonesia is walking with a friend in Victoria Park, Hong Kong, looking for some shade where they can sit and share a meal. Many of the city’s 156,000 Indonesian domestic helpers come here on Sundays to enjoy what is, for most, their only day off.

Hery and her friend both wear jeans, trainers and a hijab – a headscarf that covers the head and neck, but not the face nor the rest of the body. Ramawati’s hijab is pink, matching her lipstick.

A report last week that about 45 of her fellow migrant workers in Hong Kong had been radicalised and forged ties with the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) left her in shock. “I felt sad when I heard about it. It is so dangerous,” Ramawati said.


China Opposes An Independent Taiwan

China will resolutely oppose and contain Taiwan independence, Premier Li Keqiang said in remarks prepared for delivery at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament on Sunday, amid heightened tension between Beijing and the self-ruled island.

China is deeply suspicious of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, whose ruling Democratic Progressive Party espouses the island’s formal independence, a red line for Beijing, which has cut off an official dialogue mechanism with Taipei.

Tsai says she wants peace with China.

“We will never tolerate any activity, in any form or name, which attempts to separate Taiwan from the motherland,” Li said in a report available before he delivered an annual address to China’s top legislature.

China will protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity while safeguarding peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, Li said.

Defeated Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Communists. China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, viewing it as a wayward province.

In 2014, hundreds of students occupied Taiwan’s parliament for weeks in protests known as the Sunflower Movement, demanding more transparency and fearful of China’s growing economic and political influence on the democratic island.

Chinese jets and warships carried out exercises near Taiwan and into the Western Pacific on Thursday, as Taiwan’s defense minister warned of a growing threat from its giant neighbor.

Li also said the notion of Hong Kong independence would lead nowhere, and Beijing would ensure that the principle of “one country, two systems” is applied in Hong Kong and Macao “without being bent or distorted”.



There is islamophobia in the most unlikely places: Hong Kong

Muslim protesters chant slogans during a demonstration against a US-made anti-Islam film which insults the ‘Prophet’ Mohammad  in Hong Kong on September 23, 2012

CAIRO – Facing a sharp rise in Islamophobia, leaders of the Muslim community in Hong Kong have issued an open “letter of peace”, listing true teachings of Islam and dispelling misconceptions and myths surrounding it.

“The Muslims in Hong Kong have lived side by side with their fellow non-Muslims for the best part of the last 175 years, and we certainly desire nothing else but to continue this peaceful coexistence,” the letter, which was backed by more than 21 Muslim groups and released in English and Chinese, was quoted by South China Morning Post.

“We request everyone not to judge the religion by the actions of a few, rather judge it by its original scriptures and sources. There are bad apples in every basket.”

The letter was issued after recent reports that the so-called Islamic State (ISIL) was extending its branches to recruit Indonesian migrant workers.

These reports have led to increase in anti-Muslim hate attacks, after Muslim women reported several cases in which they were targeted with comments about links to terrorism…

…”Discrimination is in every society, and we can’t say Hong Kong is absent from that,” Adeel Malik, an English teacher and one of the directors of educational group Discover Islam Hong Kong, said…


Canada lawmakers hear Hong Kong democracy activist over China’s objections

Martin Lee, the founding chairman of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party, waits to testify before the Commons foreign affairs committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 10, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

(Reuters) – Veteran Hong Kong democracy campaigner Martin Lee, testifying on Tuesday at a Canadian parliamentary committee over the objections of the Chinese government, appealed to Ottawa to stand with those struggling for democracy in Hong Kong.

“I hope the Canadian government and the Canadian Parliament will speak up for us at this difficult stage,” Lee told the House of Commons foreign affairs committee.

“If Hong Kong were to go down the slippery slope as now, Hong Kong will become just another Chinese city,” said Lee, a former legislator and one of the founders of Hong Kong’s main opposition Democratic Party.

Johanna Quinney, spokeswoman for Canadian Foreign Minister Rob Nicholson, responded that Canada has recently raised concerns regarding the treatment of political dissidents with senior Chinese leaders…


Guardian: ‘Britain must accept that Hong Kong is no longer a colony’ – jeez, and there are so many people who want to get it back

Pro-democracy protesters gather in the Occupy Central zone before clashing with police outside the Hong Kong Chief Executive’s office, at the end of November, 2014. Source.

First, some background: The UK acquired what is now Hong Kong during the era of the Opium Wars. The UK and China signed several treaties, giving them control for parts of it 99 years, and permanently for another part. The UK did not run Hong Kong as a democracy but their rule was benevolent and they encouraged free-market capitalism and Hong Kong boomed, becoming the financial centre of Far East Asia.  The economy took off after WW II — the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is now second in the Far East only to Tokyo’s.

The Chinese wanted it back, and threatened to seize it in 1982: this was while China was just beginning to shake off decades of Communism which killed millions of people (some in famines, others murdered). It was very poor compared to Hong Kong.  Nearly a million people left Hong Kong during the run-up to hand-over in 1997.  The Anglo world the most popular choice: Canada, Australia, the US and the UK.

The UK did manage to get the Communist Chinese to sign an agreement stating that they would rule by “One nation, two systems” for 50 years.  China is now trying to break this agreement — hence the visit by UK diplomats, during which China refused to let them set foot in Hong Kong. 

Excerpts from the Guardian’s ridiculous piece:

Britain must accept that Hong Kong is no longer a colony

…The clashes in Hong Kong this past weekend were among the most violent since the street protests began two months ago. Police used batons, water hoses and pepper spray to keep protesters forcibly at bay.

Mary-DejevskyThe columnist: Mary Dejevsky is a writer and broadcaster. She is a former foreign correspondent in Moscow, Paris and Washington, and a special correspondent in China and many parts of Europe.

Trumping these scenes in many reports, though, was parochial indignation that Beijing had banned a group of British MPs from making a planned visit to Hong Kong. Diplomatic protocol now dictates that rather than making a scene on arrival at Hong Kong airport, the MPs will call off their mid-winter trip to the tropics…

The UK can, and should, treat democracy-minded envoys from Hong Kong with the respect they deserve. But if there is to be political change there, it is the people of Hong Kong who must press their case – as, perhaps, a new generation is starting to do…

Hong Kong as a British colony is no more. The UK has no “legitimate interest” there beyond a natural concern for human rights. Its MPs can go around the world advocating “values” but they have no special hotline to Beijing, and any preaching about “democracy and the rule of law” from the former colonial power is unlikely to convince.

The UK may have a particularly guilty conscience about Hong Kong – as indeed it should have…  The British empire is over. For a medium-sized country, the more productive course is to seek allies, and for the UK the ideal source of support over Hong Kong is the EU, whose economic clout at least is more equal to Beijing’s. As so often, too, a little more self-knowledge would not go amiss. It is not only Russia that finds it hard to let go.

From my reading of UK sources over the years, it is hard to find any interest in Hong Kong or any other colonies at all. No one — and I do mean no one — is interested, except as a historical topic.

The comparison with Russia is absurd. The million people who left — most to the ‘enemy camp’ in the Anglo world, seem to find life under China’s rule particularly unappealing.

Even the Guardian commenters are unimpressed.   As of today, the protests continue.

Other sources consulted:
Wikipedia: Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Economic History of Hong Kong
Exploring Chinese History: Hong Kong
Wikipedia: British Hong Kong