August 31, 2019

Tens of Thousands of Marchers Defy Police Ban: Hong Kong Update
(Bloomberg) -- Tens of thousands of Hong Kong protesters defied a police ban and marched peacefully through the city streets after several top opposition figures including Joshua Wong were arrested on Friday.The arrests signaled a harder line by the government against the largely leaderless movement, which began in June over a bill allowing extraditions to mainland China before morphing into a wider push against Beijing’s grip on the city. While Wong and a fellow activist were later released on bail.Embattled leader Carrie Lam this week called for talks with the opposition while refusing to rule out invoking a sweeping colonial-era law that allows for easier arrests, deportations, censorship and property seizures. The unrest in the Asian financial hub threatens to distract from China’s celebrations of the Oct. 1 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule.Here’s the latest (all times local):Marchers defy ban (2.30 p.m.)Tens of thousands of protesters marched peacefully through the streets of business and shopping districts on Hong Kong island despite a police ban. The procession wound its way through the Central neighborhood and headed to the western part of the island where the China Liaison Office is located.Yeung Sum, former chairman of the Democratic Party of Hong Kong, who joined the march, said the latest arrests would not stifle protesters’ voices.“I think the high-profile arrests are a kind of intimidating tactic adopted by the government, so that people would get fearful and not express their views. But I don’t think Hong Kong people will be intimidated,” he said.“If the government wants to stabilize society, they should give some positive response to demands made by the protesters -- like Ms. Carrie Lam should resign and set up independent commission to look into the issues. And I think that would be very helpful,” Yeung said.Roads blocked near China Liaison Office (11:45 a.m.)Roads near China’s liaison office in the neighborhood of Sai Ying Pun were blocked with barricades and no vehicles were allowed through, causing traffic jams. The nearest subway station will be closed from 1:30 pm, according to mass transit operator MTR Corp., saying it was a “prudent measure” because of public activities likely to be taking place this afternoon.Sai Ying Pun is where some of the most violent confrontations between anti-government protesters and riot police have occurred. A previous demonstration saw protesters deface the China’s national emblem outside the liaison office.Forum’s server attack (11 a.m.)The LIHKG discussion forum, one of the digital tools that protesters use to organize demonstrations, said its servers experienced an “unprecedented, large-scale DDoS attack” on Saturday morning. Service for its app users returned to normal, the company said in a Twitter post at around 11 a.m.Hong Kong appeared to be at the center of a large digital attack in recent days, according to DDOS tracker Digital Attack Map.Ant that “tries to rock a tree” (8 a.m.)Hong Kong protesters’ use of violence can’t force China’s government into making concessions, according to an editorial in the People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship mouthpiece.“If anyone thinks that by escalating violence, he can force the central government to make concessions on matters of principle, it is like an ant that goes beyond its ability and tries to rock a tree,” according to the paper. “If there is unrest in Hong Kong that the SAR government cannot control, the central government will not sit idly by. According to the basic law, the central government has enough means and enough power to quickly quell any possible unrest.”Some protesters argue that Chief Executive Lam was the one who signaled that radical actions would be more effective, by making her most significant concession — suspending the extradition bill — after a violent attempt to storm the city’s legislature on June 12. She had days earlier refused to make such a compromise after more than 1 million people marched peacefully against the bill.U.S. Trade Talks Impact (Saturday, 6.09 a.m.)President Donald Trump said China has tempered its response to protests in Hong Kong as a result of U.S. trade talks. There might have been more violence were it not for the discussions, and China knows that would be bad for a deal, he said.Trade talks are “keeping down the temperature” in Hong Kong, Trump said to reporters at the White House.White House Objects to Denial of Free Speech (11:58 p.m.)The Trump administration opposes attempts to deny residents of Hong Kong their rights to free speech and assembly, an administration official said.The official described arbitrary arrests of political opposition figures as a tactic employed by authoritarian regimes. Hong Kong’s use of the tactic, the official said, is concerning because the territory has long respected the rule of law.More Arrests (11:22 p.m.)Police have arrested opposition lawmaker Au Nok-hin for allegedly obstructing an officer, the Apple Daily reported, citing Au’s office. Alvin Yeung, a pro-democracy lawmaker who heads the city’s Civic Party, said on his Facebook page that colleague Jeremy Tam had also been detained. In other developments:Now TV said Lam had canceled a September trip to the U.S. given tensions at home.Police banned a rally called for Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui district on Monday and Tuesday, citing public safety concerns, an organizer said.Wong Vows to Fight (6:01 p.m.)After being released on bail, Wong and Agnes Chow, another democracy activist who was arrested, vowed to continue the fight for democracy. He also warned Chinese President Xi Jinping about using force to quash the protests.“I urge the international community to send a message to President Xi, sending troops or using emergency ordinance is not the way out,” he said.Wong, Chow Granted Bail: Ming Pao (5:05 p.m.)Wong and Agnes Chow, another democracy activist, were granted bail, Ming Pao newspaper reported, citing the presiding judge. Their hearing has been adjourned until November 8.China Rejected Lam’s Concession: Reuters (2:23 p.m.)The Chinese central government earlier this summer dismissed a proposal by Chief Executive Lam to withdraw the controversial extradition bill, Reuters reported on Friday. Beijing ordered Lam not to yield to any of the protesters’ other demands at that time, the report said, citing three unidentified people with direct knowledge of the matter.District Councilor, Prominent Activists Arrested (1:04 p.m.)Sha Tin District Councilor Rick Hui was arrested and was at Kwun Tong police station, his assistant said. It came after prominent young activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow were arrested Friday morning, according to their Demosisto party. The group said the two were taken to the Wan Chai police headquarters and that they had arranged lawyers to handle the cases.Police confirmed the arrest of a 22-year-old man with the last name Wong on three alleged offenses, including organizing and inciting others to participate in unauthorized assembly. They also confirmed the arrest of a 22-year-old woman with the last name Chow.Protesters Cancel March (12:03 p.m.)Key protest organizer the Civil Human Rights Front said it would cancel Saturday’s planned march after failing to obtain a police permit, the group’s Vice Convener Bonnie Leung said. CHRF said it didn’t want participants to bear the legal consequences of taking part in an illegal assembly. Hong Kong authorities earlier rejected the group’s appeal, she said.Andy Chan Arrested (9:53 a.m.)Radio Television Hong Kong reported that pro-independence activist Andy Chan, founder of the banned Hong Kong National Party, was arrested at the city’s airport. It came the morning after Chan posted about his imminent detention on his personal Facebook page.Cathay Warns Staff (8:40 a.m.)Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. warned staff not to take part in next week’s general strike, according to an internal memo sent from Tom Owen, the company’s director of people. Those participating in the strike risk getting fired, the memo said. Cathay will monitor attendance closely, it said. It reiterated that it had zero tolerance for any support or participation in illegal protests. “Cathay Pacific Group does not approve of this strike,” Owen said in the memo.\--With assistance from Natalie Lung, Annie Lee, Justin Chin and Fion Li.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Karen Leigh in Hong Kong at kleigh4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, ;Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Stanley JamesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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