China's Xi visits changed Hong Kong for handover anniversary
Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in Hong Kong to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the British handover of a city that his rule has transformed from a global hub known for its political freedoms to one that is much more tightly controlled by the Communist Party.
China installing former security chief as Hong Kong leader
China is installing a career security official as the new leader of Hong Kong in the culmination of a sweeping political transformation that has gutted any opposition in the Asian financial center and placed it ever more firmly under Beijing’s control.
Hong Kong leader says no fixed time frame for mass testing
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says reducing the skyrocketing number of deaths in the latest coronavirus surge is the city’s priority, putting a plan to test the entire population on hold in the latest flip-flop in the government’s pandemic response.
Hong Kong reports record cases; movements may be restricted
Hong Kong’s leader says people’s movements may be restricted during mandatory testing this month of the entire population for the coronavirus, as health officials reported more than 55,000 daily infections, a new record, and over a hundred deaths.
Pro-Beijing candidates sweep Hong Kong elections
Pro-Beijing candidates have won a landslide victory in Hong Kong’s legislative elections, beating out moderates and independents in the city’s first polls since Beijing passed a resolution to amend the city’s election laws to ensure that only “patriots” loyal to Beijing could run the city.
China sharply reduces elected seats in Hong Kong legislature
From left, Hong Kong Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang Kwok-wai, Chief Executive Carrie Lam and permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Roy Tan attend a press conference on the Hong Kong electoral system reform in Hong Kong, Tuesday, March 30, 2021. China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong last year and is following up this year with a revamp of the electoral process. Election hopefuls will undergo vetting by the national security police and a committee that oversees national security in the city. Beijing, which prioritizes political stability, sees these actions as interfering with the governing of Hong Kong and wants to keep these actors out of government. AdA statement by Beijing's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said the Hong Kong national security law provided a solid legal foundation to safeguard national security and that the electoral reforms provide a “solid institutional guarantee” of the city’s “one country, two systems” framework and ensure that only “patriots” rule Hong Kong.
No Oscars or sensitive art spark Hong Kong censorship fears
People walk in front of "M+" visual culture museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong, Monday, March 29, 2021. Hong Kong authorities have taken a tougher stance on opposition following Beijing’s imposition of a national security law on the city, arresting prominent pro-democracy activists and participants in anti-government protests in 2019. Earlier this month, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said authorities were on “full alert” to ensure that exhibitions in the city do not violate the national security law. Pro-Beijing lawmakers have said that some of M+’s artwork is politically sensitive and could be in breach of the legislation. Searches for “Nomadland” were blocked on the Chinese internet, which is heavily censored and filtered to scrub content deemed politically sensitive by the government.
Hong Kong vaccination drive struggles to gain public trust
For now, Hong Kong residents can only get the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine, which is reported to have an efficacy rate of 62%, compared with Pfizer's 97%. Hong Kong is still grappling with coronavirus outbreaks and stringent social distancing measures that are especially hard on bars, restaurants and the tourism industry. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and health officials are urging people to get vaccinated. Unease over the vaccines, which were developed in under a year using varying levels of clinical trials, are not confined to Hong Kong. Martin Wong, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, co-authored a survey published in January that showed only 37% of Hong Kong residents were willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
US sanctions 24 China and Hong Kong officials ahead of talks
The U.S. sanctioned an additional 24 Chinese and Hong Kong officials over Beijing's ongoing crackdown on political freedoms in the semi-autonomous city, including a decision to overhaul Hong Kong's electoral system. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)HONG KONG – The U.S. sanctioned an additional 24 Chinese and Hong Kong officials over Beijing’s ongoing crackdown on political freedoms in the semi-autonomous city, just ahead of the Biden administration's first face-to-face talks with China. The planned changes to Hong Kong's electoral law give a pro-Beijing committee power to appoint more of Hong Kong’s lawmakers. Last June, Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the city and Hong Kong authorities have arrested most of the prominent pro-democracy supporters and outspoken critics. Starting last October, the U.S. had already sanctioned 10 officials including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office Zhang Xiaoming.
China legislature endorses reducing public vote in Hong Kong
It adds to a crackdown against a protest movement in Hong Kong calling for greater democracy. Hong Kong news reports said earlier the committee will pick one-third of the members of the Legislative Council, or LegCo. AdBeijing wants to see “patriots ruling Hong Kong,” the premier said. “The Hong Kong people will be disenfranchised” under the latest changes, said Emily Lau, a former Hong Kong legislator. ___AP writers Zen Soo in Hong Kong and Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.
Hong Kong leader 'fully welcomes' proposed electoral changes
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam listens to reporters' questions during a press conference in Hong Kong, Monday, March, 2021. Lam said Monday that the Hong Kong government "fully welcomes" the reforms to the city's electoral system, after Beijing proposed a major revamp that will increase central government control over Hong Kong politics. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)HONG KONG – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Monday said the city's government “fully welcomes” changes to the city’s electoral system that will substantially increase central government control over Hong Kong politics and exclude critics of Beijing. The planned electoral changes have drawn criticism in Hong Kong and abroad, including from the United States. Universal suffrage would give Hong Kong voters the right to vote for the city’s leader, although only candidates approved by Beijing would be allowed to run.
Hong Kong court keeps 47 democracy activists in custody
Former lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, known as "Long Hair," second left, shows a victory sign and some of the 47 pro-democracy activists are escorted by Correctional Services officers to a prison van in Hong Kong, Thursday, March 4, 2021. A marathon court hearing for 47 pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong charged with conspiracy to commit subversion enters its fourth day on Thursday, as the court deliberates over whether the defendants will be granted bail. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)HONG KONG – A Hong Kong court on Thursday ordered all 47 pro-democracy activists charged under a Beijing-imposed national security law to be kept in custody after the Department of Justice appealed an initial decision to grant 15 of them bail. The national security law criminalizes secession, subversion, collusion with foreign forces to intervene in the city’s affairs as well as terrorism. U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab earlier called the charges “deeply disturbing” and said the national security law was being used to eliminate political dissent.
EXPLAINER: How a primary got Hong Kong activists in trouble
A supporter raises a British flag as supporters queue up outside a court to try get in for a hearing in Hong Kong Monday, March 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)HONG KONG – Hong Kong democracy supporters are being locked up in jail, charged with being a threat to national security. Their arrests come under a new security law imposed on the semi-autonomous Chinese territory by Beijing that has largely silenced dissent in Hong Kong. Those now facing charges held a primary election for legislators picked through one of the last vestiges of direct democracy in Hong Kong. China's central government signaled last week that it may take steps to restrict who can run for office in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong detains 47 activists on subversion charges
John Clancey, right, an American lawyer who became the first foreigner arrested under Hong Kong's national security law, displays a book before appearing at a police station in Hong Kong Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)HONG KONG – Hong Kong police on Sunday detained 47 pro-democracy activists on charges of conspiracy to commit subversion under the city's national security law, in the largest mass charge against the semi-autonomous Chinese territory's opposition camp since the law came into effect last June. They allegedly violated the national security law that was imposed by Beijing for participating in unofficial election primaries for Hong Kong's legislature last year. Ad“Thank you to the people of Hong Kong for giving me the opportunity to contribute to society in the past 15 years,” Chu said in a post on his Facebook page. The security law criminalizes acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers to intervene in Hong Kong's affairs.
The Latest: Navajo Nation new virus cases on downward trend
(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. -- The Navajo Nation has continued on a downward trend in the number of daily coronavirus cases. Canada regulators have approved AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine. Gavin Newsom expects California to start administering the new Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine next week. Addition of the J&J vaccine would come as California is seeing dramatic drops in virus cases and hospitalizations after record highs in early January. While they only comprise about 48% of coronavirus cases, they account for 74% of vaccinations.
Asia Today: 1st vaccines reach arms in S. Korea, Hong Kong
People age 60 and older and health care workers are among the some 2.4 million people currently prioritized to receive vaccines at community centers and outpatient clinics across Hong Kong. Hong Kong has struck deals to buy 22.5 million doses of vaccines, from Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Fosun Pharma, which will deliver the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech. Those 65 years or older are scheduled to get vaccines after health workers. Ad— China has approved two more COVID-19 vaccines for wider use. A military researcher told state media CanSino can produce up to 300 million doses per year, and the Wuhan Institute said it can produce up to 100 million doses per year.
Hong Kong kicks off COVID-19 vaccinations with Sinovac jab
People line up to receive China's Sinovac COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at a community vaccination center in Hong Kong, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Hong Kong began administering its first COVID-19 vaccines to the public Friday, kicking off its program offering free vaccinations to all 7.5 million residents. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)HONG KONG – Hong Kong began administering its first COVID-19 vaccines to the public Friday, kicking off its program that will eventually offer free vaccinations to all 7.5 million residents. I’ll take a wait-and-see approach," said Ken Cheung, a Hong Kong resident. A panel of Hong Kong experts said the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine after two doses, 21 days apart, was 62.3%.
Lam backs Hong Kong electoral changes excluding opponents
FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2021, file photo, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam listens to reporters' questions during a press conference in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)HONG KONG – Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam gave her clear support Tuesday to electoral reforms that would likely further exclude opposition voices and cement Beijing’s control over the semi-autonomous Chinese city’s politics. Currently, only the chief executive, high officials, executive council members, lawmakers and judges are required to take an oath of office. Hong Kong's legislature is expected to deliberate the draft legal amendments on March 17. AdIt remains unclear whether Lam, who is deeply unpopular among Hong Kong's population, will seek a second five-year term in next year’s poll.
Thousands of Hong Kongers locked down to contain coronavirus
Thousands of Hong Kong residents were locked down Saturday in an unprecedented move to contain a worsening outbreak in the city, authorities said. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)HONG KONG – Thousands of Hong Kong residents were locked down in their homes Saturday in an unprecedented move to contain a worsening coronavirus outbreak in the city. The restrictions, which were announced at 4 a.m. in Hong Kong, were expected to end within 48 hours, the government said. Hong Kong has been grappling to contain a fresh wave of the coronavirus since November. Coronavirus cases in Yau Tsim Mong district represent about half of infections in the past week.
Hong Kongers call US violence a setback for democracy
FILE - In this July 1, 2019, file photo, protesters try to break the glass walls of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong. From across the political spectrum, Hong Kong residents condemned mob violence at the U.S. Capitol, 18 months after they saw protesters storm their own local legislature. “It’s very sad for us in Hong Kong to see mobs attacking Capitol Hill and trying to overthrow the election results. We in Hong Kong are fighting for a democracy in which everyone has a right to vote,” Lee said. In Hong Kong, elections are canceled,” said Leslie Chan, a district councilor in Hong Kong, referring to a year-long postponement of the city’s legislative elections by Lam, who cited public health risks from the coronavirus.
Wong questioned, US lawyer released in Hong Kong crackdown
FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2019, file photo, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong stands outside the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)HONG KONG – Jailed Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was arrested on a new charge under the national security law on Thursday while an American rights lawyer who was detained in a sweeping crackdown was granted bail. The security law criminalizes acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers to intervene in the city’s affairs. “China’s taking a big gamble by picking away at parts of the Hong Kong system that it doesn’t like,” he said. “It really risks damaging parts that it values.”___Associated Press video journalist Alice Fung in Hong Kong and writer Ken Moritsugu in Beijing contributed to this report.
EXPLAINER: Hong Kong mass arrests chill democracy movement
FILE - In this July 15, 2020, file photo, pro-democracy activists who were elected from unofficial pro-democracy primaries, including Joshua Wong, left, attend a press conference in Hong Kong. Police detained about 50 people, far more than in previous cases under the 6-month-old national security law. The subversion section of the national security law criminalizes “seriously interfering in, disrupting, or undermining the performance of duties and functions” of the Chinese or Hong Kong governments. They plunged Hong Kong into its biggest political crisis since its return to Chinese rule in 1997. ___This story has been corrected to show that the age of the security law is six months, not seven months.
Hong Kong arrests 53 activists under national security law
(AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)HONG KONG – Hong Kong police arrested 53 former lawmakers and democracy proponents Wednesday for allegedly violating the new national security law by participating in unofficial election primaries for the territory's legislature last year. The security law criminalizes acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers to intervene in the city’s affairs. “The Biden-Harris administration will stand with the people of Hong Kong and against Beijing’s crackdown on democracy,” Blinken wrote in his tweet. The security law is being used “to crush dissent and stifle the exercise of human rights and political freedoms.”Human Rights Watch senior China researcher Maya Wang said the national security law is a blanket law that allows the government to arrest people for exercising their rights. “Hong Kong is looking more like mainland China but where one ends and the other begins is hard to discern,” she said.
Asia Today: Hong Kong secures 15 million vaccine doses
HONG KONG – Hong Kong has secured delivery of 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with the first million to arrive as early as January, the city’s leader said Friday. Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said the city has reached agreements for 7.5 million doses each from Sinovac and Pfizer/BioNTech. She said Hong Kong is also negotiating with AstraZeneca and another manufacturer with the goal of securing a total of 30 million doses. And the amount of procurement will be twice the population of Hong Kong,” she said. — India has recorded 29,398 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, a continuing downward trend.
The Latest: Hong Kong re-imposes restaurant dining bans
Hong Kong on Wednesday reported an additional 100 cases, bringing its two-week total to 1,274. Hong Kong has reported a total of 7,075 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, with 112 deaths. The Texas Department of State Health Services also said 9,028 people were hospitalized across the state. Since late November, the new daily cases have soared past 10,000 on several days, with 15,103 new cases reported Tuesday, according to state health officials. ___BOISE, Idaho — Idaho public health officials abruptly ended a meeting Tuesday evening after the Boise mayor and chief of police said intense anti-mask protests outside the health department building — as well as outside some health officials’ homes — were threatening public safety.
Asia Today: Hong Kong to tighten measures amid virus surge
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. Lam says social distancing measures will be tightened as cases of the coronavirus continue to surge, with a ban on nighttime dining and more businesses ordered to close. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)HONG KONG – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says social distancing measures will be tightened as cases of the coronavirus continue to surge, with a ban on nighttime dining and more businesses ordered to close. Hong Kong is grappling with the latest surge of coronavirus infections, with nearly 1,200 new cases in the last two weeks after a three-month lull. — Three coronavirus vaccine developers -- AstraZeneca, Pfizer Inc. and Bharat Biotech -- have applied for emergency approval for their use in India, health officials said Tuesday.
Hong Kong leader lauds new security law despite criticism
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a news conference after delivering her policy address in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. Beijing imposed the security law on Hong Kong in June, aiming to crack down on dissent following months of anti-government protests in the city that at times descended into violence. Earlier this month, China passed a resolution disqualifying four pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmakers after they were accused of violating their oaths of office. The move prompted all of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy legislators to resign en masse as a show of solidarity. “She bet the future of Hong Kong on the Greater Bay Area and the mainland economy.
Hong Kong orders building inspections after deadly fire
Flowers are placed at a fire site, top center with broken windows, in Hong Kong Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. City authorities said a fire in a crowded residential district in Hong Kong has "caused a number of deaths and injuries". The fire highlights lingering safety issues in older buildings in Hong Kong, one of the world’s most densely populated cities. Pun T. Prakash, president of the Hong Kong Nepalese Business Association, said his group will also reach out to the community. “We should be following the rules and regulations of Hong Kong, how to open a restaurant, how to open a shop.
Fire in Hong Kong apartment building kills 7, injures 11
A police cordon line is set at a fire site, top center with broken windows, in Hong Kong Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. City authorities said a fire in a crowded residential district in Hong Kong has "caused a number of deaths and injuries". (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)HONG KONG – Authorities in Hong Kong said at least seven people were killed and 11 injured in a fire at an apartment building that may have started at a gathering of people from the city's Nepalese community. The Hong Kong government said four men and three women died. Deadly fires used to be a regular occurrence in Hong Kong, one of the world’s most densely populated cities, but have dwindled in recent years as the government implemented stricter fire safety measures.