All posts tagged: Hong

The British judges ruling on the law in authoritarian Hong Kong – podcast | News

The British judges ruling on the law in authoritarian Hong Kong – podcast | News

[ad_1] Since 1997, British and Commonwealth judges have sat in the highest court in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong legal system is derived from English common law and foreign judges, including those from the UK, have been said to add expertise and prestige to its court system. But in 2020 Beijing imposed a strict national security law to clamp down on pro-democracy protests. Since then the number of foreign judges has fallen as fears grow that the judges are lending credibility to a system where basic rights and freedoms are not being respected. On Monday one of Hong Kong’s best known pro-democracy activists, the jailed media mogul Jimmy Lai, will be appealing against one of his convictions. Like many people in Hong Kong he is a British citizen, and one of the judges who will hear his appeal is also British. Campaigners have said it is a shocking situation and called on the three remaining British judges – who are retired but are all in the House of Lords – to quit. Amy Hawkins explains …

The Guardian view on the rule of law in Hong Kong: the verdict of foreign judges is damning | Editorial

The Guardian view on the rule of law in Hong Kong: the verdict of foreign judges is damning | Editorial

[ad_1] Seven years ago, Lord Neuberger, a judge of the Hong Kong court of final appeal – and formerly president of the UK’s supreme court – described the Chinese region’s foreign judges as “canaries in the mine”. Their willingness to serve was a sign that judicial independence remained healthy, “but if they start to leave in droves, that would represent a serious alarm call”. That was before the extraordinary uprising in 2019 to defend Hong Kong’s autonomy, and the crackdown that followed. The draconian national security law of 2020 prompted the resignation of an Australian judge, and two British judges quit in 2022. Last week, two more birds flew: Lord Sumption and Lord Collins of Mapesbury. Lord Sumption (with other judges) had said that continued participation was in the interests of the people of Hong Kong. Now he says that those hopes of sustaining the rule of law are “no longer realistic” and that “a [once] vibrant and politically diverse community is slowly becoming a totalitarian state”. He cited illiberal legislation, Beijing’s ability to reverse decisions by Hong …

‘We refuse to disappear’: the Hong Kong 47 facing life in jail after crackdown | Hong Kong

‘We refuse to disappear’: the Hong Kong 47 facing life in jail after crackdown | Hong Kong

[ad_1] The verdict wasn’t surprising but outside room no 2 of the West Kowloon courthouse, people still wept. The panel of Hong Kong national security judges had set down two days for the hearing but dispensed with the core business in about 15 minutes. In the city’s largest ever national security trial – involving the prosecution of pro-democracy campaigners and activists from a group known as the “Hong Kong 47” – almost all the defendants were found guilty of conspiracy to commit subversion. Their crime was trying to win an election, holding unofficial primaries in 2020 attended by an estimated 600,000 residents. The plan was devised by organiser and academic Benny Tai, who had previously been jailed over his involvement in the 2014 “umbrella movement”, and whom Beijing has labelled a “vicious traitor”. Tai’s plan began with primaries to select the best candidates to win a legislative majority. They would then block government budgets to potentially force a dissolution and the resignation of the chief executive, Carrie Lam, in an effort to have the government …

Hong Kong Convicts 14 Democracy Activists in Largest National Security Trial

Hong Kong Convicts 14 Democracy Activists in Largest National Security Trial

[ad_1] Fourteen democracy activists in Hong Kong were convicted on Thursday on national security charges, adding to the ranks of dozens of others — once the vanguard of the city’s opposition — who may now become a generation of political prisoners. The authorities had accused 47 pro-democracy figures, including Benny Tai, a former law professor, and Joshua Wong, a protest leader and founder of a student group, of conspiracy to commit subversion. Thirty-one of them had earlier pleaded guilty. On Thursday, judges picked by Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed leader convicted 14 of the remaining activists and acquitted two others. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The convictions show how the authorities have used the sweeping powers of a national security law imposed by Beijing to quash dissent across broad swathes of society. Most of the defendants had already spent at least the last three years in detention before the 118-day trial ended. Some of those accused are former lawmakers who joined politics after Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule by the British …

The Download: Mapping the human brain, and a Hong Kong protest anthem crackdown

The Download: Mapping the human brain, and a Hong Kong protest anthem crackdown

[ad_1] The news: A team led by scientists from Harvard and Google has created a 3D, nanoscale-resolution map of a single cubic millimeter of the human brain. Although the map covers just a fraction of the organ, it is currently the highest-resolution picture of the human brain ever created. How they did it: To make a map this finely detailed, the team had to cut the tissue sample into 5,000 slices and scan them with a high-speed electron microscope. Then they used a machine-learning model to help electronically stitch the slices back together and label the features. Why it matters: Many other brain atlases exist, but most provide much lower-resolution data. At the nanoscale, researchers can trace the brain’s wiring one neuron at a time to the synapses, the places where they connect. And scientists hope it could help them to really understand how the human brain works, processes information, and stores memories. Read the full story. —Cassandra Willyard To learn more about the burgeoning field of brain mapping, check out the latest edition of …

Hong Kong is targeting Western Big Tech companies in its new ban of a popular protest song

Hong Kong is targeting Western Big Tech companies in its new ban of a popular protest song

[ad_1] The key difference between this action and previous attempts to remove content is that this is a civil injunction, unlike a criminal prosecution—meaning it is, at least legally speaking, closer to a copyright takedown request. In turn, a platform could arguably be less likely to take a reputational hit as long as it removes the content upon request.  Kwong believes this will indeed make platforms more likely to cooperate and there have already been pretty clear signs to that effect. In one hearing in December, the government was asked by the court to consult online platforms for the feasibility of the injunction. The final judgment this week says that while the platforms “have not taken part in these proceedings, they have indicated that they are ready to accede to the Government’s request if there is a court order.” “The actual targets in this case, mainly the tech giants, may have less hesitation to comply with a civil court order than a national security order because if it’s the latter, they may also face backfire …

Court bans Glory to Hong Kong protest song prompting further fears for free speech | Hong Kong

Court bans Glory to Hong Kong protest song prompting further fears for free speech | Hong Kong

[ad_1] Hong Kong has demanded a protest song that was made popular during pro-democracy demonstrations in the territory be removed from the internet, in the wake of a court ruling which banned it. In its judgment on Wednesday, the court of appeal described the song Glory to Hong Kong as a “weapon” to incite violent protests in 2019. The ruling comes amid what critics say is an erosion in Hong Kong’s rule of law and individual rights which has seen scores of opposition democrats jailed and liberal media outlets shut down. The Hong Kong government’s first attempt to get an official injunction for the anthem was refused by the high court last year in a surprise ruling, which said a ban could have a “chilling effect” on innocent third parties. But in overturning that decision, appeal judge Jeremy Poon wrote on Wednesday that the composer of the song had “intended it to be a ‘weapon’ and so it had become”. “It had been used as an impetus to propel the violent protests plaguing Hong Kong …

Hong Kong Court Bans ‘Glory to Hong Kong,’ a Pro-Democracy Song

Hong Kong Court Bans ‘Glory to Hong Kong,’ a Pro-Democracy Song

[ad_1] A Hong Kong court on Wednesday granted a government request to ban a popular pro-democracy anthem, raising further concerns about free speech in the city. The decision, which overturned an initial ruling, could give the government power to force Google and other tech companies to restrict online access to the song in Hong Kong. The decision threatens to deepen anxiety about the city’s status as an international gateway to China, away from its censorship controls. At issue in the case is “Glory to Hong Kong,” which emerged in 2019 as an unofficial anthem for democracy protests and a flashpoint for the authorities, who considered it an insult to China’s national anthem. The song has been banned from Hong Kong schools and has drawn angry official rebukes when played, apparently by mistake, at international sports events. Beijing has asserted greater control over the former British colony in recent years by imposing a national security law that has crushed nearly all forms of dissent. People convicted of posting seditious content online have gone to prison. Lin …

Tunnels, treehouses and tensegrity towers: landmarks in protest architecture, from UCLA to Hong Kong | Architecture

Tunnels, treehouses and tensegrity towers: landmarks in protest architecture, from UCLA to Hong Kong | Architecture

[ad_1] In his 1868 street-fighting manual, Instructions for an Armed Uprising, the French revolutionary Auguste Blanqui sets out meticulous instructions for how to build a good barricade. Such defences, he wrote, must no longer be thrown together in “a confused and disorderly fashion”, but should be robustly composed of two sturdy rampart walls made of paving stones and plaster. All the aspiring revolutionary needed was a good supply of cobblestones and “a cart filled with sacks of plaster, plus wheelbarrows, handcarts, levers, picks, shovels, mattocks, hammers, cold chisels, trowels, buckets and troughs”. Blanqui advised that all of these things could be “requisitioned from the respective merchants”, whose addresses were handily listed in an accompanying directory. The students at UCLA, who were peacefully occupying their campus in protest against Israel’s war on Gaza, might have wished for such supplies when they were attacked by a violent mob of vigilantes last week. Terrifying footage showed masked thugs beating their makeshift encampment with sticks and metal poles, dragging away steel fencing and plywood panels, and tearing apart their …

Wall Street Journal moves Asia HQ from Hong Kong to Singapore, resulting in layoffs

Wall Street Journal moves Asia HQ from Hong Kong to Singapore, resulting in layoffs

[ad_1] WASHINGTON: The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) will shift its Asia headquarters from Hong Kong to Singapore, it said on Thursday (May 2) in a letter sent to staff and seen by AFP. The US newspaper said its decision comes after other foreign firms have reconsidered their operations in Chinese financial hub Hong Kong. WSJ editor-in-chief Emma Tucker said in a letter to staff that the shift would also involve an unspecified number of layoffs. Announcing changes to the WSJ’s Asia operations, Tucker wrote: “Some of these changes are structural: We are bringing together our business, finance and economics coverage. Some are geographic: We are shifting our center of gravity in the region from Hong Kong to Singapore, as many of the companies we cover have done.” On the staff changes, she added: “Consequently, some of our colleagues, mostly in Hong Kong, will be leaving us. It is difficult to say goodbye, and I want to thank them for the contributions they have made to the Journal.” The union for WSJ employees, IAPE, said in …