8 September 2019   Leave a comment

Once again, protesters in Hong Kong demonstrated over the weekend. There were sporadic acts of violence and the riot police used tear gas and water guns. This time, however, protesters massed near the US consulate and handed a petition to US authorities calling on the US to support the protests and to “liberate” Hong Kong–clearly seditious language from the perspective of the authorities in Beijing. The protester also waved American flags and sang the “Star Spangled Banner”. The sentiment of the Beijing government was expressed in rather chilling terms by Global Times a media outlet often expressing the official government position: “As US politicians continue to fan the flames in Hong Kong, Sunday’s mass rally, aimed at pushing the US into passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, showed how protesters broke the bottom line.” The article continues:

“But US politicians have continuously fanned the flames. Both Republican and Democratic members of the US Congress are pushing for the passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act as soon as possible. Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin are among those sponsoring passage of the bill.

“The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act is an amendment to the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 which allows the US government to afford Hong Kong trade and business privileges. 

“One of the most important provisions of the proposed bill is that officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government who are found suppressing Hong Kong’s democracy, human rights or citizen freedoms can have their assets in the US frozen and be denied entry to the US. 

“On Twitter, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi posted ‘If we don’t speak out for human rights in China because of commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak out elsewhere,’ referring to the introduction of the act and bipartisan consensus around it. 

“Regarding the statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said at Friday’s media briefing that China deplores and firmly opposes US senators’ attempted move to push the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act as interfering in China’s internal affairs.”

The French Foreign Minister has threatened to block any further extensions to Great Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, citing a lack of progress in the negotiations. The Guardian highlights the frustrations:

“EU sources have said there is no evidence the British government is even working on ‘concrete proposals’ to strike a Brexit deal, and the latest resignations from the government, recent reports of ‘sham negotiations’ and constant election talk have all contributed to the impression that the government is not serious about finding an agreement.

“The comments appear to confirm the fears of the former work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd, who resigned on Saturday, citing the lack of effort being put into negotiating a deal.”

The major stumbling block continues to be the status of Northern Ireland in the final deal. A no-deal Brexit looks increasingly like the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. But even now, the Welsh are wondering about whether they should remain part of Great Britain.

Posted September 8, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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