Hong Kong protest and photo of U.S diplomats with protest leaders emerge

hong kong protest

Hong Kong is hot with protests, and with a photo of foreign diplomats and protest leaders.

Media reports said:

Hong Kong’s Airport Authority said on Friday only departing passengers with travel documents will be allowed to enter the terminal as anti-government activists gear up for a three-day rally to raise awareness among tourists entering the city.

The move comes as officials confirmed on Friday that a police commander who oversaw pro-democracy demonstrations that roiled the former British colony in 2014 has been recalled to help deal with protests that have plunged the financial hub into crisis.

Former deputy police commissioner Alan Lau Yip-shing has been appointed to help handle large-scale public order events and steer operations, including activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, the government said in a statement.

Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, is embroiled in two months of increasingly violent protests. The demonstrations erupted in opposition to a now-suspended extradition bill, which would allow suspects to face trial in mainland China.

The escalating cycle of violence has prompted travel warnings from countries including the U.S. and Australia.

The protesters plan to converge on the airport on Friday afternoon.

“To maintain the smooth process of the departure procedures of passengers and the terminal operation, only departure passengers with an air ticket or boarding pass for the next 24 hours and a valid travel document, or airport staff with identity proofs will be allowed to enter to the check-in aisles at Terminal 1,” the Airport Authority said in a statement.

The massive travel hub connects the city to more than 220 global destinations and served 74.7 million passengers last year, according to the airport’s website.

A photo

A Hong Kong activist who has played an active role in the ongoing protests has raised suspicions after being photographed meeting with a senior official from the U.S. consulate.

Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao published a photograph of a U.S. diplomat, who it identified as Julie Eadeh of the consulate’s political section, talking to student leaders in the lobby of a luxury hotel.

The photograph appeared under the headline “Foreign Forces Intervene”, continuing a theme of previous protests from Beijing officials, who have blamed Hong Kong’s unrest on “black hands” from the U.S.

Chinese authorities have asked the U.S. to explain why that contact was made and to explain the nature of their relationship.

The photo shows leaders of the movement including Joshua Wong Chi-fung, the face and leader of the 2014 Umbrella Movement with an American diplomat.

Joshua, the secretary-general of pro-democracy party Demosisto, told the Hong Kong Standard that there was nothing sinister behind his recent meeting with Julie Eadeh, a political unit chief of the U.S. consulate general in Hong Kong.

“I even went to Washington several times, so what’s so special about meeting a U.S. consul?” Wong told the Standard.

He claimed that their discussion focused on the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act – a bill proposed in the U.S. Congress, which calls for involvement in safeguarding “democracy” in Hong Kong.

The two also reportedly discussed banning U.S. exports of equipment to Hong Kong police.

In facebook post, he revealed his visiting Washington D.C., meeting U.S. officials, and meeting between the U.S. secretary of state and another Hong Kong protest leader.

A video that circulated on Twitter on Wednesday showed a demonstrator waving an American flag, as his accomplices hurled projectiles at a Hong Kong police station.

China demands: Stop interference

On Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry expressed “strong dissatisfaction” over media reports alleging that a senior official at the U.S. consulate had met with a Hong Kong “independence group.”

In a statement, the ministry urged Washington to “immediately make a clean break with various anti-China rioters” and “stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs immediately.”

CCTV, China’s state-run broadcaster, called the U.S. diplomat “the behind-the-scenes black hand creating chaos in Hong Kong,” according to the New York Times, employing the term used against those who led the anti-government protests leading up to the Tiananmen massacre in 1989.

China has accused foreign powers, particularly the US, of fomenting the demonstrations in Hong Kong.

The top Chinese envoy in Hong Kong has demanded that the U.S. consulate “make a clean break from anti-China forces” following media reports of a meeting between an U.S. official and local activists including Joshua Wong Chi-fung.

On Thursday, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “strong disapproval” and “firm opposition” demanding clarification over a meeting two days earlier between U.S. consulate political counselor Julie Eadeh and Wong, Nathan Law Kwun-chung as well as fellow core members of local political party Demosisto.

In a statement, the office also labeled the activists as “anti-China forces who stir up trouble in Hong Kong.”

On Eadeh’s meeting with Wong and Law, a spokesperson of the foreign ministries commissioner’s said: “China is rock-firm in upholding national sovereignty and security, as well as Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and in opposing any interference in Hong Kong affair by any country, organization or individual in whatever form.”

The spokesperson said: “We strongly urge members of the U.S. [consulate] to … immediately make a clean break from anti-China forces who stir up trouble in Hong Kong, stop sending out wrong signals to violent offenders, refrain from meddling with Hong Kong affairs, and avoid going further down the wrong path.”

US denounces China

When contacted by AFP for comment, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said representatives of the U.S. government “meet regularly with a wide cross section of people across Hong Kong and Macau.”

A U.S. official has described China as a “thuggish regime” for disclosing the photographs and personal details of a U.S. diplomat who met student leaders involved in demonstrations in Hong Kong.

The denunciation was unusually sharp and came as tensions between Washington and Beijing surged over an expanding trade war and military rivalry in the western Pacific, among other disputes.

The Hong Kong office of China’s foreign ministry on Thursday asked the U.S. to explain reports in Communist party-controlled media that American diplomats were in contact with leaders of protests that have convulsed Hong Kong for nine weeks.

“I don’t think that leaking an American diplomat’s private information, pictures, names of their children, I don’t think that is a formal protest, that is what a thuggish regime would do,” state department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told a briefing late on Thursday. “That is not how a responsible nation would behave.”

Ortagus did not name the diplomat, or elaborate further on what kinds of private information or children’s details were disclosed.

Ortagus said it was the job of U.S. diplomats and those from other countries to meet different people, including opposition leaders.

The discontent

A CNBC report headlined – Hong Kong protesters plan airport sit-in, will make ‘five demands’ – said:

“The discontent from protesters may go beyond politics. While the city’s rich have grown richer, the wealth gap in the city has grown wider, according to David Dodwell, a long-time observer of Asia politics.

“Many people feel left behind and neglected by the government, and their frustration is fueling increasingly disruptive protests that have coursed through the city, said Dodwell, who is executive director at HK-APEC Trade Policy Group and a former Financial Times Asia correspondent.

“‘There is a very widespread anxiety in Hong Kong among the ordinary working person about their prospects going forward,’ Dodwell told CNBC. He added that more than 90% of local Hong Kongers work for small and medium-sized enterprises, which have not seen the kind of economic growth that big multinational corporations have.”




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