Archive for ‘Macao’

08/04/2019

Fears over Hong Kong-China extradition plans

Chinese flag in front of Hong Kong skylineImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionHong Kong is part of China but has its own judicial system

The Hong Kong government has proposed changes to extradition laws that could allow transferring suspects to mainland China for trial. The move has further fuelled fears of erosion of the city’s judicial independence amid Beijing’s increasing influence.

The Hong Kong government will also consider extradition requests from Taiwan and Macau after the new changes.

Officials say the change is needed so that a murder suspect can be extradited to Taiwan for trial, and that mainland China and Macau must be included in the change to close a “systematic loophole”.

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has pushed for the amendments to be passed before July.

What are the changes?

The changes will allow for extradition requests from authorities in mainland China, Taiwan and Macau for suspects accused of criminal wrongdoings, such as murder and rape.

The requests will then be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Demonstrators march during a protest to demand authorities scrap a proposed extradition bill with China, in Hong KongImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionOver 100,000 protesters took to Hong Kong streets to rally against the government’s proposal.

Several commercial offences such as tax evasion have been removed from the list of extraditable offences amid concerns from the business community.

Hong Kong officials have said Hong Kong courts will have the final say whether to grant such extradition requests, and suspects accused of political and religious crimes will not be extradited.

Why is this controversial?

There has been a lot of public opposition, and critics say people would be subject to arbitrary detention, unfair trial and torture under China’s judicial system.

“These amendments would heighten the risk for human rights activists and others critical of China being extradited to the mainland for trial on fabricated charges,” Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

Lam Wing Kee, a Hong Kong bookseller said he was abducted and detained in China in 2015 for selling books critical of Chinese leaders and charged with “operating a bookstore illegally”.

During a recent protest against the government proposal, Mr Lam said he would consider leaving the territory before the proposal was passed.

“If I don’t go, I will be extradited,” he said. “I don’t trust the government to guarantee my safety, or the safety of any Hong Kong resident.”

Though some pro-Beijing politicians eager to defend China, dispute the criticism of its judicial system.

Hong Kong skylineImage copyrightEPA
Image captionHong Kong and China – one country, two systems

The changes have also attracted opposition from the Hong Kong business community over concerns they may not receive adequate protection under Chinese law.

The proposal has already sparked a legal challenge from Hong Kong tycoon Joseph Lau, who was convicted in absentia in a corruption case in Macau in 2014.

Macau’s government has not been able to have Mr Lau extradited because of a lack of extradition agreement between Hong Kong and Macau, but that will become possible if Hong Kong’s legislature decides to amend the extradition laws.

His lawyers argue in a 44-page submission to Hong Kong’s courts that the Macau trial was marred by “serious procedural irregularities that rendered the trial incompatible with internationally mandated standards of fairness”.

Every citizen can request a judicial review like Mr Lau has done, but it’s the High Court that decides whether this will be granted. Most observers say there is little chance Mr Lau’s request will be successful.

Why the change now?

The latest proposal has come after a 19-year-old Hong Kong man allegedly murdered his 20-year-old pregnant girlfriend, while holidaying in Taiwan together in February last year. The man fled Taiwan and returned to Hong Kong last year.

Taiwanese officials have sought help from Hong Kong authorities to extradite the man, but Hong Kong officials say they cannot comply because of a lack of extradition agreement with Taiwan.

Xi JinpingImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionUnder Xi Jinping, Beijing is seeking increasing control over Hong Kong

“Are we happy to see a suspect that has committed a serious offence staying in Hong Kong and we’re unable to deliver justice over the case?” Mrs Lam said on 1 April while responding to media questions.

She added that mainland China and Macau were included in the proposed change to address a “loophole” in current laws.

Isn’t Hong Kong part of China anyway?

A former British colony, Hong Kong is semi-autonomous under the principle of “one country, two systems” after it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

The city has its own laws and its residents enjoy civil liberties unavailable to their mainland counterparts.

Hong Kong has entered into extradition agreements with 20 countries, including the UK and the US, but no such agreements have been reached with mainland China despite ongoing negotiations in the past two decades.

Critics have attributed such failures to poor legal protection for defendants under Chinese law.

Source: The BBC

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07/03/2019

Chinese leaders stress high-quality development

(TWO SESSIONS)CHINA-BEIJING-LI KEQIANG-NPC-PANEL DISCUSSIONS (CN)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, joins panel discussions by deputies from Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region at the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 6, 2019. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)

BEIJING, March 6 (Xinhua) — Senior Chinese leaders on Wednesday urged for more efforts to advance high-quality development.

Li Keqiang, Wang Yang and Han Zheng — members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee — made the remarks at the annual “two sessions” of the country’s top legislative and political advisory bodies.

Joining panel discussions by deputies to the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) from southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Premier Li Keqiang stressed following the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as China’s development faces more and graver risks and challenges in 2019.

He called for efforts to keep the economic growth within an appropriate range and promote high-quality development, and urged solid implementation of the planned tax and fee cuts to reduce burden on the real economy.

At the joint panel discussions of political advisors from economy and agriculture sectors, Wang Yang, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, told them to focus on major and difficult tasks, such as high-quality development and supply-side structural reform, and to deepen their investigations and researches. Wang also urged the advisors to guide the people in correctly interpreting the changes in economy and boost their confidence in development.

Vice Premier Han Zheng joined the panel discussions by lawmakers from Hong Kong. He expressed the support to Hong Kong’s bid to build itself into an international innovation and technology hub, and encouraged the people of Hong Kong, especially the youth, to start up businesses and work in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Han also joined panel discussions by lawmakers from Macao. He said that Macao will be supported in its efforts to expand new development space, and to develop its tourism and exhibition industries.

Source: Xinhua

18/12/2018

Xi meets with Macao SAR chief executive

CHINA-BEIJING-XI JINPING-MACAO SAR CHIEF EXECUTIVE-MEETING (CN)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Chief Executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) Chui Sai On, who is on a duty visit, in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 17, 2018. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

BEIJING, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) — President Xi Jinping on Monday met with Chief Executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) Chui Sai On, who is on a duty visit to Beijing.

During the meeting, Xi heard a report by Chui on Macao’s current situation and the Macao SAR government’s work.

Xi said that over the past year, the Macao SAR government, under Chui’s leadership, had faithfully fulfilled its duties, been prudent and steady in its work style, and implemented the “one country, two systems” policy and the Macao SAR Basic Law.

The Macao SAR government had improved the institutions and mechanisms for safeguarding national security, proactively taken part in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and in the Belt and Road Initiative, promoted the proper diversification of the economy, improved the livelihood of the people, and strengthened the disaster prevention and reduction system, winning the praise of the Macao society, Xi said.

“The central government fully endorses the work by Chui and the Macao SAR government,” he said.

In the process of reform and opening up of the new era, Hong Kong and Macao still have a special status and unique advantages, and can still play an irreplaceable role, Xi said.

Xi said he believed the compatriots of Macao would seize the opportunities, expand the space of development and foster new drivers of growth by integrating the SAR’s own development into the development of the country, and greet the 20th anniversary of Macao’s return to the motherland with new achievements.

17/12/2018

Macao holds int’l parade to mark 19th anniversary of return to motherland

CHINA-MACAO-PARADE (CN)

Performers attend the Macao International Parade, which is held to celebrate the 19th anniversary of Macao’s return to the motherland, in Macao, south China, Dec. 16, 2018. (Xinhua/Cheong Kam Ka)

MACAO, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — The government of China’s Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) held an international parade Sunday afternoon to mark the 19th anniversary of Macao’s return to the motherland.

The parade attracted more than 70 groups from the Chinese mainland, the Macao SAR and the Hong Kong SAR, as well as those from foreign countries including Japan, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Mozambique, Malaysia, among others.

The parade featured performances such as folk dances, acrobatics, stilt walking, Chinese martial arts and puppet shows.

The parade started from the renowned Ruins of St. Paul’s and ended at Sai Van Lake Square, where the groups took to the stage one by one.

The parade, one of the major cultural events in Macao since 2011, was organized by Macao’s Cultural Affairs Bureau and the Macao Government Tourism Office.

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