Hong Kong withholds British lawyer’s visa, delaying Jimmy Lai trial

Hong Kong has temporarily blocked a top British human rights lawyer from representing jailed pro-democracy activist JimmyLai, in a trial stymied by delays and calls for an intervention from Beijing. British King’s Counsel Timothy Owen was set to represent Lai, the founder of the now-defunct Apple Daily, who has been in jail on protest-related offences since his high-profile arrest in 2020. Lai is accused of conspiring with others to call for an imposition of sanctions or a blockade, or engaging in hostile activities against Hong Kong or China. He also…

Xi unlikely to tolerate dissent as momentous protests shake China

Just five weeks after being elected to a historic third term, President Xi Jinping suddenly faces cracks in the facade of unchallenged authority that he so successfully presented to the world at the 20th national congress of the Chinese Communist party. For groups of protesters, apparently without central coordination, to take to the streets across China and to social media, and for some then explicitly to call for Xi and the Communist party to stand aside, is a seismic shock. The echoes with Iran are superficially present, even if the…

The Observer view on Britain’s feeble response to China’s assault on human rights | Observer editorial

The trial of Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigner and media tycoon, which is due to begin this week, marks another low point in China’s relentless assault on individual and civil rights in Britain’s former colony – whose traditional freedoms Beijing is legally bound to uphold. Lai, a UK citizen who founded the popular Apple Daily newspaper, faces charges of conspiracy to publish seditious material and collusion with foreign powers under Beijing’s draconian 2020 national security law. The accusations are offensive and ridiculous. In effect, China’s Communist party is…

Fighting an exodus, Hong Kong faces a tough task to lure back young people

Raleigh Chuang’s decision to move to Hong Kong from London in 2021 bemused her friends. She was offered a position at an international bank that required the relocation. “Why would you move to Hong Kong?” her friends asked, well aware of the political and social upheaval that has gripped the city in recent years. Hong Kong has seen an exodus of workers since a national security law was introduced in 2020. The erosion of social and political freedoms, due to the security crackdown and tighter digital surveillance that began during…

Hong Kong: City on Fire review – shocking violence in China’s city of dissent

An unflinching chronicle of the pro-democracy protests that sent shock waves through Hong Kong in 2019, Choi Ka Yan and Lee Hiu Ling’s vital, politically urgent documentary witnesses the fight for freedom from the frontline. Dynamically structured around personal testimonials, the film gives voice to the activists who dared to brave the clouds of teargas. Mounted in response to a highly controversial plan from the Hong Kong government that would allow for extradition to mainland China, the demonstrations escalated in scale after police brutality against peaceful protesters. As well as…

How Finnair’s Huge Bet on Faster Flights to Asia Suddenly Came Undone

how finnairs huge bet on faster flights to asia suddenly came undone

Nestled near Europe’s rooftop, Finland spent decades leveraging its location to become a popular gateway for Asian travelers. Its flagship airline, Finnair, offered flights from Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai to Helsinki that, by crossing over Russia, were hours shorter than flights to any other European capital. Airport chiefs invested nearly $1 billion in a new terminal with streamlined transfers. There were signs in Japanese, Korean and Chinese, and hot water dispensers for the instant noodle packets favored by Chinese tourists. Then Russia sent troops across Ukraine’s border on Feb. 24,…

Protester condemns ‘barbaric’ attack in Manchester outside China consulate

A pro-democracy protester who appeared to be beaten up by men from China’s consulate in Manchester has condemned the attack as “barbaric” and backed calls for the UK government to expel any Chinese officials involved. Speaking for the first time since the incident, which was captured on video, Bob Chan said: “I’m shocked and hurt by this unprovoked attack,” adding he had been taking part in a “peaceful protest”. He said he had bruises on his eye, neck and back and had nightmares about possible repercussions against his family. Chan…

In Britain, Demands for Tough Response After Beating at Chinese Consulate

in britain demands for tough response after beating at chinese consulate

LONDON — The rally outside the Chinese Consulate in Manchester, in northern England, began like others before it, with demonstrators against repression in Hong Kong hanging banners and preparing to shout slogans. But the scene turned violent on Sunday after a group of men emerged from the consulate, removed a poster of Xi Jinping, China’s leader, and then dragged one protester through the gates. They kicked and beat him as police officers and other protesters rushed to separate them. Journalists at the scene caught the melee on video seen around…

Chinese diplomat involved in violence at Manchester consulate, MP says

One of China’s most senior diplomats in the UK was involved in the violence against pro-democracy protesters at the Manchester consulate, a British MP has said. Alicia Kearns, a Conservative MP, told the House of Commons that Beijing’s consul general in Manchester, Zheng Xiyuan, was seen “ripping down posters” before a Hong Kong campaigner was attacked on Sunday. Footage posted online shows a person, believed to be Zheng, who is a veteran Chinese Communist party (CCP) official, kicking down a poster and pulling the hair of a protester, who was…

The most powerful man in China since Mao: Xi Jinping is on the brink of total power

This week in Beijing, Xi Jinping will preside over one of his country’s great shows of political theatre and seal a long-planned political triumph, consolidating his power and extending his rule. The Chinese Communist party is poised to formally hand Xi another five years as party boss, and therefore leader of the country, at a summit that will also move his allies into key roles and elevate the status of his writings on power and government. The 20th Party Congress will – barring unprecedented last-minute drama – confirm him as…