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RFA: Pope’s Speech Removed Content Related to Hong Kong

Radio Free Asia (RFA) recently reported that, according to the Italian newspapers Il Tempo and La Verite, Pope Francis’ speech on July 5 removed the content related to the Hong Kong situation from the original draft that was released. The Vatican Press Room did not explain why. The original draft included a call for social freedom, the protection of religious freedom, and sincere dialogues. The removal appeared to be an emergency decision since the Vatican distributed the original content to reporters at 11 am on the same day the Pope gave the speech. The removed contents also said the Pope will continue to pray for the Hong Kong Catholic Church and the kind people in Hong Kong. On his blog, retired Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, S.D.B questioned exactly how Chinese President Xi censored the Pope’s freedom of speech.

Source: RFA, July 7, 2020

Merkel’s Weak Attitude Toward Beijing Criticized

The French newspaper Le Monde published an editorial on Wednesday, criticizing the European Union’s weak response after Beijing passed its rubber-stamp Hong Kong National Security Law. The newspaper cited Washington’s elimination of Hong Kong’s special status and the ban on arms exports, Canada’s suspension of its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, and the UK’s offering of citizenship to up to 3 million Hong Kong residents. However, the 27 EU countries have fallen into the trap of interdependent economic relations with China.

Le Monde pointed the finger at Germany, which has served as the EU’s rotating presidency since July 1. Germany finds it difficult to look beyond the economic cooperation that has been carefully woven with China for 15 years, which translates to an annual trade of over 200 billion euros between Berlin and Beijing. The Hong Kong people are disappointed with Merkel.

The newspaper also criticized France, which fears to damage relations with Beijing at the moment when it must fully reopen the economy after coming out of the epidemic. While not giving any details, on Wednesday evening, French Foreign Minister Le Drian assured the Senate that France would take countermeasures against the Hong Kong National Security Law.

Le Monde believes that since the emergence of the epidemic, Beijing has shown its true face. Xi Jinping’s China has transformed and become more aggressive in all respects without hesitation, including the usage of provocative rhetoric to support its policies and disparage the EU model. It has proven that Beijing has become the EU’s institutional opponent. The newspaper pointed out that China’s brutal approach in Hong Kong also poses a severe test for European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. It proposes that the EU could at least suggest to the Hong Kong people that they would be willing to provide asylum to whoever wishes to escape from the authoritarian regime. If the EU wants to become a global actor and be respected, there is no other choice but to be tough when facing China.

Inside Germany, there has been much criticism of Merkel’s weak performance on the Hong Kong issue. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) criticized Merkel’s attitude towards China. Nils Schmid, a spokesman for the SPD’s parliamentary group, reminded Merkel that she should bid farewell to her outdated perception of China and face reality. Christian Lindner, leader of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), believes that Germany cannot betray its values.

Source: Radio France International, July 8, 2020中国/20200708-港版国安法-默克尔对北京小心翼翼受质疑

China Times: Cambridge Considers Revoking Honorary Fellowship Awarded to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam

Major Taiwanese news network China Times recently reported that Cambridge Wolfson College President, Professor Jane Clarke, issued an announcement that the College paid strong attention to the series of events that happened after China passed the Hong Kong National Security Law. The College strongly supports human rights protection and freedom of speech. They are considering revoking the Honorary Fellowship that was awarded to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in 2017. Last November, three British Members of the House of Lords wrote to Cambridge, asking for the removal of Carrie Lam’s Honorary Fellowship title, citing her political “incompetence and aggressive approach.” Previously, Carrie Lam had taken short term courses at Cambridge. Her husband had a Doctor’s degree from Cambridge and both of her sons graduated from Cambridge.

Source: China Times, July 2, 2020

BBC Chinese: Boris Johnson Changes Position on Huawei to Avoid Supplier from Potential Enemy

BBC Chinese recently reported that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson changed his position on Huawei. With the Chinese communists passing the new Hong Kong National Security Law, the British government is reevaluating Huawei’s reliability in the British 5G network. Boris Johnson used to be open to allowing a partial Huawei presence in the British 5G communications market. However, in a recent press conference, the Prime Minister said he does not want to see any risk in the critical national infrastructure to be controlled by suppliers from potential enemy countries. Huawei has been working hard on the British market for the past 20 years. High ranking British officials have suggested recently that the U.S. sanction on Huawei may impact the feasibility of using Huawei equipment in the British 5G network. The recent new ban that the U.S. government  imposed caused Oliver Dowden, British Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to order an emergency review. Many Conservative Party members of parliament were against including Huawei in any part of the British 5G market. They believed they could rally enough votes if Parliament were to have another vote. However, they hoped the Prime Minister would change his mind before such a vote.

Source: BBC Chinese, July 2, 2020

World Journal: Fitch Lowered Hong Kong’s Rating Twice

Well-known U.S. Chinese language newspaper, World Journal , recently reported that global ratings company, Fitch Ratings, has lowered Hong Kong’s sovereign rating twice since last September. The rating factored in the impact of the Hong Kong National Security Law that the central government imposed. Also aspects that were included in and influenced the rating were the risks in Hong Kong’s legislative system and the position that the United States has taken. If, in the future, local and international investors lose confidence in Hong Kong’s environment and its way of doing business, it is possible the rating could go down further. It is too early to draw a conclusion and the situation remains to be examined in the near future. Currently Hong Kong’s sovereign rating is only one step higher than Mainland China. It appears the Hong Kong society is steadily merging into Mainland China’s administrative system. However, the Chinese government said Hong Kong’s status remains very stable.

Source: World Journal, June 23, 2020

UDN: Poll Showed 56 Percent of HK Locals Oppose the National Security Law

United Daily News (UDN), one of the primary Taiwanese news groups, recently reported that the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI) just released the results of a poll that Reuters commissioned on the National Security Law that the Mainland communists imposed on Hong Kong. Around 56 percent of the people polled were against the new law. Among them, 49 percent were “strongly against” it. Around 34 percent of the sample supported the new law. The last 10 percent were undecided or had no opinion. The survey was conducted a few days before the Mainland revealed the content of the new law, which allows the City Chief Executive to appoint judges for national security cases. The Poll also showed that there is a steady support of 21 percent for an independent Hong Kong. On September 6, Hong Kong will hold the next election of the members of the Legislative Council. Neither the Office of the Hong Kong Chief Executive nor the Mainland Hong Kong and Macau Office responded to an inquiry for comment on the poll results. The poll was based on a sample size of 1,002 local residents.

Source: UDN, June 26, 2020

Xinhua Reporter Blocked Australian Reporter’s Camera and Did Not Want to Be Videotaped

The Daily Telegraph of Australia reported that, during a news conference in Australian that Prime Minister (PM) Morrison held in Canberra, a news reporter from Xinhua was photographed as she was stepping forward to block the camera of a reporter from SBS News and asked the photographer to stop videotaping her. After she realized that her move caught the attention of other reporters and the federal police officers, the Xinhua reporter immediately left the conference. According to the report, a female photographer was accompanying the reporter from Xinhua at the moment. She was seen to have videotaped other reporters at the news conference. She was carrying an “escorted pass” not a formal “press pass” and also refused to answer which media she worked for. John Lyons, Executive Editor of ABC News, tweeted the following: “A Chinese official, or journalist, told SBS that they couldn’t film her. Whoever she was, she needs to understand that in Australia, if you turn up at the PM’s news conference, you can film & be filmed. This (sort of problem) happens regularly in China. It should not happen here.”

Source: SBS News, June 27, 2020

Samsung Started Moving Monitor Manufacturing Lines to Vietnam

Well-known Chinese news site Sohu (NASDAQ: SOHU) recently reported that Samsung just announce that it will move its computer monitor manufacturing facilities from China to Vietnam. Vietnam’s state-run newspaper Vietnamese Youth confirmed the news. Most of Samsung’s Chinese manufacturing capabilities will be relocated to its HCMC CE Complex (SEHC) factory. Samsung expects to complete the move by the end of 2020. Samsung is currently Vietnam’s largest foreign investor, with a total investment value of US$17 billion. The monitor manufacturing move will turn Vietnam into Samsung’s largest monitor supplier in the world. According to U.S. researcher IDC, starting with the first quarter, Samsung held 34 percent of Vietnam’s 24 inch or above monitor market. With the growth of the demand on large screen monitors, the latest move will significantly benefit the region on new monitors.

Source: Sohu, June 20, 2020

BBC Chinese: China Brought Spy Charges against Two Canadians

BBC Chinese Edition recently reported that, right after the Canadian British Columbia High Court approved the extradition proceedings of the Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, China’s Supreme Prosecutor’s Office announced that it has filed charges of spying against former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor. After Meng Wanzhou was arrested by the Canadian authorities based on a U.S. request, on December 10, 2018, the Chinese authorities detained Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. This move was widely considered as hostage diplomacy. Not long ago, Canada also participated in the G7 announcement urging China to stop the Hong Kong’s National Security Law, which will allow residents of Hong Kong to be secretly extradited to the Mainland for trial under the name of national security. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to associate the current spy suit with the Meng Wanzhou’s case. The Canadian Consular Staff in China cannot visit the two Canadian citizens at this moment.

Source: BBC Chinese, June 19, 2020

FCC Rejects Phoenix TV’s Application

On Monday June 22, the Federal Communications Commission said it rejected the request of a radio station in Mexico to continue broadcasting Mandarin Chinese language programs to southern California and ordered it to cease operations within 48 hours. The statement reads, “The application was dismissed because the parties failed to include in their application a key participant, Phoenix Radio, which produces the Mandarin programming in its studio. Phoenix Radio is partially owned by two entities with Chinese government ownership, Extra Steps Investment Limited and China Wise International Limited. The parties have 48 hours to cease broadcast operations related to this application.”

After the rejection, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued a statement applauding the FCC’s decision. “Today’s decision sends an important message to the world that the U.S. will not allow China to exploit FCC loopholes and spread its propaganda over our airwaves. More importantly, this decision is a critical step in countering the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to control what Americans see, hear, and ultimately think.”

Source: VOA, June 22, 2020