Snowden’s Hong Kong Lawyer Being Threatened By Authorities


By Raquel Carvalho for South China Morning Post – Barrister Robert Tibbo says he is facing complaints from Immigration Department accusing him of having conflicting interests and breaching professional code of conduct. The Immigration Department has asked to replace the lawyer for the seven asylum seekers who sheltered American whistle-blower Edward Snowden in 2013, accusing him of breaching the professional code of conduct and of having conflicting interests, as fears of detention among the refugees grow stronger. Canadian barrister Robert Tibbo said that formal complaints were filed against him on July 13, and he was made aware of them late that Friday afternoon, just days before the seven asylum seekers – who had their protection claims rejected in May – attended their first hearing at the Torture Claims Appeal Board on Monday. “It’s another desperate attempt to prevent me from providing legal services to my clients,” he claimed. Tibbo said that the immigration director had previously tried to remove him from their cases. “They have systematically made efforts to remove me … They have come up with a myriad of excuses and allegations that were completely without any merit,” he added. According to Tibbo, the Immigration Department filed a complaint with the Hong Kong Bar Association on July 13 accusing him of a possible breach of the bar’s code of conduct.

Democracy Protests Continue In Hong Kong

Protesters carry a large image of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo as they march during the annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, Saturday, July 1, 2017 AP

By Sarah Karacs for Independent – Storm clouds loomed over Hong Kong as tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets, giving way to a downpour as the day wore on that deterred many from joining the throngs of dissent. With last year’s protest at 110,000, as estimated by organisers Civil Rights Fronts, this year saw a reported 60,000 take to the streets, on a day that coincided with the end of the contentious three-day visit of China’s state leader Xi Jinping. Police calculate the number as being significantly lower, at a paltry 14,500. The protest, which saw participants of all ages march through the bustling streets of a city campaigning for universal suffrage and against the degradation of civil liberties, comes as Hong Kong marks its 20th anniversary since it was returned to China from British colonial rule. It has also coincided with the inauguration of new chief executive Carrie Lam, who is seen by detractors as a puppet to Beijing. The news that Nobel prize winner and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is terminally ill and has only recently been granted medical parole has been another source of discontent. The bad weather, and – according to organisers – anxiety around safety in an increasingly fraught political climate, meant turnout here on Saturday was much lower than the hundreds of thousands in previous years.

Thousands Join Hong Kong Vigil For Tiananmen Square Anniversary

A girl takes part in a candlelight vigil to mark the 28th anniversary of the crackdown of the pro-democracy movement at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, at Victoria Park in Hong Kong, China June 4, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

By J.R. Wu and Katy Wong for Reuters – Tens of thousands of people gathered in Hong Kong on Sunday for a candlelight vigil to mark the 28th anniversary of China’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests in and around Beijing’s Tianamen Square, while Taiwan urged China to make a transition to full democracy. Nearly three decades after Beijing sent tanks and troops to quell the 1989 student-led protests, Chinese authorities ban any public commemoration of the event on the mainland and have yet to release an official death toll. Estimates from human rights groups and witnesses range from several hundred to several thousand killed. Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, is the only place on Chinese soil where a large-scale commemoration takes place, symbolizing the financial hub’s relative freedoms compared with the mainland. This year’s events are especially politically charged, coming just a month before an expected visit of President Xi Jinping to mark 20 years since Hong Kong was handed back to China. “When Xi Jinping comes, he’ll know the people of Hong Kong have not forgotten,” Lee Cheuk-yan, an organizer of the annual candlelight vigil, said.

Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Soldiers’ Win Seats In Local Elections

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By Donny Kwok and Clare Baldwin for Reuters – Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement got a boost on Monday with about eight candidates involved in crippling protests last year winning office at district-level elections, while some veterans from both sides of the political divide suffered defeat. The election of the so-called Umbrella Soldiers – named after the 2014 demonstrations in which activists used umbrellas to guard against tear gas and pepper spray – reflects continued support for political change in the Chinese-ruled city. “The paratroopers are the new force,” said James Sung, a political analyst at the City University of Hong Kong, referring to candidates inspired by the Umbrella movement.

Occupy Hong Kong One Year Anniversary

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By Jeffie Lam and Stuart Lau in South China Morning Post – Occupy organisers and protesters vowed yesterday to involve the wider community in their fight for greater democracy, looking to coming elections as the key battleground, as they marked the first anniversary of last year’s mass sit-ins. There was a strong sense of déjà vu near government headquarters in Tamar as hundreds returned to the site they had occupied for 79 days. They formed a sea of yellow umbrellas again, chanting the familiar slogan, “I want genuine universal suffrage”. But the mood was more subdued and reflective than aggressive, while police were out in force to prevent any violence or reoccupation of roads in Admiralty.

Occupy Objects Recall Passion Of Hong Kong Protests

Sampson Wong Yu-hin, one of the organisers of the exhibition of Occupy objects, with some of the exhibits.Photo: Franke Tsang

By Vivienne Chow in SCMP – An exhibition of iconic objects collected from the sites of last year’s Occupy protests will open on Saturday, two days before the first anniversary of the start of the pro-democracy movement. Hereafter: Objects from the Umbrella Movement will showcase 60 objects out of a total of 380 pieces collected from protest sites in Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok. The organisers, Umbrella Movement Visual Archive, said they retrieved the objects before police began clearance operations in December to end the 79-day sit-ins. Sampson Wong Yu-hin, one of the organisers, said the passion and creative energy of the protests were unprecedented, and the objects served as a snapshot of the movement.

Hong Kong Charges Occupy Central Leaders W/ Public Order Offenses

Occupy Central leader Joshua Wong speaks to the media after a vote at the city's legislature in Hong Kong, June 18, 2015.

By Wen Yuqing and Xin Lin in Radio Free Asia – The face of last year’s pro-democracy Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong, Joshua Wong, hit out on Thursday after being charged by police for his role in the mass protests for universal suffrage in the former British colony. Wong, 18, who could face a jail term of up to five years, slammed the charges of “illegal assembly” and “inciting others to take part in an illegal assembly” as politically motivated. The charges relate to a protest on Sept. 26 during which some Umbrella Movement protesters climbed into Civic Square, part of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government complex. Writing on his Facebook page, Wong said that the freedom of association, among a number of traditional freedoms that Beijing promised to uphold after the 1997 handover to Chinese rule, has been severely limited in the city in recent years.

Activist Faces Charges Over Hong Kong ‘White Paper’ Protest

Joshua Wong received news he would face charges as he was about to leave Hong Kong for a holiday in Japan. Photo: David Wong

By Tony Cheung and Joyce Ng in SCMP – Student leader Joshua Wong Chi-fung and three other activists are set to be charged with obstructing police officers during a protest outside the central government’s liaison office last summer. They say the move by police, more than a year after the protest took place, appears like a political prosecution. In a WhatsApp message to the media yesterday, Wong, convenor of student group Scholarism, said he was at the airport checking in for a morning flight to Japan to go on holiday when he received a telephone call from Western District crime squad. He was told to report to police by Thursday, when he would be charged. He was accused of obstructing officers in carrying out their duty at a protest outside the liaison office in Western on June 11 last year.

Taxi Driver Fined HK$3,000 For Refusing To Leave HK Occupy Site

Police clear the Occupy site in Admiralty last December. Yeung was arrested during the operation. Photo: AFP

By Chris Lau in SCMP – An Occupy activist who previously told a court that he would not forgive himself if he moved was fined HK$3,000 in Eastern Court today for refusing to leave a road divider during a clearance operation in Admiralty last year. Handing down the fine on taxi driver Yeung Tak-wah, magistrate Lee Siu-ho said: “I understand that your motive stemmed from some thoughts and a strong belief you had over some matters.” At the time of the offence, Yeung was protesting against the city’s restrictive political reform framework handed down by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on August 31 last year. “But at the same time, you have to consider the rights and freedoms of others,” Lee added. Yeung, 55, who represented himself in court, pleaded not guilty earlier to one count of obstructing a police officer.

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolutionaries Slowly Back To The Streets

Leading pro-democracy activists, (L-R) Chan Kin-man, Benny Tai and Chu Yiu-ming outside the Wanchai police station in Hong Kong on January 24, 2015 (AFP Photo/Philippe Lopez)

It has been 200 days since tens of thousands of Hong Kongers flooded the city’s streets demanding the right to freely elect their own leader, and 126 days since the police unceremoniously cleared the tent-filled villages after almost three months of occupation. The movement for democracy has largely been relegated to online forums and abstract discussions, but that isn’t the only place it resides. The handful of tents that remained in front of the Central Government Offices even after the Dec. 16 clearance has steadily grown over the past three months. Currently, 146 fabric shelters line the sidewalks of Tim Mei Avenue, where the use of pepper spray and arrest of student protesters on Sept. 27 was the spark that set the movement ablaze.

Occupy By Stealth? Hong Kong Protest Camp Grows

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Pro-democracy protesters are gathering at the site of Occupy Central’s main camp to commemorate six months since the mass sit-ins began last year. A tent community has been slowly expanding on the pavement outside the Admiralty government headquarters since police cleared Occupy’s base camp on Harcourt Road and the adjoining roads in December, ending the 79-day mass sit-in. The latest feature is a “study room”, which started to fully function three days ago. With seven benches, lit by fluorescent tubes powered by charging packs, the corner is a smaller version of Occupy’s study room on Harcourt Road at the height of the protests.

Chinese General: Hong Kong Protest Attempted Color Revolution

Hong Kong A general view of the Admiralty protest site on the road outside the Hong Kong Government complex on November 17.

The Occupy protests were “an orchestrated Hong Kong version of a colour revolution” and Beijing’s response should serve as a warning to advocates for Taiwan’s independence, according to General Sun Jianguo, a deputy chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army. “Hostile forces have always attempted to make Hong Kong the bridgehead for subverting and infiltrating mainland China,” Sun said. “The illegal Occupy Central activities in 2014 came as minority radical groups in Hong Kong, under the instigation and support of external forces … orchestrated a Hong Kong version of a colour revolution.” He said the central government had shown firm support for the Hong Kong government in dealing with the protests, and that Beijing’s defence of “one country, two systems” should also serve as a warning to Taiwan’s pro-independence forces. Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, chair professor of public policy at City University, said Sun’s remarks “definitely reflect the central government’s stance”.

Occupy Hong Kong, Take Two

Umbrella Revolution Democracy for Hong Kong

Were Hong Kong’s street demonstrations a movie, the director’s chair would certainly be placed in Washington D.C. Several independent researchers have exposed the shockingly large number of direct links between funding and political backing from Washington and nearly every prominent leader organizing street demonstrations in Hong Kong. The yellow umbrellas winding through Hong Kong’s streets, whose numbers are inflated by American and British media’s expert use of tight angles and close ups, could be considered “take two.” Take one wasn’t fit for Washington’s vision for Hong Kong, which is ironic considering the protests claim to be fighting for Hong Kong’s self-determination. Regardless, the last round of protests fared poorly, with the majority of Hong Kong’s residents turning on protesters who blocked roads for weeks, hurting local businesses and disrupting the lives, peace, and prosperity of the majority. A loud, disruptive minority, disrupting the peace and prosperity of the majority, all while shouting “pro-democratic” slogans presents another irony and one that seems lost on some.

Hong Kong Democracy Movement Back, Turnout Down

A protester raises a placard that reads "Occupy Central" between riot policemen and protesters outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. Riot police in Hong Kong on Saturday arrested scores of students who stormed the government headquarters compound during a night of scuffles to protest China's refusal to allow genuine democratic reforms in the semiautonomous region. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Turnout for the first major pro-democracy march of the post-Occupy era fell well short of expectations yesterday – but organisers rejected suggestions people were growing less determined about the fight for democracy. Rather it was a sign Hongkongers no longer had faith in “conventional ways” of protesting, Civil Human Rights Front convenor Daisy Chan Sin-ying said. She said more “alternative” forms of civil disobedience could emerge unless the government heeded public opinion on “genuine democracy”. The front put turnout for the march from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Central at 13,000. Independent academics put the turnout at 11,000 to 12,000, while police said 6,600 left the park, with a peak turnout of 8,800.

Hong Kong Occupy Protest Leaders Arrested

Leading pro-democracy activists, (L-R) Chan Kin-man, Benny Tai and Chu Yiu-ming outside the Wanchai police station in Hong Kong on January 24, 2015 (AFP Photo/Philippe Lopez)

The original founders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Occupy movement were arrested and released Saturday as the city’s police chief defended the investigation into mass protests, saying it was not “a show”. A number of protest leaders have been arrested and released without charge, with some calling the investigation harassment. Occupy founder Benny Tai said that he, Chan Kin-man and Chu Yiu-ming had been formally arrested on accusations of organising and participating in an illegal assembly, but were not charged. They were released after three hours. “Three of us were showed some videos and articles… we were released unconditionally,” he said.