China’s top paper warns ‘turbulence’ could hurt Hong Kong’s economy

A protester defaces the Hong Kong emblem after breaking into the government headquarters on July 1, 2019, the 22nd anniversary of the city’s handover from Britain to China. (AFP)
Updated 03 July 2019

China’s top paper warns ‘turbulence’ could hurt Hong Kong’s economy

  • China called the violence an ‘undisguised challenge’ to the ‘one country, two systems’ model under which Hong Kong has been ruled for 22 years
  • China has blamed Western countries for offering succor to the protests

SHANGHAI: Confrontations and outbreaks of lawlessness in Hong Kong could damage its reputation as an international business hub and seriously hurt its economy, China’s top newspaper, the People’s Daily, said in an editorial on Wednesday.
Hundreds of protesters in the former British colony besieged and broke into the legislature late on Monday after a demonstration marking the anniversary of its return to Chinese rule in 1997.
China called the violence an “undisguised challenge” to the “one country, two systems” model under which Hong Kong has been ruled for 22 years.
“It is not surprising there are some disagreements and even major disputes about certain issues, but if we fall into the whirlpool of ‘overpoliticization’ and artificially create division and opposition, it will not only serve no purpose, but will also severely hinder economic and social development,” the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said.
The turbulence in Hong Kong was triggered by an extradition bill opponents say will undermine Hong Kong’s much-cherished rule of law and give Beijing powers to prosecute activists in mainland courts, which are controlled by the Communist Party.
The People’s Daily said the rule of law did not mean a small number of “extremists” should be allowed to conduct violent crimes that would damage Hong Kong’s reputation as an international business city.
It warned that Hong Kong was already under pressure as a result of changes to the global economy and intensifying competition and “cannot bear turbulence and internal friction.”
China has blamed Western countries, particularly the United States and Hong Kong’s former colonial master Britain, for offering succor to the protests.
The official China Daily, an English-language newspaper often used by Beijing to put out its message to the rest of the world, denounced “outside agitations” in its editorial on Wednesday.
“What has also been notable is the hypocrisy of some Western governments — the United States and United Kingdom most prominently — which have called for a stop to the violence, as if they have had nothing to do with it,” the China Daily said.
“But, looking back at the whole protest saga, they have been deeply involved in fueling it since its inception,” it said.
British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt condemned violence on both sides on Tuesday and warned of consequences if China neglects commitments made when it took back Hong Kong to allow freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including the right to protest.
China said on Monday Britain no longer has any responsibility for Hong Kong and needed to stop “gesticulating” about the city.


Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

Updated 14 November 2019

Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

  • Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined a sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks
  • Firebrand cleric leading the protests called for nationwide demonstrations

ISLAMABAD: Anti-government protesters in Pakistan blocked major roads and highways across the country on Thursday in a bid to force Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign.
The demonstrators — led by the leader of opposition party Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), the firebrand cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman — have taken to the streets as the start of their “Plan B” to topple the government and ensure a general election after failing to push Khan out through a fortnight-long sit-in in Islamabad, which ended on Wednesday.
That same day, Rehman told his party workers to spread their protests to other parts of the country.
“This protest will continue not for a day but for a month, if our leadership instructs,” said JUI-F Secretary-General, Maulana Nasir Mehmood, to a group of protesters who blocked the country’s main Karakoram Highway — an important trade route between Pakistan and China that also connects the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province with its northern areas.
The JUI-F protesters also blocked other key routes in KP and a major highway connecting the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. The party’s Balochistan chapter also announced its intention to block the highway connecting Pakistan to neighboring Iran.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined the sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks, demanding the prime minister’s resignation and fresh polls in the country following allegations of electoral fraud last year and the mismanagement of Pakistan’s economy. The government denies both charges.
Rehman is a veteran politician who was a member of the National Assembly for 20 years. He enjoys support in religious circles across the country. His party has yet to share a detailed plan regarding which roads will be closed when, or how long this new phase of protests will continue.
The JUI-F and other opposition parties have been trying to capitalize on the anger and frustration of the public against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ruling party, which came to power last year promising 10 million new jobs for the youth, 5 million low-cost houses, and economic reforms to benefit the middle class.
Since then, Pakistan’s economy has nosedived, witnessing double-digit inflation and rampant unemployment. The government signed a $6-billion bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund to stave off a balance-of-payments crisis.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has stabilized the deteriorating economy, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman ‘Plan B’ will fail like his ‘Plan A,’” Firdous Ashiq Awan, special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, said in a statement to the press.

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