Families of captured Hong Kong activists demand their return from Chinese detention

Family members of twelve Hong Kong activists hold a news conference on Sept. 12, 2020 to seek help. (Reuters)
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Updated 12 September 2020

Families of captured Hong Kong activists demand their return from Chinese detention

  • Relatives donned masks and hats to shield their identities
  • Hong Kong media, citing unidentified sources, said the 12 were headed to Taiwan to apply for political asylum

HONG KONG: A group of Hong Kong families on Saturday demanded the urgent return of their activist relatives detained last month by mainland Chinese authorities as they tried to flee the city by boat to Taiwan.
Relatives of six of the 12 detained activists donned masks and hats to shield their identities as they made their first public appeal for help and information on their plight, supported by several local pro-democracy politicians.
Some sobbed and wept as they issued several demands, including that those detained be allowed to consult lawyers appointed by the families and not the Chinese government and should be allowed to call their relatives in Hong Kong.
“I can’t imagine what’s the worst case scenario,” said a woman surnamed Li, whose son Li Tsz-yin, 29, is among those being held in a detention center in the southern city of Shenzhen.
They said they still had no information on the charges faced by their relatives, and the Hong Kong government had given no concrete assistance. A boy aged 16 is the youngest being held.
The Chinese Coast Guard Bureau said in a post on its social media site on Aug. 27 that it had arrested at least 10 people on Aug. 23 after intercepting a boat off the coast of the southern province of Guangdong.
Hong Kong media, citing unidentified sources, said the 12 were headed to Taiwan to apply for political asylum. Their arrests come as local activists and politicians fear a worsening clamp-down across the former British colony as a sweeping new national security law imposed by Beijing in July takes full effect.
Hours before the families’ appearance, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States was deeply concerned about the activists, saying they had been denied to access to lawyers and local authorities had not provided any information on their welfare or the charges against them.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said earlier this week that if they had been arrested for breaking mainland law “then they have to dealt with according to the mainland laws.”


Italy’s Lombardy region to impose virus curfew

Updated 20 October 2020

Italy’s Lombardy region to impose virus curfew

  • The curfew from 11pm to 5am is expected to begin on Thursday night and last to November 13
  • More than 10,000 new Covid-19 infections were recorded in Italy on Friday for the time ever

ROME: Italy’s northern Lombardy region prepared Tuesday to impose a nighttime curfew, the most restrictive anti-coronavirus measure the country has seen since emerging from a national lockdown in the spring.
The curfew from 11pm (2100GMT) to 5am is expected to begin on Thursday night and last to November 13.
Health Minister Roberto Speranza gave his consent late Monday to the more restrictive measure proposed by the regional government, after an hours-long meeting.
“It’s an appropriate and symbolically important initiative that shouldn’t have particularly serious economic consequences,” Regional President Attilio Fontana said in the newspaper La Repubblica on Tuesday.
More than 10,000 new Covid-19 infections were recorded in Italy on Friday for the time ever, with Lombardy the hardest hit region, as it was in the beginning of the health crisis in February.
The region, which includes Italy’s financial hub of Milan, reported 1,687 new cases on Monday, with Italy’s southern Campania region coming a close second with 1,593.
Since Italy became the first hard-hit European country earlier this year, more than 36,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the country.
On Saturday, Lombardy ordered its bars to shut at midnight and prohibited the consumption of food and drink in public outside areas.
Italy has put in place recent restrictions to try to stem the new wave of infections, but none have so far imposed a curfew.
They include banning amateur contact sports, such as football matches, school trips, and restricting bars and restaurants to table service after 6pm.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he does not envision another country-wide lockdown, which would further sap Italy’s struggling economy, but has said that he would not rule out limited ones.
Lombardy’s curfew is expected to only allow people to leave their home for reasons of health, work or necessity.
The new decree will also call for large shopping centers to be shut on weekends, according to Italian media reports.