Duterte challenges West to probe Philippines drugs war

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a gathering of businessmen in Manila, on Thursday. (Reuters)
Updated 14 October 2016

Duterte challenges West to probe Philippines drugs war

MANILA: Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte called US President Barack Obama, the European Union and United Nations “fools” on Thursday, and warned they would end up humiliated and outsmarted if they accepted an invitation to investigate his war on drugs.
Duterte said he was open to an outside probe by Obama, his Secretary of State John Kerry, the EU and the UN Commission on Human Rights into alleged extrajudicial killings, but on the condition that after he was questioned, he had the right to be heard.
“I’ll play with you. I’m very sure they cannot be brighter than me. I will ask five questions that will humiliate you,” Duterte said. “Watch out for that, it will be a spectacle.”
Duterte’s remarks came during a televised speech to hundreds of the country’s business elite, during which he said it was necessary to cleanse the streets of drug pushers and rescue the next generation of Filipinos from the scourge of narcotics.
Duterte, 71, won the hearts of millions of Filipinos with his outrageous, at times comical speeches and man-of-the-people style in the run-up to a May election. He won by a huge margin after campaigning almost entirely on promises to wipe out drugs and crime.
Nearly 2,300 people have died in the war on drugs since the campaign started on June 30, according to police, of which 1,566 were drug suspects killed in police operations.
Police had previously said there had been more then 3,600 deaths, but have since concluded that many of that number were homicides and murders unrelated to illegal narcotics.
Opinion polls for Duterte’s first 90 days in office suggest he remains popular, with a Pulse Asia survey on Wednesday showing he had the trust of 86 percent of 1,200 Filipinos surveyed.
Duterte said on Wednesday he had officially invited a United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions to investigate the drug killings.
Thursday speech was the latest among Duterte’s frequent and furious rebukes of international critics of his drugs war, after they expressed concern about the unusually high death toll and circumstances of the drugs killings.
“These fools think (they can do anything) because the Philippines is a small nation,” he said. “Maybe God gave you the money but we have the brains.”


Patten says China pursuing ‘Orwellian’ agenda in Hong Kong

Updated 31 min 49 sec ago

Patten says China pursuing ‘Orwellian’ agenda in Hong Kong

  • Chris Patten defended London’s announcement that it would grant residency and a path to citizenship for nearly 3 million Hong Kong residents
  • China shocked many of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million people when it announced earlier this month that it will enact a national security law for the city

BEIJING: The last British governor of Hong Kong criticized the Chinese government on Friday over proposed national security legislation, calling it part of an “Orwellian” drive to eliminate opposition in violation of the agreement on handing the territory over to Beijing.
Chris Patten defended London’s announcement that it would grant residency and a path to citizenship for nearly 3 million Hong Kong residents if Beijing goes through with passage of the legislation.
The law is seen as potentially imposing severe restrictions on freedom of speech and opposition political activity in the former British colony that was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997. China has denounced the offer of citizenship as a violation of its sovereignty.
“If they’ve broken the (Sino-British) Joint Declaration, if they’ve thrown it overboard, how can they then use the joint declaration as though it stops us doing something that’s a sovereign right of ours?” said Patten, now chancellor of the University of Oxford, in an online talk with reporters.
The declaration is a bilateral treaty signed as part of the handover process. China has essentially declared it null and void, while Britain says Beijing is reneging on its commitments made in the document that was supposed to be remain in effect until 2047.
China shocked many of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million people when it announced earlier this month that it will enact a national security law for the city, which was promised a high level of autonomy outside of foreign and defense affairs.
An earlier push to pass security legislation was shelved after massive Hong Kong street protests against it in 2003. However, Beijing appeared to lose patience after months of sometimes violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong last year that China said was an attempt to split the territory off from the rest of the country.
Patten said the security legislation is unnecessary because Hong Kong’s legal code already includes provisions to combat terrorism, financial crimes and other threats to security.
“What Beijing wants is something which deals with those rather worrying Orwellian crimes like sedition, whatever that may be,” Patten said.
China may also be seeking grounds to disqualify opposition candidates from running in September’s election for the local legislature by accusing them of being disloyal, he said.
Beijing has ignored promises that Hong Kong could democratize of its own accord after the handover, Patten said. The US should unite with other democratic countries to oppose underhanded tactics by Beijing, he said.
“It’s the Chinese Communist Party which attacks us, which hectors, which bullies, which tells companies which have roots in our countries, that unless they do what China wants, they won’t get any business in China,” Patten said. “That’s the way the Mafia behave, and the rest of the world shouldn’t put up with it, because if we do, liberal democracies are going to be screwed.”