Tag Archives: Hong Kong

One in five Australian Chinese reports an attack or threat amid the pandemic, tensions are rising | Instant News

SYDNEY (Reuters) – One in five Chinese Australians say they have been physically threatened or attacked in the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and tensions in Australia’s relations with China, a survey by the Lowy Institute think tank reported.

FILE PHOTOS: Sydney Harbor Bridge seen through train windows in Sydney, Australia, 11 November 2020. REUTERS / Loren Elliott

The findings prompted calls from the Chinese Australian Forum, a community group, for national leadership to tackle racism as Australia deals with a more assertive China, as well as recognition that the Chinese community in Australia has diverse political views and origins.

About 5% of Australia’s 25 million population claim Chinese ancestry, the national census shows. Half of Lowy’s survey respondents were born outside of mainland China, in places including Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan.

“Chinese Australians will always be caught in geopolitical tensions with (China),” said the president of the Australia China Forum, Jason Li.

“How we manage the growing distrust of 1.4 million fellow Australians will be a significant test of our multiculturalism and our values ​​as an open liberal society.”

Three-quarters of respondents said Australia was a good or very good place to live.

The survey was conducted when the Chinese embassy published a speech by deputy chief of mission Wang Xining, who attacked “ruffians” in Australia who criticized the Chinese government.

“The ruffians who deliberately slander China, undermine Sino-Australian friendship and undermine the welfare of the two nations for personal gain will be eliminated by the world, and their descendants will be embarrassed to mention their negative role in history, Wang said at an Australia China Business Council dinner.

The embassy has previously listed complaints against Australia, including Canberra’s call for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, a ban on Chinese telecommunications company Huawe from participating in 5G networks, and restricting foreign investment on national security grounds.


Australia introduced a foreign interference law in 2018 that has increased scrutiny of political contributions by Australian Chinese and led to police raids on Chinese media.

Half of Lowy’s survey respondents said they were concerned about China’s influence on Australia’s political process, and half said the media and politicians were paying “the right amount” or “too little” attention to the issue.

Australian public broadcaster ABC launched a Chinese-language Youtube video channel this week offering Australian news, following concerns from the government and some community groups about the Chinese government’s influence on Chinese-language media outlets in Australia.

Li said the survey’s findings that seven in 10 Australian Chinese feel they belong to Australia “testifies to the strength of Australian multiculturalism”.

An equal number of Australian Chinese say they feel part of the Chinese (68%).

The survey also found strong support (65%) for Australia looking to find other markets to reduce its economic dependence on China.

This is the first time the Lowy Institute has conducted a Being Chinese in Australia survey of around 1,000 people, mostly recruited on social media, including Australian citizens, permanent residents and a large number of long-term visa holders. It is funded by the Australian government.

Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Edited by Lincoln Feast.


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Prada reworked the winter classic at Milan Fashion Week | Instant News

MILAN (Reuters) – Italian fashion house Prada reworked its classic wardrobe for fall at Milan Fashion Week on Thursday, with designers Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons saying they were inspired by the idea of ​​change and transformation.

In a video shared online as part of the virtual Milan Fashion Week, models are dressed in layers in various prints and colors as part of the fall / winter 2021-2022 collection.

Prada and Simons, who joined the brand as co-creative directors last year, featured a tight jacquard knit bodysuit in a mixed pattern, which was made to appear as a second skin.

The dark blue and gray striped suit was redesigned as a ruffled short-sleeved jacket worn with a matching skirt or ankle-length trousers.

Models, walking between rooms with marble floors or faux fur, wear coats of bright colors, decorated with sparkling paillettes or with exaggerated sleeves.

Outerwear included faux fur wrapping, re-nylon and sequins, and the oversized, loose bomber jacket. Loose dresses and mostly dark colors.

For the evening there is a black jumpsuit and a long black dress with a patterned collar. The colorful gloves have a small zip wallet on the front.

“In this collection we play with classic ideas – we subvert them, we transform them,” Prada said in a statement.

“There’s a lot more contrast in this collection – retro and futuristic, embellished and minimal, sporting and elegant – because we put them together, put them together, created something that looked new,” added Simons.

Milan Fashion Week, which starts on Wednesday and runs until March 1, is a virtual event this season due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Major Italian fashion names like Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino share videos on digital platforms.

Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Edited by Janet Lawrence


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China has tried to intimidate Hong Kong activists in Germany, Berlin said | Instant News

FILE PHOTO: Hong Kong and Chinese national flags flying behind a pair of surveillance cameras outside the Central Government Office in Hong Kong, China July 20, 2020. REUTERS / Tyrone Siu

BERLIN (Reuters) – China has been trying to intimidate Hong Kong residents living in Germany since pro-democracy protests erupted in the city two years ago, the German interior ministry said in a letter to a lawmaker published on Tuesday.

The letter sent to the chairman of parliament’s human rights committee, Gyde Jensen, in response to requests for information on the matter, could add to the pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel to take a firm line on China’s human rights.

“Since the start of the protests in Hong Kong, increased efforts by Chinese state actors in Germany to influence public opinion supporting the Chinese government as well as actions against protest supporters have been identified,” the ministry said in the letter, first published in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and reviewed on Monday. Tuesday by Reuters.

The letter cites a protest in support of Hong Kong activists in Hamburg on 17 August 2019 in which Chinese counter-government demonstrators filmed and photographed participants “possibly for purposes of intimidation”.

About 720 people from Hong Kong have residence permits in Germany, he said.

Jensen, a member of the liberal FDP party, told Reuters: “It is time for the German government to realize that Chinese government actors can pose a threat to Hong Kong’s exiled citizens.”

“Unfortunately I am skeptical that the mechanisms used by our security agencies are sufficient to protect those affected effectively,” he said.

The Chinese Embassy in Berlin did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. A spokesman for the German interior ministry said he was not aware of the letter.


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Hong Kong and Singapore in talks on postponing travel bubble: SCMP | Instant News

Hong Kong and Singapore are back in talks over a postponed travel bubble, the South China Morning Post reported on Saturday, citing an anonymous government source. Bloomberg PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 21, 2021 10:45 am IST Hong Kong and Singapore are in talks again over a postponed travel bubble, the South China Morning Post reported on Saturday, citing an anonymous government source. The Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble, which was originally scheduled to start in November last year, has been postponed after a surge in new coronavirus infections in Hong Kong. stories on Facebook and Twitter This story was posted from an agency feed thread with no text editing. Receive our daily newsletter in your inbox Subscribe Thank you for subscribing to our daily newsletter. To close .

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Is Germany’s Angela Merkel giving China too much leeway? | World | Breaking news and perspectives from around the world | DW | Instant News

Berlin, December 2020: Angela Merkel is on defensive mode, facing critical questions in parliament about her flagship initiative in China, the massive investment agreement between the European Union and Beijing.

“We saw in Hong Kong that China doesn’t even abide by treaties that are subject to international law,” said Margarete Bause, the Bundestag’s human rights spokeswoman for the Green Party – the party that has emerged as the German side most critical of China.

Merkel’s answer is a window into her entire approach to China, which is increasingly being challenged for failing to live up to the moment.

“We observe with great concern that, in Hong Kong today, the ‘one country two systems’ problem is very fragile, to put it mildly,” Merkel said. “And, due to the contradiction between the values ​​we have and the interests we have, we repeatedly have to consider tradeoffs when we make political decisions.”

Merkel’s bold start

That’s a long way from Chancellor Merkel’s early days. Six months after taking office, he went to Beijing in May 2006 with a bold new message. Unlike his predecessor Gerhard Schröder, he speaks publicly about human rights – and is actively trying to bring about change.

“We will not only follow the development of civil society in China, but also use forms of dialogue to try to develop it towards a more open and freer direction,” he said.

Noah Barkin is one of the leading observers of German-Chinese relations

These are times of optimism. “There are still high hopes that China is heading towards a less authoritarian country,” Noah Barkin, a senior visiting fellow at the German Marshall Fund and one of the leading observers of German-Chinese relations, told Merkel’s Last Dance. , a DW podcast series exploring the chancellor’s legacy during his final year in office.

The Dalai Lama ‘slap in the face’

Initially, in 2007, Merkel took the boldest step of all, inviting the Dalai Lama to meet at the chancellery in Berlin.

“It was seen in Beijing as a real slap in the face,” said Barkin. “Diplomatic relations with Berlin are basically frozen for six months.”

Reflecting on the meeting later, Merkel said it had sparked a healthy debate. “The good thing is we … will never allow values ​​and interests to enter into unacceptable competition from each other, but we always try to find the right balance,” he said.

But, Barkin said, the experience had an impact: “I think it’s kind of a cry for Merkel. She changes her tone in public when it comes to human rights.”

The onset of the global financial crisis further exacerbated the balance between values ​​and interests.

“The Chinese economy is becoming a vital crutch,” said Barkin – an economy that German companies were turning into something more like a catapult. German exports to China surged more than 70% in the two years from 2009 to 2011. And, when the financial crisis turned into a euro crisis, China became a valuable investor in eurozone bonds.

“I think this colors Merkel’s view of China,” Barkin said. “He’s still talking about Chinese aid during this time of existential crisis for Europe.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Dalai Lama in Berlin in 2007

Angela Merkel received a lot of criticism for hosting the Dalai Lama in Berlin in 2007

Germany-China strategic partnership

As economic relations grew, so did political engagement. First full-scale intergovernmental consultation between Germany and China occurred in 2011, with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao coming to Berlin with an entourage of ministers.

Wen hinted at quid pro quo. “China hopes with all its heart to take a direction, with Germany, where the major powers respect each other so that we can create a win-win situation,” he said.

For Barkin, the message was clear: “When China talks about respect in bilateral relations, what it really means is not wanting other countries to interfere, as it says, in domestic affairs.”

Xi doubled down

The balance of power in that relationship shifted rapidly – in favor of China – when, in 2012, a new leader rose to the top in Beijing. Xi Jinping then established a new era, doubling authoritarianism.

Xi’s crackdown political freedom in Hong Kong and repression against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang has crushed lingering hopes that China is on the path to a political opening. And China’s increasing assertiveness has raised the prospect of a confrontation with the United States that could define this century.

Merkel’s final move

Despite these concerns, Merkel is moving ahead with strengthening economic ties, culminating in an investment agreement reached by the European Union and China in late 2020.

For Merkel, it’s about securing better deals for EU companies doing business in China. But it gave him a barrage of criticism – not only for ignoring human rights concerns, but for ignoring pleas from the new Biden administration to wait and consult, and thus gave China a diplomatic victory in overcoming the maneuvers of the trans-Atlantic partnership.

Barkin points out that this is Merkel’s conscious move. “I think there is a desire to avoid a second Cold War. He is clearly determined to play a moderating role in the US-China confrontation to prevent China’s isolation or detention, and to try to tie him into a global rules-based order.”

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping

Critics say Germany should take sides between the US and China

German dual dependence

Should confrontation Among US and China continued, Germany may find its position untenable: dependent on the US for its security, depending on China for its prosperity.

“I think it’s getting harder and harder to sit on the fence,” said Barkin. “There will be a very difficult set of choices for countries like Germany.”

What’s next?

It is a choice that may fall to Merkel’s successor – hopefully Armin Laschet, recently elected chairman of the Christian Democrats, or Markus Söder, currently the Bavarian state prime minister.

Neither are unlikely to be looking for significant changes to Chinese policy. But they may find that they are being forced to change course – either by possibly their coalition partner, the Greens, or by geopolitical realities.

How is Merkel doing?

The optimism for Merkel’s first trip to China in 2006 is long gone. But, Barkin said, it embraced Beijing so strongly in 2009-11 that it put Germany on its current path. “I think Merkel has stuck to what many now see as an ancient approach to China,” he reflected.

Although such criticism continues to grow, Merkel herself shows no signs of changing direction in the final months of her term.

“I don’t consider it very sensible to look back 15 years and consider today’s results,” he told reporters in 2020. “I believe that it is both right and important to seek good strategic relations with China. But you can ‘not’ have any. illusion – you have to measure something against reality. ”


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