A fierce dispute between China and Britain over how to deal with former British subjects has flared up following the enactment of a sharp national security law in Hong Kong.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s offer to naturalize up to three million residents of the former British Crown Colony has met with fierce opposition in Beijing.
More than 370 people were arrested in Hong Kong following unauthorized protests against the security law, police reported. Ten were arrested for violating the new decree. It came into force on Wednesday, the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China. The far-reaching and vaguely formulated law from Beijing is directed against separatism, undermining state power, terrorism and “secret collusion” with anti-China forces abroad.
The British government appointed Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming to the State Department in London to protest the law. Foreign Minister Dominic Raab accused the communist leadership in Beijing of using the law to strangle the previously guaranteed freedoms in Hong Kong. “This is a serious and deeply troubling step,” said Raab in Parliament in London.
China, on the other hand, spoke of Britain’s interference in internal affairs and opposed British plans to allow millions of Hong Kong citizens to naturalize themselves. “All compatriots who live in Hong Kong are Chinese citizens,” said Foreign Minister Zhao Lijian earlier.
So far, Hong Kong citizens have been able to stay in the UK for up to six months without a visa if they have British National Overseas (BNO) status. Around 350,000 Hong Kong citizens currently have this type of ID. In theory, however, almost three million would be entitled to apply for such a pass. According to the offer, they will even be allowed to stay and work in the UK for up to five years – with the prospect of naturalization.
China, however, regards the BNO passport only as a “travel document”, which should not allow a longer right of residence in Great Britain. The British offer violates agreements between China and Great Britain, according to which there should be no right of residence for BNO passport holders, the Chinese newspaper “Global Times” quoted a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in London.
Should the British side insist on unilaterally changing practice, it would be a breach of commitments and international law. The British offer to the Hong Kongers also does not match “the spirit of the Sino-British joint declaration” for the return of the crown colony to China, the spokesman was quoted as saying.
The new security law had met with harsh criticism in Hong Kong and internationally. China’s state security organs have far-reaching powers in what is actually an autonomous Chinese special administrative region. Although the seven million Hong Kongers were guaranteed freedom and autonomy when they changed sovereignty in 1997, Chinese state security organs in Hong Kong will be able to carry out arbitrary investigations and exercise sovereignty in the future.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw a “clear and serious breach” of the “joint declaration” with China on the return of Hong Kong. The law violates Hong Kong’s autonomy rights and is contrary to the Basic Law of the Special Administrative Region, Johnson said. It provides for the maximum sentence of life imprisonment, also applies to foreigners and enables extradition to China.
Seven police officers were injured in Wednesday’s protests in Hong Kong. An official was even injured with a stabbing weapon, the police reported. As the South China Morning Post reported, the 24-year-old attacker was later arrested on board an airplane before departing for the UK.
Video: Security law: Britain eases naturalization for Hong Kongers (Euronews)
- “Rzhev meat grinder”: Putin and Lukashenko inaugurate the monument
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko have inaugurated a World War II memorial near Rzhev, around 212 kilometers northwest of Moscow. The 25 meter high statue, which shows a Soviet soldier and stands on a hill about ten meters high, commemorates the battle of Rzhev. It was conceived and built by sculptor Andrej Korobtsow and architect Konstantin Fomin. The Red Army and the German Wehrmacht fought a losing war here between January 1942 and March 1943. There are differing figures on the number of casualties, Putin said in his speech that there were more than 1.3 million deaths, injuries and missing people on the Soviet side. Historians expect a total of around two million deaths. The battle, the bloody extent of which is also expressed in the name “Meat grinder by Rschew”, is far less known than the battles for Stalingrad. At that time, members of the Soviet armed forces also took part in the ceremony near Rzhev. Putin and Lukashenko planted a tree in the attached memorial garden during the opening ceremony of the monument.
- Many people were killed in an explosion in Tehran
At least 19 people were killed in an explosion in a private clinic in the north of the Iranian capital, Tehran. A spokesman for the fire department announced on Tuesday evening to the Isna news agency. 15 of the dead are women, the other men. In addition, there were several injuries. At least six of them are in mortal danger and were immediately taken to surrounding hospitals. The fire could be brought under control after two hours. The fire brigade searched for further bodies and injuries with the help of detection dogs. The explosion in the five-story Sina Atthar clinic occurred on Tuesday evening. The cause is still being investigated. The fire department is assuming an explosion of the oxygen tanks in the basement of the clinic, but there is also talk of a possible gas explosion. Rescue work was hampered by gawkers, the police cordoned off several streets. Only a few days ago there had been an explosion near a Tehran military facility. Here, too, the authorities spoke of a gas leak as the cause.
- Local lockdowns: The fight with the inner bastard
Covid-19 in early July: Europe between easing and local lockdowns – USA fear 100,000 new cases per day. SPAIN, PORTUGAL The border between Spain and Portugal is finally open again after three months of COVID-19 restrictions. But even if a new normality boosts the economy and especially tourism, both countries still have to struggle with infection clusters. For example, Portugal again imposes virus restrictions on 19 less prosperous districts around the capital Lisbon – some residents feel left alone. Vanda Manuel from Quinta do Mocho: “They don’t tell us anything, they just come and hand out masks and that’s it. We are discriminated against simply because we are an inner-city district.” Yuri Fidalgo, rapper and resident of Quinta do Mocho “What will become of us if we already have nothing today and fight for our existence? Yes, what will become of us in the middle of this pandemic?” UNITED KINGDOM In the English city of Leicester, which, in contrast to the relaxation of regulations in the rest of England, is struggling with extended blocking rules, tests are underway to find out more about an increase in infections. Problematic for many residents. A man from Leicester: “I just ordered a table for a beer on Saturday, I wanted a local beer in a local pub. But when that didn’t work, I felt the urge to just go to Nottingham or something. I know that it’s stupid and I don’t want it, but nobody wants to be checked either. ” USA In the USA, the so-called sun belt states of the south have become the new corona epicenter. The surge in infections has forced at least 16 to slow down or reverse their reopening plans. One of President Trump’s lead coronavirus advisers had a dark message for some senators. The immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “We now have more than 40,000 new cases a day. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get 100,000 a day if we can’t reverse the trend, so I’m very concerned. ” Experts complain of skepticism about science, resistance to authorities, no contact tracking and isolation of new cases. “There is too much virus across the country,” said one – everything sounds very daunting. In Los Angeles, the traditional fireworks display was canceled on July 4th. see below with dpa, AFP, AP