One of China‘s biggest actresses has sparked a outrage among Hong Kong protesters and calls to boycott her latest film after backing Beijing authority’s attempts to crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
The actress set to star as the eponymous character in Disney’s upcoming Mulan remake has tweeted a pro-police message to her 65million followers.
Chinese-American star Liu Yifei, 31, shared a political post on Weibo, a micro-blogging site similar to Twitter that’s popular in China.
Her message which fans deemed to support police brutality in Hong Kong lead to #BoycottMulan to trend worldwide.
The city is bracing for another weekend of rallies with up to a million activists on the streets, calling on the public to withdraw as much money as possible from the banks to warn Beijing about the city’s importance as a global financial hub.
Across the border in mainland China’s Shenzhen, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) units were seen rehearsing again today amid fears of military intervention from Beijing.
The actress set to star as the eponymous character in Disney’s upcoming Mulan remake has sparked outrage after tweeting a pro-police message. Chinese-American star Liu Yifei, 31, shared a political post on Weibo, a micro-blogging site similar to Twitter that’s popular in China
Her message which fans deemed to support police brutality in Hong Kong lead to #BoycottMulan to trend worldwide
Liu Yifei shared a picture from the state’s official paper, the People’s Daily, that read ‘I support Hong Kong’s police, you can beat me up now’.
She added her own message reading ‘What a shame for Hong Kong’ and ‘I also support Hong Kong police…’.
Ten weeks of protests have plunged the international finance hub into crisis with the communist mainland taking an increasingly hardline tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions ‘terrorist-like’.
Chinese state media have put out images of military personnel and armoured personnel carriers across the border in Shenzhen, while the United States has warned Beijing against sending in troops, a move many analysts say would be a reputational and economic disaster for China.
The nationalistic Global Times newspaper said there would not be a repeat of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, in which hundreds – or even thousands – are believed to have been killed, if Beijing moves to quash the protests.
Chinese servicemen attend a crowd control exercise today at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center
Footage and images have shown thousands of military personnel parading near the border and Chinese authorities look ready for the impending weekend of protests
Chinese military this week declared it would take them just 10 minutes to reach Hong Kong
Trucks and armoured personnel carriers are seen parked at the Shenzhen Bay stadium today as Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement faces a major test this weekend
‘The incident in Hong Kong won’t be a repeat of the June 4th political incident in 1989,’ it said, insisting the country now had more sophisticated approaches.
It was a rare reference to the bloody events, which are taboo in China.
Hong Kong’s protests were sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, but have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city.
Millions of people have hit the streets while clashes have broken out between police and small groups of hardcore protesters for 10 consecutive weekends.
For most of that time, US President Donald Trump has taken a hands-off approach to the unrest but began speaking up this week, suggesting any potential trade deal with Beijing could be upended by a violent response from the mainland.
Speaking on Thursday, Trump urged his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to meet protesters and solve the crisis ‘humanely’.
The actress shared a pictured from the state’s official paper, the People’s Daily, that read ‘I support Hong Kong’s police, you can beat me up now’
The actress is starring in Mulan, a remake of the 1998 animated classic, set to be released next year
The Global Times editor-in-chief, Hu Xijin, said the military presence in Shenzhen was a sign that China was prepared to intervene in Hong Kong after weeks of unrest left the city in turmoil
Three Hong Kong police officers told media the local force could handle the ongoing crisis, despite images showing mainland Chinese forces preparing
Chinese military personnel and armoured personnel carriers muster in large numbers today. They gathered at the Shenzhen Bay stadium in Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong in China’s southern Guangdong province
The People’s Daily and Global Times, two of the most powerful state-run media outlets, published videos on Monday of what it said was the PAP assembling in Shenzhen
Twitter users have called out Yifei for hypocrisy, citing that she lives in the US, and is a naturalised American citizen.
Others pointed out irony that she is playing the titular character in Mulan, a powerful warrior who fights imperial overlords.
One wrote: ‘That highly anticipated film with such a power cast and the one’s playing Mulan f**ked it all up by supporting police brutality in Hong Kong. So disappointing, Disney must be fuming rn. #BoycottMulan
Another added: ‘#BoycottMulan because while these people in HK are fighting for their rights while being brutalized by their own police, Liu Yifei is sitting her happy a** down in the US enjoying the rights those people don’t have while supporting the police brutality from afar.
A third commented: ‘Disney’s Mulan actress, Liu Yifei, supports police brutality and oppression in Hong Kong. Liu is a naturalized American citizen. it must be nice. meanwhile she p***es on people fighting for democracy.
However, some Twitter users came to her defense, saying that she may be in danger if she doesn’t comply.
Twitter users have called out Yifei for hypocrisy, citing that she lives in the US, and is a naturalised American citizen.
Anti-extradition bill protesters react from tear gas as riot police try to disperse them during a protest at Sham Shui Po on August 11 in Hong Kong in the 10th week of violent showdowns
Pro-Democracy protesters throw back tear gas fired by the police during a demonstration against the controversial extradition bill in Sham Shui Po district on August 11
However, some Twitter users came to her defence, saying that she may be in danger if she doesn’t comply
It comes as the British CEO of Cathay Pacific Rupert Hogg has resigned just days after the Hong Kong airline was censured by Beijing because some staff had supported pro-democracy protests in the city.
Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific have announced the shock resignation of its CEO Rupert Hogg
The move will send fresh shockwaves through Hong Kong amid speculation that he has been forced out by Beijing, which is fighting to contain the widespread protests against its authority.
The airline said he was leaving his $1.2 million-a-year post because his staff’s support for the demonstrations ‘called into question’ the company’s commitment to safety and security.
Some Cathay Pacific staff, including pilots, participated in protests earlier this week which shut down Hong Kong’s airport until Chinese police forcibly reopened it.
The airline, which is 30 per cent owned by Air China, was caught between Beijing and pro-democracy groups in the Asian financial hub.
Hogg is the highest-profile corporate casualty of official Chinese pressure on foreign and Hong Kong companies to support the ruling Communist Party’s position against the protesters.
Company chairman John Slosar said: ’This is regrettable as we have always made safety and security our highest priority.
‘We therefore think it is time to put a new management team in place who can reset confidence and lead the airline to new heights.’
‘I’m proud of being Chinese’: Hong Kong Kung Fu star Jackie Chan expresses his undivided loyalty to Beijing after being asked about the ongoing unrest in his hometown
- The 65-year-old said he was heartbroken and worried about his hometown
- He said wherever he travelled to, he was always proud of being Chinese
- ‘I truly hope peace can return to Hong Kong as quickly as possible,’ he added
- The actor made the remarks to China’s state broadcaster in an interview
Hong Kong Kung Fu star Jackie Chan has expressed his loyalty to the Communist Party after being asked about the ongoing unrest that has left his hometown in chaos.
One of the most famous celebrities from the Asian financial hub, the 65-year-old celebrity said he was proud of being Chinese and that he loved his motherland.
He also said that the ‘recent events in Hong Kong’ broke his heart. He urged the public to join him in safeguarding the Chinese sovereignty.
The 65-year-old celebrity said he was proud of being Chinese and that he loved his motherland during an interview with China’s state broadcaster CCTV about the protests in Hong Kong
The martial arts expert, known for his pro-Beijing stance, broke silence on the pro-democracy protests during an interview with China’s state broadcaster CCTV.
Chan stressed that he supported a patriotic campaign run by CCTV which prompted Chinese citizens to love their national flag.
The actor said he immediately shared CCTV’s social media post about the campaign once he saw it.
The initiative, called ’the Five-starred Red Flag has 1.4 billion guards’, was launched after a number of protesters threw the Chinese flag into Victoria Harbour during a rally on August 3.
Hong Kong has been rocked by protests over the past months against a now-suspended bill that would allow people to be extradited from the city to stand trial in courts in mainland China
Both the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) and the central government’s liaison office in the city strongly condemned the demonstrators’ behaviour.
Leung Chun-ying, former leader of the city and the Vice Chairperson of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said he would offer one million Hong Kong dollars (£105,000) to whomever that could provide leads to help police catch the suspects.
Explaining why he felt so strongly about the cause, Chan said: ‘On one hand, [I] needed to express my most basic patriotism as a Hong Kong and Chinese citizen. I am one of the flag guards.
He also said that the ‘recent events in Hong Kong’ broke his heart. He urged the public to join him in safeguarding the Chinese national flag. Pictured, a pro-China supporter fixes the Chinese National Flag on a post at North Point in Hong Kong on Sunday
‘On the other hand, I hoped to express our collective voice through participating in such a campaign.’
The star continued: ‘I have been to a lot of countries in recent years and our country is developing quickly. Wherever I went, I felt proud of being Chinese.’
He concluded: ‘Hong Kong is my birthplace and my hometown. China is my home country.
‘I love my country. I love my hometown. I truly hope peace can return to Hong Kong as quickly as possible.’
Hong Kong has been rocked by protests over the past months against a now-suspended bill that would allow people to be extradited from the city to stand trial in Communist Party-controlled courts in mainland China.
Chan expressed his patriotism ‘as a Hong Kong and Chinese citizen’ during the interview
The mass display of opposition to the bill has morphed into a wider pro-democracy movement that has thrown down the most significant challenge to Beijing’s authority since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
The protesters have continued to urge the government to respond to their five demands, including a complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, an independent enquiry into alleged police violence and universal suffrage.
Flights at the city’s airport have been disrupted for two days in a row after activists staged demonstrations at the terminal building.
Riot police use pepper spray to disperse anti-extradition bill protesters during a mass demonstration after a woman was allegedly shot in the eye during a rally on Sunday. Police and protesters have clashed outside the Terminal 1 of the airport
A photographer is seen trying to separate a policeman from a woman on the floor. The scuffles broke out in the evening between police and protesters after an injured person was taken out of the main terminal by medics
Protesters clashed with police at Hong Kong’s international airport on Tuesday evening after flights were disrupted for a second day, plunging the former British colony deeper into turmoil.
Officers armed with pepper spray and swinging batons confronted the protesters who used luggage carts to barricade entrances to the airport terminal.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights urged Hong Kong to exercise restraint and investigate evidence of its forces firing tear gas at protesters in ways banned under international law.
The city leader Carrier Lam reiterated her support for the police Tuesday and said they had had to make on-the-spot decisions under difficult circumstances, using ‘the lowest level of force’.
Beijing has also made ominous declarations, branding the anti-extradition bill’s activists, in their 10th week of protests, ‘mobsters’ and likened them to terrorism.
Riot police use pepper spray on protesters. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged Hong Kong to exercise restraint and investigate evidence of its forces firing tear gas at protesters in ways banned under international law
Why is Hong Kong’s extradition law fueling protests?
Hong Kong’s government has indefinitely suspended the debate on an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial for the first time, after chaotic protests by tens of thousands of people.
Hong Kong residents, as well as foreign and Chinese nationals living or traveling through the global financial hub, would all be at risk if they are wanted on the mainland.
Pro-establishment political forces are dominant in the Legislative Council and the bill is expected to be passed by the end of the month.
WHAT DOES THE EXTRADITION BILL INVOLVE?
Protesters march along a downtown street against the proposed amendments to an extradition law in Hong Kong on Sunday last week
The Hong Kong government first launched the proposals in February, putting forward sweeping changes that would simplify case-by-case extraditions of criminal suspects to countries beyond the 20 with which Hong Kong has existing extradition treaties.
It explicitly allows extraditions from Hong Kong to greater China – including the mainland, Taiwan and Macau – for the first time, closing what Hong Kong government officials have repeatedly described as a ‘loophole’ that they claim has allowed the city to become a haven for criminals from the mainland.
Hong Kong’s leader would start and finally approve an extradition following a request from a foreign jurisdiction but only after court hearings, including any possible appeals. However, the bill removes Legislative Council oversight of extradition arrangements.
WHY IS THE HONG KONG GOVERNMENT PUSHING IT NOW?
Officials initially seized on the murder last year of a young Hong Kong woman holidaying in Taiwan to justify swift changes. Police say her boyfriend confessed on his return to Hong Kong and he is now in jail on lesser money-laundering charges.
Taiwan authorities have strongly opposed the bill, which they say could leave Taiwanese citizens exposed in Hong Kong and have vowed to refuse taking back the murder suspect if the bill is passed.
A long-forgotten issue, the need for an eventual extradition deal with the mainland was acknowledged by government officials and experts ahead of Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997 under the ‘one country, two systems’ model.
The city maintains a separate and independent legal system as part of the broader freedoms the formula guarantees. Little progress has been made in discreet talks since then with justice and security officials on the mainland, where the Communist Party still controls the courts.
HOW STRONG IS OPPOSITION TO THE BILL?
Protest placards and flowers are displayed during a demonstration in Hong Kong on June 11 to demand authorities scrap a proposed extradition bill with China
Concern about the amendments has spiraled in recent weeks, taking in pro-business and pro-Beijing elements usually loath to publicly contradict the Hong Kong or Chinese governments.
Senior Hong Kong judges have privately expressed alarm, and mainland commercial lawyers based in Hong Kong have echoed their fears, saying the mainland system cannot be trusted to meet even basic standards of judicial fairness. Hong Kong lawyers’ groups have issued detailed submissions to the government, hoping to force a postponement.
Authorities have repeatedly stressed that judges will serve as ‘gatekeepers’ or guardians for extradition requests. However, some judges say privately that China’s increasingly close relationship with Hong Kong and the limited scope of extradition hearings will leave them exposed to criticism and political pressure from Beijing.
Schools, lawyers and church groups have joined human rights groups to protest against the measures. Following a brawl in the legislature over the bill, the government moved to fast-track the bill by scrapping established legislative procedures that stoked outrage amongst critics.
Police officers stand guard outside the Legislative Council building as people protest the extradition bill with China in Hong Kong on the night of June 11
Foreign political and diplomatic pressure over human rights concerns is rising, too. As well as recent statements from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his British and German counterparts, some 11 European Union envoys met Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to protest formally.
‘It’s a proposal, or a set of proposals, which strike a terrible blow … against the rule of law, against Hong Kong’s stability and security, against Hong Kong’s position as a great international trading hub,’ Hong Kong’s last British governor, Chris Patten, said on Thursday.
Some opposition politicians say the issue now represents a turning point for the city’s free status.
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