Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the UK, had some stern words for the British government over its alleged interference in the affairs of Hong Kong. As the unrest continued in the former colony, with police laying siege to a university, he denounced the Western reactions to the unrest and the violence being used by pro-democracy protesters. Mr Liu is right that the use of petrol bombs and other weapons cannot be condoned. But most western commentary on the upheavals has been to urge restraint on all sides, which Beijing considers partisan but is hardly a call to insurrection. Moreover, the UK is not a disinterested party seeking to undermine Beijing’s position in Hong Kong. The hand-over in... … [Read more...] about For the sake of Hong Kong’s future, a political resolution must be found
Protesters in Hong Kong took their message to a new audience on Sunday – mainland Chinese tourists – as coverage of the anti-government movement has been heavily censored by Beijing authorities. Thousands marched peacefully through popular tourist areas, snarling traffic in main thoroughfares, in the first major demonstration since Monday, when a small group of protesters seized the city’s legislature. A travelling band sang songs and hit drums, lifting spirits along the roughly two-mile route, and chanting slogans: “Hong Kong people, add oil!” . Organisers said about 230,000 turned out for the protests, though police said the turnout was 56,000 at its peak. Police arrested six people during the demonstration. Many chatted with mainland Chinese tourists, explaining freedoms enjoyed in Hong Kong, a former colony whose freedoms are guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, an agreement that went into effect when the British … [Read more...] about Chinese tourists look on in amazement as Hong Kong street protesters march through city
Beijing skies will be clear for the next few weeks as authorities have banned flying kites, drones, pigeons and balloons as the capital prepares for enormous celebrations to mark 70 years of Communist Party rule on Oct 1. Any airborne activities that could affect flight safety – including sending lanterns into the air – are all prohibited in seven of Beijing’s 16 districts through the National Day holiday. The city centre has been on lockdown during recent weekends for nighttime military parade rehearsals, with huge avenues closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic so troops can stomp through Tiananmen Square, the symbolic seat of power. The square itself was also closed over the weekend to tourists, and some subway stations and buildings along the parade route are restricted to the public during certain times. Aside from a massive military parade, the celebrations will include a speech by Party leader Xi Jinping, performances, a fireworks show, … [Read more...] about China bans pigeons and drones in Beijing ahead of 70th anniversary
China is set to establish a national scientific ethics board in the wake of disgraced academic He Jiankui’s experiments with editing the genes of babies. President Xi Jinping's most powerful policy making body will oversee the formation of the regulatory panel, according to reports in Chinese news media. Its primary goal is to close a variety of loopholes which allow questionable experiments to be conducted in the country. Dr He stunned the world when he announced the use of gene-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 to alter the embryonic genes of twin girls, nicknamed 'Lulu' and 'Nana'. The disgraced researcher's justification for the experiment was to confer HIV immunity to the embryos to avoid infection from their father, who is HIV positive. Scroll down for video Pictured: In a video he released in November 2018, He Jiankui explained his rationale for CRISPR editing embryos in vitro and then implanting the embryos in a Chinese woman. China is now … [Read more...] about China finally gives the go-ahead to create a national scientific ethics board in wake of disgraced academic He Jiankui’s gene-edited baby scandal
The leak of 11.5m files from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca continues to create upheaval around the world. The documents were leaked to the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Guardian, the BBC and other media organisations. This is a list of principal revelations by the Guardian. Mossack Fonseca has been providing updated responses to the revelations on a dedicated website. The $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin The papers reveal a network of secret offshore deals and vast loans worth $2bn (£1.4bn) that lay a trail to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. Though his name does not appear in any of the records, the data shows how deals, that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage, made members of his close circle fabulously wealthy. Read the full story here. Iceland’s PM faces calls for snap election after offshore … [Read more...] about The Panama Papers: what’s been revealed so far?