TikTok To Depart Hong Kong As Safety Regulation Raises Worries


HONG KONG (AP) — TikTok mentioned Tuesday it is going to cease operations in Hong Kong, becoming a member of different social media firms in warily eyeing ramifications of a sweeping nationwide safety legislation that took impact final week.

The short-form video app’s deliberate departure from Hong Kong comes as numerous social media platforms and messaging apps together with Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Google and Twitter balk at the opportunity of offering person information to Hong Kong authorities.

The social media firms say they’re assessing implications of the safety legislation, which prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist actions or as overseas intervention within the metropolis’s inner affairs. Within the communist-ruled mainland, the overseas social media platforms are blocked by China’s “Nice Firewall.”

Critics see the legislation as Beijing’s boldest step but to erase the authorized divide between the previous British colony and the mainland’s authoritarian Communist Occasion system.

TikTok mentioned in a press release that it had determined to halt operations “in mild of current occasions.”

Fb and its messaging app WhatsApp mentioned in separate statements Monday that they’d freeze the assessment of presidency requests for person information in Hong Kong, “pending additional evaluation of the Nationwide Safety Regulation, together with formal human rights due diligence and consultations with worldwide human rights specialists.”

Riot police hold up a warning flag during a demonstration in a mall in Hong Kong on Monday, in response to a new national sec



Riot police maintain up a warning flag throughout an indication in a mall in Hong Kong on Monday, in response to a brand new nationwide safety legislation launched within the metropolis which makes political opinions, slogans and indicators advocating Hong Kong’s independence or liberation unlawful.

Hong Kong was convulsed with large, generally violent anti-government protests for a lot of final yr as the previous British colony’s residents reacted to proposed extradition laws, since withdrawn, which may have led to some suspects dealing with trial in mainland Chinese language courts.

The brand new legislation criminalizes some pro-democracy slogans just like the broadly used “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time,” which the Hong Kong authorities says has separatist connotations.

The concern is that it erodes the particular freedoms of the semi-autonomous metropolis, which has operated below a “one nation, two programs” framework since China took management in 1997. That association has allowed Hong Kong’s individuals freedoms not permitted in mainland China, similar to public dissent and unrestricted web entry.

Telegram’s platform has been used broadly to unfold pro-democracy messages and details about the protests. It understands “the significance of defending the correct to privateness of our Hong Kong customers,” mentioned Mike Ravdonikas, a spokesperson for the corporate.

“Telegram has by no means shared any information with the Hong Kong authorities up to now and doesn’t intend to course of any information requests associated to its Hong Kong customers till a global consensus is reached in relation to the continued political modifications within the metropolis,” he mentioned.

Twitter additionally paused all information and knowledge requests from Hong Kong authorities after the safety legislation went into impact final week, the corporate mentioned, emphasizing that it was “dedicated to defending the individuals utilizing our service and their freedom of expression.”

“Like many public curiosity organisations, civil society leaders and entities, and trade friends, we’ve got grave considerations relating to each the growing course of and the total intention of this legislation,” the corporate mentioned in a press release.

Google likewise mentioned it had “paused manufacturing on any new information requests from Hong Kong authorities.”

Although social platforms have but to be blocked in Hong Kong, customers have begun scrubbing their accounts and deleting pro-democracy posts out of concern of retribution. That retreat has prolonged to the streets: Many retailers and shops that publicly stood in solidarity with protesters have eliminated the pro-democracy sticky notes and art work that had adorned their partitions.

Below implementation guidelines of Article 43 of the nationwide safety legislation, which give the town’s police pressure sweeping powers in implementing the laws, platforms, publishers and web service suppliers could also be ordered to take down any electronic mail printed that’s “prone to represent an offence endangering nationwide safety or is prone to trigger the incidence of an offence endangering nationwide safety.”

Pro-democracy lawmakers raise white papers to protest during a meeting to discuss the new national security law at the Legisl



Professional-democracy lawmakers elevate white papers to protest throughout a gathering to debate the brand new nationwide safety legislation on the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Service suppliers who don’t adjust to such requests might face fines of as much as 100,000 Hong Kong {dollars} ($12,903) and obtain jail phrases of as much as six months.

People who publish such messages might also be requested to take away the message, or face comparable fines and a jail time period of 1 yr.

Hong Kong authorities moved rapidly to implement the legislation after it took impact on June 30, with police arresting about 370 individuals.

The foundations enable Hong Kong chief govt Carrie Lam to authorize police to intercept communications and conduct surveillance to “stop and detect offences endangering nationwide safety.”

Police can conduct searches for proof and not using a warrant in “distinctive circumstances” and search warrants requiring individuals suspected of violating the nationwide safety legislation to give up their journey paperwork, stopping them from leaving Hong Kong.

Written notices or restraining orders additionally could also be issued to freeze or confiscate property if there are “affordable grounds” to suspect that the property is said to an offense endangering nationwide safety.

TikTok, operated by Chinese language web big Bytedance, has sought to distance itself from its Chinese language roots whereas striving for international attraction. It not too long ago employed former Walt Disney govt Kevin Mayer to be its CEO.

The corporate has mentioned all its information is saved in servers within the U.S. and insisted it could not take away content material even when requested to take action by the Chinese language authorities. Even so, TikTok has nonetheless been considered a nationwide safety threat, with U.S. secretary of state Michael Pompeo saying Monday that it was taking a look at banning sure social media apps, together with TikTok.





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TikTok to Pull Out of Hong Kong After China Imposed Nationwide-Safety Legislation



HONG KONG—TikTok, the buzzy short-video platform owned by Chinese language expertise big Bytedance Ltd., mentioned it could pull out of Hong Kong inside every week in mild of “current developments” within the metropolis.

Final week, mainland Chinese language authorities imposed a fast-tracked national-security legislation on Hong Kong that features provisions empowering police to order web corporations take down content material deemed threatening to nationwide safety. TikTok will pull its apps from Google and Apple app shops within the metropolis and stop operations for present…



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Lobbyists, Legislation Companies and Commerce Teams Took Small-Enterprise Loans


A New York delivery enterprise owned by the household of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the spouse of the Senate majority chief, Mitch McConnell, acquired not less than $350,000, in keeping with the info. An individual accustomed to the corporate, Foremost Group, mentioned that the mortgage was for lower than $500,000 and that no staff had been laid off through the pandemic. Ms. Chao has no formal affiliation or stake within the enterprise, however she and Mr. McConnell have acquired tens of millions of {dollars} in items from her father, James, who ran the corporate till 2018.

Lots of the largest and most influential lobbying and political consulting corporations acquired cash — regardless of prohibitions meant to limit entry — most definitely qualifying by highlighting traces of enterprise that fell exterior the restrictions.

Wiley Rein, which has a big lobbying apply specializing in commerce points, acquired between $5 million and $10 million, in keeping with the info. Van Ness Feldman and Beveridge & Diamond, two regulation corporations that target serving to power trade shoppers push their agendas in Washington, acquired loans between $2 million and $5 million, in keeping with the administration.

A agency that raises cash for Mr. Trump’s re-election marketing campaign and the Republican Nationwide Committee acquired a mortgage of greater than $1 million, in keeping with the info set, whereas an organization that produces Mr. Trump’s political ads acquired between $350,000 and $1 million. So did a consulting agency began by President Barack Obama’s former marketing campaign supervisor Jim Messina and one which Hillary Clinton’s 2008 marketing campaign paid for communications consulting.

A number of corporations that advise corporations on cope with the federal government, however should not formally registered to foyer, have been additionally mentioned to have acquired loans. They embrace corporations run by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who served within the Clinton administration.

The administration listed loans value between $350,000 and $1 million to a consulting agency began by former Senator William S. Cohen, a Maine Republican who additionally served within the Clinton administration because the secretary of protection, and one run by a homeland safety secretary within the Bush administration, Michael Chertoff. And DCI Group AZ, a distinguished political and company consulting agency, collected as a lot as $5 million.

An affiliate of People for Tax Reform, the influential conservative group that has been a vocal critic of presidency spending, acquired between $150,000 and $350,000, in keeping with the federal government’s information. In an announcement, the group mentioned the muse “was badly damage by the federal government shutdown” and “doesn’t have interaction in lobbying.”



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Fb, WhatsApp halt evaluation of Hong Kong requests for information after Beijing imposes nationwide safety regulation



Fb spokesperson Andy Stone stated it could cease contemplating requests from Hong Kong till the corporate reviewed the regulation and consulted with worldwide human rights specialists.

“We consider freedom of expression is a elementary human proper and assist the best of individuals to precise themselves with out worry for his or her security or different repercussions,” Stone stated in an announcement.

Regulation enforcement and authorities companies can ask Fb at hand over details about consumer accounts and their on-line actions as a part of investigations or different issues. Fb says it really works “with the regulation enforcement group to advertise security, on and offline,” however that it critiques each request to ensure it’s legit.

Fb considers regulation enforcement and authorities requests for consumer information on a case-by-case foundation, requiring the company to submit a request that Fb critiques.

Twitter stated it instantly paused information requests from the Hong Kong authorities final week when the regulation went into impact.

“Given the fast tempo at which the brand new Nationwide Safety Regulation in China has been handed and that it was solely revealed in its entirety for the primary time final week, our groups are reviewing the regulation to evaluate its implications, notably as a few of the phrases of the regulation are obscure and with out clear definition,” Twitter spokesperson Ian Plunkett stated in an announcement. The corporate stated it had “grave issues” in regards to the intention of the regulation.

Fb and Twitter are blocked in China however are accessible in Hong Kong, the place residents have traditionally had much less oversight from Beijing beneath the “one nation, two methods” commitments. Already, human rights advocates have decried the passage of the brand new nationwide safety regulation, partly as a result of China didn’t launch a draft for the general public to evaluation earlier than it took impact.

U.S. tech firms have largely maintained a cordial relationship with China the place many have some operations although most American social media is blocked within the nation. The response to the nationwide safety regulation may put stress on the fragile relationship.



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P.F. Chang’s, Lady Scouts, Boies Legislation Agency Amongst Recipients of PPP Loans



WASHINGTON—The federal authorities’s Paycheck Safety Program designed to assist small companies climate fallout from the coronavirus pandemic helped a broad swath of organizations, together with distinguished restaurant chains, regulation corporations and non-profits.

Among the many recipients the Trump administration disclosed Monday: Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, the regulation agency headed by antitrust litigator David Boies; Newsmax Media Inc., the media firm run by Trump donor Christopher Ruddy; and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc., a restaurant operator…



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US diplomat in Hong Kong says safety legislation use a ‘tragedy’


The legislation, imposed final week following anti-government protests in Hong Kong final 12 months, makes secessionist, subversive, or terrorist actions unlawful, in addition to overseas intervention within the metropolis’s inside affairs. Any individual collaborating in actions reminiscent of shouting slogans or holding up banners and flags calling for town’s independence is violating the legislation no matter whether or not violence is used.

Critics see it as Beijing’s boldest step but to erase the authorized firewall between the previous British colony and the mainland’s authoritarian Communist Get together system.

For the reason that legislation went into impact, the federal government has additionally specified that well-liked protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” has separatist connotations and is thus criminalized.

In Hong Kong’s public libraries, books by pro-democracy figures have been pulled from the cabinets, together with these authored by outstanding pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong and politician Tanya Chan. The authority that runs the libraries mentioned it was reviewing the books in gentle of the brand new laws.

Many professional-democracy retailers that publicly stood in solidarity with protesters have moved to take away pro-democracy sticky notes and paintings that adorned the partitions of their shops, fearful that the content material may violate the brand new legislation.

A 23-year-old man, Tong Ying-kit, has turn out to be the primary individual in Hong Kong to be charged below the brand new legislation, for allegedly driving a motorbike into a bunch of policemen whereas bearing a flag with the “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” slogan.

Copyright 2020 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed with out permission.



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US diplomat in Hong Kong says safety regulation use a ‘tragedy’


The regulation, imposed final week following anti-government protests in Hong Kong final yr, makes secessionist, subversive, or terrorist actions unlawful, in addition to overseas intervention within the metropolis’s inside affairs. Any individual collaborating in actions equivalent to shouting slogans or holding up banners and flags calling for town’s independence is violating the regulation no matter whether or not violence is used.

Critics see it as Beijing’s boldest step but to erase the authorized firewall between the previous British colony and the mainland’s authoritarian Communist Social gathering system.

Because the regulation went into impact, the federal government has additionally specified that in style protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” has separatist connotations and is thus criminalized.

In Hong Kong’s public libraries, books by pro-democracy figures have been pulled from the cabinets, together with these authored by distinguished pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong and politician Tanya Chan. The authority that runs the libraries mentioned it was reviewing the books in mild of the brand new laws.

Many professional-democracy outlets that publicly stood in solidarity with protesters have moved to take away pro-democracy sticky notes and paintings that adorned the partitions of their shops, fearful that the content material may violate the brand new regulation.

A 23-year-old man, Tong Ying-kit, has develop into the primary individual in Hong Kong to be charged underneath the brand new regulation, for allegedly driving a bike into a gaggle of policemen whereas bearing a flag with the “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” slogan.

On Monday, a gaggle of about 10 protesters gathered at a shopping center in Hong Kong’s Central enterprise district, holding up indicators calling for metropolis chief Carrie Lam to step down, in addition to reiterating protesters’ 5 calls for from the pro-democracy motion final yr. The calls for embrace an impartial inquiry into the police and common suffrage.

Others held up clean white items of paper as an indication of protest in opposition to political dissidence being suppressed within the metropolis. About 20 riot police later entered the mall, detaining protesters holding up indicators, though they didn’t seem to make any arrests.

Copyright 2020 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed with out permission.



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US diplomat in Hong Kong says safety legislation use a ‘tragedy’


The legislation, imposed final week following anti-government protests in Hong Kong final yr, makes secessionist, subversive, or terrorist actions unlawful, in addition to overseas intervention within the metropolis’s inside affairs. Any particular person collaborating in actions comparable to shouting slogans or holding up banners and flags calling for the town’s independence is violating the legislation no matter whether or not violence is used.

Critics see it as Beijing’s boldest step but to erase the authorized firewall between the previous British colony and the mainland’s authoritarian Communist Get together system.

For the reason that legislation went into impact, the federal government has additionally specified that widespread protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” has separatist connotations and is thus criminalized.

In Hong Kong’s public libraries, books by pro-democracy figures have been pulled from the cabinets, together with these authored by outstanding pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong and politician Tanya Chan. The authority that runs the libraries mentioned it was reviewing the books in gentle of the brand new laws.

Many professional-democracy outlets that publicly stood in solidarity with protesters have moved to take away pro-democracy sticky notes and paintings that adorned the partitions of their shops, fearful that the content material may violate the brand new legislation.

A 23-year-old man, Tong Ying-kit, has turn out to be the primary particular person in Hong Kong to be charged below the brand new legislation, for allegedly driving a bike into a bunch of policemen whereas bearing a flag with the “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” slogan.

Copyright 2020 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed with out permission.



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Hong Kong Regulation Opens Door to China’s Hulking Safety State


The Chinese language conception of “nationwide safety,” nonetheless, differs from the usual Western concept that focuses on terrorism, exterior threats and diplomatic rivalry. In Chinese language, the very time period for it, guojia anquan, additionally means “state safety,” and official coverage is extra targeted on home threats and defending the Communist Occasion.

China’s Central Nationwide Safety Fee, which Mr. Xi first convened in 2014 to steer policymaking, is managed by the Communist Occasion management, fairly than the civilian administration, making it — just like the Folks’s Liberation Military — a direct arm of the celebration.

“The Chinese language conception of nationwide safety goes approach past what regular international coverage would cowl,” mentioned Ms. Solar of the Stimson Heart. “The pivotal place to begin is regime safety.”

Even by China’s tight-lipped requirements, its safety companies are strikingly secretive.

The Ministry of State Safety, which investigates critical nationwide safety instances and gathers intelligence at residence and overseas, not often makes public feedback and doesn’t have a telephone quantity to reply questions from journalists. The Nationwide Safety Fee not often surfaces in public, and clues about its actions have to be discovered scattered on native authorities web sites, which generally point out its conferences and directives.

The Fee final met just a few months in the past, when China was struggling to handle its coronavirus disaster. Mr. Xi known as a gathering that targeted on the threats dealing with the nation in a pandemic-stricken world, in line with brief reports on Chinese language government websites.

“We’re confronted with increasingly more nontraditional safety threats,” Chen Wenqing, the Chinese language minister of state safety, wrote in an article for a Communist Party journal in April, one in all his uncommon public statements. “Confronted with the schemes of hostile forces at residence and overseas to problem our core pursuits, we have now to make a transparent stand and be unafraid of displaying our hand.”



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Nathan Legislation: Main younger democracy activist flees Hong Kong


Media playback is unsupported in your system

Media captionNathan Legislation: ‘The Hong Kong motion continues to be alive’

Certainly one of Hong Kong’s most outstanding younger democracy activists has fled the territory after China imposed a sweeping, controversial safety legislation.

Nathan Legislation, a one-time scholar chief and native legislator who frolicked in jail after 2014’s “Umbrella Protests”, mentioned he would proceed his advocacy work from overseas.

“I feel the motion continues to be just about alive,” he advised the BBC.

Regardless of the excessive private danger, he mentioned “Hong Kong individuals is not going to hand over”.

Whereas activists say the brand new legislation erodes freedoms, Beijing has dismissed the criticism.

Hong Kong’s sovereignty was handed again to China by Britain in 1997 and sure rights have been imagined to be assured for a minimum of 50 years underneath the “one nation, two techniques” settlement.

However opponents of the brand new legislation, which targets secession, subversion and terrorism with punishments of as much as life in jail, say it successfully ends freedom of speech.

Inside moments of it being introduced on Tuesday, Mr Legislation mentioned he was stepping down from Demosisto Social gathering, which he co-founded with well-known activist Joshua Wong. On the time, he mentioned the legislation marked the beginning of a “bloody cultural revolution”.

What did Nathan Legislation say?

On Wednesday, Mr Legislation spoke through videolink to a US Congressional listening to on Hong Kong. He advised American politicians he was fearful about returning to the territory, for concern of being imprisoned by Beijing.

“Merely talking concerning the plight of HongKongers on an event like this, contradicts the brand new nationwide safety legislation,” he advised the listening to.

“A lot is now misplaced within the metropolis I like: the liberty to inform the reality.”

Describing the brand new intensive powers that China will have the ability to use within the territory, he warned that “we used to consider secret police as one thing summary, now it’s a very actual concern”.

Then, on Thursday, he launched an announcement to the media saying he had already left Hong Kong however would “proceed the advocacy work on the worldwide stage”.

He didn’t say the place he had gone, including: “Primarily based on danger evaluation, I shall not reveal an excessive amount of about my private whereabouts and scenario now.”

Mr Legislation was, in 2016, the area’s youngest legislator. On the time, he argued that the previous British colony have to be allowed a referendum on its future. He has mentioned he doesn’t need Hong Kong to grow to be “simply one other Chinese language metropolis”.

He was later disqualified after he was discovered to have improperly taken his swearing-in oath.

What’s the legislation?

The legislation – which China has mentioned is critical to cease the kind of pro-democracy protests seen in Hong Kong throughout a lot of 2019 – is wide-ranging, making inciting hatred of China’s central authorities and Hong Kong’s regional authorities offences.

It additionally permits for closed-door trials, wire-tapping of suspects and the potential for suspects to be tried on the Chinese language mainland.

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Media captionMany residents fear the brand new legislation means the top of the “one nation, two techniques” precept

Acts together with damaging public transport amenities – which frequently occurred through the 2019 protests – could be thought of terrorism.

There are additionally considerations over on-line freedom as web suppliers might need handy over information if requested by police.

And because it was launched on Tuesday, the native authorities has introduced that the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Instances” is unlawful. Mr Legislation used the phrase through the Congressional listening to on Wednesday.

Ten people have already been arrested underneath the legislation throughout protests which passed off on 1 July.

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Media captionLots of have been arrested as Hong Kong’s nationwide safety legislation kicks in

Hong Kong’s new safety legislation

What has the response been?

Many nations have been crucial.

US lawmakers have unanimously approved new Hong Kong-related sanctions, with Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying the legislation amounted to a “brutal, sweeping crackdown in opposition to the individuals of Hong Kong, supposed to destroy the freedoms they have been promised”.

The Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which has been despatched to US President Donald Trump to signal, imposes sanctions on banks that do enterprise with Chinese language officers who’re concerned in cracking down on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

In the meantime, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned the passing of the legislation was a “clear and critical breach” of the 1985 Sino-British joint declaration.

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Media captionDominic Raab says China is ‘in clear and critical breach’ of the Joint Declaration

The UK has provided residency, and possible citizenship, to as much as three million Hong Kongers within the wake of the legislation’s implementation.

Quite a few others have additionally expressed sturdy considerations. Australia revealed that, just like the UK, it was contemplating providing protected haven to Hong Kongers.

China has responded by saying Hong Kong’s affairs are “none of your corporation”.

Nonetheless, Cuba – on behalf of 53 nations – welcomed the legislation.

Talking on the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, it mentioned: “Non-interference in inner affairs of sovereign states is a necessary precept enshrined within the Constitution of the United Nations.”



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