Us President Donald Trump has signed Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act

Statements & Releases

Statement by the President

Foreign Policy Issued on: November 27, 2019

Today, I have signed into law S. 1838, the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019” (the “Act”).  The Act reaffirms and amends the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, specifies United States policy towards Hong Kong, and directs assessment of the political developments in Hong Kong.  Certain provisions of the Act would interfere with the exercise of the President’s constitutional authority to state the foreign policy of the United States.  My Administration will treat each of the provisions of the Act consistently with the President’s constitutional authorities with respect to foreign relations.

DONALD J. TRUMP

Landslide victory for Hong Kong pro-democracy parties in de facto protest referendum

By James Griffiths, Eric Cheung and Maisy Mok, CNN

Updated 6:05 AM ET, Mon November 25, 2019

Pro- Democracy Parties win big in Hong Kong Election

Comparison Chart of Hong Kong 2019 and 2015 district election seats
Yellow is the Pro – Democracy Party. Red is Pro – Beijing DAB Party

Hong Kong (CNN)Pro-democracy candidates appear to have made major gains in Hong Kong’s district council elections, as early results trickled in Monday morning, with multiple high-profile pro-government figures losing their seats.More than 2.9 million people turned out to vote in Sunday’s elections, which have been framed as a de facto referendum on the almost six months of ongoing protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. With more than 95% of constituencies declared, pro-democracy candidates appeared to have won a landslide victory.

Speaking to CNN, Kenneth Chan, an expert on politics and governance at Hong Kong Baptist University, said the more than 70% turnout — higher than any other election in the city’s history — “exceeded many predictions” and demonstrated both Hong Kongers’ commitment to democracy and that they are “counting on this election to point a way out of this impasse.”Public broadcaster RTHK described the results as a “rout” and a “staggering victory for the pro-democracy camp,” with the majority of the 18 district councils expected to flip to pro-democratic control in an “unmistakable message” to the city’s leader Carrie Lam.Opposition candidates took nearly 90% of the seats up for grabs, the broadcaster reported.After weeks of increasingly violent unrest, this weekend was remarkably calm, following calls for protesters to avoid giving the government any excuse to call off the elections or close polling stations early.In a statement Monday, the city’s leader Carrie Lam said her government “respects the election results.””There are various analyses and interpretations in the community in relation to the results, and quite a few are of the view that the results reflect people’s dissatisfaction with the current situation and the deep-seated problems in society,” she said. “(The government) will listen to the opinions of members of the public humbly and seriously reflect.”

High profile losses

Outspoken pro-government legislators Michael Tien and Junius Ho both conceded defeat in their districts, according to public broadcaster RTHK and Ho’s official Facebook page.Holden Chow, Horace Cheung, Vincent Cheng, and Edward Lau also appeared to be part of a string of upsets from the pro-Beijing DAB party, according to RTHK, as votes continued to be counted.One of the conveners with the Civil Human Rights Fronts (CHRF), Jimmy Sham, claimed a victory for the pro-democracy camp in his district of Sha Tin. CHRF has organized some of the largest marches during Hong Kong’s nearly six months of civil unrest.”Today’s result represents (my constituency’s) support to protesters. The government should immediately establish the Five Demands and respond to the public’s voices,” he posted on Facebook, referencing a longstanding protest slogan.And in an apparently narrow win for the pro-Beijing camps, lawmaker Starry Lee secured her re-election against pro-democracy challenger Leung Kwok Hung in Kowloon city district’s To Kwa Wan North.Supporters of Leung Kwok Hung began chanting “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time” after the local counting station tallied up the votes, with Lee winning by just 300 votes.

De facto referendum

District councils are elected on four-year terms, and largely handle local affairs. They lack much in terms of real power, serving mainly to advise the government on issues affecting their neighborhoods and the allocation of funds for local projects.The vote has taken on an outsized importance in recent years, however, as a way of signaling wider discontent about the slow pace of political reform. Ahead of Sunday’s vote, pro-Beijing parties controlled all 18 district councils, so any victory for the broader pro-democracy camp will inevitably be cast as a win for protesters.More than 2.9 million people took part in Sunday’s poll, with a turnout rate of 71.2% — a record high, based on the highest-ever amount of registered-voters, according to Barnabus Fung, the chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission.Polling stations closed late on Sunday night. While election officials have reported results after counting finished in some polling stations, no complete tally has been uploaded by the official elections commission. It is the first time that all 452 constituencies are being contested.While some candidates ran on fairly standard local council issues — “eliminate illegal parking,” “build an animal friendly community,” “strengthen environmental conservation” — a substantial minority, around 13%, included the key protest phrase “five demands, not one less” in their election material.Those five demands are: withdraw the extradition bill that kicked off the entire crisis (since achieved); launch an independent inquiry into allegations of police brutality; retract any categorization of a protest on June 12 as a “riot”; amnesty for arrested protesters; and introducing universal suffrage for how the Chief Executive and Legislative Council are elected.A big loss for pro-government parties — as appears to be on the cards — could increase pressure on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to come up with a political solution to address at least some of those demands.

CNN’s Darran Simon, Jo Shelley and Sarah Faidell contributed to this report.

US Senate may pass Hong Kong human rights act soon if no objections, says senator

The US Senate may pass a bill that would punish those deemed responsible for suppressing freedoms in Hong Kong as early as Monday, according to a senator who sponsored it.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act – which has received rare bipartisan support – was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives last month, but it has yet to be passed by the Senate. The bill was placed low on the agenda to be voted on by Congress’s upper chamber.

Jim Risch and Marco Rubio. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

On Thursday, US senators Marco Rubio, who proposed the bill, and Jim Risch, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, initiated a process to speed up passing of the bill in the Senate.

The measure, known as a hotline, allows acts to bypass normal procedures if there is a unanimous consensus. The amended Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act was passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in September.

“Today we set in motion an expedited process in the Senate to pass the Hong Kong democracy act. If no Senator objects it could pass as early as next Monday,” Rubio wrote on Twitter.

The process was approved by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. “I was encouraged by a productive conversation with Marco Rubio yesterday on legislation to further help the people of Hong Kong. The Senate needs to stand with Hong Kong and I hope we can take action soon,” he wrote in a tweet.

The bill, if passed and signed by the US president, would place punitive measures – such as denying entry to the US and freezing US assets – on those who infringe upon “basic freedoms” in the city.

Large-scale protests in Hong Kong, initially over a now-withdrawn extradition agreement proposal with mainland China, have entered their 24th week. The demonstrations have morphed into wider calls for democratic reform and accountability for alleged police brutality.

“The world needs to see that the United States will stand up and tell the Chinese Communist Party that what they are doing to the people of Hong Kong is wrong,” Risch said in a statement.

“After more than two decades of broken promises, it is time to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy. The US stands with the people of Hong Kong, and I look forward to continuing to work with Senate leadership and my colleagues across the aisle to move this bill swiftly.”

United States Capitol. Photo: US Government.

The version of the bill in the Senate was different from that in the House of Representatives. As such, if the legislation were to pass in the upper chamber, it would need to be voted on again by the House. It would then be sent to the White House for approval.

The bill was built on the basis of the 1992 United States-Hong Kong Policy Act, authored by McConnell, which gives Hong Kong a special trade status so long as it remains “sufficiently autonomous.”

A ‘Bridge’ to China, and Her Family’s Business, in the Trump Cabinet

Elaine Chao has boosted the profile of her family’s shipping company, which benefits from industrial policies in China that are roiling the Trump administration.

Informal chatting between Elaine and Vice Chairman QiShan Wang on the Japan’s Emperor Naruhito’s Enthronement. April 30, 2019

By Michael Forsythe, Eric Lipton, Keith Bradsher abd Sui- Lee-Wee

The email arrived in Washington before dawn. An official at the American Embassy in Beijing was urgently seeking advice from the State Department about an “ethics question.”

House Committee Launches Ethic Investigation into Elaine Chao’s ties to shipping company run by her family.

“I am writing you because Mission China is in the midst of preparing for a visit from Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao,” the official wrote in October 2017.

Ms. Chao’s office had made a series of unorthodox requests related to her first scheduled visit to China as a Trump cabinet member, according to people with knowledge of the email. Among them: asking federal officials to help coordinate travel arrangements for at least one family member and include relatives in meetings with government officials.

In China, the Chaos are no ordinary family. They run an American shipping company with deep ties to the economic and political elite in China, where most of the company’s business is centered. The trip was abruptly canceled by Ms. Chao after the ethics question was referred to officials in the State and Transportation Departments and, separately, after The New York Times and others made inquiries about her itinerary and companions.

Ms. Chao’s family gathered at their signing ceremony of Foremost Group that is owned by Elaine Chao’s family.

“She had these relatives who were fairly wealthy and connected to the shipping industry,” said a State Department official who was involved in deliberations over the visit. “Their business interests were potentially affected by meetings.”

The move to notify Washington was unusual and a sign of how concerned members of the State Department were, said the official, who was not authorized to speak on behalf of the agency.

[The Chao family has deep ties to the world’s two largest economies. Here are five takeaways.]

David H. Rank, another State Department official, learned of the matter after he stepped down as deputy chief of mission in Beijing earlier in 2017. “This was alarmingly inappropriate,” he said of the requests.

The Transportation Department did not provide a reason for the trip’s cancellation, though a spokesman later cited a cabinet meeting President Trump had called at the time. The spokesman said that there was no link between Ms. Chao’s actions as secretary and her family’s business interests in China.

Ms. Chao has no formal affiliation or stake in her family’s shipping business, Foremost Group. But she and her husband, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have received millions of dollars in gifts from her father, James, who ran the company until last year. And Mr. McConnell’s re-election campaigns have received more than $1 million in contributions from Ms. Chao’s extended family, including from her father and her sister Angela, now Foremost’s chief executive, who were both subjects of the State Department’s ethics question.

Ms. Chao with her husband, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader; her father, James, a founder of Foremost; and her sister Angela, its chief executive.Credit…Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Over the years, Ms. Chao has repeatedly used her connections and celebrity status in China to boost the profile of the company, which benefits handsomely from the expansive industrial policies in Beijing that are at the heart of diplomatic tensions with the United States, according to interviews, industry filings and government documents from both countries.

Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary of Trump’s cabin.

Now, Ms. Chao is the top Trump official overseeing the American shipping industry, which is in steep decline and overshadowed by its Chinese competitors.

Her efforts on behalf of the family business — appearing at promotional events, joining her father in interviews with Chinese-language media — have come as Foremost has interacted with the Chinese state to a remarkable degree for an American company.

Ms. Chao and her father are very close to the Beijing’s politicians.

Foremost has received hundreds of millions of dollars in loan commitments from a bank run by the Chinese government, whose policies have been labeled by the Trump administration as threats to American security. The company’s primary business — delivering China’s iron ore and coal — is intertwined with industries caught up in a trade war with the United States. That dispute stems in part from the White House’s complaints that China is flooding the world with subsidized steel, undermining American producers.

Foremost, though a relatively small company in its sector, is responsible for a large portion of orders at one of China’s biggest state-funded shipyards, and has secured long-term charters with a Chinese state-owned steel maker as well as global commodity companies that guarantee it steady revenues.

Ms. Chao’s family business is tired to top of the leaders of CCP .

In a rarity for foreigners, Angela and James Chao have served on the board of the holding company for China State Shipbuilding, a state-owned enterprise that makes ships for the Chinese military, along with Foremost and other customers. Angela Chao is also on the board at the Bank of China, a top lender to the shipbuilder, and a former vice chairman of the Council of China’s Foreign Trade, a promotional group created by the Chinese government.

Angela Chao, speaking in an interview in New York on Friday, said that her board positions were unremarkable, emphasizing that Foremost did business around the world. She denied that the company had a “China focus” beyond what most dry bulk carriers have in a world dominated by Chinese manufacturing. “We are an international shipping company, and I’m an American,” she said, adding, “I don’t think that, if I didn’t have a Chinese face, there would be any of this focus on China.”

James Chao was not made available for an interview; a representative of the company received written questions from The Times two weeks ago, and the company responded with a fact sheet on Friday.

Though Foremost worked in the late 1960s on American government contracts to ship rice to Vietnam, according to James Chao’s biography, it has almost no footprint left in the United States, save for a modest corporate headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. It registers its ships in Liberia and Hong Kong and owns them through companies in the Marshall Islands.

Since Elaine Chao became transportation secretary, records show, the agency budget has repeatedly called to cut programs intended to stabilize the financially troubled maritime industry in the United States, moving to cut new funding for federal grants to small commercial shipyards and federal loan guarantees to domestic shipbuilders.

Her agency’s budget has also tried to slash spending for a grant program that helps keep 60 American-flagged ships in service, and has tried to scale back plans to buy new ships that would train Americans as crew members. (In China, Ms. Chao’s family has paid for scholarships and a ship simulator to train Chinese seamen.)

The Chao family has provided funding for a ship simulator at Shanghai Maritime University and backed scholarships for training programs. The New York Times

Congress, in bipartisan votes, has rejected the budget cuts, some of which have been offered up again for next year. One opponent of the cuts has been Representative Alan Lowenthal, a California Democrat whose district includes one of the nation’s largest cargo ports.

“The Chinese government is massively engaged in maritime expansion as we have walked away from it,” he said in an interview. “There is going to come a crisis, and we are going to call upon the U.S. maritime industry, and it is not going to be around.”

Elaine Chao declined to be interviewed, but the Transportation agency provided a written statement from her.

“My parents and I came to America armed only with deep faith in the basic kindness and goodness of this country and the opportunities it offers,” Ms. Chao said. “My family are patriotic Americans who have led purpose-driven lives and contributed much to this country. They embody the American dream, and my parents inspired all their daughters to give back to this country we love.”

The department spokesman said The Times’s reporting wove “together a web of innuendos and baseless inferences” in linking Ms. Chao’s work at Transportation to her family’s business operations.

Agency officials said the department under Ms. Chao had been a champion of the American maritime industry, adding that several proposed cuts had been made by previous administrations and that the Trump administration had since moved to bolster funding.

Ms. Chao, 66, was born in Taiwan to parents who had fled mainland China in the late 1940s and later settled in the United States when she was a schoolgirl. She worked at Foremost in the 1970s but has had no formal role there in decades.

As her political stature has grown — she has served in the cabinet twice and has been married to Mr. McConnell for 26 years — Beijing has sought to flatter her family. A government-owned publisher recently printed authorized biographies of her parents, releasing them at ceremonies attended by high-ranking members of the Communist Party. On a visit last year to Beijing, Ms. Chao was presented with hand-drawn portraits of her parents from her counterpart in the transportation ministry.

On an official trip to Beijing last year, Ms. Chao received portraits of her parents from the Chinese transport minister, Li Xiaopeng, center left. Pool photo by Jason Lee

The Chao family’s ties to China have drawn some attention over the years. In 2001, The New Republic examined them in the context of the Republican Party’s softening tone toward the country. When Ms. Chao was nominated as transportation secretary, ProPublica and others highlighted the intersection of her new responsibilities with her family’s business. And in a book published last year, the conservative author Peter Schweizer suggested the Chaos gave Beijing undue influence.

The Times found that the Chaos had an extraordinary proximity to power in China for an American family, marked not only by board memberships in state companies, but also by multiple meetings with the country’s former top leader, including one at his villa. That makes the Chaos stand out on both sides of the Pacific, with sterling political connections going to the pinnacle of power in the world’s two biggest economies.

Ms. Chao’s father, a founder of Foremost in 1964, has for decades cultivated a close relationship with Jiang Zemin, a schoolmate from Shanghai who rose to become China’s president. As the schoolmates crossed paths again in the 1980s, the Chaos reaped dividends from a radar company linked to Mr. Jiang that targeted sales to the Chinese military, documents filed with the Chinese government show.

Though Ms. Chao’s financial disclosure statements indicate she receives no income from Foremost, she made at least four trips to China with the company in the eight years between her job as labor secretary during the George W. Bush administration and her confirmation as transportation secretary in January 2017. And her father accompanied her on at least one trip that she took as labor secretary, in 2008, sitting in on meetings, including with China’s premier, one of the country’s top officials.

Public records show that she has benefited from the company’s success. A gift to Ms. Chao and Mr. McConnell from her father in 2008 helped make Mr. McConnell, the Republican majority leader, one of the richest members of the Senate. And three decades worth of political donations have made the extended family a top contributor to the Republican Party of Kentucky, a wellspring of Mr. McConnell’s power.

CNA on Twitter: US house investigating Trump’s transportation secretary Elian Chao.

Marco Rubio, sponsor of Hong Kong pro-democracy bill, claims ‘very significant progress’ on the pending legislation

US Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, is a sponsor of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Photo: Reuters
  • The Republican senator cites progress on bill after meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell but offers no details
  • The pro-democracy bill has the support of more than one-third of the Senate’s 100 members but has not been brought up for a vote

The sponsor of US legislation aimed at supporting democracy in Hong Kong said he made “significant progress” on Wednesday in moving the bill toward passage.

Senator Marco Rubio, sponsor of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, posted the comment on Twitter shortly after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who would make the call on whether to put the bill to a vote, and Senator Jim Risch, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

US house approves Hong Kong Bill. Beijing strongly condemns move

Rubio’s office did not respond to a request for details about what progress was achieved.

Rubio, a Republican representing Florida, has gained bipartisan support for his bill, which has 38 cosponsors including Democratic presidential contenders Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey, representing more than one-third of the Senate.

https://twitter.com/

The legislation, which was passed by the US House of Representatives with no objections last month, would place economic sanctions on individuals deemed to have violated the terms of Hong Kong’s autonomy from mainland China.

he version in the House was co-sponsored by one-fifth of its 438 members. If passed by the Senate, the two bills will be consolidated into one and sent to US President Donald Trump for his approval. He has not indicated whether he would sign it into law.

McConnell’s office also did not respond to a request for comment about the meeting with Rubio or whether the Senate majority leader would bring the bill to a vote.

Fourfold surge in number of school students held over protests

Among dozens of pending pieces of legislation aimed at countering Beijing on multiple fronts, Rubio’s bill has angered the Chinese government, which has called the effort interference in China’s internal affairs.

Fielding questions in Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that “the issue Hong Kong faces is by no means about human rights or democracy, but rather about ending violence and chaos, restoring order and upholding rule of law”.

Geng’s remarks came after Risch – whose committee unanimously approved the bill in September – said in Washington on Tuesday that he wanted to see the legislation moved to a vote on the Senate floor.

“The US Congressman, turning a blind eye to the Hong Kong protesters’ flagrant offences including beating people, smashing properties and setting fires, openly bolstered radical forces and violent criminals,” Geng said. “The aim is to undermine Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity and to contain China’s development.”

CUHK has been turned to a battlefield.
Young girls was murdered by the thuggish police of Hong Kong. Photos shows a few fractured arms.
Young girl had both her arms were fractured by the police
Around 2500 used tear gas cartridges, sponge grenades and beanbag rounds
Rubber bullet took a girls’ sight. Her eye is in forever lost

Hong Kong student Chow Tsz-lok dies after suffering severe brain injury in car park fall

Students held a vigil for their fellow HKUST undergraduate Chow Tsz-lok earlier this week. Photo: Felix
Wong

A university student who suffered a severe brain injury after he fell from a car park early on Monday near an area of confrontation between protesters and police died on Friday morning.

Chow Tsz-lok, a second year computer science undergraduate at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, reportedly fell from the third floor to the second floor of a car park in Tseung Kwan O, while police carried out a dispersal operation nearby with rounds of tear gas fired.

The 22-year-old had been in a coma after being sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital early on Monday morning. Two operations were carried out to stop the swelling in his head, but sources said neither helped reduce the damage.

His condition took a turn for the worse on Thursday night before he succumbed to cardiac arrest the following morning, a source said. The hospital confirmed he died at 8.09am but did not give a cause of death.

Chow Tsz-lok (back row, fourth left) is pictured with his university netball team. Photo: Handout

On Thursday, a source said the pressure inside the student’s skull had built up to five times normal levels, a life-threatening condition.

HKUST issued a statement on Friday urging students to “stay calm and exercise restraint during this difficult moment” to avoid “conflicts or even tragedies” from happening.

A university’s spokeswoman said all classes would be cancelled on Friday and staff released.

Security camera footage released on Wednesday by Link Reit, the owner of the Sheung Tak Estate car park, did not appear to have captured the fall, as the cameras rotated during their operation. The view was also partly blocked by parked vehicles.

Wei Shyy, the HKUST president, promised on Wednesday that he would condemn police violence if officers were found to have violated tear gas firing guidelines during the stand-off with protesters that night.

Shyy was in tears as he announced Chow’s death on Friday morning during the second day of the university’s graduation ceremony, where the audience observed a moment of silence.

“Chow Tsz-lok has passed away,” Shyy said. “We will go to the hospital as soon as this session finishes.”

At the ceremony, some masters students wore black masks and held up their palms on stage – a symbol of protesters’ five demands. Hong Kong has been rocked by more than four months of anti-government unrest, sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill.

Shyy left nearly one hour into the ceremony at 11.20am after moving forward his degree presentation segment.

Wei Shyy, HKUST president, wipes away tears at news of the student’s death. Photo: Dickson Lee

A graduate from the school of science, surnamed Choy, 22, said she felt angry and frustrated about Chow’s death, with students demanding to know the truth about what happened.

“We should at least look at as much CCTV footage as possible,” she said.

But she added that the graduation ceremony should not be cancelled as others might want to attend it.

A year three student, surnamed Wong, 21, in a black mask, said that he was shocked to learn of Chow’s death and that it was inappropriate for the graduation ceremony to proceed. “It’s no longer a happy occasion for some graduates.”

HKUST said in a statement that the university was “deeply saddened” by Chow’s death, and it offered its condolences to his family. The university would provide the family any support the needed, it added, and said emotional support would be available to students.

The afternoon session of the graduation ceremony was cancelled.

The Legislative Council health services panel also stood for a minute to mourn Chow’s death in its meeting on Friday morning.

“I feel very sad. Can you lead us in mourning for a minute?” lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said to panel chairwoman Ann Chiang Lai-wan. The action proceeded without any objection from panel members.

The Hong Kong government sent condolences to Chow’s family on Friday.

“The Special Administrative Region feels deeply saddened, and expresses the deepest condolences to Chow’s family,” a government spokesman said.

The spokesman said police had already expressed concern over this case, which would now be followed up by crime squad officers.

Education minister Kevin Yeung Yun-hung also said he was deeply saddened over the death, and offered condolences to the student’s family.

“The Education Bureau will maintain close contact with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The bureau urges everyone to stay calm and support the follow-up work of the university together,” a bureau spokesman said, adding that space should be given to Chow’s family to grieve.

The bureau also repeated its call asking students to stay away from protests.

Sunday’s clash in Tseung Kwan O, which extended into the small hours of the following day, was sparked by a group of people trying to disrupt a police officer’s wedding held in a hotel in the district. It was unclear whether Chow was in the group, why he was at the car park and what caused him to fall.

A police source earlier said Chow was seen entering the car park alone at 12.20am and walking around before he was last spotted on the third floor.

Questions also remained over whether there was any delay in paramedics reaching Chow, as it took 19 minutes for them to arrive, seven minutes longer than the service pledge of being at a destination within 12 minutes from the time of an emergency call.

On Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor expressed her sympathy for Chow, and said the case needed to be investigated.

Police have said officers did not realise the accident had happened until they saw firefighters applying first aid in the car park at 1.05am Monday.

Chinese University medical students show their support for Chow Tsz-lok at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

The force also said tear gas was discharged near the car park on Tong Chun Street before they found Chow some 120 metres away.

It said Chow might have thought that after climbing off the wall of the third floor, there could be a ledge just below, instead of a straight drop of four metres onto the second floor.

Police denied that officers obstructed or interfered with rescue efforts by paramedics and fire services personnel.

The fire department said because of traffic congestion near the car park, it had taken 19 minutes for paramedics to arrive at the scene after receiving the call at 1.11am. Chow was taken to hospital at 1.59am.

Additional reporting by Kathleen Magramo and Chan Ho-him

Hong Kong teenager has abortion following allegations she was gang-raped in police station, but force says investigation shows inconsistencies

  • Police confirm a lawyer reported case to Complaints Against Police Office, claiming his client was raped inside Tsuen Wan Police Station
  • But source insider says her descriptions of police station and setting of the room also fail to match reality
A picture showing a police officer outside a medical ward in Queen Elizabeth Hospital was circulated widely online. Photo: Dickson Lee

A Hong Kong teenager who claims she was gang-raped in a police station in a report filed by her lawyer in October, had an abortion on Friday, but police say their investigations do not match the allegations.

“The allegation is serious. The case has been passed to the New Territories South regional crime squad for investigation,” a police statement said on Saturday evening.

“But so far, the contents made in the allegation do not match with our findings. We will continue the probe.”

A picture showing a police officer outside a medical ward has been circulated widely online since Friday. The accompanying post claimed a 16-year-old teenage girl who had been arrested had aborted her baby in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei that day.

Police confirmed that a lawyer reported the case to the Complaints Against Police Office (Capo) on her behalf on October 22, claiming his client was raped inside Tsuen Wan Police Station on September 27.

A source with knowledge of the case confirmed the abortion had taken place.

He said the girl claimed she had walked past the station on September 27 when four police officers in riot gear seized her, took her inside and arrested her. She then alleged all four raped her in a room.

“CCTV footage does not show her presence around the police station nor entering the building. We also do not have her arrest record,” a police insider said. “Her descriptions of the police station and the setting of the room also fail to match reality.”

The Post understood that lawyer Michael Vidler was representing the teenager, but he would neither confirm nor deny it in response to a Post inquiry.

A Hospital Authority spokesman declined to comment on online rumours about individual cases, citing the importance of protecting patients’ privacy.

A viral message posted on Saturday on LIHKG – a Reddit-like online forum popular with anti-government protesters – repeated the claims about both the rape and the abortion.

It added the incident was widely known among medical staff in the hospital, but was kept under wraps to respect the victim and avoid double victimisation.

In another post on HA Secrets, a Facebook page where many people claiming to work in the Hospital Authority share secrets anonymously, a page administrator said the abortion had been “fact-checked multiple times by many administrators”, adding that fetal DNA had been obtained for forsenic examination.

It said the identity of the perpetrator had yet to be determined.

Additional reporting by Chris Lau

Mike Pompeo warns against China, Russia on eve of Berlin Wall anniversary

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday after he lamented the “horrific conditions” that had been endured by people who until 1989 were cut off from the West by the Berlin Wall.
Together with United States Ambassador in Germany Richard Grenell, right, and Fred Ryan Board Chairman of the Reagan Foundation, left, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unveils a statue of former President Ronald Reagan on the top of United States embassy in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Nov. 7, 2019. AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

November 8, 2019 in Berlin

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and incoming EU chief Ursula von der Leyen issued stark warnings Friday that the West faces new challenges from Russia and China, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall.

Urging Western allies to defend hard-won freedoms, Pompeo stressed “we can never take … things for granted”.

With the West facing a slew of geopolitical challenges, he said the bulwark of the bloc’s defence alliance, the 70-year-old NATO, also “runs the risk that it will become obsolete” if leaders failed to tackle new challenges.

Pompeo’s warning came after French President Emmanuel Macron criticised the transatlantic partnership as experiencing “brain death”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the French president's "sweeping judgements" were not "necessary."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the French president’s “sweeping judgements” were not “necessary.” Source: Getty Images Europe

The sharp words prompted an unusually firm retort from Chancellor Angela Merkel. Von der Leyen too on Friday defended NATO as an “outstanding” shield.

Dismissing the debate around Macron’s comments as “kerfuffle,” Pompeo acknowledged that “NATO needs to grow and change, it needs to confront the realities of today and the challenges today.”

These threats include those posed by governments like China, Russia and Iran, Pompeo said, speaking just a few metres (yards) away from where the Wall ran past the German capital’s world famous Brandenburg Gate.

In a renewed attack against Beijing, Pompeo said the “Chinese Communist Party uses tactics and methods to suppress its own people that would be horrifyingly familiar to former East Germans”.

The United States and its allies should “defend what was so hard-won… in 1989” and “recognise we are in a competition of values with unfree nations,” he added.

‘Complacency was naive’

Issuing a similar message, von der Leyen said 30 years after the epochal event that was thought to usher in the unstoppable train of liberal democracy, “today, we have to admit that our complacency was naive.”

Russia is “using violence to shift established borders in Europe, and is trying to fill every vacuum that the US has left behind.”

And hopes that China would develop closer to the Western model have not been fulfilled, the former German defence minister said.

In the face of such challenges, von der Leyen said Europe needs to bulk up against the world’s biggest players.

“Soft power is no longer enough today, if we Europeans want to assert ourselves in the world,” she said, adding that “Europe must also learn the ‘language of power’.”

This include “building our own muscles, on where we’ve for a long time been able to rely on others — in security policies.”

Faced with a mercurial US President Donald Trump, European leaders including Merkel have in the last years intensified their calls for the bloc to ensure that it stand on its own feet.

‘Putin’s whims’

On a whirlwind two-day tour of Germany where he revisited the site of his Cold War military service on the former Iron Curtain border and met Merkel and key members of her cabinet, Pompeo looked to shore up transatlantic relations.

But he did not hesitate to name longstanding US-EU differences that have shifted into the spotlight under Trump’s tenure.

America’s top diplomat said defending liberal democracy also means preventing “Europe’s energy supplies… (from) depending on (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s whims” through the under-construction Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

Merkel has repeatedly said the pipeline is a purely private business concern.

Wall and Fuel : Vladimir Putin is meeting Merkel outside Berlin on Saturday to discuss Syria, Ukraine and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Angela Merkel. August 18, 2018
Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

And Pompeo warned of “Chinese companies’ intent to build 5G networks”, after the German government failed to exclude tech giant Huawei from the next-generation mobile network infrastructure.

While Huawei is a world leader in the technology, the US and others including Germany’s own security services have warned that it is close to Beijing.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, on a visit to China, told Huawei’s CEO that all operators must fulfill security requirements. Germany has stood out against US pressure to ban the company from 5G deals.

But wary of a potential falling-out with China — Germany’s biggest trade partner — Berlin last month said only that there would be “high standards” for security in the new network.

Trump Honors Victims of Communism More than 100 million killed under communist regimes

US President Donald Trump speaks during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump marked a national observance on Wednesday for the millions victims who died as a result of international communism.

“On the National Day for the Victims of Communism, we honor the memory of the more than 100 million people who have been killed and persecuted by communist totalitarian regimes,” the president said in a White House statement. “We also reaffirm our steadfast support for those who strive for peace, prosperity, and freedom around the world.”

Communism, or Marxism-Leninism, is a political ideology whose adherents first seized power during the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Often referred to by the euphemism “scientific socialism,” communism sought to reshape societies through collectivist systems that seek to change human nature through labor.

Demonstrators react in front of a portrait of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin during a rally held by Russian Communist party to mark the Red October revolution’s centenary in central Moscow, Russia November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin – RC13017E49F0

A main feature of communism is an implacable hostility to capitalism, the economic system that has produced the most advanced and freest civilization in human history.

Since then, “we have witnessed the effects of the tyrannical communist ideology—anguish, repression, and death,” Trump said of the Bolshevik takeover.

“Communism subordinates inherent human rights to the purported well-being of all, resulting in the extermination of religious freedom, private property, free speech, and, far too often, life,” he said.

States that adopt communist political systems are marked by violations of basic human rights. Resulting policies under communism have produced severe repression against any group or person perceived by ruling regimes to be an “enemy of the state.”

China 709 rights lawyers arrested the even

China’s system has been noted as the deadliest communist state, producing a death toll estimated to be 65 million people through executions, forced labor, and other means, according to the authoritative Black Book of Communism, published in 1999.

Crimes, Terror, Repression was published in English on October 8, 1999

China sought to reform its hardline communist system under Mao Zedong beginning in the 1980s by adopting quasi-capitalist features to its economy. Its political system, however, remains a repressive Leninist dictatorship.

According to the Black Book, more than 94 million people were killed or died as the result of communist regimes around the world, ranging from Russia to China to Cuba.

The victims included those who died in mass repression under communist systems through executions, government-produced famines, war, deportation, and forced labor.

Among the communist-inspired mass deaths have been the Soviet government-caused famine in Ukraine known as “Holodomor” that killed as many as 12 million people.

Ukraine famine ” Holodomor”

The Soviet purge known as the Great Terror from took place 1936 to 1938 when Stalin killed an estimated 700,000 land-owning peasants known as “kulaks” along with many political opponents.

Cambodia under the communist Khmer Rouge killed an estimated 2 million Cambodians.

A big pile of clothing of Cambodians who were killed in Khmer Rouge

Mr. Trump noted that many Germans in Berlin were shot crossing the Iron Curtain into Western Europe “as they tried to escape to freedom.”

“The victims of these and many other atrocities bear silent testimony to the undeniable fact that communism, and the pursuit of it, will forever be destructive to the human spirit and to the prosperity of mankind,” the president said.

“Today, we remember all who have been denied the great blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness under oppressive communist regimes,” Trump said.

“Together, we mourn the unbearable losses so many have endured under communism, and we renew our pledge to continue advancing the cause of freedom and opportunity for all.”

The presidential message comes as many appear unaware of the legacy of communism.

A Gallup poll made public in August found that for the first time in over a decade of polling, Democrats favored socialism over capitalism.

Millennials also have shown greater interest in socialism, according to recent polling data.

A report by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation released last month concluded Americans need better education about communism and socialism.

“The American public lacks a serious understanding and education regarding socialism and communism,” the foundation said in releasing the report.

“Most people continue to woefully underestimate the death toll of communism. It follows that only half of Americans can identify Cuba as a communist country, not to mention that 41 percent of Americans do not consider North Korea communist.”

“As Marx and other leading socialists have made clear, socialism denies the concept of individual rights, rejects transcendent truth, and favors a collective understanding of justice,” said Marion Smith, the foundation’s executive director.

“This system also now has a past record of practice in places like the USSR, China, Cuba, North Korea, and now Venezuela, among dozens of others around the world since 1917. Marxist governments have caused enormous political, economic, and humanitarian catastrophes—some of which continue today.”

Democratic socialists, those who seek to impose socialism through elections, also have gained popularity in recent years.

Democrats filed the Green New Deal (Alexandrian Ocasio-Cortez and Mitch McConnell )

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), a democratic socialist, gained popularity during his 2016 run for president, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old Democratic socialist was elected to Congress on Tuesday.

President Ronald Reagan, a strong anti-communist, along with Pope John Paul II who supported the anti-communist revolution in Poland in the 1980s were instrumental in exposing the reality of communism.

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev also was a key reformer who helped bring down the Soviet Union that collapsed in December 1991.

However, anti-democratic Russian revanchists, including many Soviet-era security officials, rejected democratic reforms and led to a new non-communist dictatorship in Moscow under Russian President Vladimir Putin.

One of the most important voices in exposing the reality of communism was the late Russian writer and dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whose 1974 book The Gulag Archipelago revealed the horrors of the Soviet system of forced prison labor, a main tool used to rid the Soviet Union of its opponents.

On the U.S. Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

Press Statement Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State November 4, 2019

US Department of State
Trump administration begins exist from Paris Climate Accord

Today the United States began the process to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.  Per the terms of the Agreement, the United States submitted formal notification of its withdrawal to the United Nations.  The withdrawal will take effect one year from delivery of the notification.

As noted in his June 1, 2017 remarks, President Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because of the unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers by U.S. pledges made under the Agreement.  The United States has reduced all types of emissions, even as we grow our economy and ensure our citizens’ access to affordable energy.  Our results speak for themselves:  U.S. emissions of criteria air pollutants that impact human health and the environment declined by 74% between 1970 and 2018.  U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions dropped 13% from 2005-2017, even as our economy grew over 19 percent.

The U.S. approach incorporates the reality of the global energy mix and uses all energy sources and technologies cleanly and efficiently, including fossils fuels, nuclear energy, and renewable energy.  In international climate discussions, we will continue to offer a realistic and pragmatic model – backed by a record of real world results – showing innovation and open markets lead to greater prosperity, fewer emissions, and more secure sources of energy.  We will continue to work with our global partners to enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change and prepare for and respond to natural disasters.  Just as we have in the past, the United States will continue to research, innovate, and grow our economy while reducing emissions and extending a helping hand to our friends and partners around the globe.