Hong Kong, China, Chinese Government discussed on BBC Newshour

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Citizens, Jimmy Lai. Lai. Has Has been been charged charged with with endangering endangering Chinese Chinese national national security. security. The The businessman businessman and and media media million million billionaire billionaire who's who's in in prison prison in in Hong Hong Kong Kong at at the the moment, moment, is is the the most most high high profile person to be charged under sweeping new law covering conspiring with foreign forces. And carrying a maximum life sentence. Antony DAP. Iran is a lawyer and writer in Hong Kong who spells out what these charges against Mr Lai mean for the direction of Chinese rule in Hong Kong. He's being charged with colluding with foreign forces under the National security law. It's very significant given that Jimmy Lai is such a high profile figure among of the pro democracy parties in Hong Kong. But it's not surprising. It's always expected that he would be one of the key targets under the law after it was introduced. What sorts of things has, he said about Beijing that have obviously cause such a fence. Well, he has bean very public in calling for sanctions to be imposed on both the Hong Kong and Chinese governments in retaliation for their actions here in Hong Kong, and that is specifically under the law constitute the the act of colluding with foreign forces. And so that's the the the actions that we expect that has got him into trouble This time. It's quite a sweeping law, isn't it? And he's not the first to fall foul of it. That's right. It is a very broad law drafted in such a wide way that it can catch all sorts of act. Devotees are so far there have been four people arrested and charged under the law. None of those cases have yet worked their way through the court system. So we don't yet know how Hongkong's judges are going to define the parameters off this law, but it's certainly potentially could be very broad. Reaching indeed. Can you tell us about the case of a teenage activist called Tony Cheung? Yes, Tony chill has been charged under the National security law for inciting succession and subversion. And this is in relation to social media posts that he's alleged to have made with messages of diligently promoting Hong Kong independence or subverting the government. He's also being charged with it with a number of other offenses, including just today he was convicted off. Desecrating the national flag for snatching a Chinese flag off a pro Beijing demonstrator at a protest. He's also facing other charges resulting from his various protest activities. How successful a warning shot Against other protesters. Do you think that these actions are, it's certainly likely to be very intimidating to other protesters and and pro democracy activists in Hong Kong. This is all part of a much broader campaign by the authorities here to crack down on all forms of dissent, and that has included, of course, arrests under the National Security law and under other Hong Kong laws. It's also included the disqualification of legislators the intimidation of the media a crackdown on the education system. All of this really designed to silence any form of dissent here in Hong Kong, and it certainly is having an effect in terms of intimidating people. I think you've described what's going on in Hong Kong in the moment as CAFTA esque. Maybe you could explain what you mean for those who might not be familiar with the works of France, CAFTA Yes. I mean, what we're seeing in Hong Kong isn't often arbitrary Use off state power or the use of the state and the Lauren and I about predictable and inconsistent ways. And you really see it in the way that the government challenges these pro democracy activists and protesters with all sorts of legal charges, often it being unclear exactly what the behavior is that they're being charged with. So I think for many of the pro democracy community here, it feels a little like they are lost in a sort of Casca narrative, not Quite sure when the Lord is going to to swept upon them. Clearly, Beijing thinks it can do things like charge. Businessman Jimmy Lie with impunity is that the case is standing up for Hong Kong falling down the list of priorities for Western governments. It certainly seems that even if Western governments are inclined to take action, this little action they can take that is likely to have any impact on the Chinese government. And we've seen that with sanctions that the United States has a Lied to both Hong Kong and Beijing government leaders. They seem to have have reacted really with defiance. I'm haven't changed their policies or approaches in Hong Kong. It all have been very dismissive of the sanctions and the impact that they've been having all these leaders. And so even these sorts of very assertive actions are not able to sort of change. Attack that the Chinese government is taking here. I'm not sure what else will and so I think that China certainly regards any action by foreign government as an interference in China's internal affairs, and they've given every indication they don't intend to be influenced by that. Antony Dappy ran in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, a reporter working for the American news agency Bloomberg has been detained by the authorities in China. Hayes fan who's a Chinese national hasn't been in contact with her employers for four days now. Robin Brent is the BBC's correspondent in Shanghai and asked him what more we knew about her detention. Well, the truth is not much or we have is the details coming from the American news agency Bloomberg, which were released late today, on Friday, China Time Now they say they last heard from her in a conversation with her editors before lunch on Monday. They haven't heard from her since. But shortly after that conversation, she was seen being escorted from her apartment in Beijing by blankly. Those police officers and in the intervening four days, Bloomberg say they've been in touch with the government here. They've been in touch with the Chinese Embassy in the United States because hes Fanny's a Chinese national on itwas on Thursday when they discovered confirmation that she had been detained. She had been taken and she was being questioned in relation to allegations off breaching national security and the Chinese authorities have recent form. Don't they were foreign journalists are concerned Australian journalists flown out of China recently. American journalists not having their press cards renewed. Yes, I mean, you know, we could have ah, much more longer and detailed conversation about whether that how this fits in with the diplomatic hostilities between the United States and China. Between China on Australia and the Chinese government's use of its very ambiguous national security law to target people to target journalists for things other than genuine allegations off breaching the law, But look a Chinese born Australian journalists Chen Lei, who worked for the state run TV CT TN station, She was detained several months ago in similar circumstances. She hasn't been seen since. Details about her fate have not been forthcoming. There is some continuation that this may be linked to that, but we just don't know the evacuation as it was off to journalists. Australian journalists a couple of months ago linked to Chang Le's detention Pretty much ended Australia's ability to report from this country. Certainly when it comes to TV, anyway. Yesterday as well was the two year anniversary to the day off the detention on Don't going detention off two Canadians Michael Coverage of Michael's favor. One of businessmen want a former diplomat, two men who were detained by China in China. In the days following the arrest of a very high profile Kuala Way telecom company executive in Canada. So look, it's seen on used frankly, by the Chinese as a tool is a tactic off diplomacy, but I have to say We don't know any details about Hayes fans detention why she's being detained how she was detained where she's being detained because the Chinese authorities are not saying so. They're simply confirming that they have her. What does it say, though about the state of Open reporting in China, particularly by foreign nationals, the foreign correspondent's Club of China Says. It's very alarmed, for instance. Yeah, but it's hard here. It's hard for foreign nationals that believe me. It's even harder for Chinese nationals. Hayes fan is a Chinese national. She's an experienced journalist she's working for Bloomberg. Last three years, but other organizations before that, and she is what's known as a news assistant here. Chinese nationals aren't allowed to be employed to do what I do to report you know, prominently in newspapers or on camera or on the radio. They can only be employed his news assistance. But that is a huge understatement of what they do. I have a Chinese colleague who is my new system and she is absolutely vital to our operation here in Shanghai. That was Robin Brent, who's the BBC's correspondent in Shanghai.

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