Blinken Replaces ‘Controversial’ Pro-Hong Kong Tweet with Milder Statement

Antony Blinken

Secretary of State Antony Blinken took down a tweet he posted Thursday saying the U.S. would “stand with the people of Hong Kong,” the South China Morning Post reported.

“Beijing should let the voices of all Hong Kongers be heard. The PRC’s disqualification of district councillors only weakens Hong Kong’s long-term political and social stability,” Blinken said in the tweet, as shown in screenshots from the South China Morning Post.

“We stand with the people of Hong Kong & continue to support their human rights & fundamental freedoms,” he added. Blinken took down his tweet on Friday, later replacing it with a milder message, South China Morning Post reported.

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Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protestor Sentenced to 9 Years in First Trial Under the National Security Law

A Hong Kong pro-democracy protestor was sentenced to nine years in prison in the first prosecution under the country’s new national security law, the Associated Press reported.

Tong Ying-ki was convicted Tuesday on charges of inciting secession and terrorism for allegedly driving his motorcycle into a group of police officers with a flag donning the banned slogan, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” at a July rally in 2020, the AP reported. Tong pleaded not guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 6 1/2 years and eight years respectively on Friday, which judges ruled could be served concurrently for 9 years.

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China Sanctions Former Top Trump Official, Six Others in Response to Hong Kong Actions

Zhao Lijian

China sanctioned former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and six other U.S. individuals or entities in retaliation for human rights penalties levied against the Chinese government Friday.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the sanctions were a response to the recent Hong Kong Business Advisory issued by the State Department earlier this month, which warned U.S. companies against engaging in business activity in Hong Kong due to a series of risks. On Friday, China accused the U.S. of engaging in behavior that “gravely” violates international law.

“I would like to stress once again that Hong Kong is China’s Special Administrative Region and its affairs are an integral part of China’s internal affairs,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in a statement on Friday.

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Commentary: The U.S. Needs Measured Confrontation with China

Policeman holding a rifle - in uniform

With the election of Joe Biden, there is increasing pressure for the United States to accommodate the global ambitions of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Such a policy will weaken the strategic position of the United States and embolden the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which seeks to transform the rules of international politics, and has demonstrated its willingness to employ coercive measures, including threats and open conflict, to achieve its aims. 

As it has done for decades, and does so now with the Biden Administration, the CCP makes appeals for accommodation while emphasizing the need to turn away from more confrontational policies, like those most recently advanced by the Trump Administration. And as always, China’s words must be seen as tactical measures it deploys in pursuit of its objectives. Thus, it is only a matter of time before attempts to cooperate with China fail. However tempting, accommodation will not succeed for the stark reason that China does not want it. 

Party Chairman Xi Jinping has made clear that what China seeks is world hegemony. And it is upon the pursuit of this hegemony that his power in the regime depends. 

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Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Paper Sells out Final Edition

Apple Daily (Hong Kong) Headquarters

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, sold out all 1 million copies of its final edition by 8:30 a.m. Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

The newspaper has been a frequent critic of Chinese and Hong Kong authorities trying to suppress democratic sentiment and the freedoms of the semi-autonomous city, the AP reported. The newspaper was forced to close its doors after it said police froze $2.3 million of its assets, searched its office and arrested five executives and editors last week for alleged foreign collusion, in violation of Beijing’s national security law.

The arrests were the first time the law has been used against journalists for their work, the AP reported. Apple Daily was the last pro-democracy print newspaper in Hong Kong. Its owner, Jimmy Lai has been arrested multiple times and sentenced to 14 months in prison for involvement with the pro-democracy demonstrations.

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2021 Index Finds Rise in Global Economic Freedom, but U.S. Score Falls

America’s economic freedom ranking has fallen to an all-time low, according to The Heritage Foundation’s 2021 Index of Economic Freedom.

The United States fell three places since last year and now ranks 20th in the world among countries evaluated, with an economic freedom score of 74.8 out of 100.

The 27th annual Index of Economic Freedom was released Thursday during a Heritage virtual event featuring Charles Payne, host of Fox Business’ “Making Money With Charles Payne.”

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China Will Control Appointment of Chinese Catholic Clergy Without Input from Vatican

New rules from the Chinese government indicate that China will exercise control over the appointment of Catholic clergy without any input from the Vatican.

The “Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy,” which will go into effect May 1, clarified that the state-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) will select candidates for clergy who will then be “approved and  consecrated by the Chinese Catholic Bishops’ Conference.”

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Hong Kong Democracy Protesters Support Trump, View Biden as Weak

Prominent pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters support President Donald Trump’s re-election bid citing his strong stance on China.

The protesters who have demonstrated against China’s tightening grip on Hong Kong believe that if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins Tuesday’s election, the U.S. stance on China would be weak, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP). As vice president, Biden lead former President Barack Obama’s China policy, according to The Atlantic.

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New York Times Publishes Pro-Beijing Official’s Op-Ed Praising Crackdown on Hong Kong Protesters

The New York Times published an opinion piece on Thursday from a pro-Beijing official in Hong Kong who accused pro-democracy protesters there of “stirring up chaos” against “our motherland.”

In the article, entitled, “Hong Kong is China, Like it or Not,” Regina Ip defended the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) response to protests that started in Hong Kong in March 2019 over a proposed law that would allow for the extradition of fugitives to China.

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