Defying China, Hong Kongers rush to buy pro-democracy newspaper

first_imgTopics : Hong Kongers rushed to buy copies of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily on Tuesday in a show of support for its owner, who was arrested a day earlier as police rounded up critics of China.A crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong has gathered pace since China imposed a sweeping security law in June, with opposition politicians disqualified and activists arrested for social media posts.The moves have provoked outrage in the West and fear for millions in the city who last year took to the streets to protest Beijing’s tightening grip on the semi-autonomous city.  The newspaper’s front page showed a picture of Lai being led away in handcuffs with a headline — in typical lurid red characters — that said “Apple will fight on”.Dozens of people lined up in Mong Kok and around the city to buy the paper, including a woman who bought 16 copies and gave her name as Chan.”Hong Kong is a place with press freedom, but the police now suppress press freedom in a high-profile way. I feel very angry,” she said.Hong Kongers had on Monday immediately shown their support by buying shares in Lai’s media company, sending its stock value soaring. The buying spree continued on Tuesday morning, with the company’s value increasing more than 600 percent since Lai’s arrest. ‘Eviscerated’ Hong Kong’s new national security law criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.The most serious crimes under the law, which was introduced on June 30 and is not supposed to be retroactive, carry up to life in jail.Its broadly worded provisions criminalized certain political speech overnight, such as advocating sanctions, and greater autonomy or independence for Hong Kong.Similar laws are used on the authoritarian mainland to snuff out opposition.Lai, 71, was held on charges including colluding with foreign forces, as well as fraud, in an operation targeting his Next Digital publishing group.Among the others arrested were two of Lai’s sons, young pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow and Wilson Li, a former activist who describes himself as a freelance journalist working for Britain’s ITV News.Even as police were conducting interrogations, Beijing hailed Lai’s arrest, declaring him an “anti-China rabble-rouser” who conspired with foreigners to “stir up chaos”.Critics believe the law has ended the key liberties and autonomy that Beijing promised Hong Kong could keep after its 1997 handover by Britain.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with Lai last year, said he was “deeply troubled” by reports of Lai’s arrest.Pompeo described it as “further proof” that Chinese authorities have “eviscerated Hong Kong’s freedoms and eroded the rights of its people”.The United States had last week already imposed sanctions on a group of Chinese and Hong Kong officials — including city leader Carrie Lam — in response to the crackdown.China condemned the sanctions as “barbarous” and imposed retaliatory sanctions on some senior American politicians and leading human rights campaigners.In a late-night briefing, police said those arrested were part of a group that had previously lobbied for foreign sanctions.”After the national security law came into force, this group was still active,” senior superintendent Li Kwai-wah told reporters. In one of the most dramatic days of the crackdown, media tycoon Jimmy Lai was among 10 people detained under the new law on Monday as around 200 police officers searched the newsroom of his tabloid, which is unapologetically critical of Beijing.In a show of solidarity for Lai, people in the city rushed to buy Tuesday’s Apple Daily, with the newspaper saying it had upped its print run to 550,000 from its normal circulation of 70,000.One restaurant owner bought 50 copies at a news stand in the commercial district of Mong Kok, saying he planned to give them away for free.”Since the government doesn’t allow Apple Daily to survive, then we as Hong Kongers have to save it ourselves,” the man, who gave his surname as Ng, told AFP.last_img read more

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COLUMN: Trojans rebound with win in Tempe

first_imgI thought USC was going to lose Saturday night. For the first time in my life as a Trojan fan, I came into a game expecting the football team to lose. No matter who the Trojans were facing off against, I have always thought USC would win. After last week’s Stanford loss, my confidence in the program’s direction, like many fans, was severely shaken. After last night’s victory, I am happy to have been wrong.Now this is not to say all is right with the USC program and that the Stanford loss was a blip. I think Saturday’s victory over the Sun Devils was partially attributable to the fact that USC faced a vastly overrated squad. At the end of the day, though, a win is a win, and a much-needed one for USC. It was pretty early to have a must-win game on the schedule, but Saturday night’s tilt against the Sun Devils definitely qualified.The Trojans won in convincing fashion against Arizona State, going up 35-0 at halftime and maintaining a significant margin throughout the entire contest. Though the offense looked stagnant at times in the second half, it’s hard to maintain focus when you are blowing the other team out. The win wasn’t beautiful as the Trojans looked sloppy at times, but the sheer amount of talent on USC’s roster was evident as the game wore on.Hopefully as the season progresses, the coaching staff can harness this talent, reduce the penalties and turn the Trojans into the team everyone was expecting this preseason.On offense, Adoree’ Jackson has to get the ball every game. He might be the most explosive player in college football, even as LSU tailback Leonard Fournette breaks new records every Saturday. Jackson’s balance and instincts are incredible on their own. Couple that with his    world-class speed, and it is no wonder he seemingly makes a big play every time he touches the ball. His long touchdown catch was a great play, but the two more impressive moves by him were his complete change of direction on the punt return and shedding four or five tackles on the screen pass.In addition to Jackson, receiver Juju Smith-Schuster continues to impress. The Arizona State game started with another long connection from Cody Kessler to Smith-Schuster, and it seems he has developed into a bonafide deep threat this year. Smith-Schuster offers the complete package as he has always been physical after short catches, churning away for extra yards. Now that defenders have to respect the deep ball, it gives him more space to work with underneath. The long drag routes across the middle of the field have been impossible to cover for defensive backs this year, and, hopefully, the Trojans continue to press this advantage.Jackson and Smith-Schuster were not the only skill position players to impress, as senior quarterback Cody Kessler turned in another stellar performance. His ability to avoid hits in the pocket and keep plays alive paid major dividends against the Sun Devils as it extended multiple drives. Additionally, it was nice to see Kessler flash the athleticism that made him a standout high school point guard, as his mobility is often underutilized.Additionally, the defense responded well after the shellacking at the hands of Stanford last week. They attacked the ball and made plays happen. While the line was gashed up the middle on plenty of runs, overall the defense had a much better game plan in place. It’s amazing what happens when the Trojans blitz and put pressure on the opposing quarterback; they either throw it away or into a defender’s hands.All of these signs are positive, but it is way too early to tell if Arizona State is a truly quality opponent this season. Outside of ASU quarterback Michael Bercovici’s incredible performance in the last five minutes of last year’s game against USC, he has been barely above average as a                             Pac-12 quarterback. Add on the 14-point swing as a result of Arizona State’s goal line fumble, as well as the ensuing turnover on the kickoff, and it’s hard to know how much of the game was due to the Trojans’ talent or the Sun Devils’ ineptitude.Regardless, it is a victory and a much-needed one. As the Trojans take some time to rest during the bye, it must be a welcome relief to be 3-1 and not 2-2. It was only a few years ago that a shaky Trojans team went into a must-win game against Notre Dame, and as it looked like the Irish were starting to gain momentum, former safety Jawanza Starling took a bad snap to Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown. After that game, the Trojans pulled off an upset against Oregon and beat UCLA 50-0. Here’s hoping that Chris Hawkins’s fumble recovery can bring about a similar mojo for this year’s squad.last_img read more

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