Published: Fri, August 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

USA raises travel warning for Hong Kong over growing civil unrest

USA raises travel warning for Hong Kong over growing civil unrest

Over the past 48 hours, three successive developments have exacerbated the situation in Hong Kong, which has been in the grips of massive public protests since June, when the administration sought to introduce a law that would have allowed the city-state to extradite suspected criminals to China.

They have also called for chief executive Carrie Lam to quit and for an inquiry into police tactics.

Pelosi on Tuesday issued a statement praising "the extraordinary outpouring of courage from the people of Hong Kong [that] stands in stark contrast to a cowardly government that refuses to respect the rule of law or live up to the "one country, two systems" framework which was guaranteed more than two decades ago".

Protesters argue government intransigence has helped sustain their movement through nine straight weeks of rallies, marches, sieges and strikes, including a successful citywide effort Monday to disrupt train services and commercial flights.

'Protests have become more unpredictable and are expected to continue, ' the government's Smart Traveller website says. Protesters in one neighborhood this weekend faced an angry driver ramming his vehicle through a makeshift barricade into people standing on the other side.

Speaking after the meeting, several attendees said Zhang cited speeches by former Chinese paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in 1984 and 1987 in which he said if "turmoil" occurs in Hong Kong, "the central government must intervene".

"This time, it is like a ideal storm", Wharf Real Estate Investment chairman Stephen Ng said on Tuesday, as Hong Kong faces both internal and external pressure, including a weakening global economy and U.S.

During an August 7 symposium held in Shenzhen city by the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and the Liaison Office, Beijing's representative office in the territory, a senior official called the Hong Kong protests "a color revolution" that needed to be quelled, using a term that refers to popular uprisings in former Soviet countries.

Hong Kong was guaranteed freedoms not granted in mainland China, including an independent judiciary, under a "one country, two systems" formula when Britain handed it back to China in 1997.

China's Foreign Ministry lodged stern representations with the United States, urging USA officials to stop sending wrong signals to the "violent separatists" in Hong Kong.

No specific mention, however, was made of deploying the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which has a garrison in Hong Kong, to quell the unrest, with Zhang cited as saying Beijing remained confident in the Hong Kong government and local police.

The amount of violence and property damage has increased in recent protests, with 10 people injured last week when fireworks were shot from a moving auto into a crowd of pro-democracy activists.

Police revealed that they fired some 800 tear gas rounds on Monday - nearly as many as the 1,000 rounds they said they had fired throughout the whole of the last two months.

"We also call on our neighbours, our neighbouring countries, to exercise prudence and not to allow a U.S. deployment of its intermediate-range missiles on [their] territory", Mr Fu was quoted as saying by AFP, naming Australia, Japan and South Korea.

They include people caught in possession of laser pointers, which are classified as offensive weapons due to their ability to harm the eyes.

Police said 148 people were arrested and "some 800 tear gas rounds" were expended in Monday's melee.

And despite the warnings, the Hong Kong Tourism Commission said the city is still open to travelers.

Pro-democracy lawmakers continued to criticise Ms. Lam's handling of the protests.

Baptist University University Student Union president Keith Fong was detained on suspicion of carrying offensive weapons, after plainclothed police said they found 10 laser pointers in his bag.

More than 500 people have been arrested since the protests began and dozens have already been charged with rioting.

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