China’s coronavirus death toll reaches 1,770 – World – TASS

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BEIJING, February 17. /TASS/. The number of people who died from the novel coronavirus in China has reached 1,770, more than 70,500 cases of the disease have been confirmed, while more than 10,800 people are said to have recovered from it, China’s health committee reported Monday.

On Sunday, the committee informed about more than 68,500 cases, 1,665 deaths and 9,419 recovered. According to the data update, the official coronavirus death rate is now standing at 2.5% compared to Sunday’s 2.43%

Among China’s regions, the Hubei Province has the most cases with 58,100 people identified to have contracted coronavirus, 1,696 of them dead and 6,639 recoveries. Hubei is followed by the Guangdong Province (south China) with 1,300 infections, the Henan Province (central China) and the Zhejiang Province (east China) which report 1,200 and 1,100 cases respectively.

According to data available on Sunday, there are 381 coronavirus cases in Beijing, 144 of them were discharged from hospitals, while four people died.

According to the latest official reports, more than 150,500 Chinese citizens are monitored in the country because they had close contacts with those who are known to have contracted the disease. China also says there are about 7,200 people placed in quarantine because of coronavirus fears. According to doctors, more than 10,600 people are in critical condition.

A pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 virus (previously called 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s city of Wuhan – a large trade and industrial center in central China populated by 11 million people – in late December. The WHO declared it a global emergency, describing the outbreak as an epidemic with multiple foci.

The virus spread to 25 more countries, apart from China: Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, India, Italy, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. The WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak in China a global health emergency. Chinese authorities have confirmed more than 68,500 cases of the disease, over 1,665 people died, while more than 9,400 people are reported to have recovered.

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Citizen Journalists Who Exposed Beijing’s Lies In Wuhan Have Suddenly Vanished

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Citizen Journalists Who Exposed Beijing’s Lies In Wuhan Have Suddenly Vanished

As we reported late Thursday evening, the death toll from the viral outbreak on mainland China has surpassed 600. With global markets once again in the red, Bloomberg reports that Beijing has silenced two of the citizen journalists responsible for much of the horrifying footage seeping onto western social media.

As BBG’s reporter explains, Chinese citizen journalists Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin have effectively been “the world’s eyes and ears” inside Wuhan (much of the film produced by American news organizations has consisted of drone footage). In recent days, SCMP and other news organizations reporting on the ground and publishing in English have warned that Beijing has stepped up efforts to censor Chinese social media after allowing citizens to vent their frustrations and share news without the usual scrutiny.

On Wednesday, China said its censors would conduct “targeted supervision” on the largest social media platforms including Weibo, Tencent’s WeChat and ByteDance’s Douyin. All in an effort to mask the dystopian nightmare that life in cities like Wuhan has become.

But that brief period of informational amnesty is now over, apparently. Fang posted a dramatic video on Friday showing him being forcibly detained and dragged off to a ‘quarantine’. He was detained over a video showing corpses piled up in a Wuhan hospital. However, he has already been released.

Chen, meanwhile, seems to have vanished without a trace, and is believed to still be in government detention. We shared one of Chen’s more alarming videos documenting the severe medical supply shortages and outnumbered medical personnel fighting a ‘losing battle’ against the outbreak.

The crackdown on these journalists comes amid an outpouring of public anger over the death of a doctor who was wrongly victimized by police after attempting to warn the public about the outbreak. Beijing tried to cover up the death, denying it to the western press before the local hospital confirmed.

The videos supplied by the two citizen journos have circulated most freely on twitter, which is where most in-the-know Chinese go for their latest information about the outbreak. Many “hop” the “great firewall” via a VPN.

“There’s a lot more activity happening on Twitter compared with Weibo and WeChat,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. There has been a Chinese community on Jack Dorsey’s short-message platform since before President Xi Jinping rose to power, she added, but the recent crackdown has weakened that social circle.

Chen has now been missing for more than 24 hours, according to several friends in contact with BBG News.

Chen has been out of contact for a prolonged period of time. His friends posted a message on his Twitter account saying he has been unreachable since 7 p.m. local time on Thursday. In a texted interview, Bloomberg News’s last question to Chen was whether he was concerned about his safety as he’s among the few people reporting the situation on the front lines.

It’s all part of the great crackdown that Beijing is enforcing, even as the WHO continues to praise the Communist Party for its ‘transparency’.

“After lifting the lid briefly to give the press and social media some freedom,” said Wang about China’s ruling Communist Party, the regime “is now reinstating its control over social media, fearing it could lead to a wider-spread panic.”

With a little luck, the world might soon learn Chen’s whereabouts. Then again, there’s always the chance that he’s never heard from again.


Tyler Durden

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Coronavirus spreads to more than 800 in China: First death outside epicentre | Stuff.co.nz

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China’s National Health Commission said Friday afternoon (NZ time) the confirmed cases of the new coronavirus had risen to 830 with 25 deaths.

The first death was also confirmed outside the central province of Hubei, where the capital, Wuhan, has been the epicentre of the outbreak.

The health commission in Hebei, a northern province bordering Beijing, said an 80-year-old man died after returning from a two-month stay in Wuhan to see relatives.

The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan or people with connections the city. Other cases have been confirmed in the United States, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand. Singapore and Vietnam reported their first cases Thursday, and cases have also been confirmed in the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau.

Many countries are screening travellers from China for symptoms of the virus, which can cause fever, coughing, breathing difficulties and pneumonia.

The World Health Organisation has decided against declaring the outbreak a global emergency, a step that can bring more money and resources to fight a threat but that can also cause trade and travel restrictions and other economic damage, making the decision a politically fraught one.

The decision “should not be taken as a sign that WHO does not think the situation is serious or that we’re not taking it seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “WHO is following this outbreak every minute of every day.”

The coronaviruses are a family of viruses that originate in animals before making the jump to humans.

Chinese authorities moved to lock down at least three cities with a combined population of more than 18 million in an unprecedented effort to contain the deadly new virus that has sickened hundreds of people and spread to other parts of the world during the busy Lunar New Year travel period.

Chinese officials have not said how long the shutdowns of the cities will last. While sweeping measures are typical of China’s Communist Party-led government, large-scale quarantines are rare around the world, even in deadly epidemics, because of concerns about infringing on people’s liberties. And the effectiveness of such measures is unclear.

“To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science,” said Gauden Galea, the WHO”s representative in China. “It has not been tried before as a public health measure. We cannot at this stage say it will or it will not work.”

GETTY IMAGES
People wear face masks as they wait at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan

Jonathan Ball, a professor of virology at molecular virology at the University of Nottingham in Britain, said the lockdowns appear to be justified scientifically.

“Until there’s a better understanding of what the situation is, I think it’s not an unreasonable thing to do,” he said. “Anything that limits people’s travels during an outbreak would obviously work.”

But Ball cautioned that any such quarantine should be strictly time-limited. He added: “You have to make sure you communicate effectively about why this is being done. Otherwise you will lose the goodwill of the people.”

GETTY IMAGES
A resident wears a mask to buy vegetables in the market in Wuhan.

During the devastating West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014, Sierra Leone imposed a national three-day quarantine as health workers went door to door, searching for hidden cases. Burial teams collecting corpses and people taking the sick to Ebola centres were the only ones allowed to move freely. Frustrated residents complained of food shortages.

In China, the illnesses from the newly identified coronavirus first appeared last month in Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub. Local authorities demanded all residents wear masks in public places and urged civil servants wear them at work.

After the city was closed off Thursday, images showed long lines and empty shelves at supermarkets, as people stocked up. Trucks carrying supplies into the city are not being restricted, although many Chinese recall shortages in the years before the country’s recent economic boom.

Analysts predicted cases will continue to multiply, although the jump in numbers is also attributable in part to increased monitoring.

KEVIN FRAYER/GETTY IMAGES
A Chinese passenger that just arrived on the last bullet train from Wuhan to Beijing is checked for a fever by a health worker at a Beijing railway station.

“Even if (cases) are in the thousands, this would not surprise us,” the WHO’s Galea said, adding, however, that the number of infected is not an indicator of the outbreak’s severity so long as the death rate remains low.

The coronavirus family includes the common cold as well as viruses that cause more serious illnesses, such as the SARS outbreak that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-03 and killed about 800 people, and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, or MERS, which is thought to have originated from camels.

China is keen to avoid repeating mistakes with its handling of SARS. For months, even after the illness had spread around the world, China parked patients in hotels and drove them around in ambulances to conceal the true number of cases and avoid WHO experts. This time, China has been credited with sharing information rapidly, and President Xi Jinping has emphasised that as a priority.

Health authorities are taking extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the virus, placing those believed infected in plastic tubes and wheeled boxes, with air passed through filters.

The first cases in the Wuhan outbreak were connected to people who worked at or visited a seafood market, now closed for an investigation. Experts suspect that the virus was first transmitted from wild animals but that it may also be mutating. Mutations can make it deadlier or more contagious.

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Early Rain Church Member Released From Chinese Prison

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A member of the Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) in Sichuan, China who was arrested last March by Chinese government officials was released last week.

After spending the last seven months in prison, Gou Zhongcan was on October 22, released and allowed to return home to Bazhou City, according to International Christian Concern.(ICC).

A Chinese Christian familiar with the case shared on Twitter on Oct. 23, “Brother Gou Zhongcan from ERCC in Chengdu, who was arrested in March earlier this year has returned home yesterday. Thanks be to God that the captive has been delivered!”

It has been reported that Gou’s vision deteriorated during the time of his incarceration. Jia Xuewei, another ERCC member, told the non-profit charity that otherwise he is in good health.

ICC says that Gou went missing on March 15, while he was visiting a friend in Zhejiang. His cellphone and computer were taken away from him. Three days later, he was spotted at the Hangzhou East Train Station being escorted by multiple plainclothes police officers. His head was shaved and he was handcuffed.

Since then, Gou’s lawyer has been unable to locate him despite multiple attempts. China Aid reported in July that Gou was detained and held in the basement of a public security bureau office for refusing to reveal the passwords to his computer and cell phone. When Gou’s elderly father was finally allowed to meet with him, he shared that his son did not look well, but that he had been singing hymns and worship songs while being detained.

Gou had already spent 10 years imprisoned due to his human rights work. At 23-years-old, he was a reporter and was imprisoned for reporting on the inhumane treatment of prisoners in China to human rights organizations abroad. He reportedly underwent severe torture during that time, chvnradio reports.

Gou came to Christ in 2016 after he was released, and began attending ERCC.

Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid says, that he’s thanking God for Gou’s release.

Thx God. Brother Gou Zhongcan from Early Rain Covenant Church was released after being incarcerated illegally by CCP regime for 7 months. He spent 10 years already for China human rights work previously. Pray for his recovery. https://t.co/9EatiUVsCV

— Bob Fu傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) October 24, 2019

Chinese Govt. Vows to Eliminate Christianity In China

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, says, “What great news to know that Gou is finally free. But the Chinese government has not relented on the persecution of Christians. ERCC pastor Wang Yi and elder Qin Derfu are still criminally detained on trumped-up charges and their lawyers and family have not been able to see them, even after 10 months. We should continue to put pressure on Beijing so that they will be set free. None of them deserved imprisonment in the first place.”

China is ranked 27th on Persecution Watchdog, Open Door’s list of top 50 countries where it is most deadly to be a christian.

The post Early Rain Church Member Released From Chinese Prison appeared first on Believers Portal.

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The date which has both Hong Kong and Beijing on edge

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Hong Kong (CNN)For months, October 1 has loomed over the mass pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, as a whispered deadline for the ruling Chinese Communist Party to take action to end the unrest.

It’s a significant milestone that China’s leaders will not want overshadowed by protests in Hong Kong, which have grown in intensity since mass demonstrations began in June.
But what action the party might take is unclear and highly debated, with some even saying the greater threat will be after the anniversary, if protesters disrupt or distract from the day’s celebrations and embarrass the country’s Communist leaders.
    The Hong Kong government has said there is no such deadline for action by Beijing to end the protests. In audio leaked to Reuters, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam can be heard reassuring business leaders that “they and ourselves have no expectations that we could clear up this thing before the 1st of October.”
    But the whispers have continued, with no clear consensus on what October 1 might mean for Hong Kong.
    Some predict that a military crackdown before October is inevitable, as Beijing seeks to save face. Others say that wanting to present a calm, united front in two weeks’ time is the only thing holding Beijing back.
    “The Chinese Communist Party will not allow any sign of a ‘step down’ around the moment of the 70th anniversary … They will do everything to make sure the situation stays under their control,” said 30-year-old protester David Wong.
    Hong Kong protests: The date which has Beijing on the edge - CNN

    Xi’s moment to shine

    Every country has important anniversaries or celebrations, but the Chinese Communist Party heavily politicizes dates such as this and uses them as opportunities to provide justification for the party’s ongoing mandate to govern.
    For instance, 2021 will be the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party. It’s also the self-imposed deadline for President Xi to deliver some of his signature achievements, such as eradicating all poverty and raise living standards to new heights.
    The 70th anniversary on October 1 will similarly be used by the government to highlight how far China has come economically and militarily since the party took power in 1949.
    news
    In the last 20 years alone, China’s wealth per adult has quadrupled, while its GDP has gone from just $150 billion in 1978 to over $12 trillion in 2018. Just over 30 million people are still living in poverty in China, down from 770 million 40 years ago.
    On the day itself, Xi is expected to address the nation and oversee a military parade through the streets of Beijing, followed by fireworks and cultural performances across the country.
    The celebrations in Hong Kong are expected to be muted in comparison. In the recording of Lam leaked to Reuters, she said that, given the recent “disruptions,” “we are going for a modest but solemn type of celebrations on the first of October.”
    The festivities also come at an important time for President Xi who is embroiled in a trade war with the United States, which has reverberated through global economy.
    Beijing has gone to vast lengths to ensure that the 70th celebrations go off without a hitch.
    Security has been tightened across the capital of Beijing and state media is promoting positive news stories about the government’s achievements. On television, popular dramas have even been banned in favor of patriotic films.
    In this atmosphere, headline-grabbing protests against the government in one of their most well-known cities will frustratingly complicate their narrative of a united and powerful country, happy under the Communist Party’s leadership.
    Asia

    What can they do though?

    But just three weeks out, it isn’t entirely clear what the Chinese government can do to prevent protesters from disrupting October 1 celebrations in Hong Kong.
    The protests have shown no signs of easing despite the Hong Kong government’s promise to withdraw the controversial China extradition bill that brought people onto the streets back in June.
    Some have speculated that Lam’s decision to announce the long-awaited withdrawal of the extradition bill was an attempt to ease tensions ahead of the important date. Many doubt that it will work.
    1. Fully withdraw the extradition bill
    2. Set up an independent inquiry to probe police brutality
    3. Withdraw the characterization of protests as “riots”
    4. Release those arrested at protests
    5. Implement universal suffrage in Hong Kong
    Protesters still have four key demands they say must be met before the unrest will end, including greater democracy in the Asian financial hub.
    In recent weeks, police have taken a hardline approach against violent protesters, arresting demonstrators in greater numbers and breaking up even small gatherings.
    But with more protests planned for this weekend, neither approach appears to have been successful so far.
    With no more concessions likely in the short term, the government could look to impose greater restrictions on protesters to try to pacify the city ahead of October 1.
    There have already been attempts to close down public transport stations close to planned protests, although it hasn’t proven successful as demonstrators have found alternate modes of transport to get around the restrictions.
    The possible deployment of Chinese troops on Hong Kong streets is regularly hinted at by Beijing. Officials have suggested the protests carry “terrorist” overtones and in the past two months, Chinese paramilitary police have held large drills across the border in the city of Shenzhen.
    But any military intervention appears to have been ruled out for now, according to the leaked recording from Lam.
    Little wonder, as it would be disastrous for not just Hong Kong but China more broadly. Investors would flee at the first sign of any military boots hitting the streets, something Beijing can’t risk as the domestic economy slows.
    As their options dwindle, Beijing may be forced to grin and bear a Hong Kong spoiler to their national day, but with the Communist Party’s pride at stake, any over-the-top October 1 protests could be met with an escalation from the government.
    After all, even minor attacks on the symbols of the Chinese government have been enough to provoke the fury in Beijing and state-run media.
      When protesters removed a Chinese national flag in the shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui and threw it in Victoria Harbor, state-run media reacted with fury. State-run tabloid Global Times called for “justice (to) be served.”
      Beijing won’t forget quickly if Hong Kong embarrasses it during the Communist Party’s moment of triumph.

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      Indonesia’s capital city isn’t the only one sinking

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      (CNN)Indonesia has said the country would be relocating its capital city, in part because it’s sinking into the Java Sea.

      But it isn’t the only city in trouble. Here’s a look at some others that are also at risk.

      Houston

        Sinking cities around the world - CNN
        Houston has been sinking for decades and, like Jakarta, the over-extraction of groundwater is partly to blame.
        The Houston Chronicle reported that parts of Harris County, which contains Houston, have sunk between 10 and 12 feet (about 3 meters), since the 1920s, according to data from the US Geological Survey. Areas have continued to fall as much as 2 inches per year, an amount that can quickly add up.
        Lawmakers have tried to address the issue, creating a special purpose district meant to regulate the withdrawal of groundwater in 1975. But the problem has persisted, with privately owned wells and water suppliers continuing to pull from aquifers.

        Lagos

        travel
        The city of Lagos sits on the coast of Nigeria, constructed partly on the mainland, partly on some nearby islands. It’s also Africa’s most populous city.
        Its geography makes Lagos especially prone to flooding, and the coastline has already been eroding. As sea levels rise due to global warming, the city is increasingly at risk.
        One study from 2012 revealed that, because Nigeria’s coastline is so low, a sea level rise of just 3 to 9 feet (about 1 to 3 meters) “will have a catastrophic effect on the human activities in these regions.”
        A separate study this year found that global sea levels could rise more than 6 feet (2 meters) by the end of this century.

        New Orleans

        news
        As recently as the 1930s, just a third of New Orleans was below sea level. When Katrina hit in 2005, that number went up to half.
        The city is vulnerable to rising sea levels because it was built on loose soil and was positioned so close to on the coast. Combined with its sinking — scientists have found it to be falling at a rate of 0.39 inches (1 centimeter) a year.

        Beijing

        Sinking cities around the world - CNN
        A study from 2016 showed that Beijing is sinking by as much as 4 inches (10 centimeters) in some areas per year.
        Researchers said the cause of the sinking was depleting groundwater, similar to the situation in Jakarta and Houston.
        Beijing, which is not a coastal city, relies heavily on groundwater as its main source of water. The water has been accumulating over many years, but its extraction has dried up the soil and caused it to compact — leading to the sinking.

        Washington

        travel
        Washington is one of the most important cities in the US — and it’s also sinking.
        Research from 2015 showed that our country’s capital will drop more than 6 inches (15 centimeters) in the next 100 years.
        But unlike Jakarta, Washington’s sinking has nothing to do with aquifers or rising sea levels — it’s actually because of an ice sheet from the last ice age.
          A mile-high ice sheet pushed land beneath the Chesapeake Bay upward. When the ice sheet melted, thousands of years ago, the land settled back down. The researchers now believe that the area is gradually sinking, a process that could last thousands of years.
          But sea levels in the Chesapeake Bay are rising too, which could cause additional problems.

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          Hong Kong airport authority cancels flights over protests

          Tourists remain in airport during demonstration, with flights to resume on Tuesday

          Air transport

          Hong Kong protesters have shut down one of the worlds busiest airports in a dramatic escalation of the mass demonstrations that have plunged the city into its worst political crisis in decades.

          The unprecedented cancellation of all flights followed the fourth consecutive day of protests at the airport and amid increasingly threatening statements from Beijing. A Chinese official said terrorism was emerging in the city, while in Hong Kong authorities demonstrated water cannons for use in crowd control.

          The protests are in their 10th week, with confrontations between protesters and police growing more violent. Rights groups and democracy activists have accused police of using increasingly excessive force. At least 40 people were treated in hospital after clashes on Sunday, including a woman who was reportedly hit with a beanbag round and could potentially lose an eye.

          Protesters in black T-shirts and face masks filled the airport, handing out lists to arriving visitors documenting alleged police violence and holding up graphic images of injured protesters. Some held signs that said: An eye for an eye and wore eye patches in solidarity with the injured woman.

          Others held posters that said: Hong Kong is not safe and Shame on police and chanted: Stand with Hong Kong, fight for freedom!

          I just dont understand how people can tolerate that kind of police brutality. I feel like if I dont come out now, I cant come out ever, said Hilary Lo, who took a half days sick leave from her accountancy firm to attend the demonstration.

          People are starting to realise the police are out of control, especially with what has happened in the past two weeks, she said.

          Play Video
          1:19

          Police fire teargas into Hong Kong subway station video

          Tourists remained at the airport through the protest, with flights expected to resume at 6am on Tuesday. Elodichukwu Obiageli, from Nigeria, said she had been stranded for five hours. We had no information from our airline. We are just stranded here we have no money, she said, adding that all airport stores had closed.

          By the early evening, crowds had thinned amid reports police would move in to clear the airport but when they did not show, thousands of protesters streamed back, bringing supplies to stay through the night.

          Honestly, I dont think anything will happen, said Andy Chu, a protester who remained at the airport. I think the police strategy until now we can see is to burn out our energy, just let us sit here and wait.

          A few hours ago there were rumours flying around, saying the police are coming in to kick us out, with teargas, he said. I think that is also from the police. Thats part of their tactics, part of the game. They want most of the more peaceful protesters to leave themselves.

          Quick guide

          What are the Hong Kong protests about?

          Why are people protesting?

          The protests were triggered by a controversial bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where the Communist party controls the courts, but have since evolved into a broader pro-democracy movement.

          Public anger fuelled by the aggressive tactics used by the police against demonstrators has collided with years of frustration over worsening inequality and the cost of living in one of the world’s most expensive, densely populated cities.

          The protest movement was given fresh impetus on 21 July when gangs of men attacked protesters and commuters at a mass transit station while authorities seemingly did little to intervene.

          Underlying the movement is a push for full democracy in the city, whose leader is chosen by a committee dominated by a pro-Beijing establishment rather than by direct elections.

          Protesters have vowed to keep their movement going until their core demands are met, such as the resignation of the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, an independent inquiry into police tactics, an amnesty for those arrested and a permanent withdrawal of the bill.

          Why were people so angry about the extradition bill?

          Hongkongers have seen Beijings influence grow in recent years, as activists have been jailed and pro-democracy lawmakers disqualified from running or holding office. Independent booksellers have disappeared from the city, before reappearing in mainland China facing charges.

          Under the terms of the agreement by which the former British colony was returned to Chinese control in 1997, the semi-autonomous region was meant to maintain a high degree of autonomy through an independent judiciary, a free press and an open market economy, a framework known as one country, two systems.

          The extradition bill was seen as an attempt to undermine this and to give Beijing the ability to try pro-democracy activists under the judicial system of the mainland.

          How have the authorities responded?

          Lam has shown no sign of backing down beyond agreeing to suspend the extradition bill, while Beijing has issued increasingly shrill condemnations but has left it to the city’s semi-autonomous government to deal with the situation. Meanwhile police have violently clashed directly with protesters, repeatedly firing teargas and rubber bullets.

          Beijing has ramped up its accusations that foreign countries are fanning the fire of unrest in the city. Chinas top diplomat Yang Jiechi has ordered the US to immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any form.

          Lily Kuo and Verna Yu in Hong Kong

          Hong Kongs summer of dissent has presented one of the biggest challenges to Chinas leader, Xi Jinping, since he came to power in 2012. Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council called on authorities to show no mercy in dealing with the protesters.

          Hong Kongs radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging, Yang said at a press briefing. This wantonly tramples on Hong Kongs rule of law and social order.

          State-backed media in China on Monday said armed police had held exercises in the neighbouring city of Shenzhen.

          In an apparent warning to protesters of a toughening approach on the part of authorities, Hong Kong police invited legislators and journalists on Monday to witness a display of water cannon. Police have never used the device since two were bought after pro-democracy protests in 2014, but during Mondays demonstration one was blasted at dummy targets in a training facility.

          Man-Kei Tam, the director of Amnesty Internationals Hong Kong division, warned that clashes between protesters and police had escalated to another level, especially on the police side over the weekend.

          An
          An anti-riot vehicle equipped with water cannon sprays water on a dummy during a demonstration in Hong Kong on Monday. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP

          Tam cited footage of police firing teargas into a subway station in Kwai Fong on Sunday night. It was not clear how many protesters were in the station but it was rare for officers to fire teargas indoors. He also shared a video of police firing non-lethal projectiles at close range as protesters attempted to flee down an escalator at another subway station.

          The police have also reported injuries among their ranks, including eye irritation from laser pointers and petrol bomb burns.

          Civil Rights Observer, a local rights group that sends observers to protests, said it had serious concerns about police violence and had seen clear evidence to show the police are violating their guidelines, according to its spokesman, Icarus Wong Ho-yin.

          During the protests at the weekend, the Hong Kong Free Press news website posted footage of one arrest that appeared to show officers dressed as protesters pressing a demonstrator to the ground. The young man, who said his name was Chow Ka-lok and asked for a lawyer, sustained head wounds and a broken tooth.

          Protests in Hong Kong began in early June against a legislative bill that would have allowed for residents to stand trial in mainland China on criminal charges. While the territory returned to Chinese rule in 1997, it was promised semi-autonomy for 50 years including a separate legal system. Many protesters feared the bill, now suspended, would have led to the decline of civil and political rights in the Asian financial hub.

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