Pompeo: Hong Kong's treatment of activists makes autonomy assessment more hard

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The move is likely to provoke strong opposition internationally and in Hong Kong, which was previous year rocked by months of pro-democracy protests.

Hong Kong's largest pro-Beijing political party DAB was quick to voice its support for the proposal, describing it as a "responsible move".

Chinese state media said Hong Kong schools have become "lawless" as controversy builds over a history question in a school examination, rekindling tensions over academic freedoms in the semi-autonomous city. Some protesters have called for demonstrators to surround the legislature to block the second reading of the bill on May 27, nearly 11 months after some demonstrators broke into and ransacked the chamber.

During Monday's scuffles, one pro-democracy lawmaker threw torn up pages of the legislature's rulebook at his opponents.

It is the second time in a fortnight that clashes have broken out as pro-democracy supporters try to scupper a law that bans insulting China's national anthem.

Such legislation was last proposed in 2003 under Article 23 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-constitution, bringing hundreds of thousands of the territory's citizens out in protest.

"The reality in Hong Kong today is that whenever Beijing, whenever Carrie Lam and the pro-establishment don't like something, they will do whatever it takes, including breaking the system that we have, the rules that we have", said displaced pro-democracy chair Dennis Kwok.

Hong Kong's local government began the new year vowing the heal divisions but has made little attempt at reconciliation.

While pro-democracy activists say the protests were a manifestation of unhappiness at the shrinking space for dissent and the Hong Kong government's mishandling of the city, Beijing is insistent that foreign forces were behind them.

Comic actor Fred Willard dies at 86
Fred earned 3 Primetime Emmy nominations for his guest work on Everybody Loves Raymond and 1 for Modern Family as well. Tributes to Willard poured in on social media. "If you have nothing to say, just start talking".

Online posts have already emerged urging people to gather to protest on Thursday night and dozens were seen shouting pro-democracy slogans in a shopping mall as riot police stood nearby.

The Hong Kong dollar weakened on the news.

Protesters are calling for a city-wide demonstration on that day.

Likewise, one of the solutions proposed by the Hong Kong government to quell the past year of protests was to renew efforts to instill young people in Hong Kong with a sense of identification with China through "Patriotic Education."

Beijing has made clear it wants new security legislation passed after the semi-autonomous city was rocked by seven months of massive and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests previous year.

The last British governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, called the move a "comprehensive assault on the city's autonomy".

Protests had, at their heart, concerns about Hong Kong's political autonomy and democratic freedoms. "A broad-brush interpretation of this law would signal the end of Hong Kong as we know it".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on May 6 he was delaying a report assessing whether Hong Kong was sufficiently autonomous to warrant Washington's special economic treatment that has helped it remain a world financial centre. The National People's Congress will hold a news briefing at 9:40 p.m. Thursday, ahead of opening session on Friday.

"China saying it wants to "improve" Hong Kong by stripping all its people's rights [and] liberties", he wrote in a tweet.

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