Thousands Watch Last Online TV News From Hong Kong's Apple Daily

The pro-democracy newspaper will likely fold this week after its assets were frozen during a raid by the national security police.

Thousands Watch Last Online TV News From Hong Kong's Apple Daily

Thousands of people tuned in to watch the last online TV news broadcast by Hong Kong's Apple Daily newspaper on Monday, as its owners warned the paper would likely shut down entirely by next weekend.

"Welcome to Apple Daily news," the presenter said. "Sadly, I'm here to tell you that this broadcast will be our last news program."

Users left messages of protest and support on the paper's YouTube channel.

"Without the Apple Daily, we have zero confidence that the news we are getting is true," wrote user Elsie Wong, while tongtong417 wrote: "[I will] always support Apple."

"[You were] freedom fighters for press freedom ... the people of Hong Kong salute you," Yu Lok Tin added.

Many other users thanked the paper, which is owned by jailed pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai's Next Digital, the headquarters of which was raided by national security police last week, and its assets frozen.

The board of directors will make a final decision on the matter on Friday pending the results of a bid to have the group’s assets unfrozen, the paper reported on Monday.

Next Digital’s board sent a letter to Hong Kong’s secretary for security, John Lee, requesting that some of the company’s assets be unfrozen so that employees can be paid, the report said.

"If the decision is taken on Friday to cease operations, the online news section of Apple Daily is expected to stop updating on Saturday morning at the earliest, while the final print edition will also be published on Saturday," it said.

Around 500 national security and uniformed police raided Next Digital's headquarters in Tseung Kwan O on Thursday, arresting five company executives on suspicion of "colluding with foreign powers to endanger national security" and freezing H.K.$18 million of the group's assets.

"The primary concern is the safety and well being of the staff, and everybody is doing all they can to make sure that they are taken care of," Mark Simon, an adviser to Jimmy Lai, told RFA.

"We are taking every action we can to stay alive," he said, but declined to go into details.

Articles predate relevant law

Simon said police had been cagey so far about exactly how articles published by the paper as early as 2019 could have violated the draconian national security law that was imposed on Hong Kong by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from July 1, 2020.

"If the accusation is collusion based on journalism, then the police refusing to show the articles means the accusations are lies," Simon told RFA.

"If the accusation is based on public, open documents, [then] show the people of Hong Kong and the world what documents and what articles you are talking about ... what news and opinion pieces you are talking about."

Next Digital CEO Cheung Kim-hung and Apple Daily editor-in-chief Ryan Law, were charged with "collusion with foreign powers" under the law, and were denied bail on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the organizers of an annual July 1 protest march, the Civil Human Rights Front, said they were canceling this year's march in the face of ongoing coronavirus restrictions and "the political atmosphere" amid an ongoing crackdown on public opposition and dissent under the national security law.

Temporary convenor Chung Chung-fai said the organization had basically collapsed after former convenor Figo Chan was jailed in May for taking part in an "illegal assembly" on Oct. 1, 2019.

Police have warned that they could take action against the group after it failed to register as an entity under the Societies Ordinance following a warning letter from the authorities in April.

Reported by Gigi Lee, Cheng Yu Yiu and Kay Lee for RFA's Cantonese and Mandarin Services. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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Ensuring the Davis Aerodrome doesn’t become a geopolitical own goal

Authors: Alan D Hemmings, University of Canterbury and Donald R Rothwell, ANU In May 2018, Australia announced its intention to build a paved runway at Davis research station in the Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT). Additional funding to advance the design and development of the ambitious ‘Davis Aerodrome Project’ was approved in December 2019. But the […] The post Ensuring the Davis Aerodrome doesn’t become a geopolitical own goal first appeared on East Asia Forum.

Ensuring the Davis Aerodrome doesn’t become a geopolitical own goal

Authors: Alan D Hemmings, University of Canterbury and Donald R Rothwell, ANU

In May 2018, Australia announced its intention to build a paved runway at Davis research station in the Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT). Additional funding to advance the design and development of the ambitious ‘Davis Aerodrome Project’ was approved in December 2019. But the project has created a ticking environmental issue for Australia with major geopolitical implications.

Concerns have been raised about the environmental impacts of constructing and operating what will be one of the largest infrastructure projects ever undertaken on the continent, with an almost 20-year construction period.

Australia is one of seven claimant states with asserted, but not generally recognised, territory in Antarctica. Within the AAT, Australia’s scientific research program is conducted at three bases: Casey, Davis, and Mawson. Historically, resupply of those bases has been undertaken by ship. Since 2006–2007 Australia has operated a summer ice runway which has permitted an air link from Hobart adding flexibility and additional logistics capability to the Australian Antarctic program. Australia’s territorial claim, scientific research activities and engagement in Antarctic governance are undertaken within the framework of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, which together with its associated instruments is known as the ‘Antarctic Treaty System’. The 1991 Madrid Protocol on Environmental Protection prohibits all mining activities and creates an environmental protection regime for the continent.

For the project to proceed, it must gain approval under both the Madrid Protocol and Australian law. This will be the first time either regulatory framework has been activated for the building of a paved runway in Antarctica.

The project is ‘likely to have more than a minor or transitory impact’ and will require a Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation (CEE) under the Madrid Protocol, based on practice for the construction of main stations and other hard airstrips. The Antarctic Treaty Secretariat has recorded 44 such evaluations since 1988.

Australia has not produced a single CEE to date, unlike adjacent claimants France (three), Norway (two), New Zealand (four). The United Kingdom has produced seven and the United States five evaluations. China and Russia — often characterised as problematic — have conducted three and two evaluations respectively.

To date, Australia has dealt with its unfolding air-link issues through a series of five Initial Environmental Evaluations (IEE), the last concerning the runway. At a technical and procedural level this is legitimate, but it has complicated the picture around Australian air operations. Australia’s IEE track record is no substitute for a complete consideration of the proposal in a comprehensive evaluation.

The process for considering Australia’s draft CEE when it is provided for international review is also more problematic than usual due to COVID-19. The pandemic has disrupted the Antarctic Treaty System, requiring the entire approval process to be conducted remotely. Other evaluations are also under consideration at present and, even at the best of times, only a small subset of states provide detailed consideration of draft CEEs.

This creates concerns about the level and rigour of international scrutiny that Australia’s proposal will receive. While not providing a veto, international scrutiny is likely the most powerful environmental control mechanism presently available under the Madrid Protocol.

The scale, time horizon and deep purposes of the Davis Aerodrome Project pose issues not only in terms of possible environmental impact but for Antarctic geopolitical relations, and the profile of future human development across East Antarctica. Some have suggested there is a strong ‘strategic imperative’ rationale. But is this really the case? Although, the mere fact of one party flagging something as strategic may ensure that the putative competitor must see it as strategic too. Can one win or prevail in such a game, particularly given the substantive asymmetries in play? What does it risk? Will the Chinese or Russians build their own aerodrome, or find some other means to demonstrate their strategic imperatives in East Antarctica? It is also completely at odds with what one might see as the great successes of the Antarctic Treaty System, built around cooperation rather than competition for 60 years.

One might have hoped that ‘arms races’ or their proxies could be avoided in Antarctica. A better approach would be to focus on the importance to Australia and other interested Antarctic parties of the Davis Aerodrome Project for logistics, search and rescue, and the support of science. Australia historically has been a very strong supporter of the Antarctic Treaty. The Davis Aerodrome Project could be promoted and developed as an Antarctic Treaty System-reinforcing way to approach major Antarctic infrastructure and allow Australia to take a lead in Antarctic leadership akin to that when it promoted the Madrid Protocol.

Alan D Hemmings is Adjunct Professor at Gateway Antarctica, The University of Canterbury.

Donald R Rothwell is Professor at the College of Law, The Australian National University.

The post Ensuring the Davis Aerodrome doesn’t become a geopolitical own goal first appeared on East Asia Forum.
Source : East Asia Forum More   

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