Hong Kong govt warns removing US special status is “double-edged sword”

first_imgHong Kong’s government warned Washington that withdrawing its special US status, which has underpinned the city as a global financial hub, could be a “double-edged sword” and urged the United States to stop interfering in internal affairs.The statement came as US President Donald Trump is due to announce later on Friday his response to the Chinese parliament’s advancement of national security legislation for Hong Kong, which democracy activists and Western countries fear could erode the city’s freedoms.The former British colony enjoys a high degree of autonomy under a “one country, two systems” formula since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997. The US Department of State said in a report on Thursday it could “no longer certify that Hong Kong continues to warrant [differential] treatment” from Beijing.Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow warned that Hong Kong, which has enjoyed special privileges under US law based on its high degree of autonomy from Beijing, may now need to be treated like China on trade and other financial matters.In a separate statement on Friday, published in several local newspapers, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam urged “fellow citizens” to “join hands to pursue our dreams while putting aside our differences”.She said the legislation was needed because of a “terrorist threat” and because organizations advocating “independence and self-determination” have challenged the authority of Beijing and local governments and pleaded for foreign interference.The five demands of last-year’s pro-democracy protest movement included universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into police handling of the protests, but not independence. A minority of protesters waved “Hong Kong independence” flags.Independence is anathema for Beijing.The security legislation, along with a bill to criminalize disrespect for China’s national anthem, are seen by protesters as the latest attempt by Beijing to tighten its control on the city.The security legislation, expected to be enacted before September, was condemned also by Britain, Australia, Canada and others. Britain said it will give greater visa rights to British national overseas passport holders from Hong Kong unless China suspends its plans. Topics :center_img “Any sanctions are a double-edged sword that will not only harm the interests of Hong Kong but also significantly those of the US,” the city’s government said late on Thursday.It added that from 2009 to 2018, the US trade surplus with Hong Kong was the biggest among all its trading partners, totaling $297 billion of merchandise and 1,300 US firms are based in the city.Beijing says the new legislation will tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in the city. It could see Chinese intelligence agencies set up bases there.The plan has ignited the first big protests in Hong Kong for months, as thousands of people took to the streets this week, prompting police to fire pepper pellets in the heart of the city’s financial district to disperse crowds.last_img read more

Every effort being sought to keep Bunbeg Post Office open

first_imgSinn Féin Councillor John Sheamais Ó Fearraigh has renewed calls to An Post to ensure that Bunbeg Post Office can remain open to the public.The Glenties Area Councillor has expressed his fear over future An Post plans that could lead to the closure of rural post offices such as Bunbeg.The programme allows for the closure of post offices in certain circumstances and following the retirement of Postmasters, if it’s believed that communities can be served by neighbouring offices. Cllr Ó Fearraigh says that while the agreement contains a number of positive developments, he is concerned about the closure of vital community services: “I understand that should a Postmaster retire, An Post will assess the future provision of services within the community in question while the company must ensure that any settlement with over 500 residents will retain its Post Office where 95% of people live within 15km of a Post Office in rural areas or 3km in urban settings.“The company has admitted that this may result in a consolidation of Post Office services in areas where a Postmaster steps down and where it’s believed that a neighbouring Post Office can service an area within these limits and thresholds.“I understand that the company has also agreed to appoint two Independent Reviewers who, if requested, will review decisions taken by An Post in relation to the future of postal services following the retirement of a Postmaster and that a recommendation will then be made.“Notwithstanding this commitment, I would be fearful that such a plan could potentially allow for the closure of rural post offices such as in Bunbeg for example, where the services it provides to the local community remains very important for those living there. “As many people are aware, I have long championed the retention of post offices and postal services in communities threatened by closures, including Bunbeg, and I am again urging the company to make every possible effort to avoid the closure of what is a vital service.”Every effort being sought to keep Bunbeg Post Office open was last modified: July 24th, 2018 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Bunbeg Post OfficeJohn Sheamais Ó Fearraighlast_img read more