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Chinese media blames Hong Kong demo on collusion with West

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Chinese media on Monday blamed foreign interference over the huge protest that brought central Hong Kong to a standstill at the weekend, accusing opponents of the city’s pro-Beijing government of “collusion with the West”.

Organisers say more than a million people marched through the streets of the territory against a proposed new law that would allow extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China.

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Opponents of the legislation say it would erode precious freedoms in the city and leave dissidents at the mercy of Beijing’s opaque justice system.

The Chinese-language edition of the nationalistic Global Times dismissed Sunday’s mass demonstration, one of the biggest shows of public anger since Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

“It is very noteworthy that some international forces have significantly strengthened their interaction with the Hong Kong opposition in recent months,” the paper said, describing the exchanges as “collusion”.

The editorial pointed to meetings between Hong Kong opposition figures and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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The English-language China Daily also played down the protest and focused on support for the proposed law.

An editorial in the paper said more than 700,000 people had backed the legislation through an online petition, “countering a protest by about 240,000 people” — the more conservative attendance figure given by police.

“Unfortunately, some Hong Kong residents have been hoodwinked by the opposition camp and their foreign allies into supporting the anti-extradition campaign,” the paper said.

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Drone footage showing Hong Kong’s cramped streets thronged with protestors made headlines around the world.

But coverage in China was muted.

Sunday’s main evening news broadcast by China’s state broadcaster did not mention the protest, while the official Xinhua news agency’s English-language service repeated the city administration’s position on the law “in response to a public procession”.

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Searches for the demonstration on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform yielded no results, and instead showed older content about unrelated events.

A 50-year agreement between Hong Kong’s former colonial ruler, Britain, and China means the city is guaranteed freedoms of speech and assembly unseen on the Chinese mainland.

But activists and opposition politicians are increasingly warning that these liberties are being eroded as Beijing tightens its grip on the city.

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The proposed law being pushed by the territory’s pro-Beijing leadership would allow extraditions to any country with which Hong Kong does not already have a treaty, including mainland China.

Supporters say the law is needed to stop the city becoming a safe haven for mainland fugitives, and it has said dissidents will not be extradited.

But critics fear Beijing would use the law to go after its opponents.


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UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report

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Thomas Cook's 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.

The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain's largest peacetime repatriation.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.

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‘We are the people’: Watch Billy Porter get a standing ovation for his passionate speech at the Emmys

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In a powerful and passionate speech accepting his Emmy, "Pose" actor Billy Porter showered the audience with love and proudly reminded all of their right to belong and be loved.

"Oh, my God. God bless you all! The category is love, y'all, love!" Porter exclaimed.

The epic FX show "Pose" depicts Black and Latinos in the LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City in the 1980s in the first season and the early 1990s in the second season.

"I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day," he said. "James Baldwin wrote, 'It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."

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Paris show of King Tutankhamun artifacts set new record with 1.42 million visitors

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A blockbuster Tutankhamun show set a new all-time French record Sunday, with 1.42 million visitors flocking to see the exhibition in Paris, the organisers said.

The turnout beat the previous record set by another Tutankhamun show billed as the "exhibition of the century" in 1967, when 1.24 million queued to see "Tutankhamun and His Times" at the Petit Palais.

"Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" -- which has been described as a "once in a generation" show -- will open in London in November.

The last time a show of comparable size about the boy king opened there in 1972 it sparked "Tutmania", with 1.6 million people thronging the British Museum.

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