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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.

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.

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

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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”.

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.

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

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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2020 Election

Rep. Ted Lieu: Impeachment is coming — and so is a Democratic president

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Donald Trump recently called “impeachment” a “dirty, filthy, disgusting word,” but his continued stonewalling of legitimate congressional oversight requests are moving more and more House Democrats to embrace that “filthy” concept. That was the very point made by Rep. Ted Lieu of California, a progressive Democrat who sits on the House Judiciary Committee during our recent conversation on “Salon Talks.” That committee would be the starting point for an actual impeachment inquiry of the president.

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US kicks off Mideast plan, with Palestinians boycotting

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After a wait of two and a half years, the US administration is launching its Middle East peace plan Tuesday -- with an economic initiative that the Palestinians are boycotting.

For this most unconventional of US presidents, Donald Trump's Middle East peace-making bid is unlike decades of previous US attempts.

There is no talk of land swaps, a Palestinian state or other political issues that have vexed diplomats for decades.

The Trump administration says it will get to the political issues later.

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FedEx sues US government over shipment restrictions

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American logistics giant FedEx sued the US government on Monday, saying Washington's restrictions on exports and imports due to growing trade disputes and sanctions created an "impossible burden" for delivery firms.

The announcement of the lawsuit comes as Beijing and Washington face off in a trade war that has seen both sides exchange steep tariffs on hundreds of billions in exports.

The US has also sought to bar Chinese telecom giant Huawei from the American market and limit its ability to purchase US technology.

A statement by the delivery firm said the restrictions placed "an unreasonable burden on FedEx to police the millions of shipments that transit our network every day" or face heavy fines.

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 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH 

Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

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