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Sweaty Balls in Hong Kong

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HOTTEST DAY IN HISTORY: Hong Kong on Saturday recorded its hottest day since authorities began taking temperature readings 130 years ago, due to the influence of a nearby typhoon.

The daily maximum temperature hit 36.3 degrees Celsius, the Hong Kong Observatory said, with higher temperatures recorded in some parts of the city earlier in the day.

A layer of haze hung over the metropolis of seven million, as people wielding electric fans and umbrellas tried in vain to beat the boiling heat.

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“This is a new record,” a Hong Kong Observatory spokesman told AFP.

“Today, the recorded daily maximum… was 36.3 degrees Celsius,” he said, adding that the previous hottest days on record occurred in 1900 and 1990, when a temperature of 36.1 degrees Celsius was recorded. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hong Kong Democrats Unite

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The territory blocks Beijing’s preferred election law

Hong Kong democrats celebrated Thursday as the city’s legislature blocked passage of the Beijing-backed election law that sparked last year’s 75-day mass protests. Not that this was a surprise. Beijing’s vision of democracy—a rigged election in which Hong Kongers could vote only for candidates chosen by a small pro-Beijing committee—was politically dead on arrival.

“All 27 pro-democracy legislators voted no and even picked up a vote from outside their caucus. The pro-Beijing camp staged a disorderly last-minute walk-out, leaving only eight votes in support of Beijing’s proposal. The veto would have held either way, but the scene was an appropriate end to the government’s attempt to subvert universal suffrage.”

Democrats in the legislature had the votes to block Beijing’s plan since it was announced last August. Then came the protests, during which democrats displayed greater numbers and determination than anyone expected. Public opinion, long critical of the government but divided on the reform vote, increasingly came to favor veto. Outside the legislature on Thursday, democrats outnumbered nominal pro-Beijing demonstrators, who wore matching shirts, refused to speak to the media and spoke Mandarin, not Hong Kong’s dominant Cantonese language.

“Unless Beijing puts forward a more acceptable plan, Hong Kong’s next leader will be selected in 2017 like the last, by a 1,200-member committee of the territory’s elite.”

All 27 pro-democracy legislators voted no and even picked up a vote from outside their caucus. The pro-Beijing camp staged a disorderly last-minute walk-out, leaving only eight votes in support of Beijing’s proposal. The veto would have held either way, but the scene was an appropriate end to the government’s attempt to subvert universal suffrage. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong Protestors Raise Colonial Flags at Anti-Mainland Rallies

Protestors carry colonial flags on July 1, 2012. Photo credit: AP/ Vincent Yung.

It was a sight not seen in over 15 years: in the annual July 1st Hong Kong Handover Day protests, the colonial flags of British Hong Kong were hoisted well above the crowd. The reappearance of the “Dragon and the Lion” shocked news outlets around the world.

A former British colony for over 150 years, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region under the People’s Republic of China on July 1st, 1997. Although Hong Kongers have protested annually since the Handover, the protests this year were marked with a noticeably pro-British and anti-PRC sentiment. Mainlanders in Hong Kong have been accused of illegal goods smugglinggiving birth in order to obtain citizenship, and causing inflation.

The increased tensions over the past year between Hong Kong and the Mainland have been fueled by several online videos gone viral. Initially, it was a video of Hong Kongers on the subway confronting Mainland tourists over littering, then it turned personal when a professor from Peking University attacked Hong Kong people on national television…