China ranks near the bottom in 2015 World Press Freedom Index

Not that it should surprise anyone, China, at #176 of 180, is among those nations ranking lowest in the 2015 World Press Freedom Index, released by Reporters Without Borders this week. The organization cites continuing government pressure on journalists and authors, including trumped-up criminal charges and incarcerations, as reasons for China’s rank near the bottom with Vietnam, Syria, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea. The Kong Kong SAR ranks in the middle at #70. The RSF cited self-censorhip by domestic and foreign media outlets in the wake of the long Occupy Central protests, as well as pressure from the Beijing government on the ostensibly autonomous region. The Macau SAR is not included on the list. RSF ranked the USA at #49 in the “yellow zone,” saying this: In the United States, 2014 was marked by judicial harassment of New York Times investigative reporter James Risen in connection with the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer charged under the Espionage Act with giving him classified information. US journalists are still not protected by a federal shield law that would guarantee their right not to name their sources or reveal other confidential information about their work. Meanwhile, at least 15 journalists ...

Winter holiday 2015: A Hong Kong pro-democracy rally

Winter holiday 2015: A Hong Kong pro-democracy rally
HONG KONG SAR — There was some newsworthy events happening in Hong Kong while I was there, Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, so I’ll start in the middle of my holiday travels. As you may have heard, Hong Kong has seen lengthy, largely peaceful protests in favor of universal suffrage, which was promised in the agreement between the UK and China when the British government handed its territory back to China in 1997. When I was in Hong Kong in December, the Occupy Central sit-in protest had just ended. Another protest rally occurred on Feb. 1, the same day the Hong Kong government announced the composition of the nominating committee for the next Chief Executive of the Special Autonomous Region. I happened to walk right into the rally in Causeway Bay before it began as I was on my way out of Hong Kong to Shenzhen. I snapped these photos with my cellphone as i walked to the MTR station from the bus stop. The former reporter in me wanted to stay and watch, but I also needed to move along to my next destination, so I resisted the urge to whip out my camera and play the journalist. The ...

Slideshow of protesters and police in Hong Kong

This is one photo in the slideshow at To see more, go to Yahoo News.

Explaining the unrest in Hong Kong

JISHOU, HUNAN — If you’ve been watching the news, you’ve probably heard about the protests in Hong Kong. Media accounts are portraying this as anti-Bejing, but the unrest has much broader objectives than telling the mainland government to mind its own business. Occupy Central is essentially an effort for universal suffrage, which Hong Kong has never had. Nevertheless, an important side issue is the extent to which the mainland government will have control over local politics. Historical background Before 1997 Hong Kong was directly ruled as a colony of the United Kingdom by a viceroy appointed by the monarch. The viceroy — known as the Governor of Hong Kong — appointed other government officials, including members of the advisory Legislative Council (LegCo). Indirect elections of LegCo members began in 1985, and beginning in 1995, 35 of the 70 members are now chosen through direct elections. British control of HK ended in 1997, and Hong Kong once again became a territory of China as a Special Administrative Region (SAR). Replacing the Governor was a Chief Executive with essentially the same civil powers. A 1200-member Election Committee, whose members are appointed by the mainland’s Central People’s Government, chooses the Chief Executive by ...
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