By Raphael Blet
HONG KONG- An estimated number of 12,000 people protested against Beijing’s possible interpretation of the Basic Law’s article 104 across the city.
Supporters of Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang were seen waving colonial flags and banners stating ‘Hong Kong is NOT China’.
The duo – refused to take their oaths according to the script, which leads to the invalidation of their oaths.
This prompted the government and to intervene through legal actions which would prevent them from taking a second oath.
Last week, the government announced that they would seek an interpretation of the Basic Law by Beijing, prompting reactions amongst citizens.
Many see it as an interference into local politics and the judiciary.
WATCH: Live video of the protests
The case is currently ongoing in the court and Beijing’s interpretation is seen as an interference into Hong Kong’s rule of law.
Under the Basic Law, it is legal for the government to seek an interpretation under particular circumstances. However, the law stipulates a separation of powers and ‘a high degree of autonomy’.
Amongst the protesters were some pan-democratic figures, including veteran politician Martin Lee.
The protesters marched from Southorn Playground in Wan Chai to the Court of Final Appeal in Central.
However, some demonstrators decided to extend their march until Beijing’s Liaison Office in Sheung Wan, prompting the police to set-up barricades to avoid possible stormings of the delegation.
A number of demonstrators made numerous attempts to push the barricades, obliging the police to make use of pepper sprays after ordering the protesters to calm down.
Currently (22:45 HKT), protesters have blocked partial sections of Des Voeux Road, where the delegation is located.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
You can also like our RISE NEWS Hong Kong Facebook page to stay engaged with our local coverage.
Photo Credit: Reuters Hong Kong/ Facebook (Screengrab)
What Do You Think?
You Might also like
By Corrin Mason
Named one of the Huffington Post’s 15 Country Artists to Watch in 2015 and inducted into Country Music’s #CMchat’s exclusive One to Watch club, Alabama native Aaron Parker is making waves in Nashville following the release of his first EP and the beginning of his fall tour last month. Aaron’s music truly captures the nostalgia and romanticism of the rural south with songs like “Dust and Diesel,” “Homesick,” and “Heaven on Wheels” that strike a chord with all those who have grown up on a farm, surrounded by fields. And that’s exactly how Aaron grew up; his music is honest.
“My brand of country music is tall grass grown up next to rusted out 1980 Z28 Camaro, it’s a big sky, good friends, good tequila, church on Sunday, not being afraid to be who you are, and loving your people,” Parker said in an interview with Rise News.
Although his career has taken him off to Music City, Aaron says city life hasn’t changed him. “I try not to ‘adjust’ to city life but I do love the town with my whole heart,” Parker said.
“Im just more about forever, less about tonight.”
He still misses watching the “Sunset on a familiar tree line” amongst other things back home, but Aaron says there’s a lot to love about Nashville, too.
“I love the energy, the work, the food is amazing, the people are super laid back and love to create and collaborate. It’s a maker’s town.”
And Aaron is definitely a maker. His work is true country, and his genius is evident in his thoughts on the country scene and music altogether.
“You’re witnessing an evolution in my music and in music in general, with Spotify and other streaming sites available its opening the hearts of artists to create; not just genre specific music, but the music their heart wants to make and to let the public be the judge. Someone in manhattan can find that country song of mine that speaks to them and they give me permission to live in their life for three minutes per day. That’s an honor. So my place in modern country music isn’t as important to me as my place in ‘Music’ as a whole.”
It’s this combination of old-time nostalgia and forward thinking that makes Aaron really special. He pays homage to the greats before him while incorporating new ideas. He’s realized the opportunity of making music in the modern era; the opportunity to reach a wider audience than ever before and to share his passion with the whole world. Aaron Parker’s country isn’t just for those who grew up in the south, it’s for everyone.
“Im just more about forever, less about tonight which I guess isn’t [just] country, because everyone wants to fall in love, everyone wants to find that someone, everyone wants to have a great time on the weekends, forget about their troubles, drink a little, or a lot, and everyone loves their mom, I love my mom, so I sing about it. ”
And that evolution he mentioned earlier is especially interesting.
“On the evolution of my music, I can just say this first EP is a milestone and 1 chapter in a book, and it’s a LONG book.”
The future for Aaron and his music is truly exciting – Aaron has done something wonderfully artistic for his fans, who he loves dearly.
”They are all great, anytime anyone comes to see me at the end of the night I can’t hold back a smile. I love them. They always stay till the lights come on or someone makes them leave. They’re my style.”
He’s given his fans all a metaphorical front row seat to watch as he reveals the massive art project that is his music little by little. We are all spectators as this story, this evolution, unfolds. With his fall tour in full swing, that front row seat doesn’t have to be metaphorical, either. Catch at least one show this season because with an artist like Parker, you’re going to want to be able to say, “I was there when…”
Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? Send it to us- email@example.com.Post Views: 881
What Do You Think?
By Andrew Parks
Last December, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump called for a “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States while we figure out what the hell is going on.”
At the time, I considered that to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for Trump’s candidacy, metaphorically speaking. To me, it was the latest in a long string of outlandish, extreme, hateful statements made by that particular candidate, and I made my sentiments on the subject known publicly.
Since then, however, I’ve found myself asking that question repeatedly. Not with respect to terrorism or immigration, but rather, with respect to democracy in the United States. What the hell is going on with America’s voters?
I could go on here about the immense anger in the American electorate that seems to be playing itself out through our electoral process, or about the so-called “low information voters” that some academics and several prominent political pundits have spent the better part of eight years excoriating.
But to do so, in my opinion, would be to provide an analysis which lacks depth; if there’s one criticism I have of pundits, it’s that they tend to focus on what’s right in front of their face, and don’t spend much time digging into the underlying issues behind the latest political trends. Besides, plenty of elaboration has already been offered on that in various elements of the media, as is.
Instead, I think it would be better to focus on the endemic problem in American elections today: the loss of the vote’s value as a real expression of political principle to a significant portion of the American electorate.
In my opinion, this isn’t the result of the “dumbing down of America” or any such nebulous conceptual trend, as many pundits and talking heads would suggest. At least, it’s not that, exactly. Instead, I think this is the result of a special brand of apathy by which the average American voter has convinced himself that their vote just doesn’t matter.
Think about it. Surely, you’ve heard someone say that before. I’ve heard it multiple times, myself, from multiple people. And I’ve heard it more from members of my generation than members of others.
To a significant number of Americans, voting is no longer seen as a sacred right or even a civic duty.
It’s seen as a burden and a waste of time. And, as a result, many Americans do just enough to get by when selecting a candidate to vote for.
This is perhaps the biggest difference between modern times and years past with respect to American politics. There was once a time when Americans put serious effort into determining who to vote for – the traditional approach of researching issues, policy positions and records, and selecting a candidate based on some set of criteria.
To each of these voters, the exact criteria were often different – my father often talks about my paternal grandfather, a yellow dog, card-carrying-union-member Democrat from the era of a blue Texas, “voting his pocket-book,” or rather, for the candidate whose economic policies he felt would most benefit himself and his family, whereas my maternal grandmother, a lifelong Republican also from Texas, was always more concerned about electing men and women of strong moral character to office. But, nonetheless, both had a standardized approach that took into account discrete factors in an attempt to produce an objective result.
Those days are long gone.
In their place is an age in which many voters look for the candidate not that they can connect with intellectually or principally, but emotionally. Instead of the candidate that shares their views, they want the candidate that they can grab a beer with.
Instead of the candidate they believe is most qualified for the position, they want the candidate that they feel cares about them the most.
Instead of looking for even temperament in a candidate to take charge of the world’s most powerful military and second largest nuclear arsenal, much of the electorate looks for the candidate that shares a deeply seeded anger that has festered for years while the opposing party has controlled the White House.
Relatability has now replaced capability and suitability as the chief characteristic of electoral viability.
Peculiar though this new paradigm may be, it gives way to an even worse mindset among some younger voters, to many of whom the vote matters so little that even basic ethical constraints don’t apply.
Take, for example, student government elections at The University of Alabama, where I attended undergrad.
If you’re familiar with the politics of secret societies in the United States, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the Machine, UA’s underground coalition of fraternities and sororities that has controlled student elections for just over a century, using the flagship university of the state of Alabama’s quaint student government framework as a springboard with which it propels its alumni into some of the state’s most powerful positions.
In the past, the Machine has done some incredibly insidious things. Members of the organization have burned crosses on campus in protest of the election of a black SGA president over the Machine-backed candidate, tapped another non-Machine presidential candidate’s phone lines, beaten up and stabbed non-Machine candidates and campaign staffers, broken into SGA offices in the middle of the night and defamed applications for appointed positions from black and non-Greek applicants with racial slurs and other injustices, stolen both banners supporting non-Machine candidates and stole thousands of copies of the school newspaper containing scathing exposés about the Machine, coerced fraternity and sorority members to vote a particular way through illicit means, and ordered members of Machine houses to boycott Tuscaloosa businesses owned and operated by the families of non-Machine candidates at threat of severe penalty.
As of late, the Machine’s chicanery has taken up a less violent, but no less insidious and certainly no less disappointing, theme.
After losing the SGA presidency in 2015, my senior year at Alabama, for the first time in three decades, the Machine went on a recruiting spree that would make the average SEC booster blush.
Throughout the school year, I’ve been kept apprised as numerous Greek houses that previously took strong stances against the Machine were lured down into “the basement,” as the Machine is often referred to due to its members’ subterranean choice of meeting place, by promises of rewards – date parties with the most prestigious fraternities for the sororities, appointments from within their membership to prominent SGA positions for fraternities, and full backing, with all of the Machine Greek votes that come with it, for individual members of non-Machine fraternities seeking elected office.
On the night of the 2016 elections held just last Tuesday, I received text messages from friends at Alabama about frat guys being promised a case of beer for every vote cast for the Machine nominee for the presidency, and screenshots from a conversation between a sorority executive officer and a rank and file member in which a free manicure was offered as an incentive for voting – all of which not only explicitly violates UA election rules, but is also patently unethical.
And yet, among the broad majority of my former peers at UA, this behavior is not only found palatable, but acceptable and even standard.
Imagine that for a minute. To some of the brightest millennials in the country – UA is one of the nation’s top 50 public universities and ranks among the best in the nation for national merit attendance – a vote isn’t the righteous expression of the voter’s political willpower as the American ethos might demand, but instead a commodity ready to be bartered for material gain as menial as beer and manicures.
Among the quite literally hundreds, if not thousands, of UA students who take that approach to selecting a candidate for whom to cast their vote, there isn’t so much as an afterthought about the moral or philosophical implications of such a decision.
A little alcohol and some fresh nail polish is all it takes to wash away any objections which might exist over voting for the candidates nominated by a racist, underground organization with a history of violence, corruption and intimidation spanning a century.
You might say to yourself that this is believable, or perhaps even to be expected, in a state like Alabama, where just last week a sitting United States Senator endorsed a presidential candidate on the same day that same presidential candidate tacitly accepted an endorsement from the Ku Klux Klan.
And you would have a point; if there’s any state where this kind of nefariousness is the norm, it would be Alabama. But consider this: The University of Alabama isn’t the only place where things like this are happening.
Just last month, a whistleblower at The University of Florida came forward in a tell-all video to discuss the System, an underground organization bent on student election domination at UF eerily similar to the Machine in both design and methodology.
And Yale, of course, is home to the infamous Skull & Bones.
Numerous other universities foster student governments dominated by their Greek systems, though, to be fair, with far less violence and blatantly corrupt activity.
Nonetheless, it seems the very kind of backroom dealings we so despise Washington for have their roots in America’s college campuses.
You might also say that student government elections are trivial things in and of themselves, and that it’s laughable to say that students should be expected to take them as seriously as “real” elections.
To that, I point out that student government and student elections are universally considered to be educational experiences for candidates, elected officials, appointees and voters alike by university administrations; indeed, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals explicitly held exactly that in reference to The University of Alabama’s Student Government Association in 1989.
Humans are creatures of habit, and voting patterns are at their core habits themselves. The habits these students form in college don’t simply end at the graduation stage. Indeed, Cleo Thomas, who became the first black SGA President at UA in 1976 and is one of only nine UA students to ever beat the Machine in a presidential bid, called campus politics at the Capstone “the training ground” for “how [elected officials] govern Alabama” in a 2015 interview.
Where politicians are concerned, Thomas’s words sum up the political history of Alabama over the last century; senior US Senator from Alabama Richard Shelby is a Machine alumnus, as are two of his predecessors in Alabama’s Senate delegation and a long list of Alabama governors and congressmen.
“What Starts Here Changes the World,” the motto of The University of Texas, could be adapted to fit The University of Alabama as, “What Starts Here Runs the State.”
But the “training ground” statement rings true for voters as well, and is demonstrated by another illustrative example from my time at UA. In 2013, amid an entirely separate segregation scandal in UA sororities, several hundred UA students filed to vote in local school board and city council elections, electing two former Machine-backed SGA presidents to the two separate governing bodies respectively, and ousting a highly respected school board incumbent in the process.
As though that action wasn’t audacious enough in itself, campus was soon inundated with reports that the students had not only illicitly registered to vote, but had been shuttled to the polling stations in limousines, and then taken to local bars to be served free alcohol after voting.
Just as they set aside any semblance of a moral compass to mindlessly vote for whomever they were instructed to in SGA elections, those students directly incurred in a local election to do the same in exchange for free drinks, taking the first step toward carrying the habit over into their adult lives.
The difference between student government and real government was, I suppose you could say, trivial, in their eyes.
If Donald Trump’s campaign is indicative of the state of democracy in modern day America, this is a sign of its future.
Democracy cannot continue to function in a society where America educates her best and brightest in a way that inherently objectifies and devalues it.
Mindless, coerced, bribed, group-think style voting is not what our Founding Fathers intended, nor is it what our brave men and women in uniform fought and died to protect.
This is the kind of democracy that lends itself to despotism and, eventually, societal ruin.
Ronald Reagan once famously said that freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction.
The same rings true for our system of government. The longer we allow our democracy to be turned into a reality TV show and our votes to be traded for alcohol and cosmetics, the shorter its lifespan will be.
In order to reverse this trend, it is incumbent upon you, the average American, whether you be a college student, a working adult or a retired senior citizen, to actively take responsibility for your vote.
Research the issues, discuss them civilly, but openly and vigorously, with trusted family and friends, teach your children to value their rights and to think independently, and most importantly, always take a strong, principled stance for ethics and integrity in the electoral process.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place.
Cover Photo Credit: Lillian Roth for SGA President/ FacebookPost Views: 791
What Do You Think?
What’s News In This Story?
–Located right in the middle of a neighborhood, The Open Awareness Buddhist Center has been open and aware for about 15 years.
-Run by Lama Karma Chotso, the center is located in a house in El Portal.
-For dozens of members, it is a place of real refuge.
-It is located right on the banks of The Little River.
-The center started in 1996, when it was located in a Hollywood bungalow.
-A patron gave the group money to purchase the property from a fellow member in 2003.
-According to Lama Chotso, there was some controversy at the time about having a Buddhist Songha in the middle of a residential street- but she was able to win over the neighbors.
-The center offers yoga sessions as well as other Buddhist related activities- including Sunday services.
—Post Views: 1,334
What Do You Think?