When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

hong kong

In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin, Valeria Berghinz and Michelle Courtois.

Kim-Putin Arms Talks, Gay Marriage Progress In Hong Kong, Pirate Olaf

👋 *مرحبا

Welcome to Tuesday, where reports say Kim Jong-un plans to meet Vladimir Putin to discuss supplying Moscow with weapons, Hong Kong's top court moves to recognize same-sex civil unions, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz keeps his sense of humor after a bad tumble. Meanwhile, we look at the questionable “dark tourism” industry already in business in war-torn Ukraine.

[*Marhaba - Arabic]

Watch Video Show less
Society
Shi Wanping

Why Have Hong Kong's Hearing Impaired Been Left Behind?

Sign language services are relatively good in such Asian countries as Japan, South Korea and Thailand. Why do they lag in Hong Kong? An exploration of the island's particular circumstance

HONG KONG — In May 2020, Chung Chi Keung, a deaf man suffering from depression, committed suicide 16 hours after being discharged from Kwai Chung Hospital in Hong Kong.

In July 2023, the Coroner's Court held an inquest, revealing that the suicide risk assessment form had not been properly filled out, and that Chung hadn't had access to a sign language interpreter while in hospital, and was left to communicate there with only pen and paper.

The incident raised concern among Hong Kong's community of people with hearing impairments around the hospital's failure to provide timely sign language assistance, which had clearly created miscommunication.

The general public knows very little about sign language, as a language and a service. If they think that there is sufficient support for the deaf in this society, and that it is only negligence and individual failures that led to this tragic incident, this glosses over the real problem of insufficient service, and also oversimplifies the complex linguistic reality of sign language.

Singapore news media The Initium invited Shi Wanping, a sign language researcher at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Associate Director of the Center for Sign Language and Deaf Studies, to help share a basic understanding of sign language and some of the related issues.

Watch Video Show less
Geopolitics
Brendan Clift

Bounties On Hong Kong Activists Show Beijing Will Go Anywhere To Stifle Dissent

Hong Kong police have arrested five people accused of supporting eight pro-democracy activists living abroad, two days after the government put up bounties on them. As part of the sweeping national security law imposed by Beijing, the move is yet another attempt by China to stifle oversea dissidence.

-Analysis-

MELBOURNE — The Hong Kong government has extended its efforts to suppress political dissent overseas, issuing arrest warrants earlier this week for eight exiled pro-democracy figures and offering bounties of HK$1 million (around $128,000) each.

The targeted pro-democracy figures, who now live in Australia, the US and UK, were selected from a longer list of wanted dissidents. There is a curated feel to their profiles — three ex-legislators, three activists, a unionist and a lawyer — that suggests the list is symbolic, as well as pragmatic.

Then late Wednesday, Hong Kong police arrested five men based on the island accused of supporting people overseas who "endanger national security." According to local media, the four arrested include Ivan Lam, the former chair of disbanded political party Demosisto.

Watch Video Show less
LGBTQ Plus
Bao Bao

A Dark Journey Into Hong Kong's World Of LGBTQ Conversion Therapy

As advocates in Hong Kong work to spread the word that being LGBTQ+ is not an illness, conversion therapy centers like New Creation continue to harm and traumatize those who want to get "out of the gay life." Members of the LGBTQ+ community struggle to reconcile their faith and their orientation in a society that continues to be institutionally homophobic.

HONG KONG — Alvin Zhang has kept a diary for 18 years.

Flipping through the pages, he sees where he wrote, in large letters, "Weak emotion vs strong reason" at the top of the page. "There are two of me; one of me is actually so evil," he writes on one page. "I hate this 'me', I have to deal with this 'me'", "I am so hurt inside," he continues.

Watch Video Show less
This Happened

This Happened — June 16: Hong Kong Security Bill Protests

The Hong Kong security bill protests were a series of mass demonstrations and civil unrest in Hong Kong. The protests began on this day in 2019 and were sparked by a proposed extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial.

Get This Happened straight to your inbox ✉️ each day! Sign up here.

Watch Video Show less
Geopolitics
Ba Li

Tibet Or Xizang? Why China May Be Ready To Rename The Contested Land

The use of "Xizang" instead of "Tibet" by Chinese officials is supported by some nationalists, but viewed by Tibetans, including those affiliated with the Dalai Lama, as veritable erasure of identity.

Updated Nov. 3, 2023 at 5:30 p.m.

In early October, a message was widely circulated on Chinese social media, suggesting that the name of Tibet in English would be changed to "Xizang."

Watch Video Show less
In The News
Valeria Berghinz, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Marine Béguin and Sara Kahn

Wagner Still Recruiting, Supreme Court Nixes Affirmative Action, Hong Kong Slow Clap

👋 Salamalekum!*

Welcome to Friday, where the Wagner Group reportedly continues to recruit new fighters, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that race cannot be a factor in university admissions and the simultaneous release of two very different movies leads to the creation of a new word. Meanwhile, Kyiv-based Ukrainska Pravda talks to a battle-hardened veteran with nine years of experience in the Ukraine war, who sheds light on why the battle for Bakhmut is still very much on.

[*Wolof, West Africa]

Watch Video Show less
Society
Samuel Chu

Pillar Of Shame, Symbol Of Freedom: Tiananmen To Hong Kong To Berlin

The “Pillar of Shame” in Hong Kong, a memorial to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre, was a symbol of freedom and democracy. Beijing has taken it down, but a replica is being built in Berlin. Activist Samuel Chu explains why that means so much to him.

-Essay-

HONG KONG — On Dec. 22, 2021, shortly before midnight, masked workers removed the original “Pillar of Shame” statue from the campus of the University of Hong Kong, where it had stood for more than 24 years. The sculpture was dismantled into three pieces and wrapped in white sheets that were reminiscent of the shrouds used to wrap dead bodies.

The pillar has a very personal meaning for me. Its arrival in Hong Kong in 1997 marked the start of a friendship between the artist Jens Galschiøt and my father, the minister Chu Yiu-ming, a founding member of the Hong Kong Alliance.

The Alliance was founded to support the protest movement in Tiananmen Square in Beijing (Tiananmen meaning the Gate of Heavenly Peace). After the protests were brutally suppressed, the Alliance became the most important voice working to ensure that the victims were not forgotten, and for 30 years it organized annual candlelight vigils on June 4 in Hong Kong.

When the pillar was removed from Hong Kong in 2021, I traveled to Jens’s workshop in Odense, Denmark to start work on our new plan. We wanted to ensure that the pillar, as a memorial to the murdered of Tiananmen Square, as well as to those who kept these forbidden memories alive in Hong Kong, did not disappear. To understand how it came to this, you need to understand the history and the idea behind the pillar in Hong Kong.

Watch Video Show less
In The News
Emma Albright and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Talks To Extend Gaza Truce, Trapped Indian Workers Rescued, Pope On The Mend

👋 Da'anzho!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where talks are underway in Qatar to prolong the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, the 41 Indian workers who had been trapped in a tunnel for 17 days have all been rescued, and Kyrgyzstan votes to alter its flag design because of a flower. Meanwhile, Guillaume Ptak for French daily Les Echos reports from the frontlines in Donetsk, Ukraine, where a bitter winter is setting in and a deadly DIY drone war rages on.

[*Eastern Apache]

Watch Video Show less
In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet and Laure Gautherin

Hezbollah-Hamas Meeting, China Sacks Defense Minister, Bangladesh Festival

👋 A jaaraama!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders meet to coordinate their actions, China removes a second senior official with no explanation after he disappeared from public view for two months, and Australia’s beloved national spread celebrates its 100th anniversary. Meanwhile, Aila Inete and Flávia Rocha, in Portuguese-language online magazine Revista AzMina, look at how thousands of Brazilian girls are deceived by “foster parents” and duped into forced labor.

[*Fula, West and Central Africa]

Watch Video Show less
Society
Yannick Champion-Osselin

"Cancel" That National Anthem? When Patriotic Lyrics Of The Past Hit Wrong Notes Today

Spain's national anthem, dating back to 1770, is the oldest in continual use — it also happens to be wordless. For other nations, what can be done about aging anthem lyrics that may need to be placed in their original context to avoid upsetting or offending contemporary ears.

PARIS — Algeria’s national anthem, Kassaman (Oath), is a war song penned by jailed nationalist and poet Moufdi Zakaria in 1955 during the Algerian War of Independence against the French colonialists. Three out of five verses evoke fighting the colonization of Algeria, with the most controversial verse being the third, which calls out France directly.

In the 1980s, to avoid diplomatic tensions with Paris, Algeria decreed that the third verse could be omitted if the circumstances called for it. But on June 11, a presidential decree restored the controversial third verse, making all five verses obligatory. Now, Kassaman will be performed in its ‘full form’ at official events – allusions to imperialism included.

There was backlash from Paris, as French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna called the decision “outdated.” Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Ataf responded quickly that he was "astounded by the fact that the French foreign minister thought she could express an opinion on the Algerian national anthem."

Alas, this is far from an isolated topic, as people have vehemently expressed their views on whether anthems should be maintained, modified or scrapped for years.

While national anthems are often marches or hymns celebrating a military event, some are considered too bloody and graphic for modern times. Amongst those which literally evoke blood, often that of their enemies, are Algeria’s Kassaman, Portugal’s A Portuguesa, France’s Marseillaise, Vietnam’s Tiến Quân Ca (The Marching song) and Belgium’s La Brabançonne.

Watch Video Show less
In The News
Worldcrunch

Le Weekend: Iran Bans Film Festival Over Hijab, Auto-Tuned Toddler, Sinéad Tributes

July 29-30

  • The environmental cost of the Ukraine war
  • Shankari Chandran scores top Aussie award
  • A bit of Elon/X-bashing
  • … and much more.
Watch Video Show less