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Selasa, 30 Juni 2020

What's in Hong Kong's new national security law imposed by China, and why is it so controversial? - ABC News

The full details of the controversial national security law thrust upon Hong Kong by Beijing have been released, and it goes much further than had previously been predicted.

While there has been growing concern both in Hong Kong and around the world about the changes, the details of the legislation were only made public after it came into effect at 11:00pm yesterday, hours after Beijing passed it into law by decree.

We now know the laws will punish crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.

Even asking foreign countries to sanction or take any form of action against Hong Kong or China could be considered as collusion with foreign forces under the law.

The law marks a new era for Hong Kong, and critics say it has effectively killed off the former British colony's autonomy from mainland China.

Here's what you need to know.

What's in the new law?

On a street in Hong Kong people duck and run as a cloud of tear gas emerges in the background.
Courts in mainland China will have the power to hear some national security cases from Hong Kong.(AP: Vincent Yu)

Early assessments of the law suggest some elements are stronger than many feared, both in scope and penalties.

The crimes of secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and colluding with foreign countries and external elements — such as foreign institutions, organisations and personnel could result in penalties of up to life in prison.

This has stunned some legal scholars, who say even peaceful actions such as the pro-democracy Occupy protests of 2014 could now bring 10 years' jail if foreign links could be proven.

It also provides for more active state management and oversight of foreign groups, organisations and media based in Hong Kong, which has for decades been China's freest and most international city.

It demands disqualification for elected politicians who breach the law, a move certain to rile democracy activists in the run-up to crucial elections for Hong Kong's Legislative Council in September.

A look at a black police riot vehicle close-up with it being completely engulfed in flames.
Molotov cocktails were used by some violent protesters. Arson is now listed as a terror offence.(Reuters: Athit Perawongmetha)

And while the laws will not be applied retroactively against crimes committed before it was implemented, some of the actions of those who took part in the violent protests that have rocked Hong Kong over the past 12 months may now constitute terror offences.

Damaging public transport would be considered a terror offence, and damaging government buildings would also be a serious offence.

One major concern is that the legislation allows mainland Chinese security and intelligence agents to operate in Hong Kong on an official basis, and gives them powers that go beyond local laws.

These agents will be allowed to carry out surveillance of people suspected of endangering national security, including through the use of wiretaps, and cannot be detained or inspected by local authorities while carrying out their duties.

The intelligence agents will have a new base in the city at a mainland security commission, while Hong Kong's Government will also have its own commission, backed by a special police unit.

Up until now, Hong Kong has boasted a proudly independent judiciary and a separate, common-law-based legal system — but that will also face unprecedented pressure under the new law.

The national security law allows Hong Kong's chief executive to appoint judges for national security cases, and lets mainland courts hear serious and complex Hong Kong cases in certain situations.

A protester shouts next to a defaced Hong Kong emblem and a banner which reads "No thug, only tyranny".
Protesters stormed Hong Kong's legislature last year during the protests: such actions would now fall under the national security law.(AP: Kin Cheung)

These include cases allegedly involving collusion with foreign forces, but it's still not known how suspects will be taken to the mainland, given Hong Kong has no formal extradition arrangements with Beijing.

There is also a provision allowing for trials to take place secretly, barring public and media access to proceedings, if the case involves "state secrets or public order". However judgements must be publicised.

Media organisations that publish articles or images about things judged to be terror offences could be prosecuted under a section that bans promoting or inciting terrorist activities.

What has the local reaction been?

A middle-aged woman wearing a mask and business suit stands at podium with city skyline behind her.
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's pro-Beijing chief executive, is a supporter of the law.(Reuters: Tyrone Siu)

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam says mainland national security laws are long overdue for the territory.

But many in the city are waiting to see if action will be swift or whether authorities will wait to test their new institutions and cautiously build cases.

Some high-profile democracy and independence activists have said they expected to become the first to be detained under the new regime, and as a result chose to disband their groups.

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Within two hours of the law being announced, the Government revealed special local police and justice department prosecution units had already been formed to enforce the law.

Fear has been building in some political, activist, academic, religious and business circles and some predict that, beyond high-profile cases, the law will chill the openness that they have taken for granted. Some say privately they are questioning whether they should leave Hong Kong.

"Let us hope no-one tries to test this law, for the consequences to the individual and the legal system will be irreparable."

What has the international community said?

Protesters display placards in a shopping mall during a protest against China's proposed tough national security law.
Calling for the international community to take action could now be considered a form of "collusion".(AP: Vincent Yu)

Australia has joined more than 20 other countries in expressing deep concern about the new national security law for Hong Kong.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the Federal Government was troubled that the laws were passed without any input from the people of Hong Kong, or the city's legislature and judiciary.

Senator Payne said the eyes of the world were on Hong Kong, and that the legislation undermined the "one country, two systems" model adopted when the UK handed back control of the city to Beijing.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Rabb said it violated the agreement between Britain and Hong Kong, which was finalised on this day in 1997.

Hong Kong's former colonial power joined the European Union, Japan and the US in condemning the law, and calling on Beijing to preserve the right to assembly and free press.

He said the United States would stand with the people of Hong Kong and "respond to Beijing's attacks on freedoms of speech, the press, and assembly, as well as the rule of law".

Washington began eliminating Hong Kong's special status under US law this week, halting defence exports and restricting technology access.

What has Beijing had to say?

A woman walks past a promotional banner of the national security law for Hong Kong
China denies that the law goes against the agreement it struck with Britain in 1997.(AP: Kin Cheung)

China has rejected criticism of the law and says it will retaliate against the US over its punitive actions.

Asked about criticism that the law undermined the "one country, two systems" model, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian hit out against what he said was "foreign interference" in China's business.

"Hong Kong affairs are entirely China's internal affairs that allow no foreign interference," he said.

"It is to ensure the steady implementation of this principle as well as the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, which has been endorsed by all Chinese people, including our compatriots in Hong Kong, and most countries in the world."

Both Hong Kong and Chinese central government officials have said the law is vital to plug gaping holes in Hong Kong's national security defences — deficiencies exposed in the months of sometimes-violent protests that rocked the city in the past year.

Hong Kong and Chinese officials have repeatedly said only a tiny number of people will be targeted by the new laws and that the rights and freedoms of ordinary people will not be affected.

ABC/Wires

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2020-07-01 05:16:00Z
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Australia joins UK, Japan in expressing concern over China's treatment of Uyghurs, Hong Kong - ABC News

Australia has expressed its "deep and growing concerns" over China's imposition of a new national security bill in Hong Kong and human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Australia was one of 27 countries that issued a joint statement at the Human Rights Council, calling for China to allow the UN body's Commissioner, "meaningful access to Xinjiang at the earliest opportunity."

It follows the publication of a major investigation into China's use of mass birth control, including forced abortions and sterilisation against Uyghur women this week.

Presented by the UK's Ambassador to the UN, Julian Braithwaite, the statement reiterated the countries' "concern about arbitrary detention, widespread surveillance and restrictions, particularly targeting Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang".

The Human Rights Council statement was also signed by Japan, New Zealand and a number of European countries.

One person wears an East Turkistan mask and another a Hong Kong flag mask, both with Chinese flags covering their mouths.
Pro-democracy protesters rally in support of Xinjiang Uyghurs' human rights in Hong Kong last year.(Reuters: Lucy Nicholson)

It came after almost 50 UN independent experts last week expressed "grave concerns" over the human rights situation in China, "especially [for] religious and ethnic minorities, in Xinjiang and Tibet", calling upon the Human Rights Council to urgently monitor Chinese human rights practices.

Australia has been a consistent critic of China's mass detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.

"We further wish to raise our deep and growing concerns at the imposition of legislation related to national security on Hong Kong, with clear implications for the human rights of people in Hong Kong," the statement said.

Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch, told the ABC: "It's commendable that Australia joined 26 other governments in expressing concern about China's horrendous human rights abuses in places like Xinjiang and encroachments on civil liberties in Hong Kong."

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Australia 'troubled' by the national security law

"Australia is troubled by the law's implications for Hong Kong's judicial independence, and on the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong, both of which underpin the city's success," Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement, after Beijing bypassed Hong Kong's local parliament and voted the controversial law into force on Tuesday.

"That this decision was made without the direct participation of Hong Kong's people, legislature or judiciary is a further cause for concern," Senator Payne said.

Senator Payne's comments come after a senior official from China's Foreign Ministry earlier this week accused Australia of large-scale espionage in China amid a recent sharp deterioration in the bilateral relationship.

Today also marks 23 years since the handover under the One Country, Two Systems policy, in which China promised that, "Hong Kong's capitalist system and way of life would remain unchanged for 50 years".

A woman walks past a promotional banner of the national security law for Hong Kong
China's passage of the national security law for Hong Kong has been met with international condemnation.(AP: Kin Cheung)

Australia last month issued a joint statement with the UK and Canada condemning the national security law, which it said was intended to "clearly undermine" Hong Kong's autonomy.

"We also continue to recognise the great contribution that people from Hong Kong have made, and continue to make, to Australia," Senator Payne added.

"Australia has been a favoured destination for people from Hong Kong, and we will work to ensure it stays that way," she said.

China's Government says the law is necessary following anti-government protests that escalated in June last year and plunged the city into its biggest crisis in decades.

Some Australians of Hong Kong origin have told the ABC that they feel deeply pessimistic about Hong Kong's future.

Developments over the past year have seen some Hongkongers think about migrating to United Kingdom, while others are seeking asylum in Australia.

Australia-based activists critical of China for its policies on Hong Kong and Xinjiang have increasingly found common cause since the beginning of last year's mass protests in Hong Kong.

Looking down a narrow Melbourne street, you view a crowd of people holding anti-China banners and Australian flags.
Uyghurs, Tibetans and other ethnic groups in Australia have thrown their support behind the Hong Kong protests.(ABC News: Jarrod Fankhauser)

China accuses United States of genocide

Beijing meanwhile accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of being a "brazen liar" after he responded to reports of what some experts have characterised as "demographic genocide" against Muslims in Xinjiang.

"Mr Pompeo is a brazen liar," said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, responding to Mr Pompeo's comments denouncing Beijing's policies in Xinjiang, calling upon it to "end these horrific practices" and asking "all nations to join the United States in demanding an end to these dehumanising abuses."

Reiterating Beijing's official response to allegations of mass human rights abuses against Uyghurs, Mr Zhao said: "The Chinese government equally protects the legitimate rights and interests of people of all ethnic groups, including ethnic minorities."

A man gestures with his hand standing in front of a Chinese flag standing in front of a podium.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has been heavily critical of the US, Australia and other Western powers.(Supplied)

Mr Zhao took aim at race relations in the United States, particularly in light of the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by white police officers in May.

"Let's take American Indians for example. The US government has been implementing genocide, racial segregation and assimilation policies on them," Mr Zhao said.

"We urge US politicians like Mr Pompeo to reject bias and double standards, face up to the issue of racial discrimination at home … and immediately stop smearing China and interfering in China's internal affairs by creating rumours under the pretext of Xinjiang."

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2020-07-01 03:34:08Z
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Australia joins UK, Japan in expressing concern over China's treatment of Uyghurs, Hong Kong - ABC News

Australia has expressed its "deep and growing concerns" over China's imposition of a new national security bill in Hong Kong and human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Australia was one of 27 countries that issued a joint statement at the Human Rights Council, calling for China to allow the UN body's Commissioner, "meaningful access to Xinjiang at the earliest opportunity."

It follows the publication of a major investigation into China's use of mass birth control, including forced abortions and sterilisation against Uyghur women this week.

Presented by the UK's Ambassador to the UN, Julian Braithwaite, the statement reiterated the countries' "concern about arbitrary detention, widespread surveillance and restrictions, particularly targeting Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang".

The Human Rights Council statement was also signed by Japan, New Zealand and a number of European countries.

One person wears an East Turkistan mask and another a Hong Kong flag mask, both with Chinese flags covering their mouths.
Pro-democracy protesters rally in support of Xinjiang Uyghurs' human rights in Hong Kong last year.(Reuters: Lucy Nicholson)

It came after almost 50 UN independent experts last week expressed "grave concerns" over the human rights situation in China, "especially [for] religious and ethnic minorities, in Xinjiang and Tibet", calling upon the Human Rights Council to urgently monitor Chinese human rights practices.

Australia has been a consistent critic of China's mass detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.

"We further wish to raise our deep and growing concerns at the imposition of legislation related to national security on Hong Kong, with clear implications for the human rights of people in Hong Kong," the statement said.

Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch, told the ABC: "It's commendable that Australia joined 26 other governments in expressing concern about China's horrendous human rights abuses in places like Xinjiang and encroachments on civil liberties in Hong Kong."

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Australia 'troubled' by the national security law

"Australia is troubled by the law's implications for Hong Kong's judicial independence, and on the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong, both of which underpin the city's success," Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement, after Beijing bypassed Hong Kong's local parliament and voted the controversial law into force on Tuesday.

"That this decision was made without the direct participation of Hong Kong's people, legislature or judiciary is a further cause for concern," Senator Payne said.

Senator Payne's comments come after a senior official from China's Foreign Ministry earlier this week accused Australia of large-scale espionage in China amid a recent sharp deterioration in the bilateral relationship.

Today also marks 23 years since the handover under the One Country, Two Systems policy, in which China promised that, "Hong Kong's capitalist system and way of life would remain unchanged for 50 years".

A woman walks past a promotional banner of the national security law for Hong Kong
China's passage of the national security law for Hong Kong has been met with international condemnation.(AP: Kin Cheung)

Australia last month issued a joint statement with the UK and Canada condemning the national security law, which it said was intended to "clearly undermine" Hong Kong's autonomy.

"We also continue to recognise the great contribution that people from Hong Kong have made, and continue to make, to Australia," Senator Payne added.

"Australia has been a favoured destination for people from Hong Kong, and we will work to ensure it stays that way," she said.

China's Government says the law is necessary following anti-government protests that escalated in June last year and plunged the city into its biggest crisis in decades.

Some Australians of Hong Kong origin have told the ABC that they feel deeply pessimistic about Hong Kong's future.

Developments over the past year have seen some Hongkongers think about migrating to United Kingdom, while others are seeking asylum in Australia.

Australia-based activists critical of China for its policies on Hong Kong and Xinjiang have increasingly found common cause since the beginning of last year's mass protests in Hong Kong.

Looking down a narrow Melbourne street, you view a crowd of people holding anti-China banners and Australian flags.
Uyghurs, Tibetans and other ethnic groups in Australia have thrown their support behind the Hong Kong protests.(ABC News: Jarrod Fankhauser)

China accuses United States of genocide

Beijing meanwhile accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of being a "brazen liar" after he responded to reports of what some experts have characterised as "demographic genocide" against Muslims in Xinjiang.

"Mr Pompeo is a brazen liar," said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, responding to Mr Pompeo's comments denouncing Beijing's policies in Xinjiang, calling upon it to "end these horrific practices" and asking "all nations to join the United States in demanding an end to these dehumanising abuses."

Reiterating Beijing's official response to allegations of mass human rights abuses against Uyghurs, Mr Zhao said: "The Chinese government equally protects the legitimate rights and interests of people of all ethnic groups, including ethnic minorities."

A man gestures with his hand standing in front of a Chinese flag standing in front of a podium.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has been heavily critical of the US, Australia and other Western powers.(Supplied)

Mr Zhao took aim at race relations in the United States, particularly in light of the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by white police officers in May.

"Let's take American Indians for example. The US government has been implementing genocide, racial segregation and assimilation policies on them," Mr Zhao said.

"We urge US politicians like Mr Pompeo to reject bias and double standards, face up to the issue of racial discrimination at home … and immediately stop smearing China and interfering in China's internal affairs by creating rumours under the pretext of Xinjiang."

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2020-07-01 03:08:01Z
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Scott Morrison unveils $270 billion plan to arm Australia with long-range missiles against 'more dangerous' world - SBS News

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has committed $270 billion over the next decade to prepare Australia's military, including with new long-range missiles, against a "more dangerous and more disorderly" world. 

The prime minister on Wednesday in Canberra outlined the nation's plan to build up the Australian Defence Force and move to a greater focus on its efforts on the Indo-Pacific region.

Mr Morrison said this included developing capabilities in areas such as longer-range strike weapons, cyber capabilities and area denial systems. 

"The simple truth is this: even as we stare down the COVID pandemic at home, we need to also prepare for a post-COVID world that is poorer, more dangerous and more disorderly," he said.

The speech was the unveiling of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and the new Force Structure Plan.

Tensions are rising in the region including growing strategic competition between China and the United States and the trends identified in the 2016 Defence white paper have only accelerated.

The strategic environment and heightened risk from any miscalculation make it vital that Australia is able to respond with credible military force if it needs to, Mr Morrison said.

"If we needed reminding, 2020 has demonstrated in no uncertain terms that the challenges and threats we face as a nation evolve continuously," he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra.

AAP

To this end, the government is promising to give Defence $270 billion over the next decade - up from the $195 billion promised in 2016.

This will expand plans to acquire "sophisticated maritime long-range missiles, air-launched strike and anti-ship weapons, and additional land based weapons systems".

It would include weapons that could strike ships or land from thousands of kilometres away, test long-range hypersonic weapons, boost cyber capacity and surveillance, and build a network of satellites so the nation has an independent communications network.

Mr Morrison said the reality was Australia has moved to a new and "less benign" strategic era.

"The Indo-Pacific is the epicentre of rising strategic competition," he said. 

"Tensions over territorial claims are rising across the Indo-Pacific region - as we have seen recently on the disputed border between India and China, in the South China Sea, and in the East China Sea."

 Mr Morrison said Australia needed stronger deterrence capabilities to "influence their calculus of costs involved in threatening Australian interests".

"Capabilities that can hold potential adversaries' forces and critical infrastructure at risk from a distance, thereby deterring an attack on Australia and helping to prevent war," Mr Morrison said.

The government will also invest in more highly integrated and automated sensors and weapons, including potential development of hypersonic weapons systems.

Mr Morrison said some $7 billion would be invested in space capabilities over the coming decade and invest $15 billion in cyber and information warfare capabilities.

The shift in Defence objectives matches Mr Morrison's foreign policy focus on Australia's region, including the Pacific Step-Up to create stronger ties with our closest neighbours.

It comes as the US under Donald Trump has become more inward-looking.

Mr Morrison says Australia remains prepared to make military contributions outside of the Indo-Pacific region, including backing US-led coalitions.

"Relations between China and the United States are fractious as they compete for political, economic and technological supremacy," he said.

"But we cannot allow consideration of such contingencies to drive our force structure to the detriment of ensuring we have credible capability to respond to any challenge in our immediate region.

"If we are to be a better and more effective ally, we must be prepared to invest in our own security."

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2020-07-01 01:50:00Z
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Australia makes European Union's 'safe travel' list, but US left out - Sydney Morning Herald

The European Union wants Australian tourists to start travelling again after creating its first "safe list" of 14 countries from which the bloc will allow non-essential travel in the aftermath of the global pandemic.

Travellers from the "safe list" countries will potentially be able to go to Europe and then travel freely throughout the Schengen area, which includes 22 EU countries, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The European Union wants Australian tourists to start travelling again.

The European Union wants Australian tourists to start travelling again. Credit:AP

The 14 countries on the list are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

The list will be reviewed every two weeks to add some countries and remove others. It is only a recommendation to EU members, who can still impose some travel restrictions. The idea at least is that they should not open up to other countries.

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The creation of the list will put pressure on the Federal government which has banned Australians and permanent residents from travelling until September 21, with indications regular overseas trvel would resume until next year.

The 27-member European Union bloc gave approval on Tuesday to leisure or business travel from 14 countries beyond its borders, the Council of the EU, which represents EU governments, said in a statement.

China has also been provisionally approved, although travel would only open up if Chinese authorities also allowed in EU visitors. Reciprocity is a condition of being on the list.

Russia, Brazil and Turkey, along with the United States, are among countries whose containment of the virus is considered worse than the EU average, and so will have to wait at least two weeks for approval. The bloc will carry out fortnightly reviews.

The move is aimed at supporting the EU travel industry and tourist destinations, particularly countries in southern Europe hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The list needed a "qualified majority" of EU countries to be passed, meaning 15 EU countries representing 65% of the population.

It acts as a recommendation to EU members, meaning they could potentially set restrictions on those entering from the 14 nations and will almost certainly not allow access to travellers from other countries.

The "Safe List" is optional only with Italy already signalling its not ready to open up for tourists from outside Europe.

The "Safe List" is optional only with Italy already signalling its not ready to open up for tourists from outside Europe.

Within hours of the EU announcement, Italy, which has one of the highest COVID death tolls in the world, said it would opt out and keep quarantine restrictions in place for all nations that were not part of the free-travel Schengen area.

"The global situation remains very complex. We must prevent the sacrifices made by the Italians in recent months have been in vain," Italy Health Minister Roberto Speranza said.

The EU's efforts to reopen internal borders, particularly within the 26-nation Schengen area which normally has no frontier checks, have been patchy as various countries have restricted access for certain visitors.

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2020-06-30 23:18:23Z
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Coronavirus US: Anthony Fauci warns cases could pass 100,000 a day - NEWS.com.au

The top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has warned the US could see more than 100,000 new coronavirus infections per day if it does not contain the current outbreak.

Speaking to Congress along with other health officials, Dr Fauci warned on Tuesday (US time) he “would not be surprised” to see the current 40,000 infections per day soar past the 100,000 mark.

MORE: Follow the latest coronavirus news

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told the US Senate that “clearly we are not in total control right now” of the pandemic and warned social distancing and mask wearing was essential.

“We’re going to continue to be in a lot of trouble,” he warned if people failed to follow this advice.

“It is going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that,” he said.

MORE: Europe eases travel plans for Aussies, blocks Americans

MORE: Country that became 'global punching bag’

Dr Fauci also warned the outbreak in the US was out of control.

“I am not satisfied with what’s going on because we are going in the wrong direction if you look at the curves of the new cases,” he said.

“So we’ve really got to do something about that and we need to do it quickly.

“Clearly we are not in total control right now.”

The US has seen more than 40,000 cases per day in four out of the last five days leading to fears the country will be able to get a grip on the pandemic.

Dr Fauci said an “alarmingly large” number of Americans are “anti-science” and health experts have also expressed concern about President Trump’s failure to wear a mask in public.

Already at least 16 states have been forced to pause or backtrack on reopening plans.

The rises in confirmed cases and hospitalisations have been most pronounced in Sun Belt states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona that defied advice from health experts to wait longer before easing restrictions.

“That’s a recipe for disaster,” Dr Fauci said in an interview on Monday.

“Now we’re seeing the consequences of community spread, which is even more difficult to contain than spread in a well-known physical location like a prison or nursing home or meat packing place,” Fauci said.

The New York Times reported on Monday that 43 per cent of US deaths from COVID-19 were linked to nursing homes and long-term care facilities based on its own tracking.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Monday that indoor dining would no longer resume on Thursday in the state as planned and would be postponed indefinitely.

California authorities on Sunday ordered bars in Los Angeles and six other counties to close. Texas and Florida ordered the closure of all their bars on Friday.

Beaches in Florida’s Broward County and Palm Beach County will not open on July 3-5, a blow to residents hoping to celebrate Independence Day there on Saturday.

Miami-Dade County had already announced beach closures for the holiday weekend. AMC, the largest US movie theatre chain, on Monday said it was pushing back the opening of its theatres to July 30 from July 15.

Arizona and Georgia were among the states reporting record new cases this week. Last week, a total of 15 US states reported records, according to a Reuters tally.

In June, 22 US states reported record increases in new cases, often multiple times, including Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Utah.

Face coverings have become a political issue, with some civil rights activists and supporters of US President Donald Trump arguing that such mandates are unconstitutional.

The city of Jacksonville, Florida, venue for part of the Republican nominating convention in August, said on Twitter that it would be requiring masks for all public locations starting later on Monday.

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The United States accounts for about a quarter of all reported coronavirus cases and related deaths worldwide, which surpassed 10 million and 500,000, respectively, at the weekend.

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2020-06-30 21:11:15Z
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Hong Kong handover anniversary prompts Australians to reflect on the city's future - ABC News

It was late at night and pouring with rain at the beginning of July in 1997.

Helen Sham-Ho emigrated from Hong Kong to Sydney in the 1960s, but she had returned to the city of her birth to witness an historic midnight ceremony — the moment Hong Kong was returned to China after more than a century of British rule.

"It was rainy, we couldn't walk around in Hong Kong. I remember it very well that I was in the hotel watching the television of that significant moment at 12:00am," she told the ABC.

"It was very significant in my mind, in my lifetime, it's a part of my life story."

Helen Sham-Ho arrived in 1960s
Helen Sham-Ho and her landlady Mrs Cockill pictured in Canterbury, Sydney in the early 1960s.(Supplied: NSW Migration Heritage Centre)

Today marks 23 years since the handover under the One Country, Two Systems policy, in which China promised that "Hong Kong's capitalist system and way of life would remain unchanged for 50 years".

But China's enactment yesterday of a sweeping national security law, following more than a year of dramatic pro-democracy protests, has left Hongkongers fearful that Beijing will tighten its grip on their freedoms.

The recent tumult has seen some Hongkongers think about migrating to United Kingdom, while others are seeking asylum in Australia.

Ms Sham-Ho, now a 76-year-old retired politician, was the first female Chinese-Australian parliamentarian in the New South Wales government from 1988 to 2003, and she recalls that moment in 1997 being one of great uncertainty.

Helen Sham-Ho
Former politician Helen Sham-Ho said she was happy to see Hong Kong was handed back to China.(ABC News: Samuel Yang)

"I was a member of parliament back then and China was emerging," she said.

"[Although I came from the] colonial British culture and system, I was very interested in China.

"I knew, at the time, very little about China, so I was very suspicious about China. I think many Hong Kong people were very suspicious, because they don't want their lives to change."

'Returning to the motherland'

Stan was a high school student in 1997, and later emigrated to Australia for higher education. For him at that time, July 1 was just another public holiday in Hong Kong.

A man's shadow falls on a photo of Deng Xiaoping sitting opposite Margaret Thatcher in a meeting.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher negotiated the handover with former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.(Reuters)

"There was a lot of news saying that Hong Kong was returning to the motherland. The [local] government was celebrating, setting up events to celebrate this historic event," the now 37-year-old, who asked not to disclose his surname, said.

"China was growing rapidly. There's still some good news about China."

But Stan said he noticed that many of his high school friends started moving overseas after 1997.

"For every class, you can see at least four or five people actually migrated to either the United States, Canada or Australia," he said.

"It was sad because people were leaving. But now after 23 years, you can actually see why people [were] leaving."

'People feel that their rights are being taken away'

The automatous territory, by and large, has endured with its freedoms intact on the basis of the One Country, Two Systems policy until recent years.

In 2014, electoral reforms saw the city's Admiralty district shut down in what was dubbed the Umbrella Revolution.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Riot police used pepper spray to disperse protests in the streets of Hong Kong as China's National People's Congress began.

In March 2019, an extradition bill that would allow Beijing to summon alleged criminals to the mainland sparked protests from lawyers and activists.

"In the past two or three years, people feel that their rights are being taken away," Stan said, citing interference from Beijing coupled with stagnated living standards and a choked-up economy.

"Hong Kong should maintain a system run by itself and it shouldn't be governed by mainland [China's] rule."

But Ms Sham-Ho said she visited family and friends in Hong Kong frequently, and for her Hong Kong hasn't changed since the handover.

"[There were] no significant changes that affect [people's lives] like freedom of press, freedom of speech," she said.

'Ruined our creativity'

Jane Poon initially welcomed the handover as she thought Hong Kong would influence mainland China with its democratic values.

"We saw the [Chinese] army and the trucks moving slowly to the city under the rain," she told the ABC.

Jane Poon
Melbourne resident Jane Poon worked in Hong Kong's entertainment industry before becoming an activist.(Supplied)

But having worked in Hong Kong's media industry for 30 years across showbusiness, newspapers and radio production, she said freedom of speech had been compromised, and that had taken a toll on the creative industry.

"Hong Kong's entertainment business was at the top in Asia, but it's not the same after 1997, especially in the recent 10 years, you can see the fall of our entertainment business," she said.

"[There's] a lot of censorship in all kinds of media industries, no matter in TV or press… when you read the articles or the news you can see the censorship."

After returning to Australia in 2017 with her husband, Jane became an activist. She now runs the Victoria Hongkonger Association, lobbying the Australian Government to stand up for Hong Kong's democracy.

Jane Poon at a protest
Jane Poon said she was worried about the future for Hong Kong's young protesters.(ABC News: Samuel Yang)

Last year, almost 9,000 Hongkongers were arrested in pro-democracy protests.

"You can see the young people in Hong Kong [being] targeted by the Government and the Hong Kong police," Ms Poon said.

"They are the next generation. They are the future.

"If our young people are beaten or targeted that way, what kind of future do we have in Hong Kong?"

New national security legislation sparks fears

The Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress yesterday passed a sweeping national security law, according to Hong Kong media, which includes laws on sedition and subversion.

Under the law, the Central Government in Beijing will be allowed to set up a national security office in Hong Kong to collect and analyse intelligence and deal with criminal cases related to national security.

Many Hong Kong citizens fear that the promise of "One Country, Two Systems" has been broken, as massive emigration occurs and young Hong Kong students are seeking asylum internationally, including in Australia.

But authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly defended the legislation, saying it is aimed at a few "troublemakers" and will not affect rights and freedoms.

The United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Canada recently criticised China, as they said the national security law would threaten freedom and breach the document that sets out Hong Kong's partial autonomy, the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration.

However, Ms Sham-Ho said in her view, under the One Country, Two Systems principle, Beijing had the right to protect Hong Kong from foreign interference.

"I actually resent my own Prime Minister, trying to suggest the national security law is wrong in Hong Kong, because Hong Kong is part of China," she said.

'I can't see any future'

Tina Leung is a second-generation Australian Hongkonger. She said although her family emigrated to Australia before the handover, she can still relate to many of the protesters.

Tina Leung in Hong Kong
Australian Tina Leung's family left Hong Kong after the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.(Supplied)

"This Western ideology of democracy is not even being slowly chipped away now, it's kind of being hacked at," she said.

"It does kind of bring this sadness because it's really quite inevitable what the future is, it gets a little bit truer with [each new] protest."

Tina Leung
Perth resident Tina Leung said the One Country, Two Systems policy is a broken promise.(Supplied)

Ms Sham-Ho said Hongkongers should embrace being a part of China, adding that stability was the key to Hong Kong's prosperity.

"With the damage done so far, I think the confidence is not there anymore for any overseas investors … but I do think the Hong Kong people deserve a stable situation," she said.

For Ms Poon, Hong Kong's future remains uncertain.

"Protests will be happening again … we have to rethink what strategy we have to take in the future to fight back [against] the Hong Kong Government and the Chinese Government."

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2020-06-30 20:13:43Z
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