Asia Briefs: New HK party says it will push for independence

New HK party says it will push for independence

HONG KONG • A new group that is setting up a party with the goal of turning Hong Kong into an independent republic said it will use "whatever effective means" available to push for independence.

Calling itself the Hong Kong National Party, the group - led by former Occupy Central activist Chan Ho-tin - appears to be at the extreme end of the localism movement and said it will not recognise the city's mini-Constitution, the Basic Law, reported the South China Morning Post.

700,000 granted Malaysian citizenship

KUALA LUMPUR • A total of 688,766 individuals have been granted Malaysian citizenship since Independence, according to the Home Ministry.

"Of this figure, citizenship was granted to 69,904 Chinese, 38,024 Indonesians and 19,301 Indians," Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid said the figure represented those who were presented with certificates of citizenship as of Jan 31 this year.


China appoints special envoy to Syria

BEIJING • China said yesterday it has appointed its first special envoy to Syria, as part of efforts to increase its diplomatic footprint in the Middle East.

Mr Xie Xiaoyan, who has been China's ambassador to Iran and Ethiopia, will be the new special envoy to Syria, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular briefing.

China depends on the volatile region for oil supply but has long taken a back seat in its disputes, only recently beginning to expand its role.

One analyst said the appointment was a calculated move.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2016, with the headline 'AsiaBriefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe