Asian Insider, May 28: China approves security law for Hong Kong, India-China border tensions, Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou loses key case

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In today's bulletin: China's Parliament approves national security law for Hong Kong, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang says Beijing will not flood economy with liquidity, India-China border tensions mount, Huawei's CFO loses key case in Canada, tycoon Stanley Ho's successor, Malaysia's former premier Mahathir Mohamad sacked from the party he co-founded, and more.

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China's top law making body passed the new national security legislation for Hong Kong in a move that raised questions about the future of the Asian financial hub and further protests it could spark.

Observers, meanwhile, awaited Washington's reaction with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declaring on Wednesday that such a move by Beijing would signal that the city no longer warrants special treatment under US law.

In Beijing, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the new national security legislation for Hong Kong is for the city's long-term "stability and prosperity" moments after the country's top law making body endorsed the law. China's Parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), passed the resolution on the final day of its annual parliamentary session with 2,878 votes for, one against, and six abstaining.

The law will now be handed over to the NPC's standing committee which in consultation with Hong Kong's government and the Basic Law Committee will flesh out details of the law, writes China Correspondent Elizabeth Law. Analysts believe the law could come into effect in a matter of months, she reports.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Correspondent Claire Huang says that in the city the pro-democracy camp believes that the US move to temporarily strip Hong Kong of its special status under US law leaves the ball in Beijing's court, but pro-establishment lawmakers believe such a decision will have little impact.

Reports from the US say that while the Secretary of State has made no recommendations in his statement, the Trump administration was considering suspending Hong Kong's preferential tariff rates for exports to the US and opt for targeted sanctions against Chinese officials, government entities and businesses involved in enforcing the new legislation.

Delve deeper:

China Correspondent Elizabeth Law: What next with approval of national security legislation for Hong Kong?

Hong Kong Correspondent Claire Huang: Troubling times in Hong Kong as Beijing's move on national security seen as erosion of autonomy


China will take targeted measures to support lives and livelihoods but Beijing will not flood the economy with liquidity, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a press conference after the closing of China's annual parliamentary meeting.

He was responding to questions on China's economy after Beijing scrapped an economic growth target this year because of uncertainties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the pandemic, economists had expected China to aim for a 6 per cent growth target this year.

Also read:

China Correspondent Danson Cheong: US-China decoupling will harm both sides, says Premier Li Keqiang

Global Affairs Correspondent Benjamin Kang Lim: Wiping out poverty by year-end remains China's goal despite coronavirus, economic woes


A standoff that began in early May in the border area of the two counties is escalating.

An Indian official said it had moved more troops and artillery guns to its northern border to match the 5,000 soldiers and armoured vehicles from China within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region.

Alongside, diplomats in New Delhi and Beijing have begun talks after negotiations between Indian and Chinese military officials on May 22 and 23 brought no results.

Read also:

India Bureau Chief Nirmala Ganapathy: India-China blame game over border rows


Huawei Technologies' chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was dealt a blow by the Canadian court as it denied her request to dismiss an extradition request from the US. With this interim ruling, the proceedings for her extradition will continue, although a final decision will still take a while.

Meng, the daughter of the telecom group's founder, was detained in December 2018 during a stopover in Vancouver, at the request of the US. Washington accused her of fraud for misleading HSBC about Huawei's relationship with a company operating in Iran, which put the bank at risk of attracting penalties for breaking US sanctions on Teheran.

Her detention came amid efforts by the US to restrain Huawei's growing influence on 5G networks, on grounds that it could spy on the west. Earlier this month, the Trump administration issued new rules to bar Huawei and its suppliers from using US technology and software.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice has thanked Canada for its continued assistance.

Read also:

UK planning to reduce Huawei's role in 5G network

Huawei's ambitions unbowed despite US pressure


An hour after the death of Macau billionaire Stanley Ho, it was Pansy Ho - the eldest daughter of his second wife - who announced his passing away to relatives. The 57-year-old socialite is already chairman of one of Macau's biggest conglomerates and co-chairman of MGM China Holdings Ltd, having become her father's favoured successor years ago.

Now all eyes will be on her on how she charts her way forward to keep the extended family united and rejuvenate the business that has seen gambling revenue plunge by as much as 90 per cent, during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read also:

Jan Lee: Stanley Ho's colourful life of war, women, casinos and family catfights


MAHATHIR SACKED FROM PARTY HE CO-FOUNDED: KUALA LUMPUR - Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has been sacked from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, the party he co-founded in 2016, along with four other lawmakers who have refused to support the government led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Malaysia Bureau Chief Shannon Teoh reports.

TAIWAN EYES MORE US ARMS PURCHASES: Taiwan plans to buy land-based Boeing-made Harpoon anti-ship missiles as part of its military modernisation efforts, its Defence Ministry said on Thursday. This was also confirmed by Deputy Defence Minister Chang Che-ping in Parliament. If the US agrees to sell the Harpoons, Taiwan should receive them in 2023, he said.

MILLIONS OF JOBS TO GO IN THAILAND: Thailand may lose millions of jobs this year, particularly in the tourist industry, as the novel coronavirus outbreak undermines economic activity, the state planning agency said on Thursday. About 8.4 million people are at risk of losing their jobs - 2.5 million in the tourist sector, 1.5 million in the industrial sector and 4.4 million in other parts of the service sector, an official said.

That's it for today. Thanks for reading, stay safe and we'll be back with you tomorrow.


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