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EXCLUSIVE: CEO shares personal threats to shut down Hong Kong Watch

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UK based human rights group, Hong Kong Watch, is being urged by Hong Kong authorities to shut down its website after being accused of breaching China’s National Security law

“This is Beijing, really reaching out well beyond its borders to threaten our basic freedoms in the democratic world.”

CEO of Hong Kong Watch, Benedict Rogers, says that they will not remain silent. Despite threats of jail time.

While China heavily restricts the internet on the mainland, Hong Kong does not usually censor the web which allows its residents to access sites that might be critical of Beijing.

Over a month ago, the group realised that their website was blocked. Just two weeks ago Rogers says he received a letter from the Hong Kong Police followed by an email from the Hong Kong National Security Bureau, announcing that the Hong Kong Watch poses “a serious threat” to China’s National Security.

“It demanded we take it [the website] down within 72 hours of receipt of the letters and failure to comply could result in me facing a very heavy fine of HK $100,000 and a potential jail term,”

he tells ticker news.

How is this law justified?

According to Rogers, the Chinese government justifies it under the Draconian National Security Law which includes an extraterrestrial clause that was imposed on Hong Kong two years ago.

“[It] basically says, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in Hong Kong or a resident of Hong Kong. You can be anywhere in the world and be in violation of their National Security Law, so they’re using that against us,” he says.

Hong Kong Watch is the first advocacy group to be targeted by this law.

Even though Benedict Rogers and his family have received many threatening letters over the past few years, the group has made it clear that they will not be silenced by the Hong Kong government.

“We’re certainly not going to comply,” he says, “We’re very grateful that British Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, made a very strong statement.”

Truss said the Chinese Government and Hong Kong authorities must respect the universal right to freedom of speech, and uphold that right in Hong Kong in accordance with international commitments, including the Joint Declaration.

“Attempting to silence voices globally that speak up for freedom and democracy is unacceptable and will never succeed,”

she said.

The Chinese Government and Hong Kong authorities must respect the universal right to freedom of speech, and uphold that right in Hong Kong in accordance with international commitments, including the Joint Declaration.

Other governments including, Australia, Canada and others have also spoken up for the group.

Why does Beijing want to shut down Hong Kong Watch?

Rogers says one factor could be that the Hong Kong Watch was at the forefront of an effort in the United Kingdom to lobby for the British government to introduce its British National Overseas scheme for Hong Kong.

“We’ve [also] been very much at the forefront of calls for sanctions against Beijing and the Hong Kong government for dismantling Hong Kong’s freedoms. And that’s clearly a red line in their mind under the National Security Law,”

he says.

Currently, Australian journalist Cheng Lei is on trial behind closed doors in China for spy charges and there are concerns for her wellbeing.

Cheng was working for the Chinese state media CGTN and she’s being accused of supplying state secrets, Rogers says this is extremely concerning.

“It’s yet another example of China, not just threatening but arresting and imprisoning not only their own citizens but foreign nationals … Australia has really stood up to China, but the rest of the democratic world needs to do the same and we need to coordinate better our responses to Beijing’s increasing aggression,” he said.

Savannah Pocock contributed to this report.

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How Disney beat Netflix at its own game

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When it comes to streaming, there’s a new sheriff in town.

Disney+ has quickly become a major force in the streaming wars, adding over 14 million new subscribers in its latest quarter. That’s a big jump from the 3 million it had just three months prior.

In comparison, Netflix lost nearly 1 million subscribers in the same period.

So what happened? How did Disney+ overtake Netflix so quickly?

There are a few factors at play.

For one, Disney+ has a lot of content that people want to watch. As well as its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the service  has access to popular franchises like Star Wars, Marvel, and The Simpsons. That’s a big draw for people who are looking for something to watch.

In addition, Disney+ is much cheaper than Netflix. A subscription to Disney+ costs $6.99 per month, while a Netflix subscription starts at $8.99 per month. For people who are trying to save money, Disney+ is the more appealing option. Though Disney and Netflix have signalled they’re going to push up their prices.

Disney+ has been aggressive in marketing itself as the superior streaming service. The company has run a number of ads that compare its service favorably to Netflix. This has helped convince people to switch to Disney+.

The Disney effect

The Walt Disney Company launched Disney+ on November 12, 2019. The streaming service is available in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico.

As of the second quarter of 2020, Netflix had nearly 221 million subscribers across 190 countries.

Netflix facts

What is the market share of Netflix? In the United States, Netflix has a market share of 37%. That means it is the most popular streaming service in the country.

When was Netflix founded? Netflix was founded on August 29, 1997, in Scotts Valley, California.

What type of company is Netflix? Netflix is a publicly-traded company. Its stock is traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol NFLX.

What is the headquarters of Netflix? The headquarters of Netflix is located in Los Gatos, California.

Disney+ facts

Disney is spending $1 billion per year on its streaming service.

What is the market share of Disney+? In the United States, Disney+ has a market share of 24%.

When was Disney+ launched? Disney+ was launched on November 12, 2019.

What type of company is Disney? Disney is a publicly-traded company. Its stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DIS.

How much does Disney stock cost? As of August 2020, the price of one share of Disney stock is $115.76.

What is the headquarters of Disney? The headquarters of Disney is located in Burbank, California.

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Scientists discover dogs can sniff if you’re stressed

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Russia has begun vaccinating animals against COVID-19

Dog’s truely are our best friends and it turns out they really are in tune to our feelings by experiencing their world through smell

Scientists have discovered that dogs can detect stress, by sniffing our breath and sweat

Four dogs volunteered by their owners – were trained to “choose” one of three scent canisters.

And in more than 650 out of 700 trials, they sniffed a sample of sweat or breath that had been taken from a stressed person.

Dog highly sensitive scent-detection abilities are already used to detect drugs, explosives, and illnesses – so they really are paw-some animals

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Coolio, ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ rapper, dies at 59

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U.S. rapper and record producer Coolio has died

The musician was visiting a friend when he suddenly passed away, according to reports from his management.

TMZ reports the musician went to the bathroom and never returned.

Paramedics were sent to the scene after reports he entered cardiac arrest. But his cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

But the father of 10 was pronounced dead a short time after.

Coolio was best known for his hit songs Gangsta’s Paradise, Fantastic Voyage, and It’s All The Way Live.

He was aged 59.

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