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LONDON (Reuters) – China has betrayed the people of Hong Kong so the West should stop kowtowing to Beijing for an illusory great pot of gold, said Chris Patten, the last governor of the former British colony.

FILE PHOTO: Former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten attends an interview in Hong Kong, China September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Beijing is set to impose new national security legislation on Hong Kong after a sustained campaign of pro-democracy protests last year in the city, which enjoys many freedoms not allowed on mainland China.

“The Hong Kong people have been betrayed by China,” Patten was quoted as saying by The Times newspaper. Britain, he said, had a “moral, economic and legal” duty to stand up for Hong Kong.

Patten, now 76, watched as the British flag was lowered over Hong Kong when the colony was handed back to China in 1997 after more than 150 years of British rule – imposed after Britain defeated China in the First Opium War.

Hong Kong’s autonomy was guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement enshrined in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration signed by then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

But China’s plans to impose the security laws on Hong Kong risk destroying the declaration, Patten said.

The United States has branded the laws a “death knell” for the city’s autonomy and Britain has said it is deeply concerned by the legislation which it said would undermine the “one country, two systems” principle.

“What we are seeing is a new Chinese dictatorship,” Patten said. “The British government should make it clear that what we are seeing is a complete destruction of the Joint Declaration.”

CHINESE GOLD

U.S. President Donald Trump warned Washington would react “very strongly” if Beijing went ahead with the security law.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will “fully cooperate” with the Chinese parliament to safeguard national security, which she said would not affect rights, freedoms or judicial independence.

Patten said the West should stop chasing the illusory promise of Chinese gold and that Britain should think carefully about Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei’s involvement in the 5G network.

“We should stop being fooled that somehow at the end of the all the kowtowing there’s this great pot of gold waiting for us. It’s always been an illusion,” Patten said.

“We keep on kidding ourselves that unless we do everything that China wants we will somehow miss out on great trading opportunities. It’s drivel.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to reduce Huawei’s [HWT.UL] involvement in Britain’s 5G network in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge. Editing by Jane Merriman and Ros Russell

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Pakistan blast: At least seven dead in Peshawar school attack

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At least seven people have died after an explosion during a class at a religious school in Pakistan, police have said.

Children of various age groups are among the dead, an officer at the scene told the BBC.

Dozens of others were injured in the attack, which took place in the northern city of Peshawar.

No group has yet claimed responsibility. An investigation has been launched.

The city of Peshawar, close to the Afghan border, has seen some of the worst of the violence during the Taliban insurgency in recent years.

Six years ago, gunmen stormed a military school in the city leaving more than 150 dead, including many children.

What happened?

The blast took place at about 08:30 local time (03:30 GMT), police told the BBC.

About 60 people are understood to have been in the class at the religious school, known as a madrassa.

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An eyewitness has told the police he saw a man enter the building with a bag of explosives shortly before the blast.

news agency that two teachers were injured.

Hospital officials told Reuters news agency that they had received dozens of injured, many with burns.

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Duterte seeks best Covid vaccine deal but ‘will not beg’ or allow private suppliers to rip off Philippines

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would pursue a direct government-to-government deal for a coronavirus vaccine with either China or Russia, warning that ‘corrupt’ private suppliers could try to swindle his country.

“Let me tell everybody that we will not beg, we will pay,” Duterte said in a televised address on Monday night, adding that while Manila is not seeking charity it also aims to sign a direct government-to-government deal without intermediaries.

The president did not indicate the status of vaccine negotiations with Beijing or Moscow, saying he merely mentioned the two countries as possible sources out of a “sense of urgency,” and that “all options” were still on the table. 

The one that could give us the best interest for the country will be chosen.

Duterte stressed the need to obtain an inoculation directly from a friendly foreign state, rather than a private business, warning that such transactions could only bring “trouble” and that a government deal would mean “no corruption.”




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Under its proposed national budget for 2021, Manila will devote some 2.5 billion Philippine pesos ($51.6 million) to vaccine procurement, which Duterte said would be overseen by Finance Secretary Carlos ‘Sonny’ Dominguez III.

“Since he is going to pay, I will listen to Sonny. If there are no funds, he will go to jail,” the president said, apparently threatening prison time for a member of his own cabinet.

Duterte previously torched Western pharma firms developing coronavirus immunizations, saying they were “all about profit,” pointing to some companies who asked for a “cash advance before they deliver the vaccine.” The leader gave a stern warning to any company who offered similar proposals, vowing “I’ll kick your a**.”

Though the president has offered to be the first in his country to take the jab developed in Russia, Sputnik V, it is not clear whether such an arrangement has been made. However, Moscow’s ambassador to the island nation, Igor Khovaev, recently stated the jab could be available to the Philippines by the end of the year.




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At least 7 killed, 70 wounded after bomb goes off at religious school in Pakistan – hospital official

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At least seven people were killed and more than 70 wounded in an explosion inside a seminary in northern Pakistan on Tuesday morning. Children are among the victims.

The blast took place in Peshawar, the capital of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Senior police official Wagar Azim told AFP that a bomb brought inside the Speen Jammat mosque, which also functions as a religious school for local children, went off in the middle of Quran studi

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