Jumaat, 18 April 2014

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

World's first Tiananmen museum to open in Hong Kong

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 06:33 AM PDT

HONG KONG: The world's first museum dedicated to the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown wants to convince Chinese visitors to fight for democracy when it opens in Hong Kong next week, almost 25 years on, organisers said Friday.

The permanent exhibition, which is scheduled to open next Saturday, commemorates those killed in the authorities' brutal crushing of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing on June 3-4, 1989.

All reference to the crackdown is banned on the mainland, where many remain unaware of it.

The museum is funded by the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which also organises the annual June 4 candlelit vigil in Hong Kong attended by tens of thousands.

"A lot of people have forgotten what has happened and mainlanders are not allowed to remember. So here, we preserve that memory and remind the people what has happened and also to drive the people to fight for democracy in China," the group's chairman Lee Cheuk-yan told reporters.

"By letting them remember and letting them know what actually happened, they will have anger towards the Communist Party - which in order preserve its power, went to the extent of shooting its own people.

"This should not be tolerated by our mainland compatriots," he said.

Organisers will use social media, including Weibo - China's equivalent to Twitter - to promote the museum, Lee said.

The 800-square foot (74.32 square-metre) venue, in the commercial district of East Tsim Sha Tsui, will display images from the protests and subsequent crackdown, including the famous 'Tank Man' photograph of a civilian staring down a long row of military vehicles.

It also includes a two-metre tall statue of the Goddess of Democracy, similar to one erected at Tiananmen Square during the protests almost 25 years ago.

Owners of the commercial block that houses the museum have threatened to take legal action, saying that the museum may have violated the property deed and may cause nuisance to tenants, due to its highly political nature, according to media reports.

"We have all the legal backup and we are confident we can face legal challenges and this museum will be open continuously," Lee said.

Beijing has never provided an official final toll for the military crackdown, which was condemned worldwide. Independent observers tallied more than 1,000 dead in Beijing, without including victims elsewhere.

The Chinese Communist Party branded the Tiananmen protests a "counter-revolutionary rebellion" but pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong have consistently commemorated the incident.

Every year, tens of thousands of residents gather at the city's Victoria Park to mark its anniversary.

Since returning to Chinese rule in 1997, Hong Kong enjoys a level of civil liberty that is unavailable in China under the so-called "One Country Two Systems", which guarantees the city's semi-autonomous status. - AFP

Vietnam says 7 killed in shooting on China border

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 06:31 AM PDT

HANOI: Seven people were killed in a gun battle between border guards and Chinese illegal migrants at a remote frontier crossing in northeast Vietnam, authorities said Friday.

Sixteen Chinese nationals - 10 men, four women and two children - were detained early Friday after attempting to enter Vietnam, the Quang Ninh provincial government said in a statement.

While authorities were preparing to send them back, "some Chinese men in this group seized guns from Vietnamese border guards and shot at them... killing one guard on the spot," the statement said.

Vietnamese and Chinese authorities sought to calm the situation but the migrants refused to drop their weapons and a firefight erupted, it added.

In total two Vietnamese border guards and five Chinese migrants were killed, according to the statement, which said the incident was "not a terrorist attack".

It was not immediately possible to verify the authorities' account.

The statement did not say whether the dead included Chinese women and children.

Vietnamese state media reported that the Chinese migrants were from the Muslim-majority province of Xingjian but there was no independent confirmation.

Vietnam's remote northeastern region, which borders China's Guangxi province, is poor and mostly populated by a patchwork of ethnic minority groups.

There have been previous human trafficking and people smuggling cases in the area, including of Vietnamese women forced to marry Chinese men and young boys kidnapped for sale to wealthy childless Chinese families.

But it is unusual for irregular Chinese migrants to be caught trying to enter Vietnam, with more Vietnamese migrants travelling north to find work in China's fast-growing cities.

No data exists on the scale of economic migration across the remote, sparsely guarded border but it is believed to be widespread as it is difficult for the neighbouring communist countries to control all movement across their 1,300 plus kilometre-long joint border. - AFP

Six Nepalese dead, six missing in Everest avalanche (updated)

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:47 PM PDT

Kathmandu (AFP) - At least six Nepalese climbing guides have been killed and six others are missing after an avalanche struck Mount Everest early Friday in one of the deadliest accidents on the world's highest peak, officials said.

"Rescuers have already retrieved four bodies and they are now trying to pull out two more bodies that are buried under snow," Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told AFP.

The avalanche occurred at around 6:45 am (0100 GMT) at an altitude of about 5,800 metres (19,000 feet) in an area known as the "popcorn field" which lies on the route into the treacherous Khumbu icefall, Sherpa said.

Tourism ministry spokesman, Mohan Krishna Sapkota, said the climbers were all Nepalese and were preparing the route to the summit ahead of the summer climbing season which kicks off later this month.

"The sherpa guides were carrying up equipment and other necessities for climbers, when the disaster happened," Sapkota told AFP.

"Rescuers have found two people alive, and they are trying to find six others who are still missing," he said.

Another tourism ministry official said three rescue helicopters had been deployed to scour the site and airlift the injured to safety.

The Kathmandu-based climbing company Himalayan Climbing Guides Nepal confirmed that two of their guides were among the dead and four were missing.

"Six climbing guides from our company were taking up tents and supplies... two have been found dead and rescue teams are searching for the remaining four," manager Umid Bhandari told AFP.

The disaster is among the worst to strike the mountain, which saw eight people die in total during last year's month-long summer climbing season.

In 1996, eight people died in a single accident during a doomed expedition immortalised in the best-selling book "Into Thin Air" by mountaineering journalist Jon Krakauer.

More than 300 people have died on Everest since the first successful summit by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

Every summer, hundreds of climbers from around the world attempt to scale peaks in the Himalayas when weather conditions are at their best.

Nepal is home to eight of the world's 14 peaks over 8,000 metres.

As concerns of overcrowding on the "roof of the world" have grown, Nepal's government earlier announced plans to double the number of climbing ropes on congested ice walls near the summit of Everest to reduce traffic and risks to climbers.

Authorities have also stationed soldiers and police at Everest base camp starting this month so climbers can approach officers in case of any trouble following a brawl between commercial climbers and Nepalese guides last year. - AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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