The Boston Globe - 31.08.2019

(Joyce) #1

AUGUST 31, 2019 7


By Jeffrey Gettleman
NEW DELHI — With tensions ris-
ing in the disputed Kashmir region, In-
dia’s government said Friday that it
had no intention of going to war with
Pakistan and that any talk of a looming
conflict was simply “fearmongering.”
“The present narrative of the India-
Pakistan situation by Pakistan, includ-
ing the possibility of a war, is intended
to project an alarmist situation,” said
Raveesh Kumar, an Indian govern-
ment spokesman. “It is far removed
from the reality on the ground.”
India has come under increasing
criticism for its decision in early Au-
gust to revoke Kashmir’s autonomy
and lock-down the area, arresting
thousands, and cutting off phone and
Internet service to millions of people.
Pakistan also claims parts of Kash-
mir, a mountainous region between

India and Pakistan that has been
racked by unrest for decades. Many
people are worried that India’s moves
could further inflame the area, possi-
bly even stoking a major conflict be-
tween the two archrivals, both of
which have nuclear arms.
On Friday, Imran Khan, Pakistan’s
prime minister, said in an op-ed in the
New York Times that “if the world does
nothing to stop the Indian assault on
Kashmir and its people, there will be
consequences for the whole world as
two nuclear-armed states get ever clos-
er to a direct military confrontation.”
Several times in the past, the two
nations, which were set up essentially
of British colonialism in South Asia,
have gone to war over Kashmir. Ten-
sions are rising again along the disput-
ed border, and many nations, includ-
ing the United States, have urged Paki-

stan and India’s leaders to negotiate.
But the bitterness is only spreading
and turning more personal.
Khan has compared India’s leader-
ship under Prime Minister Narendra
Modi to Nazi Germany, and in his op-
ed Friday said the world should not ap-
pease India because of “trade and busi-
ness advantages.” India’s economy is
nearly nine times bigger than Paki-
stan’s, and many nations seem to keep
that in mind, eager to do business
here. Initially, the criticism of India’s
move on Kashmir was light.
But as the heavy restrictions have
dragged on, now for almost a month,
more objections were raised, particu-
larly over mass arrests. Indian forces
have rounded up more than 2,000 peo-
ple, including nearly all of Kashmir’s
elected leadership, and are holding
them in a network of prisons across In-
dia without any known charges.

By Karla Adam
and Michael Birnbaum
LONDON — Former British prime
minister John Major said Friday he
would try to join a legal bid to pre-
vent a suspension of Britain’s parlia-
ment just weeks before Britain is due
to crash out of the European Union.
The former Conservative leader
announced he would take on his suc-
cessor, Prime Minister Boris Johnson,
who announced the controversial de-
cision to shutter Parliament for over a
month in the middle of one of Brit-
ain’s biggest political crises in genera-
It was an extraordinary interven-
tion by a former leader of Johnson’s
Conservative party, akin to a former
Republican president mounting a
high-profile legal assault against the
decisions of a sitting one. Johnson’s
suspending Parliament has triggered
a number of challenges by those who
claim the action is unlawful and un-
Major said in a statement that he
intended to ask the High Court in
London if he could join a legal battle
already initiated by the business exec-
utive Gina Miller, who has had anti-
Brexit triumphs in courts in the past.
Johnson shocked the country
Wednesday when he announced a
five-week suspension of Parliament,
which dramatically cuts down the
time those opposed to a no-deal Brex-
it have to try to avert leaving the EU
without an exit plan.
Critics note that Johnson, who
came into office on July 25, will lead
his country out of the EU with scant
parliamentary scrutiny. After his first
full day as prime minister, Parliament
adjourned for summer break.
If Britain leaves the European
Union with no transitional deal to
cushion its path, the International
Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and
other institutions have predicted eco-
nomic chaos.
Johnson has repeatedly said that
Britain will leave the EU at the end of
October ‘‘do or die.’’
He dismissed opponents’ concerns
about suspending Parliament, saying
that the real problem would be not
leaving the EU at the end of October.
‘‘If we stop the UK from leaving on
31 October, if that’s what parliamen-
tarians end up doing, it will do lasting

damage to people’s trust in politics,’’
hetoldSkyNewson Friday.
The challenges ahead for John-
son’s opponents prevailing via the le-
gal system were spotlighted by a
quick defeat on Friday, when a Scot-
tish court rejected one such attempt
to halt the suspension immediately.
But the judge in the case said a full
hearing of the case, originally sched-
uled for next Friday, could be brought
forward to Tuesday. The case was
brought by a group of 75 lawmakers.
‘‘Like hijackers of a plane, Boris
Johnson’s ministers and acolytes are
trying to keep everyone calm by giv-
ing as much as possible the impres-
sion of normality,’’ Miller, the busi-
ness executive, wrote in the Guard-
ian. ‘‘This is the way of people seizing
power by force, but let’s be clear:
there is nothing that is normal about
what they are doing.’’
Opposition lawmakers led by Jere-
my Corbyn, meanwhile, were prepar-
ing a blitz strategy to derail a no-deal
Brexit during the limited days they
will have in Parliament, which re-
opens Tuesday after a summer recess
and shuts down again by Sept. 12.
Senior EU policymakers fretted
Friday both that Johnson’s tactics
were undemocratic and that they
were increasing the likelihood of a
no-deal Brexit.
‘‘Westminster is the mother of all
parliaments, and now there is a situa-
tion where the parliament risks being
sidelined,’’ Luxembourg Foreign Min-
ister Jean Asselborn told reporters in
Helsinki. ‘‘This a way to proceed that
is not very compatible with being a
He warned of ‘‘a lot of misery’’ if
Britain departed without a deal.
Johnson’s government insists that
what they are doing is business as
usual. Johnson is a new prime minis-
ter, and it is normal that he would
want to lay out a new legislative agen-
da, requiring the suspension — or
proroguing— of Parliament. They al-
so point out that there is usually a
break in September when the politi-
cal parties have their party conferenc-
But legal campaigners say the sus-
pension is unusually long and is
thwarting lawmakers’ attempts to de-
bate and pass legislation at a pivotal
time in the nation’s history. The five-
week break is the longest since 1945.

By Austin Ramzy
and Ezra Cheung
HONG KONG — Police in Hong
Kong on Friday arrested prominent
activists and pro-democracy lawmak-
ers and also blocked plans for a
march Saturday, a sensitive political
anniversary, as authorities intensified
their crackdown on an opposition
movement that has shaken the semi-
autonomous Chinese city for months.
Three pro-democracy lawmakers
— Cheng Chung-tai, Au Nok-hin, and
Jeremy Tam — were arrested Friday,
according to police, a legislative assis-
tant, and Facebook posts from their
Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow,
student leaders of the pro-democracy
demonstrations in Hong Kong five
years ago that presaged the current
protests, were arrested Friday morn-
ing, their political organization said.
They were later released on bail. An-
dy Chan, who led the now-banned
Hong Kong National Party, was taken
into custody Thursday at the Hong
Kong airport, he said on Facebook.
The arrests were the latest in a
dramatic week of events in Hong
Kong, where tensions were running
high after three months of protests
touched off by widespread anger over
legislation, since suspended, that
would have allowed criminal suspects
to be extradited to mainland China
for trial.
In addition to the arrests, Hong
Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam,
said the government was considering
whether there were other measures
the city could take to establish order,
China sent in fresh troops to the terri-

tory, and authorities denied permis-
sion for what was widely expected to
be a well-attended demonstration.
The march Saturday was sched-
uled to coincide with the fifth anni-
versary of a decision by the Chinese
legislature to impose strict limits on
elections in Hong Kong, a move that
touched off what came to be known
as the Umbrella Movement.
More than 900 arrests have been
carried out since early June, but the
detentions Thursday and Friday
stood out. The arrest of prominent ac-
tivists during sensitive periods is a
common tactic by authorities in
mainland China, but such an ap-
proach is unusual in Hong Kong,
which has its own legal system and
far greater protections for civil rights.
“This past week, we have seen
scare tactics straight out of Beijing’s
playbook: pro-democracy protest or-
ganizers attacked by thugs, promi-
nent activists arrested after being
snatched from their homes and
streets, and a major rally planned for
Saturday banned,” Man-kei Tam, di-
rector of Amnesty International Hong
Kong, said in a written statement.
Police denied the series of arrests
was planned to coincide with a major
protest. “As soon as we have enough
evidence, we would make arrests,”
said John Tse, chief superintendent of
the Police Public Relations Branch.
“There is no relationship between the
timing of our arrests and public activ-
The marches have been arguably
the most effective way for residents of
Hong Kong to draw attention to their
anger. But plans to hold a large rally
Saturday were blocked by authorities.

Former British

leader intervenes

in Brexit crisis

Activists arrested as

Hong Kong quashes

plans for protest


Kashmiri protesters ran from the tear gas during a protest against Indian rule on Friday in Srinagar, India.

India says it has no plan to start war

BEIJING — China effectively ex-
pelled a Wall Street Journal reporter,
one month after the newspaper pub-
lished a report detailing allegations
that a cousin of Chinese leader Xi
Jinping was involved in high-stakes
gambling and potential money laun-
dering in Australia.
Chinese authorities told the Jour-
nal on Friday that press credentials
would not be renewed for Chun Han
Wong, a Singapore national who has
covered Chinese politics out of the
paper’s Beijing bureau since 2014.
Those credentials expired Friday.
China sometimes withholds or re-
fuses visas to punish international
news organizations for what the rul-
ing Communist Party perceives as un-
favorable coverage. But the decision
amounted to the first time that the
Chinese government has effectively
banned a reporter from the Journal,
a publication generally known for
evenhanded coverage of China.
Wong was one of two authors of a
July 30 report disclosing an Austra-
lian law-enforcement and intelligence
probe into Ming Chai, one of Xi’s
cousins and an Australian citizen.
The report, citing Australian officials
and casino documents, detailed
Chai’s lavish spending in resorts
owned by the gambling mogul James
Packer, and Chai’s links to what Aus-
tralian officials deemed to be a mon-
ey-laundering front in Melbourne.
The story noted there were no in-
dications Xi knew about his cousin’s
activities or that the Chinese leader
was implicated in any wrongdoing.
Still, Beijing considers the private
wealth of top leaders’ families to be
the most sensitive and taboo report-
ing subject of all, given the chasm be-
tween the Communist Party’s ideolog-
ical rhetoric and the vast, often hid-
den wealth accrued by elite families
since the party turned toward state
capitalism in the 1980s.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club
of China said Wong was the sixth
journalist to leave China under such
circumstances since 2013.

Wall Street Journal

reporter expelled

from China

MOSCOW — Ukrainian and Rus-
sian officials spent the day Friday
hammering out the details of a high-
ly anticipated prisoner exchange, of-
ficials in Kiev and Moscow reported,
as each country continued to explore
how the newly installed administra-
tion of the Ukraine president, Volod-
ymyr Zelensky, will reshape the hos-
tility between the two neighbors.
Ukraine’s new chief prosecutor
reported early in the morning that
the large-scale exchange was under-
way, but Zelensky’s office said that
report was premature and the Ukrai-
nian security service said that there
would be no swap on Friday.
More than 60 prisoners were re-
ported to be involved, including 24
Ukrainian sailors who were detained
when their ships were seized in 2018
in the Kerch Strait between Crimea
and the Russian mainland.
Russian and Ukrainian news ser-
vices reported that final negotiations
were continuing, and that both sides

expect the exchange to happen. They
have been in talks over such a move
all summer.
Zelensky’s office was critical of
the preliminary reports that the ex-
change was underway.
Valentin Rybin, a lawyer for Rus-
sians held prisoner by Ukraine, said
that they were preparing to leave but
were still in detention and that Zel-
ensky had yet to issue them pardons.
The most prominent prisoner ex-
pected to be released was the film-
maker Oleg Sentsov, who was arrest-
ed by the Russians in Crimea in
2014 and sentenced to a 20-year
term on a charge of plotting terror-
ism. Last year he conducted a 145-
day hunger strike, demanding the
release of Ukrainian prisoners held
by Russia. He was awarded the
Sakharov Prize for Freedom of
Thought by the European Parliament
and has been supported by promi-
nent filmmakers.

Ukraine, Russia prisoner swap in works


A girl in Mexico City looked at pictures of
missing persons displayed as part of a day
of commemoration Friday. More than 40,
are missing in Mexico.

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