Hong Kong facing a sharp political crisis

Last month, during the swearing-in ceremony, legislators Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus “Baggio” Leung refused to declare their allegiance to China and carried blue flags reading: “Hong Kong is not China.” Now China has decided to bar the two young legislators, since “those wishing to hold public office must sincerely and solemnly declare allegiance to China”, as China’s rubberstamp legislature affirmed.

About 13,000 people marched on Sunday to protest against China’s last intervention, ending in clashes with police which led to four arrests.

After the United Kingdom gave Hong Kong to China in 1997, the city maintained its own laws, courts and freedoms not enjoyed in continental China, under a framework known as “one country, two systems”. However, many citizens agree that these freedoms have been diminished in the last years.

In fact, previous dissatisfactions led to nearly three months of street protests in 2014 and to the election in September this year of six politicians who demand greater autonomy for the city.

This action is thought to be Beijing’s most direct intervention in the territory’s legal system since the 1997, and it has set up a new conflict between pro-Beijing and pro-democracy camps.

USA and Russia agreement

The diplomats meeting in Munich agreed Friday to a cease fire in Syria’s long-running civil war and instead focus all efforts in bringing humanitarian aid to the country and millions of displaced people. The Secretary of State of the US, John Kerry, announced after meeting with the Russian Secretary and other diplomats that their aim was for the fire to cease within a week, at least from their respective sides. However, a complete cease fire seems almost impossible, as it would depend on hundreds of rebel groups also deciding to stop fighting.

This announcement signifies a huge development in a war that has already killed more than 250,000 civilians and has created the world’s worst refugee crisis since the Holocaust.