Nine leading activists of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement were convicted under colonial-era “public nuisance” laws, concluding the city’s most politically charged trial in years. The nine may face up to seven years in prison. They include the famous “Occupy Trio”—legal scholar Benny Tai, sociology professor Chan Kin-man and Rev. Chu Yiu-ming. The Umbrella Movement was the biggest pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong’s history, with thousands occupying the city’s central districts for several weeks between September and December 2014.
Pressure from China, restrictive legislation and self-censorship among Taiwanese youth have emerged as threats to freedom of speech in Taiwan, according to Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation director Cheng Tsing-hua. He made his comments on Taiwan's Free Speech Day, April 7, which commemorates the day in 1989 that his brother Cheng Nan-jung, a young democracy advocate under the one-party dictatorship of the Kuomintang, self-immolated as a protest against government restrictions on freedom of expression. Cheng's observations are sobering, as Taiwan has emerged as a last bastion of free speech in the Chinese-speaking world with the closing of political space in Hong Kong. (Image montage from Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation via FathomTaiwan)
Human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng was charged with “inciting subversion of state officials” after calling for reform to China’s constitution. Yu was arrested by a SWAT team at his home in Beijing just hours after he wrote an open letter urging democratic changes, including multi-party presidential election. He is now being held incommunicado at a secret site under the special status of “Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location.” The “subversion” charge carries a sentence of 15 years. Since the current crackdown began in July 2015, more than 300 rights activists and lawyers have faced charges in China. (Photo: chinaworker.info)
Panama is the latest Central American nation to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Bejing—under pressure of China's fast-growing economic presence on the isthmus.
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was barred from entering Thailand to attend commemorations of the 1976 massacre of student protesters.
The annual Hong Kong vigil commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre took place amid a split, with the city’s biggest student union boycotting.
Wuer Kaixi, veteran of the Tiananmen Square protests, called Donald Trump a threat to values of freedom after the candidate called the 1989 pro-democracy movement a "riot."
Financial woes for the Hong Kong-based developer and an unfavorable World Court ruling in a border dispute with Costa Rica have slowed Nicaragua's inter-oceanic canal project.
Nicaragua's government approved environmental impact statements for the new inter-oceanic canal—and effectively shut down a planned national march to oppose the mega-project.
At least four are dead following clashes between police and residents in Peru's Apurímac region, amid protests over the Chinese-owned Las Bambas copper mine project.
Official ceremonies marked ground-breaking on Nicaragua's inter-oceanic canal project—marred by angry campesino protests, with scores detained and injured.
The pepper spray used by Hong Kong police is made by the Sabre company—its headquarters just oustide Ferguson, Mo., now exploding into protest over the Michael Brown case.