A year on, Hong Kong democracy protesters torn between hope and fear

first_imgMedical sector worker Tana has attended peaceful lunchtime rallies in Hong Kong regularly for months along with thousands of others protesting Beijing’s influence and calling for greater democracy in the global financial hub.Now, a year on from a mass rally that kicked off a large scale and often violent anti-government movement, 37-year-old Tana and her husband fear not enough has changed.The protests succeeded in forcing a backdown by the Hong Kong government on proposed legislation that would have allowed extradition to mainland China. But a year later, authorities in Beijing are drafting national security laws that activists fear would further curb freedoms. For Tana and her family, including a son born just before the protests began, pragmatism is beginning to trump idealism.”I am most worried about my child,” Tana told Reuters, requesting her surname be withheld for security reasons. The family has already shifted their savings abroad, she said, and “emigration might be an option.”Among supporters of the protest movement, feelings range from slim hope to acute fear of oppression. After a relative respite during the coronavirus outbreak, protesters are again taking to the streets against the proposed security laws. Officials have said the laws would target a small number of “troublemakers” with provisions against secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference.Ng, a retired 63-year-old woman is among those looking back at the past year with pride and pledges to keep demonstrating. Topics :center_img “A single spark can start a huge blaze,” she said, also requesting she be identified by one name only. “The more the government suppresses us, the more resisting we become.”David, 22, who works in insurance and declined to give his surname, said a mix of violent and peaceful tactics was needed for international attention.David said he “sometimes felt overwhelmed with fear” when he helped at rallies by mixing petrol bombs and disabling tear gas canisters, but he felt compelled to continue.Demonstrations have often turned violent, with protesters blocking roads, vandalizing shops perceived to have pro-Beijing links and throwing bricks and molotovs at the police, who have responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.Isaiah Choy, who studies in Britain but came back last year to take part in peaceful protests, said violent tactics should be abandoned. The 21-year-old said he is frustrated with Hong Kong being treated as a “pawn” in U.S.- China conflicts.Washington, which has traded barbs with Beijing over trade, the coronavirus pandemic and other issues, says China has quashed the high degree of autonomy that Hong Kong was promised for at least 50 years when it returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997. Beijing has dismissed the claim and urged Washington not to meddle.Mutual destructionThe protests have strong support among Hong Kong’s 7.5 million people, according to opinion polls, with about one third of the population opposed.Keung, 50, said he supported national security laws and hoped the pro-democracy movement “will end soon because evil can never prevail over good.””It is normal for the government to set up laws to tighten its grip when people are violating the previous ones,” Keung, who also gave one name only, told Reuters.Others vow to continue to protest for as long as it takes.Sixty-four-year-old retiree Fu has embraced the often chanted slogan “if we burn, you burn with us,” referring to the belief that as a magnet for global capital, Hong Kong is the goose that lays the golden eggs for the mainland economy.Fu said he has lost many childhood friends because of his position, but he has no regrets: “I am a die hard fan of mutual destruction and Hong Kong independence.”last_img read more

Beachfront unit sale smashes record in this Sunny Coast hotspot

first_imgTom Offermann Real Estate principal Tom Offermann. Picture: Jack Tran.The agency’s auction clearance rate for the past two years is 87 per cent — significantly higher than the Brisbane average of around 50 per cent.He said Noosa Heads had experienced the highest median price growth in Queensland in the past year of 12.2 per cent.“Noosa is on the move again, with a long way to go,” Mr Offermann said.“I foresee the next, at least, couple of years ahead to be very strong for Noosa.” GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HERE An apartment overlooking Noosa Main Beach has sold for $6.9m. Pic: Tourism and Events Queensland.A BEACHFRONT apartment on Noosa’s bustling shopping strip has fetched a staggering $6.9 million in a sale agents say is a sign the sleepy Sunshine Coast suburb is “on the move”. The three-bedroom, three-bathroom penthouse-style unit at 2/23 Hastings Street sold under the hammer through Tom Offermann Real Estate — achieving a record price at auction for a residential property in Noosa. Tom Offermann Real Estate principal Tom Offermann fielded 180 inquiries for the apartment, which attracted six registered bidders at auction. A unit in this building at 23 Hastings St, Noosa, has sold for $6.9m. Pic supplied.Mr Offermann would not disclose the buyer.“There was a lot of interest from the Victoria and New South Wales markets; predominantly people who had an interest in having a second home here,” he said.The apartment occupies an entire floor spanning 227 sqm and offers uninterrupted views. Veteran real estate agent John McGrath of McGrath Estate Agents.Veteran real estate agent John McGrath said the Sunshine Coast was currently the agency’s top performing region on Australia’s east coast in terms of demand and growth.He said seachangers and southerners with discretionary money looking for an investment or second home were increasingly finding suburbs like Peregian Springs and Caloundra appealing.“With low interest rates, the population increasing and infrastructure development, there are a number of good reasons to say growth will continue on the Sunshine Coast,” he said. This beachfront unit at Hastings St, Noosa Heads, has sold for $6.9 million. Pic supplied.It comes as Noosa’s prestige market is in the middle of a resurgence, with a four-bedroom house down the road at 1/56 David Low Way, Sunrise Beach, under contract for close to $8.2 million and a neighbouring home in the same estate recently fetching $6 million.Mr Offermann said the current level of interest in Noosa was the highest he had ever seen. center_img The view from 2/23 Hastings St, Noosa Heads. Pic supplied.It also features terrazzo floors, a media room and a beachside pool. Records show the property last sold for $7.2 million in February 2015. HOUSE SMASHES DRY BLOCK RECORD MANSION SMASHES SUBURB RECORD More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus1 day agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market1 day ago MEDITERRANEAN ELEGANCE ON SHOW A beachfront unit on popular Hastings Street in Noosa has sold for $6.9m. Pic supplied.“We benefit from Brisbane, interstate and overseas interest, and while we usually have interest from one or two of those places at any one time, all those areas are converging on Noosa right now due to the strength of the markets in places such as Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.“Noosa offers a very large disparity in value compared to those areas.” This unit at 23 Hastings St, Noosa Heads, has sold for $6.9m. Pic supplied.last_img read more