Hong Kong police fire pepper ball rounds at protesters

Anti-government demonstrators scuffle with riot police during a lunch time protest as a second reading of a controversial national anthem law takes place in Hong Kong on Wednesday

The scholar noted that the opposition forces in Hong Kong tried to play a double game by trying to topple the HKSAR government on one hand and challenging the authority of the state on the other.

"He's displeased with China's efforts", she said. Police were seen rounding up dozens of people, making them sit on a sidewalk and then searching them.

Lam's remarks come days after Beijing announced it would try and bypass Hong Kong's legislature and implement controversial new national security legislation banning subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign interference in the former British colony.

Thousands poured onto the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday (local time) to protest against the planned laws.

Chinese technology giant Tencent kicked off its offer of bonds worth up to $6 billion in Hong Kong on Wednesday, launching the sale even as riot police fired pepper spray to disperse protesters in the city's central business district.

Hong Kong police fired pepper ball rounds on Wednesday at protesters in the city's commercial district ahead of a debate in the legislature over a law that bans insulting China's national anthem.

If the State Department decertifies the territory, it would fall to Trump whether to decide to end some, all or none of the privileges Hong Kong now enjoys.

Mr Raymond Kwok, chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd and Mr Henry Cheng, chairman of New World Development Co both said the law can create a safe and stable environment for investment and businesses.

In November previous year, US President Donald Trump signed into law the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which requires the State Department to certify that the city retains enough autonomy to justify favourable US trading terms.

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Police said they had arrested at least 16 people on Wednesday, aged 14-40, for alleged crimes including possession of offensive weapons, possession of tools for illegal use and unsafe driving. "As long as the economy in the Chinese mainland keeps booming, Hong Kong will not decline", according to the editorial. "Revolution of our times" and "Hong Kong independence, the only way out", but dispersed as lookouts shouted a warning to "go shopping!" at the sight of police vans outside. I think you'll find it very interesting. "This is legislation that directly affects us", said Ryan Tsang, a hotel manager.

As the protests in the financial district died down, hundreds of people began gathering in the working class Mong Kok district on the Kowloon peninsula, where protests flared repeatedly a year ago.

The NPC's decision will halt foreign-backed subversive activities of the secessionists, make those responsible for turmoil accountable, give Hong Kong residents a chance to enjoy the benefits of long-term stability and prosperity, and accelerate the integration of Hong Kong with the mainland, thus laying a solid foundation for the steady and enduring growth of the cause of "one country, two systems", he said.

Hong Kong media reported Beijing aimed to expand the scope of the legislation to include organisations as well as individuals.

China's move has rattled markets, led multiple governments to put out statements of concern and prompted top US officials - who have seen tensions with China increasingly worsen in recent months amid the coronavirus pandemic - to openly mull retaliatory action. China has faced constant criticism from US President Donald Trump and secretary of state Mike Pompeo over the origin of the coronavirus and its failure to provide timely information. The deal is being led in Hong Kong by Bank of America, HSBC and Morgan Stanley.

It also orders that primary and secondary school students be taught to sing the anthem, along with its history and etiquette.

Wednesday marked the bill's second reading and the debate is set to continue into next week when it will likely be approved and become law.

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