Exasperated parents reveal the reasons behind their children’s tears

Mega meltdowns! Exasperated parents reveal the VERY bizarre reasons behind their children’s tantrums – including not being allowed to eat from the bin

  • Parents went online to share ridiculous reasons behind children’s meltdowns 
  • The flabbergasted mothers and fathers took to Bored Panda in their droves 
  • One little boy broke down because his mother wouldn’t let him eat the rubbish

Exasperated parents have taken to social media to share the most ridiculous reasons their children have thrown tantrums. 

In a hilarious new online gallery compiled by BoredPanda, long-suffering mothers and fathers from around the world revealed the cause behind their offsprings’ bizarre meltdowns.

One flabbergasted parent explained that her child was crying as she refused to let him eat out of the bin.

Another mother showed how tough her son thought his life was when he could not pick up the book he wanted as he was sitting on it.

Unusually one little lady was inconsolable when her parents bought her a unicorn cake for her birthday – despite it being what she asked for.

Temper tantrum: One little lady was inconsolable upon discovering that the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was red

Bottom lip wobble: This little guy put on the waterworks after being told her couldn’t eat the rubbish

Heartache: This tiny fellow couldn’t stop his tears when finding out he couldn’t board the bus that was on the TV screen 

Terrible twos? This little madam put up a fit when shopping with her parent after she was told she wouldn’t be bought a woman’s razor 

Awkward! One amused mother revealed her son had an attachment to one of her sanitary towels

It’s a hard life being a toddler! This youngster’s tears started as he struggled to lift up the book he was sitting on 

Oops! This little girl proved to be unforgiving with her meltdown after her parent handed her the wrong pink marker

Sometimes the concept of eating food can be baffling when you’re young and still learning  

Nature enthusiast? This youngster was inconsolable upon discovering the daffodils had disappeared for the season 

This youngster seemed to have a tantrum of epic proportions after her parent refused to let her inside the dishwasher 

This little guy was partial to having his nails a little long, so was distraught after his father cut them off

Hard to please? This little girl was upset after finding out what was for dinner – despite asking for ravioli in the first place

Not easily pleased: These parents shared the amusing story of their daughter crying after receiving the Birthday cake she asked for

Sad times: This little guy was annoyed when his parent banned him from pulling his high chair over

This youngster demanded his cycling backpack, only for his parent to tell him that it didn’t actually exist

Heartbreaking: This little guy appeared to be heartbroken after his mother refused his bizarre  request 

Not impressed: This little girl, clad in a Minnie Mouse costume, was disappointed after her mother stopped her from running into the road

One amused parent revealed that their little girl was upset as she wasn’t allowed to throw books at her mother or father’s face

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Madonna Releases New Single ‘Dark Ballet’ – Watch the Music Video!

Madonna has released yet another new song!

The 60-year-old pop icon released her latest song “Dark Ballet” – and a very dark, religious-themed music video to go along with it.

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Madonna

“Dark Ballet” is the latest single off of her upcoming album Madame X, which will be released on June 14th.

Madonna recently revealed that she’ll be embarking on a small theater tour that will be kicking off on September 12th. Click here to see the dates.

You can pre-order Madame X and download Madonna‘s new song off of iTunes here. Watch the music video now!

Check out the lyrics inside…

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New BH90210 Promo Goes Back to the Peach Pit


If you’ve been wondering if the iconic Peach Pit diner would be making an appearance in BH90210, it looks like the answer could be maybe.

At the very least it’s appearing in the new promo for the reunion series, in which the main cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 plays heightened versions of themselves attempting to put a reboot of the series together. 

The new promo features the show’s characters as dolls, all sitting around in the Peach Pit dealing with the latest drama at the beach club, until it pulls back to reveal that—surprise!—it’s actually the real-life actors playing with the dolls.

“I’m tired of all this. We should do this for real. What do you say?” Ian Ziering says, and now we’re just imagining that for the past 19 years, this cast has been occasionally getting together to play with Barbie versions of themselves. It’s a delightful thing to imagine, so you should join us!


In other news, Ivan Sergei has been cast as Tori Spelling‘s husband, who in this show is not Dean McDermott. Tori’s fake husband’s name is Nate, and he’s an ex-hockey player looking to become a pro sports announcer. He joins La La Anthony as Shay, Brian Austin Green‘s fake wife, and Vanessa Lachey as Camille, the high-powered publicist fake wife of Jason Priestley

This likely confirms our suspicion that Tori and Dean’s reality show(s), Tori & Dean, does not exist in the world of BH90210, and that this will truly be a Hollywood that’s nothing like the one we’ve come to know. 

Gabrielle Carteris, Shannen Doherty, and Jennie Garth also star alongside Ziering, Spelling, Green, and Priestley.

BH90210 premieres August 7 on Fox. 

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Liam Payne Appears To Be Dating Model Duckie Thot After Rumored Naomi Campbell Fling!

Liam Payne seems to have moved on from his rumored tryst with Naomi Campbell

On Wednesday, the One Direction band member attended the Cartier and British Vogue Darlings Dinner at the Residence at Cartier in New Bond Street where he posed for a pic with 23-year-old model Duckie Thot.

Additionally, the runway diva — who has walked for Victoria’s Secret — shared a flirty snap on Instagram Story of the hunk’s tattooed hand over hers.

After the sultry pic went viral, fans hypothesized that the two are an item.

They wrote on social media:

“How many chickens did Liam Payne sacrifice to be able to get Naomi Campbell and Duckie Thot in the same lifetime????”

“liam payne is unstoppable first naomi and now duckie”

“Liam Payne impregnated Cheryl, dated Naomi, and now Duckie?! HOW BIG IS THAT DICKCJAJEIXKAHEJ?!!?$8393&,/’Dncisnwncnckakwnfkxnccmc”

“there’s a lot of things that don’t make sense in the universe but what I’m most confused about is how THE F**K did Liam Payne get Naomi Campbell and Duckie Thot ….”

“i go out for one hour and now liam and duckie fckin thot are a thing? the glitch in simulation…”

“so um i come to find out liam payne and duckie thot are DATING?.)’/$/!./&/‘”


“hello why is nobody talking about THE liam payne dating THE duckie thot?!!!!!!”

“duckie thot and liam payne are dating and I need to understand how he secured both her and Naomi campbell”

“Roll it ALLLLLL the way back. Liam. Liam Payne. And Duckie??? And just a few months ago there were rumors of him and Naomi Campbell. I have many questions.”

“Liam payne is supposedly dating duckie thot, a man of taste”

“LIAM PAYNE IS DATING DUCKIE THOT????????? WOW if I was 14 years old rn I’d be crying bitch”

Reportedly, Naomi ended her rumored four-month relationship with Liam in April 2019.

A source told The Mirror:

“Liam and Naomi had a lot of fun together, they got on well and had a laugh. But it just wasn’t meant to be… They are going to stay friends — there are no hard feeling with either of them.”

However, an insider dished to The Sun:

“Naomi has taken the decision to let things fizzle out… She’s just not into Liam any more and has cast him aside. Quite simply she got a bit bored… He was always the more keen, slightly needy one and, as far as she was concerned, they were never officially an item anyway. It’s always been very casual.”

One thing’s for sure… Liam seems to have a thing for models!

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Trunk Calls: the beauty of bare bark

Leaves are falling fast, reducing tree canopies to skeletons before our very eyes. But one of the upsides of a bare tree is a bold trunk. A trunk’s shape, texture and colour can really change the tone of a garden.

The South Koreans know this, which is why the leafless crepe myrtles I saw dotted around the 1500-year-old burial mounds in the heritage site of Gyeongju a few months ago had been pruned hard and then scrubbed until their dappled bark was as smooth as polished stone. Real, live Lagerstroemia indica ­these might have been but they came over as inert as marble.

The plane trees lining some of the streets of Tokyo lent the same effect. Come winter the trees’ camouflage-pattern trunks and tight-knuckle branch tips – a telltale sign of the Japanese predilection for rigorous pruning – combine to evoke not trees but monumental carvings. Any more tightly managed and these Platanus x acerifolia would be bonsai.

Silver birch trees.Credit:Rohan Thomson

The UK designer Rosemary Alexander once spoke in Melbourne about how the Japanese had inspired her to annually scrub her twin silver birches (the particularly white-trunked Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’) with a scourer that had been dipped into a bucket of water mixed with a drop of washing-up liquid. She described standing on a ladder and rubbing the trunks until the pale, peeling bark was a glistening creamy-white.

The audience gave a friendly laugh ­but the concept is not so outlandish. Gardening is all about finessing ‘natural’ growth and, even if few of us go to such bark-scrubbing or hard-pruning lengths, we commonly adopt other methods to heighten the impact of a trunk.

Planting trees in multiple is especially common. Nothing draws the eye to the shape of a trunk, or to the colour and texture of its bark, than being confronted by the one tree planted en masse.

Planting copses is an age-old way of highlighting the appeal of a particular type of tree, trunk included. It works for all sorts of deciduous or evergreen species – pale-trunked eucalypts, black sheoaks, gnarly olives, birches. Other arrangements of closely planted trees can have the same effect. Rick Eckersley planted a tight spiralling curve of spotted gums at his own (since sold) Flinders garden, a display that directed all attention to the smooth, spotty totem-pole trunks.

Lemon-scented gums.

The more than 100 lemon-scented gums planted – by the late Dame Elisabeth Murdoch from a plan prepared by Edna Walling – alongside the driveway of Cruden Farm in Langwarrin, are more sinuous but again they make a show of their chalky, pastel-coloured trunks. Alternatively you can choose a tree that is naturally multi-stemmed (think Eucalyptus pulverulenta, E. pauciflora or other mallees) and thereby get an exaggerated trunk display from the one specimen. You can even encourage this tendency through coppicing, which is a process of periodically cutting the tree to near ground level to stimulate growth.

Or you can go the other extreme and plant one tree with particularly dramatic bark – a red-trunked coral bark maple, for example, or on the evergreen front an Arbutus x andrachnoides or Eucalyptus sideroxylon – and place it for maximum impact. You might highlight the bark by under-planting the tree with something that has a contrasting texture and colour or you might keep it all alone so there are no distractions.

Though exactly what constitutes a distraction can be subjective. There was a furore when, almost 15 years ago, a Melbourne artist wanted to temporarily paint some of the city’s elm trees blue, but in Greece people paint bark all the time. Some say white washing the lower portions of trunks protects the trees from both insect attack and extreme summer heat but it is also about aesthetics and what some perceive as the ‘freshened-up’ air of a painted tree.

More functional but just as striking are the dark skirts on some of the cork oaks in the 100-year-old cork plantation in the National Arboretum in Canberra. They are the direct result of stripping for cork the outer layer of the bark of Quercus suber and people pose for wedding photos next to them all the time.

But leave a tree to its own devices and trunks will still rise to the fore. They might form beguiling contortions from the wind, or shoot straight up for light or develop flamboyant insect-track markings. Both the natural landscape and gardens are full of trunks with interesting colours, textures and shapes. Now is the season to appreciate them.

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Woman Charged In Mom Murder Case Gives Cops 'Crucial Information'

Michelle Troconis – charged with assisting her boyfriend in connection to the disappearance of Jennifer Dulos – provided “crucial information” to law enforcement earlier today, RadarOnline.com can exclusively report.

“Ms. Troconis voluntarily met with officials from the Stamford-Norwalk States Attorney’s Office Thursday afternoon,” multiple law enforcement sources told Radar in the case of the missing mother of five.

“She provided crucial information to assist authorities in their investigation.”

New details were being discovered in the brutal death of the missing Connecticut woman.

“The meeting lasted approximately three hours and Ms. Troconis agreed to let authorities record the meeting with both audio and video equipment,” the insider explained.

Radar was first to report that authorities sources deemed the case a homicide, stating: “This is no longer a missing persons investigation. This is now a murder case.”

“We feel a lot of sadness, we feel relief, and we feel some resolve following the meeting with the co-defendant,” the source continued. “We will work tirelessly, non-stop, selflessly around the clock. We had to force officers and others assisting in the search to leave when their shifts were over.”

The FBI joined state and local law enforcement officers to search several properties that belong to her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, who was arrested on June 1 with his girlfriend for allegedly tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution.

The missing mother was 50-years-old and she was last seen May 24.

“The information provided us additional leads in which authorities are actively and vigorously pursuing,” the law enforcement source continued, noting they obtained an additional search warrant and expect to continue searching for evidence overnight.

“Although we’ve sped through this week and we’ve accomplished so much – we have so much more to do to bring justice to this case,” the source noted. “[Authorities] gained very valuable intelligence and information that [they] did not have and have now been able to cohobate which will yet come to be proven in a court of law.”

“We are pleased with our progress,” a second law enforcement source told Radar. “This perpetrator was the worst of the worst.”

The source noted that police are swarming a large property located in Farmington, Connecticut based on the information provided to them in the three-hour meeting.

“An emergency search warrant was obtained for a property owned by the victim’s estranged husband,” a law enforcement source said. “The FBI Evidence Response Team responded to search for potential evidence.”

Radar was first to report new details relating to an emergency search warrant authorities obtained late Wednesday night after they received several tips that law enforcement sources claimed “circled back to that residence.”

No further information was immediately available.

Stay with Radar for the latest developments.

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Nike worried about Neymar rape allegation — soccer star denies, claims extortion

Nike Inc is “very concerned” about a rape accusation against Brazilian soccer star Neymar, the world’s largest sportswear maker said on Thursday, raising questions about its sponsorship of one of the sport’s most famous players.

Nike issued a statement a day after a woman said in an interview with Brazilian SBT TV that Neymar had raped her in a Paris hotel last month. Neymar denied the allegation in an Instagram post and has said the woman was trying to extort him.

The lawyer for Neymar’s accuser did not respond to questions from Reuters.

“We are very concerned by the recent allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” Nike said when asked about the accusation against Neymar, who plays his club soccer with French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

A press representative for Neymar declined to comment on his sponsorships.

Neymar’s lawyer Mayra Fernandes, speaking to journalists in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, did not address his sponsorship deals. She said her client was innocent of the allegation made against him.

A press representative for Mastercard in Brazil confirmed to Reuters that the company had planned an advertising campaign to coincide with this month’s Copa America tournament but she did not confirm reports in Brazil’s three biggest newspapers that Mastercard had decided to suspend Neymar’s featuring in it.

U.S. press representatives for Mastercard did not reply to requests for comment.

Brazilian airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA , which featured Neymar in the run-up to the 2018 World Cup, said it was a sponsor of the national team but not individual players. A press representative declined to comment on the accusation against Neymar.

McDonald’s Corp and Procter & Gamble Co’s Gillette brand, which both featured Neymar prominently in ad campaigns last year, said they had no current contract with him.

Police report

A police report seen by Reuters showed that a woman had accused Neymar, 27, of raping her at a Paris hotel last month. Sao Paulo police are investigating the accusation. According to the police report, she told investigators that she met Neymar on Instagram. Neymar suggested they meet in person in Paris and he paid for her flight and her hotel room, the report said.

Following media reports on the matter, Neymar posted a video on Instagram, in which he denied the accusations, said he was a victim of extortion and shared messages he exchanged with the woman, including racy photos he had received.

That led police in Rio de Janeiro to open an investigation into whether Neymar had committed a crime by posting those intimate pictures online.

On Wednesday night the woman, Najila de Souza, gave her first on-camera interview since her accusation became public.

“I was a victim of rape,” de Souza told SBT TV.

Some of Neymar’s teammates have come out in support of him, but national team coach Tite told journalists on Monday that he did not want to pass judgment on the matter.

The Brazilian Football Confederation said on Thursday that Neymar would be dropped from the Brazil team for the Copa America because of an ankle injury suffered in a friendly match against Qatar.

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UAE says 'sophisticated' tanker attacks likely the work of a state actor

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates told the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that attacks on four tankers off its coast on May 12 bore the hallmarks of a “sophisticated and coordinated operation,” most likely by a state actor.

In a document on the U.N. briefing, the UAE joined by Norway and Saudi Arabia did not say who they believed was behind the attacks and they did not mention Iran, which has been accused by the United States of being directly responsible.

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Mobile phones harm the planet but campaigners can’t live without them

The eco phonies: Mobile phones are doing untold harm to the planet but green campaigners can’t live without them. TOM LEONARD reports on the precious metals that are mined for the smartphones so beloved of Extinction Rebellion followers

  • Thousands have recently marches in pro-environment groups across London
  • But many rely heavily on their mobile phones for livelihood and social life
  • There is more than 50 million tonnes of electronics waste every year

They were brandished in their tens of thousands during Extinction Rebellion’s recent protests. At anti-fracking rallies they were waved defiantly in the faces of the police and security guards.

No self-respecting eco-warrior can go without their shiny, up-to-date smartphone.

How else could they film their marches and share them on social media, or stay abreast of the latest howls of outrage on Twitter about the destruction of the planet?

Unfortunately, there is a terrible irony about Apple’s iPhone and its Android rival becoming the tools of environmental protest.

Protester checks her phone during a demonstration against Climate change in Westminster, London earlier this year

For they are a big part of the problem, too.

More than 50 million tonnes of ‘e-waste’, the term for discarded electronics products, is now generated every year.

And that is rising at an alarming rate: by 2020, five billion people will have a mobile phone — with many slaves to an immensely wasteful industry that cynically pressures them to buy a new version when the old one is perfectly good.

The phones aren’t just aluminium, plastic and glass, they contain precious materials which are in limited global supply: gold and copper in the wiring, silver and platinum for the main printed circuit board, lithium in the batteries, cobalt and aluminium.

Some of these materials come with a devastating price — one that reveals the hypocrisy at the heart of today’s eco-brigade.

Diane Abbott, the Labour Party’s Shadow Home Secretary, addresses the Extinction Rebellion at the Parliament Square section of the weeks-long protest

Take tantalum, a hard metal named after the mythological character Tantalus. Because the metal is almost impossible to corrode, it plays a major part in making electronic devices smaller.

The biggest supplier of tantalum is Rwanda and its resources helped to fund parts of the Second Congo War, one of the bloodiest conflicts since World War II. Both sides used children and slaves to mine it.

Even into the 21st century, children aged seven were paid just £1.50 a week to go down narrow tunnels in the Democratic Republic of Congo — the world’s second largest source of tantalum — and chip away at river beds that are at constant risk of collapse.

In 2014, Apple announced it would no longer use tantalum from war zones. But human rights campaigners would like to see the same pledge made for gold, tin, cobalt and tungsten.

More than 50 million tonnes of ‘e-waste’, the term for discarded electronics products, is now generated every year

As for rare earth metals — a collection of elements found in the Earth’s crust — most come from Inner Mongolia, a semi-autonomous region of China, where by-products from mining (much for mobile phones) have produced a toxic lake described as one of the most polluted places on the planet.

In the nearby industrial city of Baotou, the air is filled with a relentless odour of sulphur.

The frightening body of water is surrounded by pipes and is three times as radioactive as normal background radiation.

It has rendered nearby fields toxic, forcing many locals to abandon their homes.

Uncomfortable with the technology industry’s reputation as an environmental menace, Apple is stepping up its efforts to recycle phones — enlisting a giant robot named Daisy to separate out its various metals to be recycled. So far, there are two Daisies, wrenching apart iPhones at plants in Texas and the Netherlands.

Its large grey robotic arm moves at speed, twisting and turning a mobile phone in its grip, then systematically pulls it apart.

Of 1.5 billion iPhones sold since they were first unveiled by Apple’s founder Steve Jobs in 2007, it is estimated that 700 million are currently in use.

What those precious metals actually do 

Aluminium: Almost a quarter of a phone — used for the casing and in the battery.

Arsenic: Although it’s been phased out of the newest iPhone models, there are minuscule amounts of this chemical — a carcinogenic poison — in some phones. It’s used to strengthen the glass screen (although not in amounts large enough to be dangerous).

Carbon and tin: Key ingredients in the alloys used to create various components.

Cerium: And other rare earth metals are used in solvent to polish touchscreens and colour glass.

Cobalt and lithium: Used in the battery.

Gold and silver: Used in the camera, a coil for charging phones and circuit boards. Gold is a very efficient conductor of electricity. Silver is used in the solder.

Neodymium: makes tiny, powerful magnets that provide the volume through the speaker.

Potassium: Used to make the screen.

Silicon: The material forming microchips.

Tin and copper: Found in the printed circuit board, in cameras and smaller components. Tin is also used in the solder binding components together.

Tungsten: Helps make mobile phones vibrate.


So when they are junked for a new model, there is an awful lot of jettisoned plastic and metal.

Many of the valuable metals such as gold are only in tiny quantities — but they all add up. Depending on the model, a ton of iPhones would deliver 100 to 300 times more gold than a ton of gold ore — and six times more silver than a ton of silver ore.

Mining expert David Michaud has estimated that 37 million tons of rock had to be mined to produce the first billion iPhones. Shockingly, to produce a single device requires mining 34kg of ore, and using 100 litres of water and 20 grammes of cyanide (used to extract gold from the ore).

Recycling a TV made in the 1970s would have yielded little more than half a dozen basic materials.

A typical mobile phone contains 62 different metals of varying degrees of rarity and preciousness. (See the examples, above.)

This is where Daisy comes in.

For every 100,000 iPhones, Daisy and Apple’s other recycling robot can potentially recover 3,300lb of aluminium, 2.4lb of gold, 13.9lb of silver, 70lb of rare earth elements, 183lb of tungsten, 2,200lb of copper, 64lb of tin, 1,740lb of cobalt and 3,086lb of steel.

These are among 14 materials (plus glass, lithium, tantalum and plastics) that Apple is concentrating on in its recycling drive.

Daisy has a 21st century Heath Robinson feel to it. It’s actually four robots joined together and is about 30ft by 10ft and surrounded by plexiglass. It has three or four human staff who feed iPhones into a funnel at one end and remove the separate bits from various chutes at the other end.

Daisy uses visual recognition technology to identify any of 15 (out of a total of 21) versions of the iPhone, inserting them into various slots. It then punches out the screws holding each phone together and pulls it apart.

The robot can dismantle all but the most seriously smashed up iPhones. Each phone takes three to four minutes to dismantle.

The separated materials are crushed to dust and smelted, then used in new products.

Critics have dismissed Daisy as a publicity stunt. If Apple is serious about saving the planet, they say, it should make phones that don’t need to be replaced so often.

(Apple says its phones last longer than their rivals and they are trying to refurbish more phones — nearly 8 million last year — so fewer need to be recycled).

It says its ultimate goal is to make all its products from renewable or recycled materials.

Environmental campaigners have applauded Apple for going in the right direction.

But one only needs to look in the cramped, dangerous holes in Africa — where children as young as six slave away, mining for precious metals that often end up in our phones — to see that.


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‘Australians should be thinking about their risk profile.’ What are Hong Kong’s new extradition laws about?

In the same week that 180,000 people attended a vigil in Hong Kong to remember victims of China’s Tiananmen Square massacre, controversy has reached boiling point in the city over moves to fast-track changes to Hong Kong’s extradition laws.

The changes would mean that people accused of a crime could be surrendered by Hong Kong to authorities, including those in mainland China which is currently excluded from extradition agreements with the former British colony.

The extradition law amendments sparked mass protests and a brawl in Hong Kong’s parliament earlier this month, leaving one politician in hospital.Credit:AP

The new moves are being pushed through at a dizzying pace, before the Hong Kong legislature’s July summer recess. Animated debate between angry pro-democracy legislators and their pro-Beijing counterparts continued this week, having already erupted into physical argy-bargy last month. Thousands of people marched in protest in April and more are expected to take to the streets on June 9, with protests also planned in Australia.

Hong Kong lawyers and even its high-flying business community, usually careful to avoid controversy, have expressed alarm on Thursday, hundreds of them marched in the streets in protest. Meanwhile, the European Union, United States, Britain and Canada have all voiced concerns. Australia has said it hopes the new laws will maintain confidence in the operation of “one country, two systems”.

There are 100,000 Australians living in Hong Kong, including those whose work regularly takes them across the border into mainland China. As well as a thriving expat community, Australians have holidayed in, and transited through, Hong Kong for decades.

Should they be worried about the proposed amendments? And why are some Hong Kongers so outraged?

What started all of this?

In February, Hong Kong’s secretary for security, John Lee Ka-chiu, released a briefing note to Legislative Council members floating proposed amendments to extradition laws. Since Britain had handed back its colony to China in 1997, there had been “a number of serious crime cases in which the culprits have absconded to other jurisdictions to elude justice”, it said.

While no details of those cases were given, there was one in particular that was pointed to, and which has been invoked repeatedly as a reason for urgent action.

A poster in Hong Kong protesting against a proposed law to enable China to seek extradition to the mainland. Credit:Felicity Lewis

A 20-year-old Hong Kong man who admitted to killing his girlfriend in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, in 2018, is currently in jail in Hong Kong for theft and money laundering – he used his dead girlfriend’s ATM card to pay his debts in Hong Kong. But he can be charged over her killing only in the jurisdiction where the alleged act took place: Taiwan.

The Hong Kong government claims there needs to be a formal extradition agreement with China to facilitate the man’s return to Taiwan, although it is technically possible to request extraditions on an ad hoc basis. For its part, Taiwan, which is self-governing but considered a renegade province by China, has not come out in support of the extradition laws.

The man could be released from jail as early as October.

Meanwhile, some 300 other “rather important fugitives” from China are hiding out in Hong Kong and could be targeted with the laws, according to former Chinese vice-minister of public security Chen Zhimin, the South China Morning Post has reported. But he did not elaborate on who they were.

What would the new laws change?

The Hong Kong government says the amendments are merely designed to plug “loopholes” and only serious criminals have anything to fear. But a growing number of Hong Kongers, lawyers, business people and overseas governments regard the amendments as a threat to human rights and a breach of the agreement between Britain and Hong Kong in 1997 that Hong Kong would be allowed to continue its economic, political and judicial systems for 50 years even though it had become a special administrative region of China – “one country, two systems”.

University students clean the “Pillar of Shame” statue, a memorial for those killed in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, at the University of Hong Kong.Credit:AP

Hong Kong has reciprocal extradition agreements with 20 countries, including Australia, but its Fugitive Offenders Ordinance does not allow requests between Hong Kong and other parts of the People’s Republic of China. The laws would enable countries, including China, to request the surrender of a fugitive. An accompanying law would also allow an accused’s assets in Hong Kong to be frozen.

There would be 37 crimes for which people could be extradited including murder, money laundering, corruption and fraud. Nine white-collar crimes, including intellectual property infringements, were dropped after lobbying from the business community.

Hong Kong’s 70-member Legislative Council, half of whom are directly democratically elected, would also be bypassed as a first stage of scrutinising extradition requests.

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam.Credit:AP

The process would involve Hong Kong’s chief executive requesting the provisional arrest of the fugitive and signing off on their extradition once it was approved by the courts. The accused person could appeal their extradition in the courts.

The current chief executive is Carrie Lam, who was sworn into office by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2017.

Who would the laws apply to?

Anyone, potentially, including Hong Kong citizens and travellers passing through Hong Kong deemed to have committed a crime referred to in the extradition agreement.

Should Australians be worried?

Australians in Hong Kong have no reason for deep anxiety over the laws, says Australian Richard Cullen, a visiting professor at the faculty of law at Hong Kong University.

He says China would bear the onus of proof to show that an extradition request was not political in nature; and it would be unlikely to attempt a “bait and switch” ­– seeking extradition on one charge then charging the same person with something else in China – because of the damage to its credibility.

But international human rights law expert Simon Henderson says there is real cause for concern.

“Any Australian should be thinking about their risk profile in the region,” he says. “We won’t know the full impact until the law is on the books but it’s the fact you have the law on the books that is problematic in and of itself.

“We don’t know whether any Australians are on a list or are being watched by mainland China because of activities they’ve conducted.

The UK’s foreign secretary is willing to speak up, the US secretary of state is willing to speak up, yet Australia comparatively seems silent.

“You’re in Hong Kong, you’re doing something related to China … We have large law firms, financial services firms – it doesn’t matter if you belong to a big corporate, you could be affected. Look at the Stern Hu case. There were substantial issues with the trial, including lack of clarity on the crimes he committed and the secrecy involved, leading to his imprisonment for several years."

Stern Hu was a Rio Tinto executive who was released from jail in China in 2018 after serving nine years for accepting bribes and stealing trade secrets.

In January, Australian-Chinese writer Yang Hengjun was detained at Shanghai airport and is still being held on allegations he endangered China's national security.

Detained in China: Canadian nationals Michael Kovrig (left) and Michael Spavor.Credit:AP

Meanwhile, two Canadian citizens – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and consultant Michael Spavor – have been held in China since December. Their detention came shortly after the chief financial officer of Chinese telco giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, was detained in Canada, accused of breaching US sanctions in Iran in her business dealings.

There are wide concerns that requests for extraditions from China on particular crimes could mask political motives.

“Who knows how the [China-Australia] relationship might deteriorate, and whether China will retaliate in seeking the extradition of Australians from Hong Kong,” says Henderson.

“In the past,” says veteran journalist Ching Cheong, “whenever journalists or businessmen arrive back to Hong Kong from the mainland, they immediately get a sense of relief. With this bill in place, their sense of security will not be that certain.”

Veteran journalist Ching Cheong, who spent more than three years in jail in China on espionage charges from 2005, which he says were sparked by an article he wrote that angered Chinese authorities. Credit:Felicity Lewis

Ching spent three years in jail in China from 2005 on espionage charges after writing an article that angered Chinese authorities.

While the Hong Kong government has said the new laws simply close a loophole that has existed since the 1997 handover, Ching takes a different view. “The 1997 measure was not a loophole but a deliberate move to shield Hong Kong from China’s notorious malpractice in the legal sector,” he says.

A poster advertising a rally on June 9, 2019, against Hong Kong’s proposed law to enable people to be extradited to the Chinese mainland. Credit:Felicity Lewis

While extradition laws require that the requesting country provide assurances of a fair trial, Henderson cites as causes for concern China’s indiscriminate, indefinite detention measures; lack of a fair trial, concerns regarding torture, and issues with accessing independent legal representation.

What has Australia said?

In response to media questions, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has said, “Australia has a substantial stake in Hong Kong's success, home to our biggest community and largest commercial presence in Asia.

“We are taking a close interest in the proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance in Hong Kong. The Australian Consul-General in Hong Kong has raised this issue at senior levels [of government, and the Executive and Legislative Councils].

“Given the intense public and international community interest, we hope any amendments are pursued in keeping with due process and consultation, and resolved in a way that maintains confidence in the operation of 'one country, two systems'.”

But Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs has yet to make a formal public statement on this issue, says Henderson. “The UK’s foreign secretary is willing to speak up, the US secretary of state is willing to speak up, yet Australia comparatively seems silent.”

A plan by the Turnbull government in 2017 would have seen the quiet ratification of an extradition treaty between China and Australia, but it collapsed after opposition from members of the Coalition backbench, Labor and the cross-benchers. They were worried about the human rights problems in China's legal system.

The fact that the Australian government made a serious attempt to pass its own extradition treaty with China might make it more difficult for it to speak strongly on behalf of Hong Kong's dissidents now.

Other countries do not seem so constrained. In a joint statement on May 30, Britain and Canada expressed concern about “the potential effect of these proposals on the large number of UK and Canadian citizens in Hong Kong, on business confidence and on Hong Kong’s international reputation.”

The European Union Office in Macau and Hong Kong has registered its protest and the United States Congressional-Executive Committee on China requested that the bill be withdrawn, Hong Kong Free Press has reported.

Henderson is also disappointed by the Hong Kong's Australian Chamber of Commerce, which he said “should be speaking up for the rights of Australians in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. Their response contrasts with the US and various Hong Kong chambers of commerce who have expressed concerns privately and publicly.”

(The Greater Bay Area is a development initiative that includes the casino hub of Macau.) Hong Kong's Australian Chamber of Commerce was contacted for comment.

What is ‘one country, two systems’ and how did Hong Kong get here?

When it lost the first Opium War, China ceded Hong Kong to Britain. When Britain handed back its “dependent territory” to China after 156 years, it agreed with China that Hong Kong’s economic, political and judicial systems would remain in place for 50 years as “one country, two systems”.

Hong Kong is now midway through this transition period and, as its contribution to China’s GDP has dropped from 30 per cent in 1997 to just 2 per cent, it is grappling with increasingly alarming threats to its way of life.

These have ranged from the recent jailing of leaders of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement to the refusal of a work visa for a British journalist who hosted a talk by a pro-independence activist. Germany recently granted political asylum to two young pro-independence activists convicted of rioting in Hong Kong in 2016.

The extradition amendments are considered a blurring of the “one country, two systems” agreement, which still has 28 years to run.

Hong Kong pro-democracy legislator Claudia Mo.Credit:Felicity Lewis

What’s next?

Opponents of the laws in the Legislative Council do not have the majority of seats but have sought to delay the passage of the new laws, which were still being hotly debated by Council members this week.

Pro-democracy politician Claudia Mo is not optimistic about stopping the changes. She says any concessions are “decorative gestures” that do not address “the matter of trust” in China’s rule of law.

“If they want to get you, they can always package some crime against you,” she says of the Chinese authorities.

Thousands of protesters are expected to take to the streets of Hong Kong on June 9 to voice their opposition to the laws.

Felicity Lewis travelled to Hong Kong with the assistance of the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.

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