A veteran Hong Kong opera star apologised and declared his patriotism on Thursday after his praise for Britain’s late Queen Elizabeth II sparked a backlash among nationalists in China, reports AFP.
Here are some further details from AFP:
Thousands of Hong Kong residents have queued up outside the city’s British consulate this week to sign a condolence book for the late monarch who died after 70 years on the throne.
Among the mourners was Law Kar-ying, a heavyweight of the Cantonese opera scene, who published a selfie on Instagram from the queue and a message that read: “Hong Kong was a blessed land during her reign.”
Instagram is banned in mainland China but Law’s post went viral on other social media sites, sparking anger and criticism among nationalists.
On Thursday, Law took to China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo to post a video apologising for “making remarks of mourning without thinking them through”.
“My original intention was to express condolences for a late elderly woman and I would like to appeal to everyone not to overly interpret what I said,” the 75-year-old said in Mandarin Chinese.
“I can’t possibly forget my origin and ancestry. That I have been keeping a Chinese passport says it all, I am Chinese and I love my motherland forever. I am sorry,” he added.
His original Instagram post was deleted.
Hong Kong was a British colony for over 150 years and while the financial hub was returned to China in 1997, the past is engraved into its landscape, from street names and the ubiquity of English to the common law legal system.
While other former colonies have seen more muted reactions to Elizabeth II’s death, about 6,700 Hong Kong residents, including some government officials, have signed the consulate’s condolence book so far.
Many mourners have expressed nostalgia for the city’s colonial past at a time when China is seeking to purge dissent following huge democracy protests three years ago.
Thousands are continuing to wait in line to pay their final respects to the Queen. The line is currently 3.9 miles long with waiting times of at least 11 hours, according to the latest estimates by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
A Chinese government delegation has been banned from attending the lying in state of the Queen, according to the BBC.
BBC Radio 4’s Today programme reported this morning that the speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, has refused permission for a Chinese government delegation to attend the lying in state in Westminster Hall, because of Chinese sanctions against five British MPs and two peers.
Here is some further detail from Patrick Wintour’s report on Mohammed bin Salman’s reported plan to deliver his country’s condolences to the royal family.
No explanation was given by UK or Saudi sources over Prince Mohammed’s detailed weekend plans, but sensitive judgments are still being made on whether his attendance at the funeral would represent an unacceptable security threat or a distraction from the commemoration of the Queen due to the protests his presence may provoke.
The UK in 2020 sanctioned six named Saudis for their alleged killing of Khashoggi. Some of them were senior advisers to the crown prince, including Ahmed al-Asiri, deputy head of the Saudi Intelligence services; Saud bin Abdullah al-Qahtani, adviser to the crown prince in the royal court; Salah Muhammed al-Tubaigy, forensic doctor with the Saudi interior ministry; Mustafa al-Madani, brigadier general and intelligence officer in Saudi Arabia; Naif Hassan al-Arifi, first lieutenant for external intelligence; and major general Mansour Othman Abahussain.
Prince Mohammed has always denied prior knowledge of the attack. In 2020 a Saudi court overturned five death sentences over the murder of Khashoggi, in a ruling that jailed eight defendants for between seven and 20 years.
The crown prince last visited the UK in June 2018, when the UK hailed Saudi Arabia for starting a major programme of domestic reforms.
As part of a deep connection between the royal family and the Gulf monarchies, King Charles III has been a frequent visitor to Saudi Arabia. It is the country he has most frequently visited in the Middle East, having made as many as 12 official visits since his investiture as Prince Charles in 1967.
Julia Gillard says Australia will ultimately become a republic but has endorsed the prime minister, Anthony Albanese’s view it is too soon for the debate.
The former Australian prime minister told the ABC, in her first interview since the Queen’s death, that Albanese was right to delay consideration of a republic to a future term of government.
Before flying to London on Thursday Albanese said the Queen’s death had made Australians “more conscious of our system of government”, but he has refused to be drawn on timing of a referendum beyond noting his government’s first priority is to recognise First Nations people in the constitution.
Gillard said at its centre the Queen’s passing is a human story of loss and grief. “A family has lost a beloved member and because the family is so on the public stage we’re sharing that moment,” she said
Gillard said that everybody’s experience of the monarchy was different but for many Australians the Queen represented continuity “in a chaotic and fractured world”.
Asked if she was still of the view the Queen’s death would be an appropriate time to move away from a British head of state, Gillard said: “Yes, I always thought that when the Queen did leave us, that it would cause a period of reflection.”
“I always thought in Australia too it would unleash a new set of reflections about our own constitutional arrangements.
“But there’s no rush and I certainly endorse what the prime minister has said. There’s time for measured discussion. It’s certainly too soon for that now.”
Good morning. Mourners have spent another night queueing for miles and for many hours to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II, who lies in state in Westminster Hall, London.
Today, the King will travel to Wales to attend a service at Llandaff Cathedral, before visiting the Welsh Parliament and meeting members of the Senedd. He will then travel to Cardiff Castle to meet with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford and the presiding officer, before attending a reception hosted by the Welsh government.
Anti-monarchy protesters are expected to gather outside the castle for a silent demonstration at 1pm.
On his return to Buckingham Palace, King Charles will meet with religious leaders in the Bow Room.
Later, on Friday evening, King Charles will lead his siblings as they stand watch over the Queen’s coffin during her official lying in state.
Here are some other developments:
Mohammed bin Salman will deliver his country’s condolences to the royal family, a source told the Guardian, but there has been no confirmation about whether he will attend the Queen’s funeral service. It will be his first visit to the UK since the murder of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 and the subsequent British imposition of sanctions.
A group of MPs and peers under sanctions from China have expressed serious concerns about the Chinese government being invited to the funeral.
Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard says Australia will ultimately become a republic but has endorsed the current prime minister, Anthony Albanese’s view it is too soon for the debate.
Queen Elizabeth II will be buried next to the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor in a private ceremony attended by her family on Monday after her state funeral at Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace confirmed.
Heathrow airport has announced that it will pause all flights for 15 minutes before the two-minute national silence on Monday and 15 minutes afterwards as a “mark of respect” to the royal family.
The House of Commons will sit again from next Thursday and the coming recess will be cut nearly a week short, it has been announced.
The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has paid tribute to the Queen, reflecting on meeting her for the first time when he was just a child and saying Canadians “feel like they have lost a family member”.
Vehicles from the motorcade of the US president, Joe Biden, have been spotted in London as the city prepares to receive hundreds of foreign dignitaries ahead of the Queen’s funeral.