Virus Outbreak, Ap Top News, Beijing, Democracy, Hong Kong, National Security, Asia Pacific

Virus Outbreak, Ap Top News

Pandemic, politics lead to closure of storied Hong Kong bar

HONG KONG (AP) — Nearly 15 years ago, Grace Ma decided to name her bar Club 71, in commemoration of a July 1, 2003 rally where hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers protested a proposed national...

10/18/2020 8:46:00 AM

Hong Kong bar Club 71, known as a gathering place for pro-democracy activists and intellectuals, is closing. Owner Grace Ma blames government-mandated bar closures and coronavirus restrictions for its financial strain.

HONG KONG (AP) — Nearly 15 years ago, Grace Ma decided to name her bar Club 71, in commemoration of a July 1, 2003 rally where hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong ers protested a proposed national...

HONG KONG (AP) — Nearly 15 years ago, Grace Ma decided to name her bar Club 71, in commemoration of a July 1, 2003 rally where hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers protested a proposed national security law for the semi-autonomous Chinese city.“I took the name Club 71, because somehow it is more hopeful, with half a million Hong Kong people having a demonstration, a rally, to stand for themselves, not to ignore what’s going on in Hong Kong,” said Ma.

Ariana Grande Leads the White House In 'Positions' Music Video: Watch Donald Trump Behaved in the Second Debate, Which Gave Joe Biden the Chance to Destroy Him 3 Cities Designated As 'Anarchist' Filing Lawsuit Against Trump Administration

For years, the storied bar has served as a watering hole for the city’s pro-democracy activists and intellectuals, who could freely engage in discussions over a round of beer or two.ADVERTISEMENTThen the coronavirus pandemic hit and, in a blow to the city’s Western-style freedoms, the central government in Beijing in June imposed sweeping national security legislation targeting political expression in response to massive anti-government protests last year. For Ma, the troubles meant it was time to shutter the business for good.

Months of government-mandated bar closures as part of coronavirus restrictions had pushed Club 71’s finances deeper into the red, and operating the bar no longer made financial sense, she said. The bar will close at the end of October.“We have closed for three months, out of the past six months,” said Ma, who is in her 60s. “For our business, it’s impossible.”

Social distancing restrictions have also halved the capacity of the city’s bars and restaurants, making it more difficult for them to turn a profit.“Restaurants are allowed to have four at one table … but bars only two per table,” she said, pointing out that bars have been subject to much stricter restrictions, compared to eateries.

In the last days of the bar, customers have shown up in force, gathering outside in the park and occasionally milling in and out as they order pints of beer. The colorful interior walls are plastered with posters advertising art exhibitions and performances, as well as pro-democracy artwork.

“This is a place in Hong Kong where people can drop by and exchange ideas, as long as everyone respects each other, they can say whatever they want,” said Ma.News of the bar’s imminent closure was disappointing for some of its regulars, who cherished the unique atmosphere and the mix of people.

“There are very few bars of this kind in Hong Kong. We call it the quiet bar, which allows people to chat with each other,” said Keung Fung, 41, another loyal patron and a former Hong Kong student union representative.ADVERTISEMENT“It is very unfortunate (that the bar is closing),” he said. “I’ll need to look for another bar with similar atmosphere.”

Miley Cyrus Announces New Album 'Plastic Hearts,' Plus Release Date Who won the Trump-Biden debate? Experts grade the candidates 'I should have worn a mask,' Chris Christie writes in op-ed

Some of Club 71’s customers also include former lawmaker and pro-democracy activist Leung Kwok-hung, known as “Long Hair” in Hong Kong. Leung had been a regular in Club 71’s predecessor, Club 64.Ma had also run Club 64, before a skyrocketing rent forced her to move to its current location in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan neighborhood. It was then that she renamed the bar to Club 71.

“It is a hub for everyone to connect and communicate with each other, sometimes sit around and discuss what to do. So you can say it’s a meeting point,” said Leung, who had visited the bar for a beer.Other famous bargoers over the years included Hong Kong singer Denise Ho, who is known for her pro-democracy stance, as well as acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Doyle.

Although Ma is saddened at having to close Club 71, in some ways it is also a relief, she said.“Financially, I really couldn’t hang on,” she said. “It’s time to move on, I want to do something else.”___Associated Press journalist Phoebe Lai contributed to this report.

Read more: The Associated Press »

Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court confirmation hearing live updates

The high-stakes confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, is underway Monday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

you must be really hard up for NEWS with this one! 👎 NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! 😢😢😢😢😢 iconic. A most special place in Hong Kong. Devastated ... Never heard of it Sounds like California. Democracy - right? forex_lisa1 has been my source of happiness ever since i met her here in Twitter She has really help me achieve a lot

😢

Trump administration cuts off democracy activists in Belarus and Hong KongThe Trump administration has undercut democracy activists in Belarus and Hong Kong by ending funding to a US internet freedom organization that provides tools to evade censorship and surveillance, cyber experts and lawmakers say.

Hong Kong activist Grandma Wong says kept back in Shenzhen for 14 monthsA Hong Kong protester dubbed 'Grandma Wong' said on Saturday that Chinese authorities kept her in custody for a month and a half across the border in Shenzhen, where she allegedly suffered mental abuse, and then prevented from coming back for over a year. good 🇭🇰🇨🇳wrong flag holder 🇬🇧

Virginie Despentes’s ‘King Kong Theory’ Is the Ultimate Feminist ManifestoReissued by Fitzcarraldo Editions this past August, the book is a piece of work that has shaped perceptions of femininity globally.

Half of Biden voters in Michigan say support is due to anti-Trump sentiment as Democrat takes 9-point lead, poll showsBiden also leads Trump among Michigan voters by double digits when it comes to handling the coronavirus pandemic. ☑For a responsive business website, Click ↆ Okay we will wait till we see the results I voted for Biden because Conny Trump is an incompetent lazy clown, hustler and crook, and does not and should not represent America!

Hong Kong activist Grandma Wong says kept back in Shenzhen for 14 monthsA Hong Kong protester dubbed 'Grandma Wong' said on Saturday that Chinese authorities kept her in custody for a month and a half across the border in Shenzhen, where she allegedly suffered mental abuse, and then prevented from coming back for over a year. good 🇭🇰🇨🇳wrong flag holder 🇬🇧

The pull of India’s tractor-makersIndia's tractor-makers are having a field day. The share price of Mahindra & Mahindra, one conglomerate, has doubled since March Future of Education 👩‍💻❤👩‍🎓 Marketplace for online microcredentials OpenLearning to solve a skills shortage ASX Investors point of view, OpenLearning. Stimulus package increased funding for Defence, industry and micro credentialing OpenLearning STOCKHEAD GROWTH Australian government to build microcredentials marketplace. PwC recommends partnerships between industry and government with MicroCreds. Young people giving up on their dream job.