Hong Kong Current Affairs

APSTAR-6C: China launches communication satellite

China successfully launched “APSTAR-6C”, a new communication satellite into orbit. It was launched onboard of Long March-3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. This was overall 273rd mission of Long March rocket series. Both satellite and rocket were developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

APSTAR-6C

The user of APSTAR-6C satellite is Hong Kong-based APT Satellite Co. Ltd. With is successful launch, it joins fleet of four fully operational satellites belonging to APT Satellite Co. It will replace the in-orbit Apstar-6 satellite.

The Apstar-6C satellite is based on DFH-4 platform. It is equipped with 45 transponders in C, Ku, and Ka bands, with designed service life of 15 years. The satellite will provide TV transmission, Internet, communication and multimedia services to customers across Asia-Pacific region. It will also provide high-power transponder services for video distribution, broadband internet access, and cellular backhaul.

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Hong Kong withdraws visa-free facility for Indians

Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China has withdrawn the visa-free facility for Indians who will have to complete a pre-arrival registration. Henceforth, Indian Nationals will require Pre-arrival Registration.

Thus, Indian nationals must successfully complete pre-arrival registration online before they can visit or transit Hong Kong if seeking to enter the region during transit.

 The pre-arrival registration will be valid for a 6 month period or until the expiry date of the Indian passport linked to it, whichever is earlier. It will be not required for Indian nationals in direct transit by air and not leaving the airport transit area. This decision was taken on the ground to prevent illegal immigration as number of Indian asylum seekers was on the rise. Over half a million Indians visit Hong Kong for business, trade and holidays. 

Background

Earlier, Hong Kong used to be part of a block of countries that gave Indians unconditional visa-free entry. Indians were permitted to enter Hong Kong with a valid passport for a period up to 14 days without a visa. However in recent times, it was found that Indian nationals were overstaying in Hong Kong by violating visa norms.

Comment

Hong Kong’s unilateral decision came a year after its government had sent a delegation headed by the Assistant Director of Immigration from the Immigration Department and Hong Kong Police in December 2015 to India. It had informed concerns about “illegal employment” and “human trafficking” involving Indians in Hong Kong to the Union Ministry of External Affairs. They even had expressed concern that many Indians taking up jobs even though Hong Kong does not allow visitors to work.

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