USA airlines extend China flight cancellations into late April

A demonstrator holds a placard during a Feb. 2 protest calling on Hong Kong's government to close its border with China

Xia is a former Communist Party secretary - the top local official - of the prosperous eastern province of Zhejiang, where president and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping spent many years as a top official.

"As we continue to evaluate our operation between our USA hubs and Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong, we have chose to extend the suspension of those flights until April 24".

China has already indicated its desire to bring Hong Kong under tighter control after a key Communist party meeting, the Fourth Plenum, in November past year.

Xia Baolong, 67, is now director of the Hong Kong & Macau Affairs Office.

Senior Beijing official Xia Baolong, now secretary-general at the national committee of China's top political advisory body, was promoted to director while Zhang Xiaoming was re-appointed as a deputy in charge of daily operations at the office.

Health experts have sounded warnings after a cluster of cases were discovered in one Hong Kong family who shared a hotpot with a carrier from China over the Chinese New Year holidays.

"If the specific needs of worldwide schools can not be rapidly addressed, this will very likely trigger decisions of families (not just expatriates) to leave Hong Kong in the coming weeks", wrote Ms Rebecca Silli and Mr Peter Burnett, chairs of the French and British chambers.

"While that may give Hong Kong 'face, ' it is certainly going to put Hong Kong under more political pressure", Cabestan said.

"Xia is not a moderate and he has shown himself to be a zealous servant of Xi Jinping". SpiceJet crew was reportedly very unhappy with the airline's decision to continue flying to Hong Kong.

Zhang had backed the controversial extradition bill, telling a visiting Hong Kong delegation how urgent it was that Hong Kong pass the measure, Reuters reported in December.

The State Council said two other officials will take on deputy director roles in the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.

The reshuffle could pave the way for Beijing to possibly introduce a national education curriculum and a controversial national security law that prompted mass demonstrations in 2003, said Gu Su, a retired law professor at Nanjing University in China.

Zhang's removal follows Beijing's move in January to replace the head of its Hong Kong liaison office.

It also called for Hong Kong to flawless its legal system to "safeguard national security", "strengthen law enforcement power", and increase "patriotic education" of young people and civil servants.

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