Two decades ago, many scholars began predicting that as China’s creation of wealth continued to speed ahead, the country would cross a threshold. Once a substantial new middle class had been created, they reasoned, politics would tip decisively in a more participatory, possibly even democratic, direction. But while robust economic growth continued, the first decade of this century came and went with no severe challenge to China’s authoritarian model. And under China’s present leader, Xi Jinping, who took office in 2013, it has only become more entrenched: last year he changed the longstanding rules of succession to allow himself to remain in charge for life. Now, however, this long-expected revolt of the middle class has arrived – not from China itself, but from Hong Kong. And more than any other problem China faces, the ongoing crisis in the city could determine Xi’s standing and his country’s direction over the next few years. The problem of … [Read more...] about Why China fears sending the tanks into Hong Kong
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Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam has been forced to halt her annual speech just two minutes after it began because of protests from pro-democracy politicians who called her 'the mother of the mafia police'. Furious lawmakers shouted slogans including 'Lam step down' and 'investigate police violence' today when Lam was about to lay out her policy objectives in the city's parliament building which was surrounded by demonstrators. Lam's inability to deliver her annual policy address marked a slap in the face for the embattled chief executive. Scroll down for video Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam (second from the left) is escorted out of the meeting hall by security guards on Wednesday after abandoning her annual policy address amid chaos Pro-democracy legislator Tanya Chan (far right) speaks during a press conference after Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam left the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on Wednesday Hong Kong police (central, behind) monitor a … [Read more...] about Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam is forced to halt her hour-long annual speech just TWO MINUTES after it began due to protests from pro-democracy politicians
The US House of Representatives has passed a bill sought by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong that aims to defend civil rights in the semi-autonomous territory, prompting an angry response from China. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which will now move to the Senate before it can become law, has drawn rare bipartisan support in a polarized Congress. The law would end the Hong Kong-US special trading status unless the State Department certifies annually that city authorities are respecting human rights and the rule of law. China expressed “strong indignation” over the passing of the act, which also requires the US president to identify and sanction people who are responsible for the erosion of autonomy and serious abuses of human rights in Hong Kong. “What Hong Kong faces is not the so-called human rights and democracy issue at all, but the issue of stopping violence, reinstating order and upholding the rule of law as soon as possible,” said … [Read more...] about China warns against ‘meddling’ as US House passes bill backing Hong Kong protesters
Hong Kong has been rocked by a series of protests by hundreds of thousands of people in recent weeks, many of which have ended in violent clashes between police and pockets of demonstrators. The protests were initially focused on a bill that that would make it easier to extradite people to China from the semi-autonomous city. But the authorities’ harsh policing of the protests, coupled with a refusal by Hong Kong’s leader to completely withdraw the bill, mean protesters have returned to the streets time and again. What is the proposed extradition law? The law would allow the extradition of suspects to mainland China for the first time. Supporters say the amendments are key to ensuring the city does not become a criminal refuge, but critics worry Beijing will use the law to extradite political opponents and others to China, where their legal protections cannot be guaranteed. The government claims the push to change the law, which would also apply to Taiwan and Macau, stems … [Read more...] about What are the Hong Kong protests about?
An estimated 1.7 million people in Hong Kong – a quarter of the population – defied police orders to stage a peaceful march after a rally in a downtown park, after two months of increasingly violent clashes that have prompted severe warnings from Beijing and failed to win concessions from the city’s government. Huge crowds filled Victoria Park on Sunday afternoon and spilled on to nearby streets, forcing police to block traffic in the area. Torrential rain came down an hour into the rally, turning the park into a sea of umbrellas. At the same time, protesters walked towards Central, the heart of Hong Kong’s business district, and surrounded government headquarters. Police had turned down a plan for Sunday’s march submitted by the Civil Human Rights Front group and gave permission only for a rally in the park. Those defying the ban risked being charged with unlawful assembly, which can lead to up to five years in prison. “Stand with Hong Kong! Fight … [Read more...] about Hong Kong: 1.7m people defy police to march in pouring rain