China’s Pomp Out of Step With Hong Kong’s Fury

(Bloomberg) --

In Beijing, President Xi Jinping declared China’s rise unstoppable in kicking off a parade that saw thousands of smiling cadres in bright costumes march alongside mammoth pictures of Communist Party leaders.

In Hong Kong, black-clad protesters occupied roads, set fires and clashed with riot police around the financial hub in the 17th week of protests opposing Beijing’s increased grip over the city.

The stark contrast on a day marking the 70th anniversary of Communist rule in China showed the challenges Xi faces in convincing people in Hong Kong and Taiwan of the benefits of Beijing having greater control over their political systems and paths to prosperity. At the same time, it underscored how the party has been successful at preventing unrest from spreading to the mainland.

In the run-up to the anniversary, fears spread that China may use troops to restore order in Hong Kong. Yet Xi has signaled he’ll be patient, endorsing the “one country, two systems” principle under which Hong Kong has been governed since its return from British rule in 1997.

Beijing’s strategy now appears to be waiting out the protesters. If the past four months is any indication, that could take a while.

China’s Pomp Out of Step With Hong Kong’s Fury

Global Headlines

Just in: The U.S. and North Korea will hold working-level nuclear talks on Saturday, Korean Central News Agency reported, citing a statement from North Korea’s vice foreign minister. It’s the most significant sign of progress since June 30.

Cleaning up | Donald Trump’s criticism of his Ukraine envoy, deployment of personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to dig up dirt on a rival and move to suspend crucial military aid to Kyiv have left U.S. diplomats scrambling to contain the damage. As Nick Wadhams writes, it’s a situation they’re accustomed to. 

  • Read more about how Trump and his Republican allies are pushing to unmask the whistle-blower who alleged Trump was pressuring Ukraine’s new leader for help in the 2020 election — a departure from how the major parties have for years handled corruption allegations.
  • Giuliani, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr were all drawn deeper into the House impeachment inquiry after new details of the administration’s foreign contacts emerged.

Crunch time | Boris Johnson is facing the moment of truth for his Brexit strategy as he prepares to present his blueprint for an exit deal to the European Union. The U.K. prime minister said on BBC today that he has a new proposal, although he gave no details. If it fails, he must choose between seeking another delay to the Oct. 31 deadline — something he says he’ll never do — or trying to leave without an agreement, a move his opponents in Parliament have sought to stymie.

Abe’s legacy | One of the biggest risks to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s near record-setting grip on power came to fruition today when Japan’s sales tax went up to 10% from 8%. Isabel Reynolds reports that if the hike proceeds smoothly — past tax rises have tanked the economy and derailed political careers — it could define his legacy and help crack the formula needed to fix the world’s largest public debt load.

Peru chaos | The Andean nation faces a full-blown political crisis after President Martin Vizcarra dissolved the opposition-controlled Congress and called a parliamentary election after months of tensions over his efforts to enact anti-corruption reforms. Opposition lawmakers then voted to suspend Vizcarra and swore in vice president Mercedes Araoz as leader. The heads of the army and police are backing Vizcarra, his office said on Twitter.

Hardened fighters | From humble beginnings, the Yemeni rebels known as the Houthis have grown into an obstinate enemy that’s gaining in military sophistication. Mohammed Hatem and Glen Carey explore the rise of the Shiite Islam group which has held off the U.S.-backed forces of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two of the world’s biggest military spenders.

What to Watch:

  • The U.S. arrested a California man accused of spying for China’s security service while working as a tour guide. The charges come as U.S. law enforcement officials also apply intense scrutiny to ethnic Chinese scientists.
  • Cameroon convened more than 1,000 delegates for a week of talks in the government’s first serious effort to negotiate an end to a three-year secessionist revolt.

Have a question or a comment on Balance of Power? You can speak to us via balancepower@bloomberg.net.

And finally ... Prime Minister Narendra Modi has big plans to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022 in a country that now generates 9.4 million tons of waste from the material each year. What makes India’s problem especially urgent is an absence of disposal systems — a vast amount of the refuse ends up in landfills, lakes and oceans, eventually making its way into the food chain. He’s launching the initiative tomorrow, on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a champion of sustainable living.

China’s Pomp Out of Step With Hong Kong’s Fury

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.