Carrie Lam and Xi Jinping - China and Hong Kong News

Faced with huge and disruptive protests in Hong Kong, China blinked. The decision to shelve the legislation that sparked the demonstrations shows that limits still exist to how hard China can, or is willing, to push. It also exposed a fundamental contradiction in the “one country, two systems” framework that governs the semi-autonomous city. Chinese President Xi Jinping has cemented his hold on power since taking the helm in 2012. His government has expanded control over information, religion and other aspects of society. In Hong Kong, the local government has disqualified a pro-independence party, sent the leaders of a 2014 protest to prison and denied a visa renewal to an editor for Britain’s Financial Times. Activists decried these moves as chipping away at Hong Kong’s freedoms, but residents largely went about their lives. Then the government, with China’s backing, chipped too deeply, propelling hundreds of thousands, possibly millions in a city of 7.4 million people, into the streets. For Xi, it apparently tipped the scales in a balancing act between attempts to tighten Communist authority and stability in the international financial center, and wanting to keep Hong Kong from slipping out of Beijing’s control — and even demanding independence. “It is a sign that Xi Jinping’s government is not totally impervious to pressure, despite the fact that he has consolidated so much power,” said Ben Bland, an expert at the Lowy Institute in Australia and author of “Generation HK: Seeking Identity in China’s Shadow.” It was in an atmosphere of…

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