The Situation in Hong Kong
Along with loosening pandemic prevention measures in Hong Kong, a new round of protests began to take place. After several months of intense confrontations on the streets of the city, protesting a law which would allow for the extradition of citizens from Hong Kong to Mainland China, the year of 2019 was markedly tumultuous for the former British colony. However, these new protests are owed to the approval of a new law by the Chinese regime, which paves the way for the criminalization of “treason, secession, sedition and subversion”. Attempts had been made to implement a similar law in 2003, but after violent protests, the idea was abandoned.
The law in question includes also the possibility for Chinese authorities to act within the city under the scope of safeguarding national security in accordance with the law. Many journalists, activists and others fear that this would jeopardize their freedom of expression and possibly physical integrity, given the reports of silencing and suppression of this type of actor in China. They state that the Rule of Law in Hong Kong would come to an end and the Judicial System would no longer be independent, besides the clear limitation of citizens’ civil rights.
As a retaliation, the United States threaten to remove the special trade status of Hong Kong, which may be a strong blow to the Chinese regime, and the United Kingdom threatens to grant BON passports to 300 thousand citizens, so that they may have the right to British diplomatic protection. Both powers state that the new law calls into question Hong Kong’s autonomy.
Protests in the United States go global
Protests following racial tensions caused by the spreading of the video of George Floyd’s death took place in the United States. Many activists took to the streets, including the Black Lives Matter movement, protesting in almost all American cities. They demand reforms in the Judicial System, fighting institutional racist and police brutality against african-american communities. Several parallels were established with the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s, following violent confrontations between protesters and police. Despite most protests being peaceful, there were incidents of sacking and vandalism, leading police to mass arrests and the use of agressive crowd control methods, such as non-lethal bullets and tear gas.
President Trump’s response was controversial, by inciting violence against protesters and supporting the use of the Armed Forces as an alternative to the police. This led to criticism by international leaders. The Chinese and Iranian regimes, both authoritarian in nature and themselves under scrutiny in terms of Human Rights, wrote statements defending american protesters.
The protests quickly went global, with several peaceful protests taking place in major cities throughout the world, usually in front of US Embassies.
- G7 meeting delayed until September after leaders were unwilling to commit to attending. President Trump wants Russia, Australia, India and South Korea to also attend.
- COVID-19 cases growing daily, with over 100 million new cases a day. The most affected zones are now the Caribbean, Latin and South America, Africa and the Middle East.
- New infection centers for COVID-19, in countries which had already reduced prevention and containment measures, such as Germany, South Korea and China, leading to fears of a second wave.
- President Putin reveals the intention of establishing new military bases in Syria, increasing Russia’s footprint in the region.
- Cease-fire and new talks between GNA and LNA in Libya, after a failed 14 months campaign by LNA, aiming to take control of the capital at Tripoli.
- Tensions in the China-India border flare up. India accuses china of having mobilized troops to the disputed region.
- Two bilateral defense treaties were signed between Australia and India, so as to rival with Chinese power projection in the South China Sea.
- 20 million tons diesel Spill in Siberia lead President Putin to declare a State of Emergency in the region.
- New increase of COVID-19 cases in Iran, already having been a center of the pandemic in the last three months. Authorities report difficulty in applying prevention measures.
- Chinese medical material exports increase helps the economic recovery of the country.