Nov 16, 2019

Chinese army troops clear streets that protestors clogged

Chinese soldiers arrive with brooms to clean up the protest area at Hong Kong Baptist University in Hong Kong today. (Television Broadcasts Limited Hong Kong via AP)

In Hong Kong on Saturday, the scene above is an eerie reminder that mainland Chinese troops are looming nearby, ready to crush dissent or even take control.

Driving the news: Chinese army troops stationed in the semiautonomous territory emerged from nearby barracks to clear streets that protesters clogged with debris to slow down police, AP reports.

  • Dozens of People’s Liberation Army soldiers, dressed in black shorts and olive drab T-shirts, helped street cleaners pick up paving stones, rocks and other obstacles that had stopped traffic.

Why it matters: The soldiers, jogging in formation, carrying brooms and singing in cadence, were a rare sight on the streets of the city.

  • China maintains a garrison of about 10,000 soldiers, but they can’t operationally deploy without a request from the Hong Kong government.

The bottom line: Today, they're picking up bricks. Tomorrow, it could be people.

Chinese soldiers pick up bricks scattered by protesters at Hong Kong Baptist University. (Television Broadcasts Limited Hong Kong via AP)

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Finger-pointing over misjudging Hong Kong

Anti-government protesters shine phone lights at police as they chant slogans in Hong Kong yesterday. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Top Chinese leaders, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, "have been managing their response" to the violent protests in Hong Kong from a villa in Shenzhen instead of using the formal bureaucratic system that's been in place for two decades, Reuters scoops.

Why it matters: Under normal circumstances, Beijing and Hong Kong communicate through the Liaison Office, "housed in a Hong Kong skyscraper stacked with surveillance cameras, ringed by steel barricades," Reuters writes. This change shows the central government isn't happy with how the Liaison Office has been handling the protests.

Go deeperArrowNov 26, 2019

Hong Kong's unemployment rises as protests heat up

Police and protesters clash in the Hung Hom district of Hong Kong on Monday. (Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP via Getty Images)

The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.1% in Hong Kong last month from 2.9%, according to new data released by the government on Monday.

Why it matters: The standoff between pro-democracy protestors and police isn't letting up — capping a stretch of the bloodiest clashes between police and protesters since the protests began in June. Monday's data adds to a spate of worsening economic indicators in Hong Kong, which is in the midst of its first recession in 10 years.

Go deeperArrowNov 18, 2019

Senate unanimously passes bill reaffirming support for Hong Kong autonomy

Thousands of people hold an unsanctioned march through the streets of Hong Kong. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/Getty Images

The Senate unanimously passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on Tuesday to reaffirm American support for the city's autonomy.

The big picture: The bill asserts the U.S.' commitment to "democracy, human rights, and the rule of law" as it relates to Hong Kong's autonomy, according to bill sponsor Sen. Marco Rubio's description. The legislation comes amid months of violent clashes between police and protestors in Hong Kong.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019