Apr 26, 2020 - World

Hong Kong holds first major protest in over a month

Protesters rally in a mall in Hong Kong on April 26. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Several hundred Hong Kong protestors held an anti-government demonstration at a mall on Sunday in one of the city's largest protests since early March.

Why it matters: The pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong dominated headlines for months until the coronavirus crisis forced the government to implement strict social distancing measures.

The big picture: Hong Kong health officials said Saturday that eight new patients had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, after the city claimed zero infections on Thursday for the second time, the South China Morning Post reports.

  • 15 prominent Hong Kong activists were arrested on April 18 on charges of holding illegal assemblies in August and October, related to months of demonstrations last year against China's authoritarian government.

Flashback: In February, Hong Kong medical workers went on strike to demand a closed border with mainland China to stop the spread of the virus, after the city reported its first fatality from the coronavirus.

  • Later that month, hundreds of anti-government protestors were arrested, per SCMP.
  • In March, hundreds of Hong Kongers clashed with police during gatherings to mourn a computer science student who died after falling one story in a parking lot last November, per SCMP.

Go deeper: The year of the protest meets the year of the lockdown

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Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Beijing forces a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, the once semi-autonomous city's status as one of Asia's largest financial hubs is at risk.

Why it matters: Political freedoms and strong rule of law helped make Hong Kong a thriving center for international banking and finance. But China's leaders may be betting that top firms in Hong Kong will trade some political freedoms for the economic prosperity Beijing can offer.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has only eight active novel coronavirus cases and no COVID-19 patients in hospital after another day of zero new infections. However, the death toll has risen to 22.

Zoom in: A top health official told a briefing Thursday a 96-year-old woman was regarded to have recovered from COVID-19 at the time of her death. The virus is not recorded as the primary cause of her death on her death certificate. But he said it was decided to include her in the overall tally of deaths related to the coronavirus.

Go deeper (2 min. read)ArrowUpdated 14 hours ago - Health

Hong Kong police fire pepper pellets at demonstrators

Hong Kong riot police issue a warning as they aim to clear away people gathered downtownon Wednesday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong riot police fired pepper pellets at activists and surrounded the Legislative Council during demonstrations against a bill proposing to criminalize "disrespect of the Chinese Anthem" on Wednesday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The bill is the latest concern pro-democracy protesters have that Chinese authorities are encroaching on the high degree of autonomy the former British colony has retained since it was returned to China in 1997.