Dec 16, 2019

Hong Kong police use tear gas on protesters ahead of key China talks

Demonstrators wave protest flags in Edinburgh Place, Hong Kong, on Thursday. Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong police used tear gas on protesters as late-night clashes erupted in the Asian financial hub ahead of a Monday meeting in Beijing between Chinese President Xi Jinping and the city's embattled leader Carrie Lam, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Violent clashes between police and demonstrators have often left the Chinese territory paralyzed since the pro-democracy protest movement began six months ago. But the protests had been notably peaceful in recent days.

Go deeper: Hong Kong protests show no signs of slowing as movement enters 6th month

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In photos: Hong Kong police use tear gas at Christmas protests

Riot police motion pedestrians away on a Mongkok district street in Hong Kong on Christmas Day. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

A Hong Kong mall closed early as police fired tear gas to break up protests Wednesday, Reuters reports, as the city's leader Carrie Lam said on Facebook the Christmas demonstrations had "ruined" celebrations.

Why it matters: After a period of relative calm, clashes between police and protesters erupted again this week at rallies in shopping districts. On Tuesday, police also used rubber bullets, per the New York Times. Authorities hoped the withdrawal of an extradition bill that triggered the protests six months ago would've quelled the unrest that's often left the Asian financial hub paralyzed. But it looks set to continue into the new year.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with more photos and details on the latest unrest.

Keep ReadingArrowUpdated Dec 26, 2019

China signals hardline approach to Hong Kong with new top official

Wang Zhimin addresses a symposium to mark China's sixth Constitution Day, Dec. 4, 2019. Photo: Liu Siuwai/Xinhua via Getty

The Chinese government replaced its top Hong Kong representative on Saturday with a senior Communist Party official known for bringing party discipline to unruly provinces, the New York Times reports, citing the state-run Xinhua news service.

Why it matters: After seven months of often violent pro-democracy protests, Beijing decided to make a change in personnel to a role that operates mainly through behind-the-scenes influence. But the selection of Luo Huining as top representative likely indicates not a softening of Beijing's position toward Hong Kongers' demands, but rather a further entrenchment of its hardline approach.

Go deeperArrowJan 4, 2020

Taiwan's president wins re-election in retort to Chinese efforts

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen smiles as she leaves after casting her vote in the presidential election on January 11, 2020 in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo: Carl Court / Staff/Getty Images

Taiwanese voters re-elected President Tsai Ing-wen in the general election on Saturday, as opposition leader Han Kuo-yu conceded defeat and offered his congratulations, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters per Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: After offering voters a stark choice between a democracy with her or dictatorship with China, Tsai has won re-election in a stunning retort to Beijing — she received more votes than any candidate in Taiwan’s democratic history.

Go deeperArrowJan 11, 2020