Nov 18, 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.

The big picture:

  • Hong Kong's jobless rate in the consumption and tourism sectors jumped to the highest level in two years.
  • “Retailers, restaurants and hotels are cutting wages and hours or letting staff go just to survive,” Bloomberg reports.

The bottom line: "The violence and prospect of a harsher crackdown has battered Hong Kong's economy," the FT notes — adding to pain the economy was already feeling from the global economic slowdown and the U.S.-China trade war.

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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

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

House passes bill expressing support for Hong Kong protestors, rebuking China

Pro-democracy protesters gather for a rally in Victoria Park, Hong Kong. Photo: Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images.

The House voted 417-1 on Wednesday evening in favor of the Senate's unanimously-passed Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, sending the bill to President Trump's desk. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was the sole "no" vote.

The big picture: The bill reaffirms the U.S.' commitment to supporting democracy and human rights in Hong Kong as it relates to city's autonomy. The legislation comes amid months of violent clashes between police and protestors in Hong Kong, and could set up a confrontation between the U.S. and China in the midst of Trump's high-stakes trade war. The White House has not yet commented on whether Trump intends to sign the bill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 20, 2019