Jun 12, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon. Today's PM is 573 words, a 2 minute read.

  • We've been including word count and time to read at the top of each of our newsletters. Now, we want to hear from you – love it or hate it? Click here for love and here for hate. We'll share the results on Monday.
1 big thing: Hong Kong's people stand up to China

Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Protesters in Hong Kong braved pepper spray and rubber bullets to successfully delay debate on a controversial bill that would expose Hongkongers to extradition to mainland China, Axios' Dave Lawler reports.

Why it matters: A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 but retained a high degree of autonomy — including the freedom to protest and an independent judiciary. Hong Kong residents worry that’s all crumbling as the Chinese Communist Party tightens its grip.

  • The city is a global financial center and a media center in Asia.
  • An estimated 1 million people took to the streets Sunday to demonstrate against the bill, which authorities claim is intended to “plug a loophole” preventing extraditions between Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China.
  • At least 72 protesters and police were injured in clashes today after officials insisted on moving ahead with the bill.
  • “Riot police officers turned downtown Hong Kong into a tear-gas-filled battlefield as they pushed back against protesters who tried to storm Hong Kong’s Legislative Council,” the NY Times reports. “The protesters ... hurled bricks, bottles and umbrellas.”

Between the lines: The bill doesn’t cover political crimes, but opponents warn that China could simply charge those it wants to detain with other offenses.

  • “It is a clarifying rebuke for China’s rulers,” the Economist’s David Rennie notes. “Exposure to their version of the rule of law feels like an unbearable loss to many in Hong Kong, outweighing the rewards of integration."
  • Hongkongers “have little liberty in the polls, meaning protests are one of the few ways they can make their opinions heard,” the BBC points out.
  • The legislation is being pushed by Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam.
  • Only 15% of Hongkongers would call themselves "Chinese," a University of Hong Kong survey shows. That number drops to 3% for 18- to 29-year-olds.

Be smart: Bill Bishop of Sinocism writes that the protests are “a huge embarrassment for Beijing” that President Xi Jinping will probably attribute to “insufficient patriotic education among Hong Kong youth and hostile foreign forces intent upon fomenting a color revolution."

What’s next: The city will awake shortly. Lam has slammed the “organized riot” but won’t say what’s next for the bill. Further clashes are possible.

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images

This photo should give perspective on the size of the protests in Hong Kong.

2. What you missed
  1. Mexicans no longer make up the majority of unauthorized immigrants in the United States. Go deeper.
  2. President Trump has asserted executive privilege over subpoenaed documents related to the House Oversight Committee's investigation of the Census citizenship question. Details.
  3. The U.S. budget deficit has increased to $738.6 billion in the first 8 months of the fiscal year — up $206 billion from the same time last year, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office.
  4. A Louisiana man has been charged with federal hate crimes for intentionally burning three historically African-American churches.
  5. Howard Schultz will not campaign this summer after undergoing three separate back surgeries, he announced today.
3. 1 fun thing

From the Louvre to Mt. Everest, the world's most popular tourist attractions are facing hordes of visitors as international travel becomes more accessible than ever, but the N.Y. Times offers six spots in Europe to take shelter this summer:

  1. Tinos, Greece, instead of Santorini
  2. Delft and The Hague, Netherlands, instead of Amsterdam
  3. Valencia, Spain, instead of Barcelona
  4. Kotor, Montenegro, instead of Dubrovnik
  5. Olomuc, Czech Republic, instead of Prague
  6. Lucca, Italy, instead of Florence
Mike Allen