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Hong Kong protests assert the freedoms China seeks to constrain

protestors create a barricade of luggage carts at the airport
Pro-democracy protestors at Hong Kong's international airport. Photo: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

Intensifying protests in Hong Kong — continuing weeks after the shelving of a controversial extradition law — have fueled a broader struggle over the city's character and future.

Why it matters: Hong Kong remains an important financial gateway from China to the world, although Shanghai and other mainland cities have taken on part of that role. Above all, the central government in Beijing wants to avoid the precedent of a popular political movement successfully challenging President Xi and the authority of the Communist Party.

China censors HBO's website after John Oliver mocks Xi Jinping

Photos: Getty Images

After HBO’s John Oliver mocked Chinese President Xi Jinping and China’s human rights record last week, internet users in China were blocked from accessing HBO’s website over the weekend, per The New York Times.

The trend: Xi has long been trying to control what he sees as traditional Chinese values through web site and social media censorship in an effort to avoid social unrest. And this isn’t Oliver’s first time has been hit by China's strict controls — last week, Chinese authorities blocked all mentions of his name on Weibo, China’s Twitter.