Tuesday's world stories

Jul 14, 2020 - World

Trump signs bill sanctioning China over Hong Kong security law

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced Tuesday that he has signed a bill sanctioning Chinese officials in response to Beijing's national security law for Hong Kong, which dramatically curbs the city's political freedoms. He also signed an executive order ending preferential treatment for Hong Kong.

Why it matters: The bill, which will sanction both Chinese individuals interfering in Hong Kong's affairs and the banks that support them, has broad bipartisan support in Congress. Its passage into law is the latest escalation by the Trump administration against the Chinese Communist Party's efforts to strip Hong Kong of its autonomy.

Chinese students at U.S. colleges face deep uncertainty

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new visa guideline issued last week would strip international students in the U.S. of their student visa if their college classes are online-only amid the pandemic.

Why it matters: More than 360,000 Chinese students are enrolled at U.S. colleges. Many of them could be forced to return to China if the rule change is implemented.

New book examines Neil Bush's China links

Image credit: Hardie Grant Publishing

A new book documents China's influence in North America and Europe, zeroing in on how the Chinese Communist Party co-opts the elite in democratic societies.

Why it matters: Growing scrutiny of China's ties with top business and political figures in the U.S. is making it riskier for them to openly laud Beijing.

Jul 14, 2020 - World

The U.K. was the most-prepared country for a pandemic — until it wasn't

Photo: Julian Simmonds/WPA Pool/Getty Images

One country was easily the best-prepared in the world to respond quickly to and mitigate the spread of an epidemic, according to the 2019 Global Health Security Index: Great Britain.

Reality check: When the coronavirus struck, the U.K. had arguably one of the least effective responses among rich countries, despite decades of preparation for just such an event. Its death toll ranks behind only the U.S. and Brazil.

Jul 14, 2020 - Technology

U.S. pushes homegrown drone industry amid China battle

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Alarmed at the prospect of relying on Chinese-made drones for public safety and monitoring critical industries, U.S. investors and the federal government are newly backing a domestic drone industry of hardware and software companies.

The big picture: The moves come as the industry continues to be led by DJI, a Chinese hardware maker — and as concerns grow both in China and the U.S. about reliance on the other country's technology.

U.K. bans Huawei from its 5G network

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The U.K. said Tuesday that it will no longer allow Chinese tech company Huawei to access its 5G network amid growing pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take a stand against Beijing, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: It's a big win for the Trump administration, which has sought to firewall Huawei from networks around the world and put intense pressure on its closest ally to make such a move.

Jul 14, 2020 - World

Older, rural voters tip Poland's election to the incumbent

Adapted from Europe Elects; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios 

President Andrzej Duda was re-elected Sunday in the tightest election in modern Polish history, with 51% of the vote to 49% for Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski.

Why it matters: The populist ruling party, Law and Justice, is now expected to press ahead with steps that critics say are eroding the independence of the courts and media, and have brought Poland into conflict with the EU.

Jul 13, 2020 - World

China-Iran deal envisions massive investments from Beijing

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

China and Iran have negotiated a deal that would see massive investments flow into Iran, oil flow out, and collaboration increase on defense and intelligence.

Why it matters: If the proposals become reality, Chinese cash, telecom infrastructure, railways and ports could offer new life to Iran’s sanctions-choked economy — or, critics fear, leave it inescapably beholden to Beijing.

Jul 13, 2020 - World

U.S. rejects China's claims to territory in South China Sea

Photo: Artyom Ivanov\TASS via Getty Images

The State Department announced Monday that it rejects most of China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, a first from the U.S. as the Trump administration toughens its approach toward Beijing.

Why it matters, via Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: This is a significant, if symbolic, step toward a tougher U.S. approach to China's attempted annexation of the open seas.

Qualcomm buys $97 million stake in India's Reliance Jio

Illustration: Axios Visuals

Reliance Jio continues to rack up investment from a who's who of U.S. tech giants, with Qualcomm Ventures becoming the latest to take a stake in the Indian telecom firm. Qualcomm is investing around $97 million for a 0.15% stake in Jio Platforms, according to a press release.

Why it matters: Qualcomm's venture unit joins Facebook and Intel Capital in having invested in recent weeks, along with Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners and General Atlantic.

Go deeper: Meet Jio, everyone's favorite Indian tech investment

Jul 13, 2020 - World

China bans Cruz and Rubio over Xinjiang criticism

Photos: Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images; Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images

China said Monday that it will ban entry to Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) over their criticisms of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, AP reports.

The big picture: The move seems to be retaliatory after the U.S. announced sanctions on four Chinese officials for human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the region last week.