GZERO Media logo

Protests and troops...in Hong Kong

Protests and troops...in Hong Kong

For 30 years, citizens of Hong Kong have gathered in Victoria Park on the evening of June 4 to honor the peaceful protesters massacred in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on that date in 1989. It has been the only public Tiananmen commemoration permitted on Chinese soil.

This year, the park was surrounded by barricades to keep people out. The officially stated reason for the shut-down? Crowds spread coronavirus. (In this city of more than 7 million, COVID has so far killed four people.)


Many in Hong Kong doubt the official explanation, and thousands decided to ignore the ban on gatherings and hold their candlelight vigil anyway. Outside a few incidents involving pepper spray, police look to have kept their distance. Many of Thursdays protesters appeared to have observed rules on social distancing.

But on this June 4, Hong Kong's legislative council also voted to criminalize "insults" to China's national anthem. And late last month, China announced a new security law that would criminalize "sedition" and "subversion" — as defined by Beijing. Now, for the first time, Chinese security forces will be allowed to operate in Hong Kong and enforce those laws.

A group called the Hong Kong Alliance put it like this: "The National Security Law is like a knife to the neck of all Hong Kong people. Even if it only cuts a few, it threatens the freedom of all 7 million people. It is the implementing of rule by fear in Hong Kong."

Back in 1997, when Hong Kong formally passed from Britain to China, Beijing agreed in an international treaty to allow Hong Kongers to keep their rights to freedom of speech and assembly. The new security laws would allow Chinese soldiers to strip Hong Kong's people of those rights. This year the excuse to block peaceful protest is COVID-19. Next year, democracy activists warn, Beijing will come up with something else. And after months of demonstrations and crackdowns over the mainland's attempts to gain firmer control over Hong Kong, there is almost no trust now between pro-democracy activists, police, and Beijing.

This is a landmark moment in Hong Kong's history. The city's residents are left to wonder what's next for their streets and how the outside world will respond. Earlier this week, seven former UK foreign secretaries called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to form a global alliance in support of Hong Kong, and Johnson later announced plans to create a "route to citizenship" for millions of Hong Kongers who want to leave the territory. China's foreign minister responded: "We advise the UK to step back from the brink, abandon their Cold War mentality and colonial mindset, and recognize and respect to the fact that Hong Kong has returned" to China.

For Hong Kong, lines have been drawn and crossed—and the city will never be the same.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

More Show less

On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

More Show less

Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

More Show less

In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

UNGA banner

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal

Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

UNGA Livestream