{{ subpage.title }}

Pedestrians cross the street under flags of the China and Hong Kong.

Miguel Candela / SOPA Images/Sip via Reuters Connect

China's Hong Kong turns 25

On Friday, President Xi Jinping will leave mainland China for the first time in more than two years to mark the 25th anniversary of the UK's handover of Hong Kong to the People's Republic. It's the halfway mark for the "one country, two systems" deal with the Brits for the territory to enjoy (limited) democracy for 50 years. We asked Eurasia Group analyst Neil Thomas to shed some light on why this date is such a big deal for Xi and the future of Hong Kong.

Read Now Show less
How Long Can China's Zero-COVID Policy Last? | GZERO World

How long can China's zero-COVID policy last?

China's tough pandemic response likely saved a million deaths, but former CDC chief Tom Frieden believes the Chinese have two big problems now.

First, their vaccines don't work, he tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. And second, hesitancy rates — especially among the elderly — remain high.

So, what should China do now? Get better vaccines to the most vulnerable, and accept "almost" zero-COVID, like Singapore.

Read Now Show less

Jean Luc Melenchon poster at French leftist movement La France Insoumise's (LFI) headquarters in Paris.

Reuters

What We're Watching: Macron has a left problem, Japan's nuclear option, the election no one cares about

Japan embraces nuclear to wean itself off Russian energy

Russia's war in Ukraine is pushing notoriously slow-moving Japan to make unusually swift policy shifts. In mid-March, Tokyo gave up its decades-long effort to negotiate with Russia over the return of the disputed Kuril Islands. Now, it's ready to ditch Russian energy, which resource-poor Japan needs to keep the lights on. (Tokyo joined Western sanctions against Russia but has not yet banned imports of Russian oil and natural gas.) PM Fumio Kishida announced Thursday that Japan will restart its mothballed nuclear reactors — a big deal because nuclear power is a highly sensitive topic in the only nation to suffer an attack with atomic weapons. Also, a tsunami caused in 2011 the Fukushima disaster, the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. That led Japanese public opinion to sour on nuclear, but now a majority support Kishida's plans, which also aim to help the country become carbon-neutral by 2050. Interestingly, the announcement comes just days after a top Japanese investor confirmed a $21 billion natural gas project in Siberia despite uncertainty over Russian sanctions and fears that Russia will cut off Japan first.

Read Now Show less

A police officer in PPE keeps watch at an entrance to a tunnel under COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, China.

REUTERS/Aly Song

Will China pass its biggest COVID test?

COVID-19 case numbers in mainland China have surged to their highest levels since the disease first appeared, posing the biggest test yet for Beijing’s stringent containment policies. Shanghai, the country's largest city, is now under the biggest urban lockdown since early 2020. Also, a recent outbreak that spiraled out of control in Hong Kong, with its scenes of COVID-19 patients on gurneys in hospital parking lots, highlights the stakes for mainland authorities. The timing couldn’t be worse for Xi Jinping, who is preparing to seek a norm-breaking third term as China’s president later this year. We spoke with Eurasia Group expert Allison Sherlock to get a better understanding of how the situation is likely to play out.

Read Now Show less

Illustration of a pump jack in front of a "stop" sign, US and Russia flags.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

What We're Watching: Ukraine war bulletin, Hong Kong vs COVID, Pakistan's PM on the ropes

Oil ban, Churchill, Polish MiGs, Putin's fixes

Biden bans Russian oil, alone. The US president banned imports of Russian oil on Tuesday in a bid to increase economic pressure on the Kremlin. It’s not clear how effective this will be, given that the US accounts for less than 10% of Russia’s daily exports. Meanwhile, Europe, which slurps up almost half of those exports, has refused to join the oil ban for now, and there is virtually no chance of major customers like China or India turning down Russian crude. Meanwhile, Biden’s move carries political risks at home, as average national gas prices have already hit a record high of $4.17 per gallon — and that's months before the annual price rise normally associated with summer “driving season.” Taking more oil off the market could push pump prices even higher. As we head towards the midterm elections, how much economic pain will Americans take on behalf of Ukraine?

Read Now Show less

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrives for an European Union Summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium December 16, 2021.

Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: EU vs twin threats, Hong Kong’s “election”, a Sicilian miracle

EU vs Omi-Kremlin. EU leaders met on Thursday to craft a response to the two major challenges of the moment for the bloc. The first is the surging number of COVID infections driven by the new omicron variant. An EU-wide approach has already been undermined as several countries — Italy, Ireland, Portugal, and Greece — moved unilaterally to tighten entry restrictions. The EU is expected to redouble its efforts to accelerate vaccination campaigns: currently about 60 percent of adults have received two jabs, but that number falls below 50 percent in much of Eastern Europe. With omicron infections doubling every two days, there isn’t much time to get ahead of the winter wave. The other big challenge is Russia, which continues to mass as many as 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border. Vladimir Putin says he wants guarantees that NATO won’t expand eastward any more, and the EU and US are worried he’s about to invade Ukraine to underscore the point. Brussels is warning severe economic consequences if that happens, which could potentially involve mothballing the Nord Stream 2 Russian gas pipeline to Europe. But here too, the EU is divided — some smaller Eastern member states want Brussels to slap sanctions ASAP as a deterrent, while France and Germany worry about provoking the Kremlin into war.

Read Now Show less
Fighting for Democracy in Hungary and Hong Kong | GZERO World

Fighting for democracy in Hungary and Hong Kong

Former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes sees parallels between Hungary's politics and what happened in the US under Trump, and believes the EU has been too lenient towards Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's autocratic tendencies. Rhodes, who met with democracy activists in Hungary and Hong Kong when researching his book, "After the Fall: Being American in the World We've Made," observes that Hungary's opposition groups have been strengthened by banding together to form a united front against corrupt politicians. There's less reason for hope in Hong Kong, says Rhodes, and one reason is that the US never made it a priority. "At every stage of the last 30 years, a commercial interest, or a security interest, or a geopolitical interest was always above what our interests were on an issue like Hong Kong," Rhodes tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Is American democracy in danger?

Hong Kong a Year After the National Security Law; US-UK Travel Corridor | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Hong Kong a year after the National Security Law; US-UK travel corridor

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week:

A year after the National Security Law, how has Hong Kong changed?

More integrated into mainland China. Virtually no Western companies have pulled out. A fair number of Hong Kong citizens are leaving, and of course no more democratic opposition, no more free media. The full incorporation of Hong Kong into mainland China. One country, one system is happening very fast.

Read Now Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

Latest