Can Hong Kong Export Its Protest Movement?
Plus: Russian missiles headed for Turkey, U.S. immigration raids, and the other stories we’re following today.
Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: Hong Kong protesters seek to gain mainlanders’ attention and support, Turkey prepares for Russian missile delivery while Washington prepares sanctions, and U.S. authorities plan immigration raids against undocumented families.
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Hong Kong Protesters Seek to “Export Revolution”
The protesters behind Hong Kong’s largest demonstrations in decades will put a new tactic to the test again this weekend: focusing their efforts on courting support and attention from mainland Chinese. A rally is planned in a town near Hong Kong’s border with China on Saturday, and Sunday’s protest is set to take place in a suburban district frequented by mainland visitors.
Hong Kong activists, refusing to accept the city leader Carrie Lam’s statements on the suspended extradition bill, are seeking to counter intense censorship in China, which has blocked news of the protests over the last month. “We’re trying to export our revolution,” one organizer told Reuters.
Shifting tactics. Observers note that the pro-democracy protests now look very different from those of the Umbrella Movement in 2014, which lasted for 79 days. Protesters are targeting the international stage, buying ads in international newspapers, and petitioning diplomats around the world. The shift is intended to get in the way of Chinese diplomacy.
Carrie Lam’s political fate. Protesters continue to demand that Lam resign, citing police violence against protesters in June. She can’t step down without permission from the mainland, however—and on Thursday, the Chinese government reiterated its support for her. Given her handling of the protests, analysts say that Lam’s eventual departure is inevitable.
What We’re Following Today
Turkey to receive Russian missiles. Russia plans to deliver its S-400 missile system to Turkey in the coming days, as U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration prepares harsh sanctions against Ankara. (The European Union is also threatening Turkey with sanctions over its drilling off the coast of Cyprus.) U.S. officials say the Russian missiles threaten NATO air defenses and will cut Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jet program. But in the debate over sanctions Trump is the wild card, Lara Seligman reports.
U.S. authorities to arrest undocumented families. Raids to arrest thousands of undocumented families in 10 U.S. cities by Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin on Sunday, the New York Times reports. The authorities are targeting at least 2,000 immigrants who have received deportation orders. The raids had been postponed, in part due to internal resistance. The United States has faced criticism over conditions in its migrant detention centers in recent weeks, including by the U.N. human rights chief.
Japan and South Korea hold talks amid dispute. Representatives for Japan and South Korea will meet today, amid an ongoing dispute that threatens the global supply of smartphones and chips. The burgeoning trade feud does not show signs of slowing down, Bloomberg reports. Neither country’s leader can afford to give in over the disagreement, which is rooted in history: Japan’s use of South Korean forced labor during its 20th century occupation of the peninsula.
Could Angela Merkel step down early? Some members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union are debating whether she should hand over power before 2021, according to party sources. Merkel has insisted that she is healthy after three incidents of shaking at public events in three weeks. If Merkel stepped down, it would likely trigger new elections.
Keep an Eye On
Right-wing extremism in Germany. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has classified the Identitarian Movement as an extremist right-wing group, making it easier to track its members. The authorities are increasingly concerned about far-right violence since a local politician was murdered by a suspected neo-Nazi last month. Earlier this week, prominent members of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) condemned Björn Höcke, a hardline local party leader who has criticized Germany’s approach to public remembrance of the crimes of the Nazi era and referred to Berlin’s Holocaust memorial as a “monument of shame.”
Renewable energy in Kurdistan. Iraqi Kurdistan is particularly vulnerable to Iraq’s energy insecurity, relying mostly on Iran and Turkey for electricity. As a result, local Kurds have started to capitalize on the region’s favorable conditions for renewable energy—especially for solar and wind power, Emily Burlinghaus writes for FP.
France’s tech tax. With a law passed on Thursday, France could become the first major economy to levy a tax on large tech companies—despite a U.S. investigation. France plans to tax Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon for their French revenues. U.S. President Donald Trump has called for an investigation into the tax, which could result in trade restrictions.
Displacement in Mali. Nearly 200,000 people have fled their homes in Mali since the start of 2019, seeking to escape from violence in the country’s central region. Almost 600 civilians have been killed by ethnic militias this year. While the mandate for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali was recently renewed, experts say its troops can’t disarm militias.
Sex abuse in Chile’s Catholic Church. Chilean President Sebastián Piñera has approved a law that will remove the statute of limitations on sex crimes against children, as the government faces a sex abuse scandal in the country’s Catholic Church—with 150 cases currently open. The new law, initially proposed in 2010, is not retroactive.
Odds and Ends
With its live-action remake of the 1998 Mulan, Disney is hoping to attract Chinese audiences: China is the world’s second-largest movie market. The film is already a cultural battleground, but Jeannette Ng argues in FP that the heroine can’t be reduced to a single story.
From October, people will no longer be allowed to climb Australia’s Uluru, previously known as Ayers Rock, in recognition of its sacred significance for Aboriginal people. The big influx of tourists before the ban is angering locals.
Later today on FP’s podcast, First Person: In 1994, Argentina experienced its deadliest terrorist attack—the bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center. Argentine special prosecutor Alberto Nisman accused the government of covering up Iran’s involvement in the attack and was found dead days later. Ahead of the 25th anniversary of the bombing, Sarah Wildman interviews the journalist Damian Pachter, the first person to report Nisman’s death.
That’s it for today.