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Council on Foreign Relations Britain Expresses Concern Over Hong Kong Political Unrest
September 2, 2014

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Britain Expresses Concern Over Hong Kong Political Unrest

A British parliamentary inquiry (SCMP) into ongoing political tensions in Hong Kong said that China appears to have breached the terms of a China-U.K. treaty when Beijing effectively ruled out the possibility of democracy in the territory on Sunday (TIME). Hong Kong has faced weeks of pro-democracy demonstrations organized by a grassroots opposition group called Occupy Central, which rejects Beijing's influence over the 2017 election—the first in which the Hong Kong chief executive is directly chosen by voters. The central government announced on Sunday a restrictive framework for the election that gives Beijing control over the two or three candidates, triggering police arrests after further demonstrations (Guardian).


"Inevitably, the National People's Congress decision will add to political tension, and further polarize society. More than a million people have marched in Hong Kong already this year, both for and against the aims of Occupy Central," writes Andrew Browne for the Wall Street Journal.

"Beijing seems unlikely to back off from the stance it has taken. But it should recognise the damage being done to its own interests. It has stirred up opposition among Hong Kong moderateseven provoking those who understand that there will always be limits to autonomy," writes the Financial Times.

"Much of the public in Hong Kong appears wary of confrontational actions that could damage the city's reputation for order, but protests that are not disruptive might have little impact on international opinion and would be easier for the Chinese leadership and Hong Kong politicians to ignore," write Michael Forsythe and Christopher Buckley for the New York Times.



Japan, India Step Up Ties

Japan and India pledged to increase defense and economic cooperation on Monday as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues a five-day tour of Japan (WSJ) this week and draws an outline for his foreign policy. The two countries also welcomed progress on talks to transfer Japan's nuclear technology to India.



Pakistan's Sharif Convenes Joint Parliament Session

Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a joint session of parliament on Tuesday (Reuters) to address the deepening crisis over violent protests that have demanded his resignation and prompted fears of an army intervention. The move seeks to reaffirm his control in parliament, where he enjoys a majority.

INDIA: A power outage blacked out large areas of India's financial capital Mumbai on Tuesday, the latest crisis as the power sector faces a dangerously low shortage of coal (AFP).

This CFR Backgrounder discusses India's infrastructure crisis and power shortages.



UN to Send Investigation Team to Iraq

The United Nations Human Rights Council said Monday it was prepared to send a team to Iraq (Guardian) to investigate possible war crimes by ISIS militants, whom Amnesty International accused Tuesday of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq. The report included evidence of mass killings, abductions, and other war crimes (AP).

ISRAEL: The U.K. and United States government condemned Israel's decision to approve one of the largest settlements in the occupied West Bank (Guardian).



Kenya Hosts Terrorism Summit

Kenya will host on Tuesday an African summit on terrorism (All Africa), a conference aimed at outlining concrete steps to address the threat of terrorism on the continent. Kenya has continued to face security challenges and threats from Somalia's al-Shabab group, which has vowed violence against Kenya's defense forces.

This CFR Backgrounder explains the origins and objectives of al-Shabab.

SOMALIA: U.S. military forces carried out an operation on Monday against al-Shabab militants in Somalia (al-Jazeera), a move that comes after Somalia's government forces regained control of a prison in the capital.



Russia to Adopt New Military Doctrine

Russia pledged on Tuesday to adopt a more robust military doctrine (NYT) over NATO's plans to establish a rapid-response force that could halt Moscow's push into Ukraine. The surprise move comes as U.S. President Barack Obama lands in Estonia (Bloomberg), and ahead of NATO's summit that begins on Thursday in Wales.

Russia's escalated intervention is a resurgence of a more primitive form of power politics, writes CFR's Stewart M. Patrick.

EU: Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini were appointed president of the European Council and EU foreign policy chief, respectively, on Saturday (France 24).



Mexicans Protest Peña Nieto Speech

Hundreds demonstrated in Mexico City on Monday, protesting President Enrique Peņa Nieto's administration as he gave his second state of the union address to Congress (teleSUR). Protestors rejected Nieto's energy reform, which has ended the state's long-held monopoly on gas, oil, and electricity, and called for a national strike.

CUBA: Cuba has set new rules limiting personal imports of foreign goods into the country, a move that many Cubans say will throttle one of their few sources of high-quality consumer goods (BBC).



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