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Westlake Legal Group > Xi Jinping

What’s Really in the Trade Deal Trump Announced With China

Westlake Legal Group 00DC-CHINATRADE-01-facebookJumbo What’s Really in the Trade Deal Trump Announced With China Xi Jinping United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Protectionism (Trade) International Trade and World Market Foreign Investments Customs (Tariff) Currency Agriculture and Farming

President Trump portrayed the “Phase 1” agreement he announced on Friday with China with typical fanfare, describing the pact as “massive” and “the largest contract” ever signed.

“We made a fantastic deal,” Mr. Trump said during remarks on Tuesday at the White House.

There are good reasons to be skeptical about those claims. The deal appears likely to benefit American farmers by increasing Chinese purchases of agricultural goods and gives some other businesses more access to the Chinese market. But the “agreement in principle” is limited in scope and exact details have yet to be put in writing — a process that has derailed negotiations with China in the past.

American officials said Friday that they would work with China on completing an initial agreement in the coming weeks, with hopes of signing a deal when Mr. Trump and President Xi Jinping attend a summit of global leaders in Chile in mid-November.

Here’s what we know so far about what the agreement might contain.

From Mr. Trump’s perspective, the centerpiece of the pact is a commitment by China to purchase $40 billion to $50 billion of American agricultural products per year. Administration officials said that target would be reached in the second year of the pact’s enactment.

That volume would be a huge increase over what China was purchasing before the start of the trade war. American farm exports to China peaked at around $25.5 billion in 2016, according to the American Farm Bureau, then dipped to $24.3 billion in 2017.

Since then, exports of soybeans, pork and other products have collapsed under pressure from the trade war. American farm exports to China fell to just $13.4 billion in 2018, and are on track for a similar total this year, according to the same data.

American officials have not specified which products would be purchased, or how they arrived at a $50 billion figure. But to many analysts, that level of exports seems hard to achieve. Mr. Trump himself acknowledged this on Saturday, saying in a tweet that “there is a question as to whether or not this much product can be produced.”

“Our farmers will figure it out. Thank you China!” the president added.

One factor that could sharply drive up China’s imports is its African swine fever epidemic. China has already lost about 40 percent of its hog herd to the sickness, increasing demand for foreign pork and other meats.

The $50 billion target may also include a generous estimate of how other parts of the agreement would affect sales. American officials said they had negotiated speedier food safety checks for imports into China and approvals for genetically modified products, both of which could bolster trade.

Geng Shuang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, confirmed at a news conference Tuesday that China would speed up its purchases of American farm goods. “What the U.S. is saying is the actual situation, which is consistent with what we know,” he said.

From China’s perspective, the biggest win is a promise by Mr. Trump to cancel an Oct. 15 tariff increase, when taxes on $250 billion of Chinese goods were set to rise to 30 percent from 25 percent.

American officials could also cancel plans to impose a 15 percent tax on another roughly $150 billion of goods in December if things go well.

But that still leaves a huge part of tariffs intact. Since the start of the trade war, the United States has imposed tariffs on more than $360 billion of Chinese products, while China has placed tariffs on roughly $100 billion of American imports.

Trump administration officials said that China had pledged to open its markets to American financial services firms, and that banks and credit card companies would be the primary beneficiaries. But few details have been offered and many of these changes are already in the works for other countries.

Under heavy American pressure, China has announced a series of moves over the past two years to open up its banking and other financial services sectors, allowing higher levels of foreign ownership or even removing ownership caps entirely. But China is unilaterally opening up its financial services sector to businesses from all over the world, not just from the United States.

Some trade experts say the gains to American companies may be limited, pointing out that China has delayed opening its markets for so long that Chinese companies already dominate the financial sector.

The White House initially began the trade war over concerns about China’s treatment of American intellectual property, including what the administration called outright theft of technology and trade secrets.

Mr. Trump said Friday that some measures concerning intellectual property and technology transfer would be included in the “Phase 1” agreement, with additional protections included in later phases. Officials have given few details, though people briefed on the negotiations said the measures include stronger protection for copyrights and patents.

Chinese negotiators have pointed to a foreign investment law passed this year as evidence that they have resolved some of the Trump administration’s concerns. That law contained assurances that China would even the playing field for foreign and domestic businesses, but it had few details. The crucial enforcement regulations are not scheduled to be issued until January.

The agreement also includes new guidelines for how China manages its currency — provisions aimed at resolving American complaints that China has intentionally weakened its currency to make its exports cheaper.

People briefed on the agreement said the provisions looked similar to the currency chapter in the Trump administration’s revised North American Free Trade Agreement. It also closely resembles a pledge that China gave when the Group of 20 nations’ finance ministers gathered in Shanghai in February 2016. Both texts call for countries not to devalue their currencies to achieve a trade advantage and to inform each other if they intervene by buying and selling large amounts of currency.

Some experts question whether requiring the Chinese government to disclose more data will do much to curb intervention. Beijing could respond by doing more of its intervention almost invisibly through state-owned banks, and there are some signs in Chinese data it has already begun doing so.

“The more disclosure there is of China’s formal intervention, the more China is likely to rely on shadow intervention,” said Brad W. Setser, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Obama administration Treasury official.

A big question has been whether China will stick to the promises it makes. Robert Lighthizer, Mr. Trump’s top trade negotiator, said the pact would set up “a very elaborate consultation process” with “escalation in various areas so that difficulties can be resolved.” But he added that the details were still being worked out.

American officials have emphasized that their current tariffs, and the threat of future ones, will act as an enforcement mechanism. If China violates the agreement, the Trump administration could move forward with additional tariffs on Chinese products. And if China follows through on its promises, some of Mr. Trump’s existing tariffs could be rolled back.

No agreement has yet been signed and some of it remains unwritten. Mr. Trump said Friday that the deal was “subject to getting everything papered,” but added he did not foresee a problem with that process.

But the United States and China have reached trade truces before — in Buenos Aires last December, and in Osaka, Japan in June — only to see them quickly crumble. That has left some critics hesitant.

“A deal that isn’t written down isn’t a real deal,” Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, said in a statement.

Longstanding concerns about Chinese economic policies that disadvantage American companies do not appear to have been addressed.

These policies, which are often called “structural issues,” include China’s generous subsidies to certain companies, the outsized role of the government in the economy and its systematic discrimination against foreign firms. In particular, the Trump administration has often criticized Beijing’s ambitious plan to dominate cutting-edge technologies like advanced microchips, artificial intelligence and electric cars, called Made in China 2025.

China has fiercely resisted any American demands that it sees as efforts to interfere with how it runs its economy. Negotiators have discussed some measures, like requiring China to disclose more information about how it subsidizes its industries, and people familiar with the talks say such talks will continue. But American officials made no mention of these issues with regard to the initial agreement.

The agreement also excludes provisions related to the manufacturing sector. And it appears to allow China to retain, for now, its high tariffs on American-made cars.

That is notable, because nonagricultural goods — including cars, car parts and aircraft — account for both the bulk of American exports to China, as well as the very large American trade deficit with China that Mr. Trump has criticized.

Mr. Trump tweeted on Saturday that the deal would include $16 billion to $20 billion in purchases of Boeing planes, but American officials have not shared any other details.

Officials have made no mention of a point that is as crucial for American competitiveness as it is hard to resolve: China’s treatment of data.

Chinese laws block multinational companies from moving much of the data they gather on Chinese customers out of the country, meaning that many technology and retail companies must silo off their China business from the rest of their global operations. Chinese officials insist this is a matter of national security and have signaled they are unlikely to yield on this point.

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Not again: China balks at signing “phase one” accord with Trump?

Westlake Legal Group trump-xi-handshake Not again: China balks at signing “phase one” accord with Trump? Xi Jinping trade deals The Blog Tariffs phase one donald trump China

Last week, Donald Trump announced that China had already agreed to terms on a a first-step trade deal with the US. According to Bloomberg, either Trump spoke prematurely or Xi Jinping has tried to play games once again. China won’t sign the “phase one” deal without more negotiations, Bloomberg reports this morning, leaving the status of talks unclear:

China wants further talks as soon as the end of October to hammer out the details of the “phase one” trade deal touted by Donald Trump before Xi Jinping agrees to sign it, according to people familiar with the matter.

Beijing may send a delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He, China’s top negotiator, to finalize a written deal that could be signed by the presidents at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next month in Chile, one of the people said. Another person said China wants Trump to also scrap a planned tariff hike in December in addition to the hike scheduled for this week, something the administration hasn’t yet endorsed. The people asked not to be named discussing the private negotiations.

The details of the verbal agreement reached in Washington last week between the two nations remain unclear. While Trump hailed an increase in agricultural purchases as “the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country,” China’s state-run media only said the two sides “agreed to make joint efforts toward eventually reaching an agreement.”

This looks similar to the chain of events that led to rapid-fire tariff hikes between the two nations. At one point, Trump thought he had an agreement with China to reset trade and intellectual-property policies, only to have Xi yank the rug out from underneath him by withdrawing almost all of the concessions. At the time, it was thought that Xi wanted to take Trump’s measure and got surprised when Trump immediately escalated the fight.

Perhaps the amount of surprise might have been overstated at the time. If Xi tried making the same play over the weekend, he won’t have any right to claim surprise over what might come next, as Jonathan Swan points out:

But was this a deal at all, or did Trump overstate progress as an actual breakthrough? For China, the phasing Trump offered presents internal problems for Xi. While China has offered separate deals in areas of trade, it wants all of the punitive tariffs lifted first:

For Xi, it’s seen as politically unfeasible to accept a final deal that doesn’t remove the punitive tariffs altogether. Nationalists in the Communist Party have pressured him to avoid signing an “unequal treaty” reminiscent of those China signed with colonial powers.

“The U.S. must concede on its December tariff threat if they want sign a deal during APEC summit, otherwise it would be a humiliating treaty for China,” said Huo Jianguo, a former Chinese commerce ministry official who is now vice chairman of the China Society For World Trade Organization Studies. “The U.S. has definitely shown some good gestures but we shouldn’t exclude the possibility of another flip-flop.”

That might have been why the Chinese didn’t talk up the prospects of this deal right from the get-go. Their state media apparently never mentioned that a deal had been reached, and even warned the US about getting over its skis, as well as Trump using any potential misunderstanding to escalate the trade war:

Chinese state media warned the U.S. over the weekend to “avoid backpedaling” on the partial trade agreement, and expressed caution about the initial phase of the deal which President Donald Trump called “very substantial.” …

“While the negotiations do appear to have produced a fundamental understanding on the key issues and the broader benefits of friendly relations, the Champagne should probably be kept on ice, at least until the two presidents put pen to paper,” said China Daily on Sunday. …

“As based on its past practice, there is always the possibility that Washington may decide to cancel the deal if it thinks that doing so will better serve its interests,” China Daily said.

“The US should avoid backpedaling, as it has in the past, and instead cherish what has been achieved as a manifestation of a healthy and steady China-US relationship that serves the interests of both countries and the world,” it said.

Xinhua also never claimed that a deal had been struck:

And investors in the West didn’t see it as a deal, either:

Wall Street analysts were largely skeptical of Trump’s announcement on Friday of a substantial trade deal, as Evercore ISI strategists noted that it “focused on the low-hanging fruit, with a lot vague or not addressed.” …

China’s trade negotiators want to meet for more talks in the next couple of weeks, people familiar with the matter told CNBC’s Kayla Tausche on Monday. Before Chinese President Xi Jinping signs the “phase one” trad agreement, the nation’s negotiators want to add more detail.

Credit Suisse doubts this “mini-deal” will lead to the end of the U.S. trade war with China, saying it sees “daunting obstacles” to a full resolution. But Credit Suisse does see some good news in the early agreement.

So perhaps Xi doesn’t want to sign the “phase one” accord because there’s nothing yet to sign. Neverthless, Trump spent yesterday promoting the agreement and claimed that China had already begun purchasing “very large quantities” of agricultural products from “OUR GREAT PATRIOT FARMERS & RANCHERS”:

It sounds like both Trump and China are playing wheels-within-wheels games in these negotiations. Nothing is certain until pen meets paper, and even then, China has shown an amazing amount of, er, flexibility when it comes to meeting the terms of international agreements.

The post Not again: China balks at signing “phase one” accord with Trump? appeared first on Hot Air.

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For Both Trump and Xi, Trade Deal Comes Amid Growing Pressures at Home

Westlake Legal Group 12dc-tradechina-sub1-facebookJumbo-v2 For Both Trump and Xi, Trade Deal Comes Amid Growing Pressures at Home Xi Jinping United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy United States Trump, Donald J International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) China Agriculture and Farming

BEIJING — The interim trade pact announced Friday between the United States and China came together as both country’s leaders faced mounting political pressures and rising economic worries at home.

For months, President Trump has increased pressure on Beijing with higher tariffs on Chinese goods, insisting on a comprehensive trade deal that addressed a long list of concerns about how China manages its economy. And for months, senior Chinese officials met Mr. Trump’s escalating tariffs with their own as they remained equally emphatic that any deal must completely erase Mr. Trump’s tariffs.

On Friday, both sides decided that half a deal was better than none, consenting to a preliminary agreement that would involve China buying more American farm products and taking several other limited steps to open its economy in exchange for the United States foregoing its planned tariff increase next week.

The truce will help calm a trade fight that has taken a significant toll on the world’s two largest economies and threatened to further slow global growth at a precarious moment. Perhaps more important, it will help both Mr. Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, secure a win in the midst of domestic tumult.

Mr. Xi faces violent street protests in Hong Kong, as well as sharply rising grocery prices that could be brought down with imports of American food. Mr. Trump is eager to change the conversation away from an impeachment inquiry and a rapidly widening series of questions about his team’s involvement in Ukraine. And both leaders are confronting a steady drip of negative economic news, as the trade war weighs on manufacturing and business investment.

“It’s pretty clear that the U.S. and China have fought this trade war to a stalemate,” said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “At the moment, neither side sees any real advantage in escalation. The president wants an off-ramp for electoral reasons, and I think the Chinese want an off-ramp primarily for economic reasons.”

Mr. Trump and his advisers have denied that the trade war has caused any economic damage in the United States, instead blaming a strong dollar as well as the Federal Reserve, which has already begun cutting interest rates. But the evidence is becoming harder to ignore. On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund warned that the trade war with China could cost the global economy around $700 billion by 2020 — a loss equivalent to the size of Switzerland’s entire economy.

Top Fed officials have also warned of economic risks from Mr. Trump’s trade war and cautioned that while the Fed will do what it can to keep the expansion going, its powers are limited. And stock markets, whose performance Mr. Trump has pointed to in the past as a barometer of his success as president, have been whipsawed by every escalation.

“Every time there’s a little bad news, the market would go down incredibly,” Mr. Trump said on Friday as he announced the deal. “Every time there was a little bit of good news, the market would go up incredibly.”

With Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign approaching, he and his advisers are increasingly conscious of the need to limit any economic damage, particularly among key political constituencies like farmers, who have suffered the most.

The American farm economy has stumbled into recession, hurt by a sharp drop-off in sales to China, among the largest export markets for agricultural goods like soybeans, pork and corn. While the administration has tried to blunt the pain with two rounds of financial assistance, farmers have increasingly pleaded with the White House to end the trade war, saying the handouts are not enough to make up for the lost sales.

That pain was set to get worse next week. Until Friday’s truce, Mr. Trump had planned to increase tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods to 30 percent from 25 percent, a hike that would likely have been met with further retaliation by China and been particularly burdensome for consumers and businesses going into the holiday season.

Mr. Trump said on Friday that China has agreed to buy $40 billion to $50 billion worth of American farm goods annually, after scaling up over a period of two years. He compared the figures to annual Chinese purchases before the trade war, which were about $24 billion.

“The deal I just made with China is, by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Saturday morning. “In fact, there is a question as to whether or not this much product can be produced? Our farmers will figure it out. Thank you China!”

The compromise is even more timely for Mr. Xi. Sharply rising food prices have become a national issue in China. A lethal epidemic among the country’s pigs, with mortality as high as what people in Europe faced during the Black Death of the mid-14th century, has sent prices skyward for pork as well as for alternatives like beef and lamb.

As the Chinese public has begun asking, “Where’s the beef?”, China’s trade negotiators suddenly have an answer: It can come from the United States, along with a lot of pork, soybeans and other food.

But while the agreement will benefit certain industries, it will likely not reverse a trend toward greater economic divisions between the two countries.

If the understanding on Friday holds together, it would allow the United States to retain tariffs imposed over the past 16 months on a wide array of Chinese industries. That could prompt many companies to continue efforts to shift production away from China, possibly to the United States but more likely to American allies in Southeast Asia.

Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said the agreement will defer new sanctions but do little to resolve the major underlying sources of friction between the two countries.

“It’s hard to see this really amounting to an actual de-escalation of tensions or anything that businesses can take to the bank,” Mr. Prasad said.

Mr. Trump has often criticized past administrations for ceding too much to China, and negotiating endlessly with limited results. China experts say that the many months of painful standoff have perhaps shown the limits to Mr. Trump’s winner-take-all approach.

“We can’t get Cuba to do what we want,” said Elizabeth C. Economy, the director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. “I don’t know why we could get China to do what we want.”

Negotiators say they will continue discussing other issues once the deal is signed. But the compromise does signal a shift in strategy for officials in the Trump administration, who had previously said they would settle for no less than a comprehensive pact that addressed so-called “structural issues.”

“What we want is fair trade,” Robert Lighthizer, Mr. Trump’s top negotiator, told Congress in February. “That requires structural change.”

American negotiators have talked about curbing various Chinese industrial policies that they view as harmful to American businesses, including China’s generous subsidies to its state-owned companies, policies that coerce technology away from multinational firms and a pernicious history of cybertheft.

But while the agreement includes some new protections on intellectual property, greater access for financial services companies and guidelines as to how China manages its currency, it does not appear to address several of these deeper concerns.

In a statement, the U.S.-China Business Council, which represents American companies that do business in China, said it hoped the tentative agreement would restore sufficient confidence to allow negotiators to tackle other issues, including “market-distorting subsidies for state-owned enterprises and equal treatment for U.S. and other foreign companies.”

Whether China will agree to deeper concessions is not guaranteed, particularly given Mr. Xi’s political sensitivities at home. Those crises have come at a bad time for Mr. Xi in terms of China’s political calendar.

In the next three weeks, Mr. Xi will face a long-awaited session of the 204-member Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. The committee, which has not gathered since February of last year, holds enormous power in China and has authority to change the country’s leaders.

While Mr. Xi’s political dominance seems secure, he appears to be facing renewed pressure to share some of that power. His colleagues, particularly Premier Li Keqiang, who oversees government ministries while Mr. Xi oversees the Communist Party, have become slightly more visible lately, although still in Mr. Xi’s shadow.

As the Central Committee session approaches, Mr. Xi has taken personal responsibility to an unusual degree for both the status of China’s relationship with the United States as well as the general health of the Chinese economy. To handle the trade talks with the United States, Mr. Xi chose a Communist Party commission that he personally oversees, and put one of his closest advisers, Vice Premier Liu He, in charge of it.

“In the current dilemma, he to some extent needs to answer to the Central Committee members who attend the meeting,” wrote Deng Yuwen, a former editor at an influential Communist Party journal in Beijing, in an opinion column on Thursday.

The possibility that the deal announced on Friday falls apart after the Central Committee meets remains a real one. The Chinese appear to be hedging their bets. Chinese state media did not describe the arrangement on Saturday as an actual deal. Mr. Trump himself was quick to say on Friday that legal details of the deal had not yet been worked out and committed to paper.

China and the United States have reached two previous truces in their trade war — the first in December in Buenos Aires and the second in June in Osaka, Japan. The Buenos Aires accord lasted five months. The Osaka accord crumbled in a month.

“Anything can happen,” Mr. Trump said Friday when asked if the deal could fall apart before the two sides plan to sign it, at a summit of global leaders in Chile next month. “That can happen. I don’t think it will. I think we know each other very well.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Informal Trump advisor: China gave me some information on Hunter Biden last week

Westlake Legal Group c-1 Informal Trump advisor: China gave me some information on Hunter Biden last week Xi Jinping Trump The Blog Russia pillsbury joe hunter corruption China biden

The nice thing about soliciting foreign governments to investigate your would-be election opponent in full view of cameras on the White House lawn is that you only need to do it once. Never again does Trump need to repeat that request behind closed doors or send an emissary like Rudy Giuliani on his behalf. If you’re Beijing and you’re looking to soften up Trump’s position on the trade war or other global matters, you know what to do.

In fact, after reading this Financial Times story, I thought back to how quiet Trump has been about the NBA kerfuffle this week and about Hong Kong generally. A reporter specifically asked him last night if he was okay with the Chinese government pressuring the NBA over Hong Kong. That’s between them, said the president of the United States. Did he pass on criticizing China because, let’s face it, he’s an authoritarian by instinct himself and would love to have the power to silence corporate critics through economic pressure? Or did he pass on criticizing China because they’ve been cooperative lately in investigating corruption by family members of certain former U.S. officials?

Michael Pillsbury is an “informal” advisor to Trump on China, a trade hawk in the mold of Peter Navarro. He was in Beijing last week. Guess what subject came up.

“I got a quite a bit of background on Hunter Biden from the Chinese,” [Michael] Pillsbury told the Financial Times…

“I tried to bring up the topic in Beijing,” Mr Pillsbury told the [Fox Business channel]. “I’ve never seen them get so secretive in my entire life. They would discuss ICBM warheads sooner than talk about what Hunter Biden was doing in China with [former] vice-president Biden.”…

Mr Pillsbury declined to say whether he was asked to raise the issue by the president. The White House did not respond to a request for comment…

Asked to provide details about the information he received from his Chinese contacts, Mr Pillsbury would only say that it related to a $1.5bn payment from the Bank of China. That figure matches the amount that Mr Trump last week claimed Hunter Biden received from China — a statement that has not been backed up with any evidence.

Trump mentioned the sum of $1.5 billion last week in connection with Hunter Biden and China but it’s unclear where he got that number. The NYT notes that $1.5 billion happens to be the amount that a Chinese private equity firm was trying to raise in 2014; Hunter Biden sits on the board of that firm and owns 10 percent of it. The Bank of China is its biggest shareholder. The theory, I guess, is that the Chinese government is or was laundering bribes to Hunter Biden disguised as returns on investment in the firm, presumably to buy influence with his dad. But there’s no evidence of that. Did Pillsbury get some or is he just trying to mess with Joe Biden’s head in chattering about information on Hunter?

Either way, it’s an … interesting strategy to tell the media that a foreign state is giving you “background” on Biden’s son after the president encouraged that state to investigate him when Democrats are on the verge of impeaching Trump for exactly that offense in another context. Marco Rubio has taken to saying lately that Trump calling on China to investigate the Bidens was “inappropriate” but that ultimately it’s no big deal because it wasn’t a “real proposal,” just a bit of presidential trolling to bait the media. Now that he knows that Pillsbury has actually received information about Hunter Biden from China — and is being coy about whether the president himself asked him to raise the issue — does Marco want to revisit his opinion?

Here’s something else on the wires today. It’s not directly related to Ukraine but consider the substance of what Trump’s being accused of here.

President Donald Trump pressed then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to help persuade the Justice Department to drop a criminal case against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader who was a client of Rudy Giuliani, according to three people familiar with the 2017 meeting in the Oval Office.

Tillerson refused, arguing it would constitute interference in an ongoing investigation of the trader, Reza Zarrab, according to the people. They said other participants in the Oval Office were shocked by the request.

Tillerson immediately repeated his objections to then-chief of staff John Kelly in a hallway conversation just outside the Oval Office, emphasizing that the request would be illegal.

A high government official attempts to use the power of his office to disrupt a criminal investigation as a personal favor to the target of that investigation. That’s what Joe Biden is accused of in Ukraine — in Trump’s telling, he pressured the Ukrainian government to fire the prosecutor probing corruption at Burisma because he was afraid the probe might eventually reach Hunter Biden. Meanwhile, according to this Bloomberg story, Trump asked his chief diplomat to pressure prosecutors at the Justice Department into dropping a probe into Rudy Giuliani’s friend. In each case the goal is to spare a crony from legal consequences simply because he has a connection to the White House.

Is that going to end up tacked onto the Democrats’ articles of impeachment? If nothing else, “Trump did exactly what he accused Biden of doing” is a good talking point for them.

Exit question: Does China want Trump reelected next year? The easiest counterargument to the Pillsbury story is that it makes no sense that they would be trying to help Trump defeat Biden. Of the two, Trump is by far the bigger China hawk. Trump’s the one who’s damaged their economy with a protracted trade war. If anything, China might be inclined to offer Biden dirt on Trump, right?

I don’t know. Trump is certainly more of a threat economically than a Democrat would be, but arguably he’s less of a threat militarily than Democrats are. He’s telegraphed repeatedly via his outreach to North Korea and Iran how reluctant he is to go to war, preferring diplomacy even with the world’s worst rogue regimes. And he’s waaaaaaaay less of a believer in international alliances than virtually every prominent Democrat is. One of the reasons Obama pursued TPP at the end of his presidency was because he thought a trade alliance between the U.S. and China’s neighbords in the Far East would work to contain China’s regional influence. Trump left TPP. And he’s talked before about withdrawing U.S. troops from Japan and the Korean peninsula. And he’s made his disdain for NATO, America’s most significant military alliance, repeatedly clear. A second term for Trump might mean a protracted trade war with the U.S. but it might also see American withdrawal from various theaters — including the Far East — which would give China a freer hand to operate militarily in Hong Kong and Taiwan, among other places.

And maybe the trade war won’t be protracted. China understands that Trump is under pressure to end it sooner rather than later to spare American manufacturing and agriculture any more grief. Odds are no worse than fair that Trump will make a bad deal sometime next year to end the standoff purely in the interest of being able to tout the end of tariffmania on the campaign trail. Meanwhile, there’s no guarantee that a Democratic president wouldn’t continue the trade war if elected. Elizabeth Warren is a populist too and a skeptic of free trade, remember. And often policies passed by one administration have a certain inertia in persisting in succeeding administrations, even when they’re managed by the other party. (The words “Afghanistan” and “ObamaCare” come to mind.) China may believe that it’ll meet more hostility on balance from a Democratic president than it will from Trump, particularly if it earns his good favor by lending him a hand quietly in his reelection effort.

The post Informal Trump advisor: China gave me some information on Hunter Biden last week appeared first on Hot Air.

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Trump Publicly Urges China to Investigate the Bidens

Westlake Legal Group 03dc-prexy-promo-facebookJumbo Trump Publicly Urges China to Investigate the Bidens Xi Jinping United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Thursday publicly called on China to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., in an extraordinary presidential request to a foreign country for help that could benefit him in the 2020 election.

“China should start an investigation into the Bidens,” Mr. Trump said Thursday as he left the White House to travel to Florida where he was expected to announce an executive order on Medicare.

The call for China to investigate Mr. Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings there came as the first witness appeared on Capitol Hill to be interviewed by House investigators as part of an impeachment inquiry into the president’s request in a phone call for help from President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

Mr. Trump has defended his conversation with Mr. Zelensky as “perfect” even after a reconstructed transcript of the call was released that showed him seeking help from Ukraine in investigating the Bidens. And he doubled down on his request on Thursday.

“I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens,” Mr. Trump said. “Because nobody has any doubt that they weren’t crooked.”

These requests, which critics argue are an abuse of presidential power, echo comments Mr. Trump made as a presidential candidate in 2016 for Russia to release missing emails of his political opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Trump made the comments about China ahead of the latest round of trade talks, which are set to take place next week.

“We’re going to have a meeting with them, we’ll see,” Mr. Trump said of the talks. “I have a lot of options on China. But if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power.”

In calling for China to investigate the Bidens, Mr. Trump referred to a business deal Hunter Biden was in that involved a fund drawing from investment from the Chinese government-owned Bank of China.

The fund was announced in late 2013 — days after Hunter Biden and one of his daughters flew to China from Japan aboard Air Force Two with the vice president, who was in the midst of a diplomatic mission to calm rising tensions in the region, warning Chinese leaders not to use fighter jets to enforce an air defense zone created by Beijing over contested waters. Hunter Biden and his daughter participated in a few public events there with Mr. Biden.

The conservative author Peter Schweizer claimed that Hunter Biden used the trip to secure a deal with the Bank of China. That allegation has been echoed by Mr. Trump’s allies, and by the president himself on Thursday.

But a lawyer for Hunter Biden has said that he did not conduct any business related to the China investment fund on that trip, and that he was never an equity owner in the fund while his father was vice president. Hunter Biden later acquired a 10 percent interest in the entity that oversees the fund, but to date has not received any money from the arrangement, according to the lawyer.

Mr. Trump on Thursday said he had not personally asked President Xi for assistance. “But it’s certainly something we can start thinking about because I’m sure that President Xi does not like being under that kind of scrutiny.”

Mr. Trump’s suggestion that China investigate the Bidens comes as a delegation of senior Chinese officials is set to come to Washington next week for another round of trade negotiations. The two countries, which have been locked in a trade war, are hoping to make progress toward a deal after a breakdown in the talks in May, leading to an escalation of tariffs on each other’s goods.

Mr. Trump publicly continues to express ambivalence about the need for a deal while his advisers have been contemplating additional measures, such as banning Chinese companies from American stock exchanges, to inflict economic pain on China. The United States is expected to raise tariff rates on more Chinese imports on Oct. 15.

In recent weeks Mr. Trump has been raising the issue of Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China along with his allegations that his business in Ukraine represented conflicts of interest for his father, the former vice president. Mr. Trump’s Republican allies have also lodged such concerns.

In August, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking him whether the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States was improperly influenced by Mr. Biden in 2015 when it approved the acquisition of a United States automotive technology company, Henniges Automotive, by a Chinese company and an investment firm linked to Hunter Biden.

The Treasury Department has said that it was reviewing the case.

Alan Rappeport and Kenneth P. Vogel contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Protests Erupt Across Hong Kong, Overshadowing China’s Big Parade

BEIJING — China’s authoritarian president used the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule on Tuesday to pledge that nothing would stop his nation’s ascent. But the message was marred by some of the worst anti-government violence to convulse Hong Kong, including the first police shooting of a protester.

Anticipation of a confrontation in Hong Kong on the anniversary, which Chinese leaders in Beijing consider a sacrosanct event, had been building since the protests began this summer in the semiautonomous territory bordering southern China. It intensified in recent weeks as a combative core of protesters confronted police officers who have relied more heavily on force.

The split-screen contrast of tightly choreographed goose-stepping military formations in Beijing to celebrate the National Day versus the chaos of firebombs and rubber bullets in Hong Kong was jarring, and almost certainly infuriating to President Xi Jinping.

It laid bare how Mr. Xi’s image and agenda have become hostage to the months of protests, undermining his reputation for unshakable control.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161894055_ba3aff9d-4574-4c6e-91ff-05358d922069-articleLarge Protests Erupt Across Hong Kong, Overshadowing China’s Big Parade Xi Jinping Lam, Carrie (1957- ) Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Communist Party of China China

Riot police officers clash with protesters in Wong Tai Sin in Hong Kong on Tuesday.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

As the festivities in Beijing got underway, Mr. Xi offered his government as a guarantor of “prosperity and stability” in Hong Kong. But after the parade ended, protesters in Hong Kong directly challenged China’s hold over the city, clashing with the police in multiple neighborhoods that turned vast swathes of the territory into a tear gas-choked and bonfire-filled battlefield.

“I think they’ve succeeded in spoiling the show,” said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a professor of political science at Hong Kong Baptist University who specializes in Chinese politics. “The media will be split between covering the parade in Beijing and covering what’s happening in Hong Kong.”

For Mr. Xi, every element of the military parade and civilian march marking 70 years since Mao founded the People’s Republic was designed and meticulously rehearsed to show that his authoritarian policies were transforming China into a wealthy, militarily formidable and socially united superpower.

He presided over an 80-minute parade by China’s military that included the first public showing of a missile that can carry 10 nuclear warheads and hit anywhere in the United States. A civilian march displayed the country’s economic and technological accomplishments, including its homegrown C919 jetliner, its Jade Rabbit moon rover and a Long March space rocket.

“No force can shake the status of our great motherland,” Mr. Xi said, overlooking Tiananmen Square. “No force can obstruct the advance of the Chinese people and Chinese nation.”

Chinese soldiers sit atop tanks as they drive in a parade to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, on Tuesday.CreditKevin Frayer/Getty Images

While this year’s parade, as previous ones, was intended to strut the country’s military might, it also reflected a modernization program that Mr. Xi has pushed through the People’s Liberation Army.

Several new weapons made their first public appearances, including supersonic and stealth drones and an unmanned underwater vehicle. So did the country’s newest intercontinental ballistic missile, called the DF-41, that can deliver multiple nuclear warheads around the world.

“I’ve heard what President Xi has said about focusing on peace but I am also sure that China will not display weakness,” Gao Yuan, 23, a worker in Beijing’s high-tech district, said after watching the parade, one of an estimated 120 million who did so, according to state media. “We are very powerful — just look at our tanks and planes and you can see how very strong our country is.”

All the displays of China’s economic and military strength, however, seems unable to silence those in Hong Kong who oppose Mr. Xi’s increasingly intolerant ideological rule over China.

In his speech marking the national anniversary, Mr. Xi promised to keep Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” framework, designed to give it considerable legal and political autonomy after the British left in 1997. But critics say Mr. Xi has hijacked it to increase Chinese leverage over the city.

President Xi Jinping of China waves from Tiananmen Gate in Beijing during the National Day parade.CreditKevin Frayer/Getty Images

The protests started in June over a proposed law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where the party controls the courts. They quickly evolved into calls for police accountability and broader democratic reforms by protesters, who felt the Hong Kong political establishment had been overly beholden to Beijing and allowed it to erode their freedoms.

In Hong Kong, the protesters seized on China’s long-planned 70th anniversary celebrations as a moment to humble Mr. Xi. Tens of thousands marched through a busy shopping district in the afternoon despite a police ban. Chants of a popular protest slogan, “Reclaim Hong Kong; revolution of our times,” echoed off a canyon of skyscrapers and shuttered malls.

“I couldn’t just sit home today,” said Stanley Luk, 65, who owns a handbag factory on the mainland but joined the protest march. “There’s not much we can do. But at least we can tell Beijing no, we don’t want to live the way they do.”

Clashes quickly broke out in other areas where hundreds of black-clad protesters fought with riot police officers, lobbing firebombs, setting piles of trash on fire and attacking the premises of private businesses they deemed as sympathetic to Beijing.

When the protesters refused to retreat, the police fired bullets, mostly into the air.

But in the Tsuen Wan neighborhood, near Hong Kong’s border with the Chinese mainland, a police officer shot an 18-year-old in the left shoulder during a melee.

Westlake Legal Group Sequence-06-articleLarge Protests Erupt Across Hong Kong, Overshadowing China’s Big Parade Xi Jinping Lam, Carrie (1957- ) Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Communist Party of China China

115 Days of Hong Kong Protests. How Did We Get Here?

The protests started as peaceful marches and rallies against an unpopular bill. Then came dozens of rounds of tear gas and a government that refused to back down.

Video footage showed that before the shooting, a protester had been among a large group of people who tackled a police officer to the ground and beat him with what looked like metal pipes. That protester then turned to a second police officer, who was backed against a shuttered storefront with his gun drawn. The officer fired at close range, after the protester appeared to have hit him.

The shooting was likely to further inflame tensions in the territory. The protesters had already been enraged by what they see as police brutality over the summer, while supporters of the police have felt that the demonstrators have excessively tested the tolerance limits of the force.

Natalie Chan, a university student who was protesting on Tuesday night in the Tuen Mun district, not far from Tsuen Wan, said that the Hong Kong police were “hurting innocent people.”

“We can’t let them continue,” Ms. Chan said of the police, as nearby protesters smashed traffic lights and the windows of shops and restaurants.

Mr. Xi has never mentioned the tumult in the territory. And for months, he seemed to have decided to leave it to the Hong Kong authorities to handle.

Protesters engulfed in tear gas fired by the police in Hong Kong’s Wong Tai Sin neighborhood.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

The question now, with the holiday having passed, is whether Mr. Xi’s calculus will change. China is already facing myriad challenges — from the trade war with the United States to economic pressures that are slowing growth to the lowest level in years — that could make the authorities in Beijing lose patience with the defiance in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive, Carrie Lam, attended the parade, seated on the rostrum of the Tiananmen Gate with Mr. Xi, and former leaders, the members of the Communist Party’s Standing Committee and other provincial leaders. Her critics in Hong Kong derided her smiling presence in Beijing as that of a supplicant, not an autonomous leader, which illustrated the depth of the chasm between the two sides.

As evening fell and Beijing prepared for celebratory fireworks, Hong Kong had descended into some of the most intense clashes seen since the protests began almost four months ago.

The protests paralyzed large areas of the territory as major thoroughfares were blocked in tense standoffs between demonstrators and the police. Subway stations, libraries, shopping malls and storefronts were shut in nine districts where the protests erupted.

Sirens of ambulances and fire trucks wailed as the police chased and accosted the protesters. Some demonstrators burned Chinese flags and photographs of Mr. Xi. The police said some protesters attacked officers with a “corrosive fluid,” causing chemical burns, and threw gasoline bombs into a train compartment and onto a subway station platform.

Riot police officers advancing toward protesters in Hong Kong on Tuesday.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

In the end, more than 180 people were arrested, 25 officers were injured and 74 people were hospitalized including two in critical condition, the authorities said.

The Hong Kong police commissioner, Stephen Lo, told reporters at a midnight news conference that doctors were treating the 18-year-old who had been shot. Mr. Lo said the authorities would decide later whether to press charges against him for assaulting a police officer.

Mr. Lo also said the police officer who fired had acted in a “legal and reasonable” manner by giving a verbal warning beforehand, and that the officer had been forced to shoot after being assaulted at close quarters.

“The range was not determined by the police officer, but by the perpetrator,” he said.

But some Hong Kongers felt that the authorities were to blame for allowing the day to spiral into chaos.

In Wong Tai Sin, where the police fired tear gas near a retirement home, dozens of residents without masks or protest gear shouted at officers to retreat. Some mocked the city’s leader, Mrs. Lam, for having left town.

“I want to cry. I come downstairs and feel that I have walked into a war zone,” said Vincey Wu, a 53-year-old accountant. “Carrie Lam has gone off to celebrate National Day. But has she thought about her people who are breathing in tear gas?”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Protests Erupt in Hong Kong, Overshadowing China’s National Day Parade

BEIJING — China’s authoritarian president used the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule on Tuesday to pledge that nothing would stop his nation’s ascent. But the message was marred by some of the worst anti-government violence to convulse Hong Kong, including the first police shooting of a protester.

Anticipation of a confrontation in Hong Kong on the anniversary, which Chinese leaders in Beijing consider a sacrosanct event, had been building since the protests began this summer in the semiautonomous territory bordering southern China. It intensified in recent weeks as a combative core of protesters confronted police officers who have relied more heavily on force.

The split-screen contrast of tightly choreographed goose-stepping military formations in Beijing to celebrate the National Day versus the chaos of firebombs and rubber bullets in Hong Kong was jarring, and almost certainly infuriating to President Xi Jinping.

It laid bare how Mr. Xi’s image and agenda have become hostage to the months of protests, undermining his reputation for unshakable control.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161894055_ba3aff9d-4574-4c6e-91ff-05358d922069-articleLarge Protests Erupt in Hong Kong, Overshadowing China’s National Day Parade Xi Jinping Lam, Carrie (1957- ) Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Communist Party of China China

Riot police officers clash with protesters in Wong Tai Sin in Hong Kong on Tuesday.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

As the festivities in Beijing got underway, Mr. Xi offered his government as a guarantor of “prosperity and stability” in Hong Kong. But after the parade ended, protesters in Hong Kong directly challenged China’s hold over the city, clashing with the police in multiple neighborhoods that turned vast swathes of the territory into a tear gas-choked and bonfire-filled battlefield.

“I think they’ve succeeded in spoiling the show,” said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a professor of political science at Hong Kong Baptist University who specializes in Chinese politics. “The media will be split between covering the parade in Beijing and covering what’s happening in Hong Kong.”

For Mr. Xi, every element of the military parade and civilian march marking 70 years since Mao founded the People’s Republic was designed and meticulously rehearsed to show that his authoritarian policies were transforming China into a wealthy, militarily formidable and socially united superpower.

He presided over an 80-minute parade by China’s military that included the first public showing of a missile that can carry 10 nuclear warheads and hit anywhere in the United States. A civilian march displayed the country’s economic and technological accomplishments, including its homegrown C919 jetliner, its Jade Rabbit moon rover and a Long March space rocket.

“No force can shake the status of our great motherland,” Mr. Xi said, overlooking Tiananmen Square. “No force can obstruct the advance of the Chinese people and Chinese nation.”

Chinese soldiers sit atop tanks as they drive in a parade to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, on Tuesday.CreditKevin Frayer/Getty Images

While this year’s parade, as previous ones, was intended to strut the country’s military might, it also reflected a modernization program that Mr. Xi has pushed through the People’s Liberation Army.

Several new weapons made their first public appearances, including supersonic and stealth drones and an unmanned underwater vehicle. So did the country’s newest intercontinental ballistic missile, called the DF-41, that can deliver multiple nuclear warheads around the world.

“I’ve heard what President Xi has said about focusing on peace but I am also sure that China will not display weakness,” Gao Yuan, 23, a worker in Beijing’s high-tech district, said after watching the parade, one of an estimated 120 million who did so, according to state media. “We are very powerful — just look at our tanks and planes and you can see how very strong our country is.”

All the displays of China’s economic and military strength, however, seems unable to silence those in Hong Kong who oppose Mr. Xi’s increasingly intolerant ideological rule over China.

In his speech marking the national anniversary, Mr. Xi promised to keep Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” framework, designed to give it considerable legal and political autonomy after the British left in 1997. But critics say Mr. Xi has hijacked it to increase Chinese leverage over the city.

President Xi Jinping of China waves from Tiananmen Gate in Beijing during the National Day parade.CreditKevin Frayer/Getty Images

The protests started in June over a proposed law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where the party controls the courts. They quickly evolved into calls for police accountability and broader democratic reforms by protesters, who felt the Hong Kong political establishment had been overly beholden to Beijing and allowed it to erode their freedoms.

In Hong Kong, the protesters seized on China’s long-planned 70th anniversary celebrations as a moment to humble Mr. Xi. Tens of thousands marched through a busy shopping district in the afternoon despite a police ban. Chants of a popular protest slogan, “Reclaim Hong Kong; revolution of our times,” echoed off a canyon of skyscrapers and shuttered malls.

“I couldn’t just sit home today,” said Stanley Luk, 65, who owns a handbag factory on the mainland but joined the protest march. “There’s not much we can do. But at least we can tell Beijing no, we don’t want to live the way they do.”

Clashes quickly broke out in other areas where hundreds of black-clad protesters fought with riot police officers, lobbing firebombs, setting piles of trash on fire and attacking the premises of private businesses they deemed as sympathetic to Beijing.

When the protesters refused to retreat, the police fired bullets, mostly into the air.

But in the Tsuen Wan neighborhood, near Hong Kong’s border with the Chinese mainland, a police officer shot an 18-year-old in the left shoulder during a melee.

Westlake Legal Group Sequence-06-articleLarge Protests Erupt in Hong Kong, Overshadowing China’s National Day Parade Xi Jinping Lam, Carrie (1957- ) Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Communist Party of China China

115 Days of Hong Kong Protests. How Did We Get Here?

The protests started as peaceful marches and rallies against an unpopular bill. Then came dozens of rounds of tear gas and a government that refused to back down.

Video footage showed that before the shooting, a protester had been among a large group of people who tackled a police officer to the ground and beat him with what looked like metal pipes. That protester then turned to a second police officer, who was backed against a shuttered storefront with his gun drawn. The officer fired at close range, after the protester appeared to have hit him.

The shooting was likely to further inflame tensions in the territory. The protesters had already been enraged by what they see as police brutality over the summer, while supporters of the police have felt that the demonstrators have excessively tested the tolerance limits of the force.

Natalie Chan, a university student who was protesting on Tuesday night in the Tuen Mun district, not far from Tsuen Wan, said that the Hong Kong police were “hurting innocent people.”

“We can’t let them continue,” Ms. Chan said of the police, as nearby protesters smashed traffic lights and the windows of shops and restaurants.

Mr. Xi has never mentioned the tumult in the territory. And for months, he seemed to have decided to leave it to the Hong Kong authorities to handle.

Protesters engulfed in tear gas fired by the police in Hong Kong’s Wong Tai Sin neighborhood.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

The question now, with the holiday having passed, is whether Mr. Xi’s calculus will change. China is already facing myriad challenges — from the trade war with the United States to economic pressures that are slowing growth to the lowest level in years — that could make the authorities in Beijing lose patience with the defiance in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive, Carrie Lam, attended the parade, seated on the rostrum of the Tiananmen Gate with Mr. Xi, and former leaders, the members of the Communist Party’s Standing Committee and other provincial leaders. Her critics in Hong Kong derided her smiling presence in Beijing as that of a supplicant, not an autonomous leader, which illustrated the depth of the chasm between the two sides.

As evening fell and Beijing prepared for celebratory fireworks, Hong Kong had descended into some of the most intense clashes seen since the protests began almost four months ago.

The protests paralyzed large areas of the territory as major thoroughfares were blocked in tense standoffs between demonstrators and the police. Subway stations, libraries, shopping malls and storefronts were shut in nine districts where the protests erupted.

Sirens of ambulances and fire trucks wailed as the police chased and accosted the protesters. Some demonstrators burned Chinese flags and photographs of Mr. Xi. The police said some protesters attacked officers with a “corrosive fluid,” causing chemical burns, and threw gasoline bombs into a train compartment and onto a subway station platform.

Riot police officers advancing toward protesters in Hong Kong on Tuesday.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

In the end, more than 180 people were arrested, 25 officers were injured and 74 people were hospitalized including two in critical condition, the authorities said.

The Hong Kong police commissioner, Stephen Lo, told reporters at a midnight news conference that doctors were treating the 18-year-old who had been shot. Mr. Lo said the authorities would decide later whether to press charges against him for assaulting a police officer.

Mr. Lo also said the police officer who fired had acted in a “legal and reasonable” manner by giving a verbal warning beforehand, and that the officer had been forced to shoot after being assaulted at close quarters.

“The range was not determined by the police officer, but by the perpetrator,” he said.

But some Hong Kongers felt that the authorities were to blame for allowing the day to spiral into chaos.

In Wong Tai Sin, where the police fired tear gas near a retirement home, dozens of residents without masks or protest gear shouted at officers to retreat. Some mocked the city’s leader, Mrs. Lam, for having left town.

“I want to cry. I come downstairs and feel that I have walked into a war zone,” said Vincey Wu, a 53-year-old accountant. “Carrie Lam has gone off to celebrate National Day. But has she thought about her people who are breathing in tear gas?”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Protests Erupt Across Hong Kong, Overshadowing Xi’s Big Parade

BEIJING — China’s authoritarian president pledged at a politically sacrosanct anniversary on Tuesday that nothing would stop his nation’s ascent, but the message was marred by some of the worst anti-government violence to convulse Hong Kong, including the first police shooting of a protester.

Anticipation of a confrontation in Hong Kong on the anniversary — a holiday commemorating the 70th year of Communist rule in China — had been building since the protests began this summer in the semiautonomous territory. It intensified in recent weeks as an increasingly combative core of protesters confronted police officers who have relied more heavily on force.

The split-screen contrast of tightly choreographed goose-stepping military formations in Beijing to celebrate the National Day versus the chaos of firebombs and rubber bullets in Hong Kong was jarring, and almost certainly infuriating to President Xi Jinping.

It laid bare how Mr. Xi’s image and agenda have become hostage to the months of protests, undermining his reputation for unshakable control.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161894055_ba3aff9d-4574-4c6e-91ff-05358d922069-articleLarge Protests Erupt Across Hong Kong, Overshadowing Xi’s Big Parade Xi Jinping Lam, Carrie (1957- ) Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Communist Party of China China

Riot police officers clash with protesters in Wong Tai Sin in Hong Kong on Tuesday.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

As the festivities in Beijing got underway, Mr. Xi offered his government as a guarantor of “prosperity and stability” in Hong Kong. But after the parade ended, protesters in Hong Kong directly challenged China’s hold over the city, clashing with the police in multiple neighborhoods that turned vast swathes of the territory into a tear gas-choked and bonfire-filled battlefield.

“I think they’ve succeeded in spoiling the show,” said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a professor of political science at Hong Kong Baptist University who specializes in Chinese politics. “The media will be split between covering the parade in Beijing and covering what’s happening in Hong Kong.”

For Mr. Xi, every element of the military parade and civilian march marking 70 years since Mao founded the People’s Republic was designed and meticulously rehearsed to show that his authoritarian policies were transforming China into a wealthy, militarily formidable and socially united superpower.

He presided over an 80-minute parade by China’s military that included the first public showing of a missile that can carry 10 nuclear warheads and hit anywhere in the United States. A civilian march displayed the country’s economic and technological accomplishments, including its homegrown C919 jetliner, its Jade Rabbit moon rover and a Long March space rocket.

Chinese soldiers sit atop tanks as they drive in a parade to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, on Tuesday.CreditKevin Frayer/Getty Images

“No force can shake the status of our great motherland,” Mr. Xi said, overlooking Tiananmen Square. “No force can obstruct the advance of the Chinese people and Chinese nation.”

While this year’s parade, as previous ones, was intended to strut the country’s military might, it also reflected a modernization program that Mr. Xi has pushed through the People’s Liberation Army.

Several new weapons made their first public appearances, including supersonic and stealth drones and an unmanned underwater vehicle. So did the country’s newest intercontinental ballistic missile, called the DF-41, that can deliver multiple nuclear warheads around the world.

“I’ve heard what President Xi has said about focusing on peace but I am also sure that China will not display weakness,” Gao Yuan, 23, a worker in Beijing’s high-tech district,” said after watching the parade, one of an estimated 120 million who did so, according to state media. “We are very powerful — just look at our tanks and planes and you can see how very strong our country is.”

President Xi Jinping of China waves from Tiananmen Gate in Beijing during the National Day parade.CreditKevin Frayer/Getty Images

All the displays of China’s economic and military strength, however, seems unable to silence those in Hong Kong who oppose Mr. Xi’s increasingly intolerant ideological rule over China.

In his speech marking the national anniversary, Mr. Xi promised to keep Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” framework, designed to give it considerable legal and political autonomy after the British left in 1997. But critics say Mr. Xi has hijacked it to increase Chinese leverage over the city.

The protests started in June over a proposed law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where the party controls the courts. They quickly evolved into calls for police accountability and broader democratic reforms by protesters, who felt the Hong Kong political establishment had been overly beholden to Beijing and allowed it to erode their freedoms.

In Hong Kong, the protesters seized on China’s long-planned 70th anniversary celebrations as a moment to humble Mr. Xi. Tens of thousands marched through a busy shopping district in the afternoon despite a police ban. Chants of a popular protest slogan, “Reclaim Hong Kong; revolution of our times,” echoed off a canyon of skyscrapers and shuttered malls.

Westlake Legal Group Sequence-06-articleLarge Protests Erupt Across Hong Kong, Overshadowing Xi’s Big Parade Xi Jinping Lam, Carrie (1957- ) Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Communist Party of China China

115 Days of Hong Kong Protests. How Did We Get Here?

The protests started as peaceful marches and rallies against an unpopular bill. Then came dozens of rounds of tear gas and a government that refused to back down.

“I couldn’t just sit home today,” said Stanley Luk, 65, who owns a handbag factory on the mainland but joined the protest march. “There’s not much we can do. But at least we can tell Beijing no, we don’t want to live the way they do.”

Clashes quickly broke out in other areas where hundreds of black-clad protesters fought with riot police officers, lobbing firebombs, setting piles of trash on fire and attacking the premises of private businesses they deemed as sympathetic to Beijing.

When the protesters refused to retreat, the police fired bullets, mostly into the air.

But in the Tseun Wan neighborhood, near Hong Kong’s border with the Chinese mainland, a police officer shot an 18-year-old in the left shoulder during a melee.

Video footage showed that before the shooting, a protester had been among a large group of people who tackled a police officer to the ground and beat him with what looked like metal pipes. That protester then turned to a second police officer, who was backed against a shuttered storefront with his gun drawn. The officer fired at close range, after the protester appeared to have hit him.

Protesters engulfed in tear gas fired by the police in Hong Kong’s Wong Tai Sin neighborhood.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

The shooting was likely to further inflame tensions in the territory. The protesters had already been enraged by what they see as police brutality over the summer, while supporters of the police have felt that the demonstrators have excessively tested the tolerance limits of the force.

Natalie Chan, a university student who was protesting on Tuesday night in the Tuen Mun district, not far from Tsuen Wan, said that the Hong Kong police were “hurting innocent people.”

“We can’t let them continue,” Ms. Chan said of the police, as nearby protesters smashed traffic lights and the windows of shops and restaurants.

Mr. Xi has never mentioned the tumult in the territory. And for months, he seemed to have decided to leave it to the Hong Kong authorities to handle.

Riot police officers advancing toward protesters in Hong Kong on Tuesday.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

The question now, with the holiday having passed, is whether Mr. Xi’s calculus will change. China is already facing myriad challenges — from the trade war with the United States to economic pressures that are slowing growth to the lowest level in years — that could make the authorities in Beijing lose patience with the defiance in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive, Carrie Lam, attended the parade, seated on the rostrum of the Tiananmen Gate with Mr. Xi, and former leaders, the members of the Communist Party’s Standing Committee and other provincial leaders. Her critics in Hong Kong derided her smiling presence in Beijing as that of a supplicant, not an autonomous leader, which illustrated the depth of the chasm between the two sides.

As evening fell and Beijing prepared for celebratory fireworks, Hong Kong had descended into some of the most intense clashes seen since the protests began almost four months ago.

The protests paralyzed large areas of the territory as major thoroughfares were blocked in tense standoffs between demonstrators and the police. Subway stations, libraries, shopping malls and storefronts were shut in nine districts where the protests erupted.

Sirens of ambulances and fire trucks wailed the police chased and accosted the protesters. Some demonstrators burned Chinese flags and photographs of Mr. Xi. The police said some protesters attacked officers with a ‘corrosive fluid,’ causing chemical burns.

In Wong Tai Sin, where the police fired tear gas near a retirement home, dozens of residents without masks or protest gear shouted at officers to retreat. Some mocked the city’s leader, Mrs. Lam, for having left town.

“I want to cry. I come downstairs and feel that I have walked into a war zone,” said Vincey Wu, a 53-year-old accountant. “Carrie Lam has gone off to celebrate National Day. But has she thought about her people who are breathing in tear gas?”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Renewed protests in Hong Kong turn violent

Westlake Legal Group HongKong Renewed protests in Hong Kong turn violent Xi Jinping The Blog tear gas police Hong Kong protests Hong Kong China Carrie Lam

John wrote about the renewed protests in Hong Kong last night and credible fears of violence as China celebrates its 70th anniversary. Those fears turned out to be completely credible because it was only a matter of hours later before the teargas canisters were flying and both the police and the demonstrators were lodging accusations of excessive force and attacks against each other. The question on everyone’s mind appeared to be where Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has gotten off to. (NBC News)

Protests escalated through the weekend ahead of China’s National Day, leading to police and civilian injuries. Police said demonstrators threw as many as 100 Molotov cocktails while officers responded with tear gas, water cannons, over 300 rounds of rubber bullets and 79 sponge grenades, forms of riot control that can cause injuries or death. Eleven people were arrested Saturday and another 146 people were arrested Sunday — almost half of whom were students.

The protests were first sparked in June over a now-withdrawn extradition bill but have since expanded to include calls for greater democratic freedoms amid fears that rights are being eroded by Beijing’s growing control.

The demonstrations risk undermining both domestic and international perceptions of the authority and the power of China’s ruling Communist Party, experts say.

As usual in such cases, each side is blaming the other and verifiable facts from people on the scene are hard to come by. The police claim that protesters quickly began hurling Molotov cocktails. The demonstrators say that tear gas was fired at people who were doing nothing but talking. But the violence and damage are confirmed in numerous photos and videos posted on social media.

Things escalated when police fired at least one volley of live ammunition instead of rubber bullets. One protester was struck in the chest. That link goes to the South China Morning Post and they have a full day’s worth of updates and pictures from the scene.

The protester who was shot in the chest, thought to be a college student, was initially treated right on the sidewalk right where he fell. Later he was taken to a local hospital where staff leaked out a copy of his x-rays. The bullet remained lodged in his chest at the time of this writing.

Originally, these protests started in response to an extradition bill that would have made it easier for the Chinese government to grab up dissidents and take them for trial in mainland China. The bill was withdrawn, but the young people in the streets aren’t going away. Now they are issuing general calls for more independence from Beijing and autonomy for their city-state. We already know how China feels about that subject and their military is still parked near the border.

As it turns out, Carrie Lam isn’t even in the city at this point. She’s in Beijing, but it’s unclear if this sudden trip was made of her own volition or if she was summoned there by the Communist Party leadership. And that highlights one of the biggest problems that the demonstrators face. The “autonomy” of Hong Kong is, at this point, little more than a mirage. Their elections have been overridden by judges in China and the police clearly work on the side of China loyalists and take their orders from a higher source than their Chief Executive. And Lam herself knows her power rests in the hands of Xi Jinping.

Hong Kong was supposed to retain some form of autonomy until 2047 under the original deal, but in a very Darth Vader type fashion, Xi seems to have made changes to the deal. Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute in London, was quoted as saying, “The Communist Party of China does not forget and does not forgive, so don’t spoil their 70th anniversary. Somebody is going to pay the price.”

His words are looking more and more prescient.

The post Renewed protests in Hong Kong turn violent appeared first on Hot Air.

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In Pictures: China’s National Day Parade Features Pomp and Artillery

China kicked off an enormous military parade in Beijing on Tuesday to commemorate 70 years of Communist Party rule and celebrate the country’s emergence as a global power.

The parade — which included 100,000 performers, 15,000 goose-stepping soldiers and an array of heavy-duty weaponry — began in Tiananmen Square and was among the largest in modern Chinese history.

“The Chinese nation advanced along the grand road toward achieving its great rejuvenation,” the country’s top leader, Xi Jinping, told a crowd that included dignitaries, party members and foreign journalists before the parade started. He spoke from the Gate of Heavenly Peace, where Mao Zedong founded the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, 1949.

Mr. Xi, who wore a Mao-style suit, referred to Mao in his speech but did not mention his own predecessors as Chinese leaders — even as two previous presidents, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, stood nearby.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161883603_22c4e4e6-b36e-4944-afda-037cea1bb99d-articleLarge In Pictures: China’s National Day Parade Features Pomp and Artillery Xi Jinping Tiananmen Square (Beijing) People's Liberation Army (China) Parades Mao Zedong Jiang Zemin Hu Jintao Hong Kong Defense and Military Forces Communist Party of China China

The Chinese leader Xi Jinping rode in an open-top limousine to review the military parade.CreditWu Hong/EPA, via Shutterstock

Guests cheering as they waited for the parade to begin.CreditRoman Pilipey/EPA, via Shutterstock
Military aircraft flying over the celebration.CreditNg Han Guan/Associated Press
The DF-41, an intercontinental ballistic missile, made its first public appearance.CreditNg Han Guan/Associated Press
Tanks rolling past Tiananmen Square.CreditRoman Pilipey/EPA, via Shutterstock
China’s leaders watching the military parade. Mr. Xi referred to Mao Zedong in his speech.CreditGreg Baker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
A military honor guard march.CreditNg Han Guan/Associated Press
A float displays with a giant portrait of Mr. Xi, whose power is often compared to that of Mao Zedong.CreditKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Some of the 100,000 performers at the National Day parade.CreditNg Han Guan/Associated Press
One of the floats at the parade.CreditNg Han Guan/Associated Press
Performers with bicycles take part in the parade.CreditJason Lee/Reuters
Balloons being released during the parade.CreditKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Watching tanks heading back to the barracks from the parade.CreditGilles Sabrié for The New York Times
Performers leaving after the parade.CreditAly Song/Reuters
A fleet of military helicopters flapped into the sky to form the number “70.”CreditWang He/Getty Images
Neighborhood committee volunteers on watch in Beijing.CreditGilles Sabrié for The New York Times

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