Daily Archives: August 14, 2019

Hong Kong tensions rise amid stepped up protests

Published on Aug 14, 2019
Protesters have apologized for disruptions, but they’re also promising to keep up the fight for greater autonomy from Beijing. The unrest comes as China’s paramilitary is making its presence felt near Hong Kong.

The Fight Over Conservation And The ‘Creation of America’s Public Lands’ | On Point

August 12, 2019
The John Muir trail near the Nevada Falls, left, bears the imprints of thousands of hikers’ boots on Sept. 6, 1972. (William Straeter/AP)

Editor’s note: Just after broadcast, the Trump administration announced a broad set of changes to how the Endangered Species Act is enforced. Wildlife advocates warn that the changes will make it easier for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ignore imperiled species and their habitat.

With Meghna Chakrabarti

The battling philosophies around conservation that gave us the public lands we have today ⁠— and what we can learn from the debate.

Guest

John Clayton, author, journalist and essayist. His new book is “Natural Rivals: John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, and the Creation of America’s Public Lands.” (@JohnClaytonMT)

How We Lie To Ourselves Online: Exploring Self-Delusion With Jia Tolentino | On Point

New Yorker writer and author Jia Tolentino. (Elena Mudd)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino explores modern culture through her experience as a millennial, and how social media shapes identity.

Guest

Jia Tolentino, author of “Trick Mirror: Reflections On Self-Delusion.” Staff writer at The New Yorker. Former deputy editor at Jezebel and a contributing editor at the Hairpin. (@jiatolentino)

Excerpt from “Trick Mirror” by Jia Tolentino

New Yorker: “Losing Religion and Finding Ecstasy in Houston” — “The church I grew up in was so big we called it the Repentagon. It was not a single structure but a thirty-four-million-dollar campus, built in the nineteen-eighties and spread across forty-two acres in a leafy, white neighborhood ten miles west of downtown Houston. A circular drive with a fountain in the middle led up to a bone-white sanctuary that sat eight hundred; next to it was a small chapel, modest and humble, with pale-blue walls. There was also a school, a restaurant, a bookstore, three basketball courts, an exercise center, and a cavernous mirrored atrium. There was a dried-out field with bleachers and, next to it, a sprawling playground; during the school year, the rutting rhythm of football practice bled into the cacophony of recess through a porous border of mossy oaks. Mall-size parking lots circled the campus; on Sundays, it looked like a car dealership, and during the week it looked like a fortress, surrounded by an asphalt moat. At the middle of everything was an eight-sided, six-story corporate cathedral called the Worship Center, which sat six thousand people. Inside were two huge balconies, a jumbotron, an organ with nearly two hundred stops and more than ten thousand pipes, and a glowing baptismal font. My mom sometimes worked as a cameraperson for church services, filming every backward dip into the water as though it were a major-league pitch. There was tiered seating for a baby-boomer choir that sang at the nine-thirty service, a performance area for the Gen X house band at eleven, and sky-high stained-glass windows depicting the beginning and end of the world. You could spend your whole life inside the Repentagon, starting in nursery school, continuing through twelfth grade, getting married in the chapel, attending adult Bible study every weekend, baptizing your children in the Worship Center, and meeting your fellow-retirees for racquetball and a chicken-salad sandwich, secure in the knowledge that your loved ones would gather in the sanctuary to honor you after your death.

“The church was founded in 1927, and the school was established two decades later. By the time I got there, in the mid-nineties, Houston was entering an era of glossy, self-satisfied power, enjoying the dominance of Southern evangelicals and the spoils of extractive Texan empires—Halliburton, Enron, Exxon, Bush. Associate pastors flogged fund-raising campaigns during Sunday services, working to convert the considerable wealth of the church’s tithing population into ostentatious new displays. When I was in high school, the church built a fifth floor with a train for children to play in, and a teen-youth-group space called the Hangar, which featured the nose of a plane half crashed through a wall.

Made In China: A Look At China’s Rapidly Growing Economy | NBC News Now

NBC News

Published on Jul 10, 2019

NBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel visits China to take an inside look at the country’s booming growth.

How China is crushing the Uighurs | The Economist

The Economist

Published on Jul 9, 2019

China’s Muslim Uighurs face systematic oppression from their own government. Their home province of Xinjiang has been turned into a police state—an estimated one million of them are detained in camps where they are brainwashed. How and why are China’s leaders doing this?

Hong Kong protests: what’s at stake for China? | The Economist

The Economist

Published on Aug 14, 2019

The Hong Kong protests are the most serious challenge to the Communist Party’s authority since the Tiananmen Square massacre. China’s leaders must choose between two mortal dangers: the collapse of economic stability, or the acceptance that protests can limit the party’s absolute power.

Find out more here: https://econ.st/2YKYdWV
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This protester calls himself “Bruce”. We’ve hidden his face and obscured his voice to protect his identity. He’s one of the millions of Hong Kongers taking to the streets.

What started as a protest against an extradition bill has become the most serious challenge to the Communist Party’s authority since the Tiananmen Square protest three decades ago. As the demonstrations enter a third month neither the government nor the protesters is willing to back down.

But it’s not enough to deter the demonstrators. So what happens now?

Hong Kong is one of the most important financial centres in the world. And it has a unique status. It’s a city in China but it’s not entirely Chinese. It has its own currency, its own passport… its own legal system. There’s even a boundary between Hong Kong and the rest of China and you need a permit to cross it. This is all down to its history.

In 1842 Hong Kong was ceded by the Chinese to the British after the first Opium War. But in 1997 Britain gave it back to China. With one important condition – for 50 years Hong Kong was to be governed under what is known as “one country, two systems”. The chief executive who runs Hong Kong would be appointed by a pro-Chinese committee. But the city was guaranteed a high degree of autonomy with its own government, legal system and economic independence until 2047. Over the past decade those rights have been eroded.

Fuller democracy, promised as part of the handover agreement has yet to be granted by China.

China’s grip has got ever tighter. In 2012 the government tried to install a patriotic pro-Chinese education system. Then five Hong Kong booksellers who sold material banned in mainland China disappeared. In 2016 pro-democracy opposition leaders were thrown out of Hong Kong’s parliament for insulting China when swearing their oaths. And then in February this year the government introduced a bill which would have allowed extradition to the mainland.

All this is fuelling the protesters’ anger.

As the protests get larger and more violent the chance of China intervening increases. Beijing has made thinly veiled threats to send in its military forces – the People’s Liberation Army.

In 1989 a student demonstration in Beijing ended in massacre. Hundreds, maybe thousands, were shot dead. For the Chinese government the Hong Kong demonstrators are defying the authority of a Communist leadership that cannot tolerate defiance. Another fear is some protesters’ demand for full independence. But military intervention would be a very risky strategy for Beijing

In 1993 Hong Kong’s GDP accounted for more than a quarter of mainland China’s. Today China’s remarkable rise means that Hong Kong’s economic output makes up less than 3% of the mainland’s. But Hong Kong remains important for China. Multinationals use it as a launch pad to the mainland and it gives Chinese companies access to the rest of the world.

So how the turmoil is resolved matters to more than just the people of Hong Kong.

This all comes at a time when China and America are waging a trade and technology war. Bloodshed on Hong Kong’s streets would make relations deteriorate even further. Beijing is now blaming outsiders for the trouble.

For China the situation has become much more than a dispute over a law. It’s become an existential threat. Bruce and the other protesters are holding their breath.

China’s Communist rulers must choose between two mortal dangers – the collapse of economic stability and prosperity, or the acceptance that protests can limit the Party’s absolute power.

CBS and Viacom Announce Merger

Aug 14, 2019

CBS and Viacom announced Tuesday they would rejoin forces after splitting in 2006. The two companies, along with Paramount Pictures studio, are attempting to head off competition from entertainment giants like Disney and streaming services including Netflix. The deal is the latest megamerger in the media world, after AT&T acquired Time Warner for $80 billion and Disney took over 21st Century Fox business for over $70 billion last year.