Hong Kong protests force concession
The US press followed the days of mass protests in Hong Kong against a draft law that would allow citizens and foreigners to be extradited to mainland China. The Washington Post headlined, “hundreds of thousands rally against bill,” while the New York Times led with, “Beijing digs in as battle boils in Hong Kong.”
The New York Times – June 13th
By the end of the week, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, had backed down and suspended the bill. The Los Angeles Times headlined, “Resistance yields results in Hong Kong.” The Independent’s headline was, “People power defies People’s Republic ."
The Independent – June 16th
The Wall Street Journal congratulated the Hong Kong demonstrators for a showing the brutal face of Chinese rule and warned that, “Beijing fears the territory because it is an example of how free Chinese can govern themselves.”
The Times Diplomatic Editor Roger Boyes argued that Beijing is fearful that such examples of peaceful dissent could spread to mainland China and that this is therefore a chance for the West to show the superiority of democratic government. “Standing up for the rule of law in Hong Kong and the independence of democratic Taiwan is what will determine the outcome of this titanic East-West struggle.”
Yuen Ying Chan, a professor at Hong Kong University, wrote in The New York Times that Hong Kong’s people, “… are struggling to defend their freedoms but sidestepping direct confrontation with Beijing … Maybe, this time, the people of Hong Kong will have the last laugh.”
US blames Iran for tanker attacks
The Daily Telegraph – June 14th
The New York Times headlined Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blaming Tehran for the attacks on two tankers in the Gulf and the US putting Iran “on notice.” The paper was concerned that, “Iran and the US are on a collision course,” and advised President Trump to listen to, “his deal-making reflex, not his hawkish advisers.”
But New York Times columnist Brett Stephens urged the US to declare it will now destroy Iranian ships that carry out such attacks. “The world cannot tolerate freelance Somali pirates. Much less should it tolerate a pirate state seeking to hold the global economy hostage through multiplying acts of economic terrorism.”
The Daily Telegraph’s view was that, “if these attacks turn out to be demonstrably the work of Tehran or even of an unofficial Iranian faction, then a united international response will be crucial.”
But the Washington Post argued that President Trump has, “backed himself into a dangerous corner on Iran,” and he should, “pursue a credible diplomatic outreach to Iran… and set goals that are achievable. De-escalation by both sides would be a good start.”
The Guardian also warned against a military response, saying, “an attack that causes mass fatalities, or any American death, could send this precarious situation over the edge.”
Johnson leads race to be British PM
Financial Times – June 11th
The British press was heavily focused all week on the first round of voting by members of the Conservative (Tory) Party to find a new leader to succeed Theresa May – and therefore become the next British prime minister. Ten candidates were in the running to “replace May in Downing Street,” The Financial Times pointed out.
Daily Express – June 14th
The result of the first round of voting showed that Boris Johnson, former Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary, was well in the lead. “Who can stop Boris now?” asked the Daily Express.
The Telegraph also argued that Johnson, “brings not only experience to the contest but an infectious optimism … and he is the one candidate able to win an election.”
But The Guardian argued that Johnson was a bad Foreign Secretary and that by making Johnson the frontrunner, “Tory MPs are abandoning seriousness and responsibility as qualifications to be prime minister.”