Speaking Of Asia: Shinzo Abe gains on Xi Jinping after Hong Kong poll

A good summit in Japan would ease pressure on China's leader, now having to deal with the Hong Kong election blow as well

It was only six weeks ago that Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a clear and very dire warning against dissent: Anyone attempting to divide China will end up having their "bodies smashed and bones ground to powder". Though he did not name any particular region, the remarks were read as squarely aimed at Hong Kong, where months of protests have grown increasingly violent and destructive.

After this week's district council elections that saw a record high turnout of Hong Kong voters deliver 17 of 18 councils to pro-democracy candidates - a stunning landslide any way you look at it - it is clear that public anger with the establishment has by no means abated, even five months into disruptive protests against a now-withdrawn extradition Bill. If anything, the hostility and pressure for change have grown stronger.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2019, with the headline 'Abe gains on Xi after HK poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe