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On his first trip outside mainland China since before the Covid-19 pandemic, President Xi Jinping is set to mark the 25th anniversary of the former colony’s return to Chinese sovereignty by presiding over the swearing in of Hong Kong leader John Lee.
Chinese and Hong Kong security services are on heightened alert for Xi’s two-day trip. Ahead of the president’s arrival in a city that was rocked by pro-democracy protests in 2019, no-fly zones have been imposed over large areas and the People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong has boasted of its combat readiness.
“The high-level security deployment has reflected Beijing’s growing concern over national security as well as the safety of state leaders at the highest level,” said Willy Lam, a political analyst at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Xi’s visit will probably be free of protests after democracy activists were warned by national security officials to stay at home. Many opposition figures are already in jail or exile. Before the imposition of a strict national security law on Hong Kong in June 2020, the annual July 1 handover anniversary was often marked by large pro-democracy protests.
Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Here’s the rest of today’s news — Emily
Five more stories in the news
1. Investigation: China lured graduate jobseekers into digital espionage Chinese university students have been lured to work at a secretive technology company to spy on western targets and translate hacked documents as part of Beijing’s industrial-scale intelligence regime, a Financial Times investigation has found.
2. Chinese stocks set for largest monthly rise since 2020 Chinese equities are on course for the biggest monthly gain in almost two years as investors bet the worst of a lockdown-induced economic shock and extended tech sector crackdown in the country has passed.
More markets news: US stocks recorded their worst first-half slump in more than 50 years. US stocks have shed more than $9tn in market value since the end of 2021, according to Bloomberg data.
3. Russian forces withdraw from Snake Island Russia withdrew forces from the strategic Black Sea outpost of Snake Island in what the defence ministry described as a “gesture of goodwill” to help restore Ukrainian grain shipments, but which Kyiv claimed was a humiliating retreat.
4. Singapore regulator censures crypto fund Three Arrows Singapore’s markets regulator has reprimanded Three Arrows Capital for filing false information, dealing a further blow to the crypto hedge fund being liquidated over its failed bets.
5. Ferdinand Marcos Jr takes office Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr promised to invest heavily in infrastructure, mitigate the impact of climate change and “shed the last bead of sweat” for his countrymen as he took office as the Philippines’ 17th president.
The day ahead
Japan unemployment rate May unemployment data is expected to remain flat at 2.5 per cent, according to a Reuters poll. (Reuters)
PMI data Caixin and S&P Global manufacturing purchasing managers’ index data are set to be released in China, France, Italy, UK, and US.
ECB ends its bond-buying scheme The European Central Bank will end part of its stimulus measures introduced a decade ago, to help battle stubbornly high inflation.
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What else we’re reading and listening to
We must stop sleepwalking towards a surveillance state The scope and frequency of biometrics usage is exploding while the line between what is acceptable and unacceptable is growing fuzzier, writes John Thornhill. The most glaring concern about the use of such data is how it strengthens surveillance capabilities in ways with no accountability, most notably in China.
Would carbon food labels change the way you shop? Environmentally friendly food shopping can be a challenge, as consumers demand “honest, transparent labelling of food”. Find out how your favourite supermarket items stack up in terms of carbon cost with our interactive scales.
It’s time to call a truce in the ‘war for talent’ Business leaders love a dash of machismo glorifying their desk jobs but the “war for talent” makes me cringe, writes Emma Jacobs. This star system persists in some form in most organisations, she says, adding that the fetishisation of talent omits the work of their organisation or team. For more coverage of workplace trends, sign up for our weekly Working It newsletter.
How tea plantations are testing private equity Last year Unilever reached a $5bn deal to sell part of its tea business to private equity giant CVC Capital. But with its roots in colonialism, tea plantations around the world have faced many issues, including accusations of human rights abuses. This week’s episode of Behind the Money features an interview with one worker whose life was forever changed by violence on her plantation.
Japan’s AGM season shines a light on corporate governance Heading into Japan’s 2022 season of annual general meetings, the prospects for pyrotechnics seemed high. In a steady erosion of corporate complacency, a record (by some margin) number of companies (77) faced a record number of shareholder proposals (292) this year. But these three carried a wider resonance, writes Leo Lewis.
Few sports are as tuned for cheating as tennis. From the sidelines, it can be difficult to distinguish a player who is having a bad day from one who is losing on purpose. That corruption lies at the heart of Nicolás Kicker’s story.
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