Since then, the Chinese Communist Party has moved to rein in public protest and contention over women’s rights, and fewer such cases have burst onto the internet.

An exception was in July, when the police detained Kris Wu, a popular Canadian Chinese singer, after an 18-year-old university student in Beijing accused him of offering young women like her help with their careers, and then pressing them to have sex. He has denied the accusations.

Mr. Wu was formally arrested last month on suspicion of rape. His case became one in a number of scandals that have prompted the Chinese government to crack down on youth celebrity culture and warn actors and performers to stick to official rules for propriety.

Ms. Zhou has been barred from Weibo, the popular Chinese social media service where her claims against Mr. Zhu first spread. (His lawsuit against her has still not gone to trial.)

Traditional state-run media outlets were ordered not to cover Ms. Zhou’s claims and lawsuit, according to three journalists who received the instructions and asked for anonymity because of the risk of repercussions. But word of Ms. Zhou’s loss in court rippled across Chinese social media on Wednesday. Many reactions that remained on Weibo were critical of her, some accusing her of making up her claims and acting as a pawn for forces hostile to China. Her supporters said that, despite the setback, she had set a lasting example.

“I was very disappointed, but it didn’t surprise me,” said Zheng Xi, 34, a feminist in Hangzhou, in eastern China. “Her persistence in the last three years has educated and enlightened many people.”

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Techtronic Industries présente une exceptionnelle croissance des ventes au premier semestre

HONG KONG–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Basée à Hong Kong, le spécialiste international des équipements électriques et des solutions d’entretien des sols Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd. (“TTI” ou le “Groupe”) (code mnémonique: 669, symbole ADR: TTNDY) a annoncé ses résultats pour les six mois clos au 30 juin 2021. Le Groupe a généré des résultats extraordinaires pour le premier semestre de 2021, avec des ventes en hausse de 52,0% à 6,4 milliards USD. La marge brute s’est améliorée pour le 13e premier semestre consécutif à 38,6%, et les croissances de l’EBIT, du bénéfice net, et du bénéfice par action ont toutes dépassé la croissance des ventes. L’EBIT a augmenté de 57,4% à 572 millions USD, le bénéfice net a augmenté de 57,9% à 524 millions USD, et le bénéfice par action a augmenté de 57,8% à environ 28,62 centimes USD par action.

Faits saillants de la performance financière pour le S1 2021

 

 

 

 

2021*

USD en

millions

2020

USD en

millions

 

 

Variation

Chiffre d’affaires

6 394

4 206

+52,0%

Marge bénéficiaire brute

38,6%

38,0%

+58 pts de base

EBIT

572

363

+57,4%

Bénéfice attribuable aux propriétaires de la Société

524

332

+57,9%

Bénéfice de base par action (centimes USD)

28,62

18,14

+57,8%

Dividende intermédiaire par action (centimes USD approx.)

10,94

6,82

+60,4%

*Pour la période de six mois clos au 30 juin 2021

Le fonds de roulement en pourcentage des ventes s’élève à 18,3%, en-dessous de l’objectif de 20,0% ou moins. Le Groupe continue de construire stratégiquement un inventaire pour soutenir son exceptionnelle croissance supérieure au marché, afin de répondre aux attentes de sa clientèle avec des niveaux de service élevés, et de protéger la société contre d’éventuels pannes de composants critiques.

Le segment TTI Équipements électriques a généré une croissance des ventes de 55,3% à 5,8 milliards USD. Toutes les géographies et unités commerciales ont contribué à cette performance spectaculaire au premier semestre 2021. L’activité phare Milwaukee a fourni une croissance globale phénoménale de 64,1%. RYOBI a présenté une performance exceptionnelle sur l’ensemble des marques avec une solide croissance à deux chiffres dans toutes les catégories et géographies. En outre, l’activité Entretien et nettoyage des sols a représenté 9,0% des ventes totales de TTI, avec une augmentation des ventes de 25,3%, à 574 millions USD.

M. Horst Pudwill, président du conseil de TTI, a déclaré: “Chez TTI, nous avons mis sur pied une équipe de premier plan et félicitons l’ensemble de l’organisation pour avoir fourni de solides résultats. Nous sommes fiers des décisions stratégiques audacieuses qui ont été prises durant ces 18 derniers moins afin de nous positionner favorablement pour un solide second semestre 2021”.

M. Joseph Galli, PDG de TTI, a déclaré: “Les résultats du premier semestre de TTI témoignent clairement de notre position de leader, de notre dynamisme et de notre potentiel futur. Notre nouvelle machine de production à haut rendement nous permet de gagner des parts de marché, tout en continuant à améliorer la marge brute pour atteindre de nouveaux sommets.”

À propos de TTI

Fondé en 1985 et coté à la Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited depuis 1990, TTI est un chef de file mondial de la technologie sans fil pour les outils électriques, les équipements électriques d’extérieur, les produits et solutions de nettoyage des sols pour un usage ménager, professionnel et industriel dans les secteurs de la maison, de la construction, de l’entretien, de l’industrie et de l’infrastructure. La Société repose sur quatre piliers stratégiques – les marques phares, les produits innovants, les talents d’exception et l’excellence opérationnelle – reflétant une vision expansive et durable de la technologie sans fil. Notre stratégie de croissance mondiale, reflet d’une quête indéfectible de l’innovation, a porté TTI à l’avant-garde de son secteur. Le solide portefeuille de marque de TTI comprend les outils électriques, accessoires et outils à main MILWAUKEE, AEG et RYOBI, les produits d’extérieur RYOBI et HOMELITE, les produits d’aménagement et de mesure EMPIRE, et les produits et solutions de nettoyage des sols HOOVER, ORECK, VAX et DIRT DEVIL.

TTI est coté aux Hang Seng Index, FTSE RAFI™ All-World 3000 Index, FTSE4Good Developed Index et MSCI ACWI Index. Pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez visiter www.ttigroup.com.

Toutes les marques commerciales mentionnées autres qu’AEG et RYOBI sont détenues par le Groupe. AEG est une marque déposée d’AB Electrolux (publ.), et utilisée sous licence. RYOBI est une marque déposée de Ryobi Limited, utilisée sous licence.

Le texte du communiqué issu d’une traduction ne doit d’aucune manière être considéré comme officiel. La seule version du communiqué qui fasse foi est celle du communiqué dans sa langue d’origine. La traduction devra toujours être confrontée au texte source, qui fera jurisprudence.

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For China’s Business Elites, Staying Out of Politics Is No Longer an Option

Internet infrastructure operators like Didi must now prove their political and legal legitimacy to the government, Ma Changbo, an online media start-up founder, wrote on his WeChat social media account.

“This is the second half of the U.S.-China decoupling,” he wrote. “In the capital market, the model of playing both sides of the fence is coming to an end.”

Didi, Ms. Liu and Mr. Liu didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

China’s internet companies have benefited from the best of two worlds since the 1990s. Many received foreign venture funding — Alibaba, the e-commerce giant, was funded by Yahoo and SoftBank, while Tencent, another internet titan, was backed by South Africa’s Naspers. They also copied their business models from Silicon Valley companies.

The Chinese companies gained further advantages when Beijing blocked almost all big American internet companies from its domestic market, giving its home players plenty of room to grow. Many Chinese internet firms later went public in New York, where investors have a bigger appetite for innovative and risky start-ups than in Shanghai or Hong Kong. So far this year, more than 35 Chinese companies have gone public in the United States.

Now the Didi crackdown is changing the calculations for many in China’s tech industry. One entrepreneur who has set her sights on a listing in New York for her enterprise software start-up said it would be harder to go public in Hong Kong with a high valuation because what her company did — software as a service — was a relatively new idea in China.

A venture capitalist in Beijing added that because of China’s data security requirements, it was now unlikely that start-ups in artificial intelligence and software as a service would consider going public in New York. Few people were willing to speak on the record for fear of retaliation by Beijing.

At the same time, the United States has become more hostile to Chinese tech companies and investors. As Washington has ramped up its scrutiny of deals that involve sensitive technologies, it has become almost impossible for Chinese venture firms to invest in Silicon Valley start-ups, several investors said.

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As China’s Communist Party Turns 100, Xi Warns It Will Not Be Bullied

China’s rise is unstoppable, Xi Jinping declared. The country will not be lectured. And those who try to block its ascent will hit a “Great Wall of steel.”

Mr. Xi, the most powerful Chinese leader in generations, delivered the defiant message in a speech in Beijing on Thursday that celebrated 100 years of the Chinese Communist Party.

The speech was laden with symbols intended to show that China and its ruling party would not tolerate foreign obstruction on the country’s path to becoming a superpower. The event’s pageantry symbolized a powerful nation firmly, yet comfortably, in control: A crowd of 70,000 people waved flags, sang and cheered in unison. Troops marched and jets flew overhead in perfect formations. And each time Mr. Xi made a pugnacious comment, the crowd applauded and roared approval.

At times, Mr. Xi’s strident words seemed aimed as much at Washington as at the hundreds of millions of Chinese who watched on their televisions. The biggest applause from the handpicked, Covid-screened audience on Tiananmen Square came when he declared that China would not be pushed around.

transformative leader guiding China into a new era of global strength and rejuvenated one-party rule. And the stagecraft was focused on conveying a modern, powerful nation largely at ease while much of the world still struggles with the pandemic.

He trumpeted the party’s success in tamping down Covid-19, reducing poverty and firmly quashing dissent in Hong Kong, the former British colony. With splashes of bellicose rhetoric, he dismissed challenges from abroad, asserting that Beijing had little appetite for what it saw as sanctimonious preaching.

China’s tensions with the United States and other rivals. But his effort to portray unity carried an unmistakable meaning as Beijing faces new challenges abroad.

The Biden administration has cast the United States as leading a global struggle to defend democratic ideals against the spread of China’s model of authoritarianism. President Biden has worked quickly to rally Western allies to press China over human rights and tensions in the South China Sea. Beijing has been especially incensed by Western sanctions over Hong Kong and the western region of Xinjiang, two places where Mr. Xi has tightened the party’s control with draconian measures.

“His speech clearly hinted at the United States, the audience in China won’t miss that,” Deng Yuwen, a former editor of a Communist Party newspaper who now lives in the United States, said by telephone. “His other message that stood out was that the party is the representative of the people’s and the whole country’s interests — nobody can try to split the party from the nation; they’re a unified whole.”

The theme of a party and nation united behind Mr. Xi will remain prominent in the lead-up to a Communist Party congress late next year, at which he is expected to gain a third five-year term as the party’s leader. That step would break with the expectation, set by his predecessor, Hu Jintao, that Chinese leaders stay in power for two terms. Mr. Xi’s speech will now be studied and acclaimed by party officials as part of the rituals that ensure they stay obedient.

historic sites to pay homage to the party’s revolutionary leaders. It has tightened security around the country, confining dissidents and stationing police officers and neighborhood volunteers to keep watch across the capital for weeks.

Alleys and overpasses in Beijing have been decked in red party banners. Chinese state television is scheduled to show more than a hundred television dramas celebrating the party, many of them depictions of revolutionary heroes. A light show on the riverfront in Shanghai has flashed the slogan, “There would be no new China without the Communist Party.” Another light display shone the Communist hammer and sickle onto clouds over Shenzhen, a flashily commercial city in the south.

Beijing’s intensive preparations for this anniversary pointed to how crucial controlling public memory is to China’s leaders, perhaps above all Mr. Xi, a leader who has cited his family roots in the party’s revolutionary heritage and his disdain for liberal values. Predictably, he made no mention in his speech of China’s setbacks over the decades of Communist Party rule, such as Mao’s Cultural Revolution and the deadly crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

many signals were missed.

  • One Year Later in Hong Kong: Neighbors are urged to report on one another. Children are taught to look for traitors. The Communist Party is remaking the city.
  • Mapping Out China’s Post-Covid Path: Xi Jinping, China’s leader, is seeking to balance confidence and caution as his country strides ahead while other places continue to grapple with the pandemic.
  • A Challenge to U.S. Global Leadership: As President Biden predicts a struggle between democracies and their opponents, Beijing is eager to champion the other side.
  • ‘Red Tourism’ Flourishes: New and improved attractions dedicated to the Communist Party’s history, or a sanitized version of it, are drawing crowds ahead of the party’s centennial.
  • Mr. Xi paid respects to Mao, Deng and other past leaders, but the real focus of his speech was clear. He highlighted the country’s achievements since he took office in 2012: eradicating poverty, achieving greater economic prosperity and building a strong military. He used his longtime catchphrase, “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” 21 times.

    95 million members of the Communist Party of China are found in every corner of society, from one of the country’s richest men, Jack Ma, to virtually every village. And Mr. Xi swiped at critics who have said that the party and the Chinese people should not be treated as a united whole.

    senior officer had said earlier that military personnel would stay at their posts to “safeguard the peace and security of the motherland.” Still, squadrons of helicopters flew over Tiananmen Square, carrying red banners and forming the figure 100, followed by fighter jets in a perfect array. Mr. Xi repeatedly stressed his determination to build up China’s military.

    China suppressed the coronavirus relatively quickly last year while the United States, Britain and other democracies suffered waves of deaths. But the country must tackle challenges, such as an aging population that could slow growth. Mr. Xi suggested that the solution to any problem demanded staying with the party.

    “Long live the Chinese Communist Party, great, glorious and correct,” he said at the end of his speech. “Long live the Chinese people, great, glorious and heroic.”

    Steven Lee Myers contributed reporting. Liu Yi, You Li, Claire Fu, Albee Zhang and Joy Dong contributed research.

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    Hong Kong’s Security Law: One Year Later, a City Remade

    HONG KONG — With each passing day, the boundary between Hong Kong and the rest of China fades faster.

    The Chinese Communist Party is remaking this city, permeating its once vibrant, irreverent character with ever more overt signs of its authoritarian will. The very texture of daily life is under assault as Beijing molds Hong Kong into something more familiar, more docile.

    Residents now swarm police hotlines with reports about disloyal neighbors or colleagues. Teachers have been told to imbue students with patriotic fervor through 48-volume book sets called “My Home Is in China.” Public libraries have removed dozens of books from circulation, including one about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

    when antigovernment protests erupted.

    Now, armed with the expansive national security law it imposed on the city one year ago, Beijing is pushing to turn Hong Kong into another of its mainland megacities: economic engines where dissent is immediately smothered.

    goose-step in the Chinese military fashion, replacing decades of British-style marching. City leaders regularly denounce “external elements” bent on undermining the country’s stability.

    Senior officials in Hong Kong have assembled, right hands raised, to pledge fealty to the country, just as mainland bureaucrats are regularly called on to “biao tai,” Mandarin for “declaring your stance.”

    also warn of termination or other vague consequences if violated. Mr. Li had heard some supervisors nagging his colleagues to fill out the form right away, he said, and employees competing to say how quickly they had complied.

    “The rules that were to protect everyone — as employees and also as citizens — are being weakened,” Mr. Li said.

    purge candidates it deemed disloyal, Beijing called the change “perfecting Hong Kong’s electoral system.” When Apple Daily, a major pro-democracy newspaper, was forced to close after the police arrested its top executives, the party said the publication had abused “so-called freedom of the press.” When dozens of opposition politicians organized an informal election primary, Chinese officials accused them of subversion and arrested them.

    helped lead an operation that smuggled students and academics out of the mainland.

    But Beijing is more sophisticated now than in 1989, Mr. Chan said. It had cowed Hong Kong even without sending in troops; that demanded respect.

    end of an era.

    The rush of mainland money has brought some new conditions.

    declaring that those who do not go risk missing opportunities.

    Growing up in Hong Kong, Toby Wong, 23, had never considered working on the mainland. Her mother came from the mainland decades earlier for work. Salaries there were considerably lower.

    promising to subsidize nearly $1,300 of a $2,300 monthly wage — higher than that of many entry-level positions at home. A high-speed rail between the two cities meant she could return on weekends to see her mother, whom Ms. Wong must financially support.

    Ms. Wong applied to two Chinese technology companies.

    “This isn’t a political question,” she said. “It’s a practical question.”

    many signals were missed.

  • Mapping Out China’s Post-Covid Path: Xi Jinping, China’s leader, is seeking to balance confidence and caution as his country strides ahead while other places continue to grapple with the pandemic.
  • A Challenge to U.S. Global Leadership: As President Biden predicts a struggle between democracies and their opponents, Beijing is eager to champion the other side.
  • ‘Red Tourism’ Flourishes: New and improved attractions dedicated to the Communist Party’s history, or a sanitized version of it, are drawing crowds ahead of the party’s centennial.
  • The Hong Kong government has issued hundreds of pages of new curriculum guidelines designed to instill “affection for the Chinese people.” Geography classes must affirm China’s control over disputed areas of the South China Sea. Students as young as 6 will learn the offenses under the security law.

    Lo Kit Ling, who teaches a high school civics course, is now careful to say only positive things about China in class. While she had always tried to offer multiple perspectives on any topic, she said, she worries that a critical view could be quoted out of context by a student or parent.

    accused it of poisoning Hong Kong’s youth. The course had encouraged students to analyze China critically, teaching the country’s economic successes alongside topics such as the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

    Officials have ordered the subject replaced with a truncated version that emphasizes the positive.

    “It’s not teaching,” Ms. Lo said. “It’s just like a kind of brainwashing.” She will teach an elective on hospitality studies instead.

    Schoolchildren are not the only ones being asked to watch for dissent. In November, the Hong Kong police opened a hotline for reporting suspected violations of the security law. An official recently applauded residents for leaving more than 100,000 messages in six months. This week, the police arrested a 37-year-old man and accused him of sedition, after receiving reports that stickers pasted on the gate of an apartment unit potentially violated the security law.

    most effective tools of social control on the mainland. It is designed to deter people like Johnny Yui Siu Lau, a radio host in Hong Kong, from being quite so free in his criticisms of China.

    Mr. Lau said a producer recently told him that a listener had reported him to the broadcast authority.

    “It will be a competition or a struggle, how the Hong Kong people can protect the freedom of speech,” Mr. Lau said.

    censor films deemed a danger to national security. Some officials have demanded that artwork by dissidents like Ai Weiwei be barred from museums.

    Still, Hong Kong is not yet just another mainland metropolis. Residents have proved fiercely unwilling to relinquish freedom, and some have rushed to preserve totems of a discrete Hong Kong identity.

    font of hope and pride amid a resurgence in interest in Canto-pop.

    Last summer, Herbert Chow, who owns Chickeeduck, a children’s clothing chain, installed a seven-foot figurine of a protester — a woman wearing a gas mask and thrusting a protest flag — and other protest art in his stores.

    But Mr. Chow, 57, has come under pressure from his landlords, several of whom have refused to renew his leases. There were 13 Chickeeduck stores in Hong Kong last year; now there are five. He said he was uncertain how long his city could keep resisting Beijing’s inroads.

    “Fear — it can make you stronger, because you don’t want to live under fear,” he said. Or “it can kill your desire to fight.”

    Joy Dong contributed research.

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    Hong Kong Protester Faces City’s First Security Law Trial

    HONG KONG — Nearly a year ago, a 23-year-old ramen cook rode a motorcycle through a Hong Kong neighborhood, flying a large flag emblazoned with a popular antigovernment protest slogan. He collided into several riot police officers as they tried to stop him.

    In a different era, the rider, Tong Ying-kit, might have been accused of dangerous driving and assaulting a police officer. Instead, the authorities arrested him last July under a draconian national security law Beijing had imposed on Hong Kong, only hours earlier, that took aim at dissent and other political activity challenging China’s rule.

    Mr. Tong stood trial on Wednesday, the first among the more than 100 people in Hong Kong who have been arrested under the sweeping new rules. His case is a test of how the city’s vaunted judicial system, based on British common law principles of fairness and independence, will interpret and enforce Beijing’s far-reaching security law, in which political crimes are vaguely defined. China says the law is necessary to root out threats to Beijing’s sovereignty, but human rights activists, opposition leaders and scholars have said the law puts the city’s judicial independence in peril.

    “The national security law constitutes one of the greatest threats to human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong since the 1997 handover,” wrote Lydia Wong and Thomas Kellogg, scholars at Georgetown Law School, in a report in February.

    arrested more than 50 opposition politicians — most of the leading figures in the city’s beleaguered pro-democracy camp — for organizing an informal election primary, accusing them of trying to overthrow the government.

    They have arrested Jimmy Lai, a pugnacious media tycoon, and top editors at his stridently pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, accusing them of conspiring to collude with foreign forces, the first time the law has been used to target news organizations.

    As part of the same investigation, the police on Wednesday also arrested one of the paper’s journalists, Yeung Ching-kee, who wrote columns and editorials under the pen name Li Ping.

    The authorities have also used the security law, to a lesser extent, against ordinary protesters such as Mr. Tong. Little is known about Mr. Tong, even now, one year after his arrest. A former lawmaker who has met him said he was a cook at a ramen restaurant who took part in pro-democracy protests in 2019 and helped provide first aid.

    Even before Mr. Tong’s first day in court, his case has raised questions about whether the security law has empowered the authorities to chip away at the legal protections that had until now been typically granted to defendants.

    charged under the law have been released on bail.

    power to do so under the new law has been seen by critics as eroding the autonomy of the courts.

    How the judges parse the specific charges against Mr. Tong will be scrutinized for whether the law is being used to curb genuine threats to China’s security, or merely to stifle voices critical of the ruling Communist Party.

    Mr. Kellogg of Georgetown questioned whether Mr. Tong’s act of driving into the police officers qualified as terrorism. “It’s not clear to me that Tong was engaged in the sort of organized, planned and often large-scale political violence that is the hallmark of terror attacks,” he said.

    The police obtained hundreds of videos of Mr. Tong’s ride, and about 20 of those were introduced into evidence at his trial. The prosecutors and defense attorneys are likely to argue over whether Mr. Tong intentionally drove into the police officers. Three officers were injured as they moved to stop him.

    The terrorism charge, and the allegation of violence it carries, makes Mr. Tong’s case unusual. But his other offense, centering on political expression, has become commonplace.

    The slogan emblazoned on his flag, “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times,” was coined by a now-imprisoned activist, Edward Leung, in 2016. During the 2019 protests it became ubiquitous: a rallying cry that was chanted by students in schoolyards and protesters in street marches, emblazoned on banners and graffitied on walls that have since been painted over.

    Mr. Tong’s lawyers are expected to argue, as have many protesters, that the phrase represents a desire to reclaim Hong Kong’s unique identity from the heavy-handed influence of Beijing. The government has said the slogan represents a call for independence, and thus violates the security law.

    That a political slogan could constitute a criminal offense is still a new and unsettling idea in Hong Kong, where residents had for decades enjoyed the right to protest, freedoms largely unseen in mainland China.

    “We must bear in mind the context. The words he had, we need to understand that during that period those words were quite commonly spoken and exhibited on many flags and banners in peaceful and even non-peaceful protests in Hong Kong,” said Eric Cheung, a law lecturer at the University of Hong Kong.

    “The meaning of these words differ from person to person,” Mr. Cheung said. “You now say that using these words carry only that meaning which amount to intention to subvert the country, I think that is a debate.”

    Even if Mr. Tong is not convicted of terrorism, he faces a separate charge of causing grievous bodily harm by dangerous driving, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

    As he awaited trial, Mr. Tong was sharing a cell with 10 men, according to Shiu Ka-chun, a former lawmaker who wrote on his social media page last year that he had been visiting him regularly. Mr. Shiu declined to comment about Mr. Tong. But in his social media posts, he wrote that Mr. Tong has been reading books on history, including a memoir by Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan’s first democratically elected president.

    “For those comrades who are continuing to take a stand, he says wait and be patient,” Mr. Shiu wrote. “For those who have left Hong Kong, he looks upon that calmly and thinks, ‘Hong Kong is in your hearts, everywhere is Hong Kong.’”

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    Soho China Sells to Blackstone, Cementing Owners’ Exit

    China’s economy is on a tear. Factories are humming, and foreign investment is flowing in. Even so, the wealthy and powerful people atop some of the country’s most prominent companies are heading for the exits.

    The latest are Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, the husband-and-wife team that runs Soho China, a property developer known for its blobby, futuristic office buildings. In striking a deal this week to sell a controlling stake to the investment giant Blackstone for as much as $3 billion, Mr. Pan and Ms. Zhang are turning over the company as high-profile entrepreneurs come under public and official scrutiny in China like never before.

    Soho China did not respond to a request for comment.

    China’s most famous tycoon, the Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, has kept an uncharacteristically low profile since late last year, when the government began a regulatory crackdown on his companies and the wider internet industry. Colin Huang, founder of the Alibaba rival Pinduoduo, resigned as chairman in March, less than a year after he stepped down as chief executive. In May, Zhang Yiming, founder of TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, said he would hand over the chief executive post to focus on long-term strategy.

    Under the Communist Party’s top leader, Xi Jinping, nationalism has been resurgent in China, and the government has sought to exert more direct influence over the private sector. Even before this week’s sale, Mr. Pan and Ms. Zhang of Soho China had been avoiding the spotlight more than they did during an earlier, freer era of China’s economic revival.

    going after businesspeople and intellectuals with big online followings. The police that year arrested Wang Gongquan, a friend of Mr. Pan’s and supporter of human rights causes, on charges of disrupting public order.

    Mr. Pan and Ms. Zhang began selling off property holdings in China and spending more time in the United States. The family of Ms. Zhang and the Safra family of Brazil, long involved in international banking, teamed up to buy a 40 percent stake in the General Motors building in Manhattan.

    They noted that the couple donated generously to Harvard and Yale but not to Chinese universities.

    After media reports accused Soho China of “fleeing” Shanghai by selling projects there, Mr. Pan wrote on Weibo: “Buying and selling is normal. Don’t read too much into it.”

    The company’s last big public event was the opening of Leeza Soho, a lithe, spiraling skyscraper in Beijing, in late 2019. Zaha Hadid, the famed architect who designed the tower and a friend of Ms. Zhang’s, had died a few years earlier.

    Last year, Ren Zhiqiang, a retired property mogul and friend of Mr. Pan’s, was detained for an essay he shared with friends on a private chat group. The essay criticized Mr. Xi’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak and the direction he was taking the country. Mr. Ren was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

    Today, Mr. Pan’s and Ms. Zhang’s Weibo accounts are filled with bland, friendly material: holiday greetings, book recommendations, photos of flowers in bloom outside Soho China buildings. Both of their accounts are set to display only the past half year’s posts.

    On Wednesday night, minutes after Soho China announced the sale on its official Weibo account, Mr. Pan reposted the announcement without comment, in what online commentators called a “silent farewell.”

    Albee Zhang contributed research.

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    Why Asia, the Pandemic Champion, Remains Miles Away From the Finish Line

    SYDNEY, Australia — All across the Asia-Pacific region, the countries that led the world in containing the coronavirus are now languishing in the race to put it behind them.

    While the United States, which has suffered far more grievous outbreaks, is now filling stadiums with vaccinated fans and cramming airplanes with summer vacationers, the pandemic champions of the East are still stuck in a cycle of uncertainty, restrictions and isolation.

    In southern China, the spread of the Delta variant led to a sudden lockdown in Guangzhou, a major industrial capital. Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and Australia have also clamped down after recent outbreaks, while Japan is dealing with its own weariness from a fourth round of infections, spiked with fears of viral disaster from the Olympics.

    the new outbreak in southern China will affect busy port terminals there. Across Asia, faltering vaccine rollouts could also open the door to spiraling variant-fueled lockdowns that inflict new damage on economies, push out political leaders and alter power dynamics between nations.

    The risks are rooted in decisions made months ago, before the pandemic had inflicted the worst of its carnage.

    blocked the export of 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine meant for Australia to control its own raging outbreak. Other shipments were delayed because of manufacturing issues.

    “The supplies of purchased vaccine actually landing on docks — it’s fair to say they are not anywhere near the purchase commitments,” said Richard Maude, a senior fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute in Australia.

    with the United States and Europe.

    In Asia, about 20 percent of people have received at least one dose of a vaccine, with Japan, for example, at just 14 percent. By contrast, the figure is nearly 45 percent in France, more than 50 percent in the United States and more than 60 percent in Britain.

    Instagram, where Americans once scolded Hollywood stars for enjoying mask-free life in zero-Covid Australia, is now studded with images of grinning New Yorkers hugging just-vaccinated friends. While snapshots from Paris show smiling diners at cafes that are wooing summer tourists, in Seoul, people are obsessively refreshing apps that locate leftover doses, usually finding nothing.

    “Does the leftover vaccine exist?” one Twitter user recently asked. “Or has it disappeared in 0.001 seconds because it is like a ticket for the front-row seat of a K-pop idol concert?”

    keep its borders closed for another year. Japan is currently barring almost all nonresidents from entering the country, and intense scrutiny of overseas arrivals in China has left multinational businesses without key workers.

    The immediate future for many places in Asia seems likely to be defined by frantic optimization.

    China’s response to the outbreak in Guangzhou — testing millions of people in days, shutting down entire neighborhoods — is a rapid-fire reprise of how it has handled previous flare-ups. Few inside the country expect this approach to change anytime soon, especially as the Delta variant, which has devastated India, is now beginning to circulate.

    has threatened residents with fines of around $450 for refusing vaccines. Vietnam has responded to its recent spike in infections by asking the public for donations to a Covid-19 vaccine fund. And in Hong Kong, officials and business leaders are offering a range of inducements to ease severe vaccine hesitancy.

    Nonetheless, the prognosis for much of Asia this year is billboard obvious: The disease is not defeated, and won’t be anytime soon. Even those lucky enough to get a vaccine often leave with mixed emotions.

    “This is the way out of the pandemic,” said Kate Tebbutt, 41, a lawyer who last week had just received her first shot of the Pfizer vaccine at the Royal Exhibition Building near Melbourne’s central business district. “I think we should be further ahead than where we are.”

    Reporting was contributed by Raymond Zhong in Taipei, Taiwan, Ben Dooley in Tokyo, Sui-Lee Wee in Singapore, Youmi Kim in Seoul and Yan Zhuang in Melbourne, Australia.

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    China Says It Will Allow Couples to Have 3 Children, Up From 2

    China said on Monday that it would allow all married couples to have three children, ending a two-child policy that has failed to raise the country’s declining birthrates and avert a demographic crisis.

    The announcement by the ruling Communist Party represents an acknowledgment that its limits on reproduction, the world’s toughest, have jeopardized the country’s future. The labor pool is shrinking and the population is graying, threatening the industrial strategy that China has used for decades to emerge from poverty to become an economic powerhouse.

    But it is far from clear that relaxing the policy further will pay off. People in China have responded coolly to the party’s earlier move, in 2016, to allow couples to have two children. To them, such measures do little to assuage their anxiety over the rising cost of education and of supporting aging parents, made worse by the lack of day care and the pervasive culture of long work hours.

    In a nod to those concerns, the party also indicated on Monday that it would improve maternity leave and workplace protections, pledging to make it easier for couples to have more children. But those protections are all but absent for single mothers in China, who despite the push for more children still lack access to benefits.

    when the number of babies born dropped to the lowest since the Mao era. The country’s total fertility rate — an estimate of the number of children born over a woman’s lifetime — now stands at 1.3, well below the replacement rate of 2.1, raising the possibility of a shrinking population over time.

    The announcement on Monday still splits the difference between individual reproductive rights and government limits over women’s bodies. Prominent voices within China have called on the party to scrap its restrictions on births altogether. But Beijing, under Xi Jinping, the party leader who has pushed for greater control in the daily lives of the country’s 1.4 billion people, has resisted.

    “Opening it up to three children is far from enough,” said Huang Wenzheng, a demography expert with the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing-based research center. “It should be fully liberalized, and giving birth should be strongly encouraged.”

    “This should be regarded as a crisis for the survival of the Chinese nation, even beyond the pandemic and other environmental issues,” Mr. Huang added. “There should never have been a birth restriction policy in the first place. So it’s not a question of whether this is too late.”

    The party made the announcement after a meeting by the Politburo, a top decision-making body, though it was not immediately clear when the change would take effect. In an acknowledgment that raising the birth limits might not be enough, the party also pledged to beef up support for families, though it did not provide details.

    tacitly allowing couples to have three children.

    But more couples now embrace the concept that one child is enough, a cultural shift that has dragged down birthrates. And some say they are not interested in children at all, even after the latest announcement.

    “No matter how many babies they open it up to, I’m not going to have any because children are too troublesome and expensive,” said Li Shan, a 26-year-old product manager at an internet company in Beijing. “I’m impatient and worried that I won’t be able to educate the child well.”

    forcing women of Muslim ethnic minorities, like the Uyghurs, to have fewer babies in an effort to suppress their population growth.

    A full reversal of the rules could also be seen as a repudiation of a deeply unpopular policy that the party has long defended.

    “If a government makes a U-turn today in the West, it’s kind of embarrassing,” said Stuart Gietel-Basten, a professor of social science and public policy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “But in a country like China, where the same party has been in charge for 70 years or so, then it makes a statement on the policies that were implemented. And so that’s why I think any change that goes through will be quite gradual.”

    For decades, China’s family-planning restrictions empowered the authorities to impose fines on most couples who had more than one child and compel hundreds of millions of Chinese women to undergo invasive procedures.

    Gao Bin, a 27-year-old seller of lottery tickets in the eastern city of Qingdao, recalled how his mother had to flee to three different places just to escape family-planning officials because she wanted to keep him. He said that his mother still cries when she recounts those days.

    “To be honest, when I saw the announcement of this policy, I was pretty angry,” Mr. Gao said. “I think the government lacks a humane attitude when it comes to fertility.”

    Claire Fu and Elsie Chen contributed research.

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    Hong Kong Has a New Type of Prisoner: Pro-Democracy Activists

    HONG KONG — A half year after he got out of prison, Daniel Tang has made a habit of going back. He waits in spare, crowded corridors. He greets familiar faces among the fellow visitors and guards. He brings books, postage stamps, writing paper and packets of M&Ms.

    Mr. Tang is visiting people like him who were imprisoned for their role in the pro-democracy street protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2019. He travels three hours, round-trip, for a 15-minute chat through a thick plate of glass, sometimes with a total stranger. He summons a cheery, chatty demeanor, when he feels anything but.

    “You owe them your best face,” he said. “If you’re not feeling right, don’t even bother going.”

    Mr. Tang and many of those he meets with represent a new breed of convict in Hong Kong: activists who opposed the Chinese Communist Party’s growing power in the city. This group — often including college students or white-collar professionals — rose up two years ago in a historic campaign of public disobedience that led to clashes with police on the streets and focused the world’s attention on the future of the Asian financial capital.

    tough new laws imposed by Beijing, mass arrests and the hazards of the coronavirus. Now, with dim job prospects, a fraught political future and the unending threat of another arrest, those protesters are emblematic of the uncertainties facing the city’s stricken democracy movement.

    about 7,000 people. Beijing’s imposition last year of a national security law gives prosecutors greater powers to target even more.

    Many of the activists are contemplating a future in exile. Others struggle to stay committed to the cause for which they sit behind bars.

    “Being sentenced to jail fractures people,” said Alex Chow, a 30-year-old activist who spent a brief time in jail for his role as a leader of protests in 2014, a precursor to the 2019 demonstrations. He now lives in exile in the United States.

    as well as veterans. Those sentenced to prison so far include Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam, young leaders of the 2014 protests. Wong Ji-yuet, 23, and Owen Chow, 24, activists who participated in a primary election that was organized by the pro-democracy camp, are awaiting trial in solitary confinement after they were charged with endangering national security.

    For many young people in jail, the sentences have redrawn their lives.

    Jackie Yeung, a 23-year-old university student serving a three-year prison sentence, said she had abandoned the “typical ambitions” she used to harbor — getting a good job and an apartment in a family-friendly district.

    statement ahead of her sentencing. “And I have no way of comforting them through the glass in the visitation room in prison.”

    She dreams of opening up a small business importing Taiwanese pineapples after she and a Taiwanese cellmate are released. With the profits, she would support other young people by helping to pay their legal fees and living expenses. “To do anything, you need money,” she said.

    To make things easier on prisoners, Mr. Tang and some other activists have banded together to provide support. They write letters and gazettes to catch people up with protest news and raise funds to pay for better meals in jail while protesters await trials.

    Mr. Tang frequently sees Ms. Yeung. During one visit to her prison near the border with the mainland city of Shenzhen, he brought pens and stamps. He left the stamps, but was unable to give her the pens, as it would have exceeded her monthly allowance of two.

    For all of his dedication, Mr. Tang, who spent more than a half-year imprisoned after pleading guilty to arson charges, says it doesn’t feel like it’s enough.

    “Many Hong Kongers have moved on and moved away and don’t think about how there is a group of people sitting behind bars for the movement we all fought for,” said Mr. Tang, who is in his late 30s. “It seems many have forgotten.”

    Far from radicalizing during his time on the inside, Mr. Tang now struggles with cynicism and meaning in a city that suddenly seems unfamiliar. He has been disheartened by the protest movement’s stagnation and by the waves of migration out of the city. The camaraderie of protest has been replaced by dread of ever more targeted arrests. He sees it all as an abandonment of values and believes that escape is a privilege unavailable to many.

    Mr. Tang’s protester friends from prison also seem to be moving on. A group chat they kept, called the “Lai Chi Kok Prisoners,” after the facility where they were detained, still lights up occasionally with holiday greetings and vague laments. But few want to talk politics. Sometimes those in prison that do speak out seem to be exaggerating their place in the movement. He rolls his eyes at one prisoner, who has taken to calling himself Mandela 2.0.

    “All that we have left is our relationships with one another,” he said. “Some seem ready to let that go.”

    Yet, for Mr. Tang, there is no road back — not that he’d take it. His former employer was understanding, but let him go when his absence stretched on. He has been unable to access his life savings, he said, after his bank account was frozen over automated donations he made in 2019 to a protester bail fund that police placed under investigation.

    He has applied to managerial jobs like those he had worked in the past, only to be turned away because of his criminal record. Now, he’s mulling applying for a taxi license or working in construction.

    He still faces four charges related to the protests that were filed just days before his release from prison. The thought of officers at his door has kept him away from the apartment he shares with his mother. He tells her he now works a night shift, and she doesn’t press him.

    “I’m really tired,” Mr. Tang said. “The government has left us no room to resist and nowhere to go.”

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