China

China's Foreign Ministry has confirmed that an employee of Britain's Hong Kong consulate was detained nearly two weeks ago during a business trip to the mainland.

Although consulate officials suspected he'd been detained by Chinese authorities, Cheng's exact whereabouts had been unknown to family and friends since he disappeared on Aug. 8 in Shenzhen, a city in China's Guangdong province just across the border from Hong Kong.

The U.S. used to send a lot of its plastic waste to China to get recycled. But last year, China put the kibosh on imports of the world's waste. The policy, called National Sword, freaked out people in the U.S. — a huge market for plastic waste had just dried up.

Where was it all going to go now?

For months, Hong Kong's streets have seethed with discontent. Scenes from the semiautonomous region show protesters, sometimes numbering in the hundreds of thousands, many wearing surgical masks and carrying umbrellas that have come to signify resistance.

The images are astonishing, and the issues that set the protests in motion are complex.

So here's a primer breaking down the major players, why they have poured into the streets and the response so far from China.

Earlier this month, Chinese state media launched a domestic blitz depicting the Hong Kong protests as riots funded by the CIA. China-linked social media accounts then flooded Twitter and Facebook with thousands of pro-Beijing posts and targeted advertisements.

Social media companies are now pushing back.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is extending a reprieve for Huawei Technologies and U.S. companies working with the telecom giant by 90 days, the Commerce Department announced Monday.

On a sultry recent afternoon, throngs of people in Hong Kong's North Point district lined King's Road, waiting tensely for black-clad young protesters to march through. In the mostly male crowd, many wore T-shirts with Chinese national flag stickers, identifying them as coming from China's Fujian province, several hundred miles northeast of Hong Kong.

A banner over the road bore the message "Please do not interfere with our liberties, please go back," making it clear that the protesters were not welcome in this neighborhood.

An epidemic of African Swine Fever is sweeping through China's hog farms, and the effects are rippling across the globe, because China is a superpower of pork. Half of the world's pigs live in China — or at least they did before the epidemic began a year ago.

"Every day, we hear of more outbreaks," says Christine McCracken, a senior analyst at RaboResearch, which is affiliated with the global financial firm Rabobank.

As anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong enter their third month, China's leaders face a new challenge: managing perceptions of the protests at home.

China is anxious the protests might inspire similar dissent on the mainland, where huge swathes of territory — including the regions of Xinjiang and Tibet — have also seen numerous instances of opposition to Beijing's governance.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Operations at Hong Kong International Airport appeared to be returning to normal on Wednesday after riot police used batons and pepper spray to break up days of protests there that had brought flights to a standstill.

The stock market soared Tuesday on news that the Trump administration is postponing some tariffs on Chinese imports this fall, sparing popular consumer items such as cellphones and laptops until after the Christmas shopping season. It's only a partial reprieve, though. Other Chinese imports will still be hit with a 10% tariff on Sept. 1, as scheduled. The administration reportedly was guided by which products could most easily be obtained outside China. But there were still some head-scratchers on the tariff lists.

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