(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
We’re covering the real estate that ties mainland China more closely to Hong Kong, New Zealand’s partial lockdown and a reckoning in Australia over a history of oppression.
Luxury homes tie China’s elite to Hong Kong
Li Qianxin, the elder daughter of the Chinese Communist Party’s No. 3 leader, has quietly crafted a life in Hong Kong among the city’s financial elite.
For years, she has mingled with senior executives of state companies and represented Hong Kong in Chinese political advisory groups. She also owns expensive real estate. She and other relatives of top Communist officials are embedded in the fabric of Hong Kong’s economy.
As the party takes a stronger hand in Hong Kong, the leadership in Beijing has a vested interest in the city’s fate: Ms. Li’s father oversaw the passage of the new national security law there. The law could protect the families of party leaders by stopping protests that damage the economy, or it could hurt them by driving down business confidence in the territory. It could also expose them to sanctions.
Details: Our reporters found that three top leaders of China’s Communist Party have relatives who own assets in Hong Kong, including more than $51 million in luxury real estate. Many of them keep low profiles. Ms. Li declined requests for comment from The Times.
Apple Daily becomes a target and a test case
A raid on the tabloid owned by Jimmy Lai propelled it into the international spotlight. It also set off waves of support from pro-Democracy residents.
Mr. Lai was released on bail on Wednesday, while the paper, which often breaks some of the biggest news in Hong Kong, has itself become one of the city’s biggest stories. Reporters, going to great lengths to hide source information, detailed the arrest in their coverage and analyzed the legal implications of the crackdown.
Related: Joshua Wong, the democracy activist, wrote in our Opinion section that there were still ways for people to fight back.
New Zealand returns to partial lockdown
Four people from the same family were found to have been infected from an unknown source, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, the country’s top health official, said on Tuesday. The first case in the new cluster was a person who had no history of traveling abroad. Active cases in the country are up to 22. Auckland, where the family lives, restricted people to their homes other than for essential purposes for three days.
Checkpoints were set up to prevent people from leaving. The rest of the country is following social distancing measures, and nursing homes are barring all visitors. Officials are looking into the possibility that the virus was imported by freight, or other lapses in border controls.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
The Paris marathon has been canceled, its organizers said on Wednesday, as France faces rising virus cases that will extend restrictions on public gatherings through the fall.
Pranab Mukherjee, 84, a former president of India, tested positive for the coronavirus this week during a hospital visit for brain surgery and was put on a ventilator after his health deteriorated, The Hindustan Times reported.
If you have 5 minutes, this is worth it
Australia reckons with an oppressive history
Thousands of South Pacific islanders were lured to Australian plantations in the 19th century through deception, force and a colonialist system that looted less-advantaged societies. The country’s prime minister recently said there had been “no slavery” in Australia, setting off a backlash. (He later apologized.)
The Black Lives Matter movement, as it has swept the globe, has led Australia to look more deeply at entrenched discrimination against its Indigenous peoples and other minorities. Above, Raechel Ivey, a South Sea Islander and regional government official living in Mackay, where an estimated 20,000 South Sea Islanders live.
Here’s what else is happening
WeChat: The Chinese internet giant Tencent on Wednesday said it believed that President Trump’s recent executive order targeting its messaging app would not affect its other businesses in the United States.
U.K. gun crime: American handguns are quietly being smuggled into Britain, despite tough gun-control laws. The police fear that the illegal weapons are contributing to a rise in gang-related crime.
Snapshot: Above, Nasreen Abu Alia, a resident of Nablus, in the West Bank, who took her daughter to a beach in Netanya, Israel, for a rare visit. Tens of thousands of Palestinians slipped through holes in Israel’s security barrier, with Israel’s tacit approval, for a day on a Mediterranean beach.
What we’re reading: FiveThirtyEight’s 2020 presidential election forecast, which the data website released Wednesday. “Nate Silver’s prediction models forecasting the outcomes of presidential races are legendary,” writes Ian Prasad Philbrick, from the Briefings team. And while there are some competing models, “the quibbling is part of the fun!”
Now, a break from the news
And now for the Back Story on …
Going back to the office
Nervous about the possibility of going back to the workplace? Here’s what to take into consideration.
Be prepared for things to look different. “The whole process of coming into the office is likely going to change,” said Elizabeth Brink, a principal and global work sector leader at the architecture and design firm Gensler. Many employers are also peppering their businesses with signage, Ms. Brink said, whether it’s a reminder for employees to wash their hands, wear masks or limit occupancy in common areas.
You may not even notice some invisible changes, like improvements made to the space’s air quality.
Find out what’s expected of you. Enforcing social distancing and the use of face coverings in the workplace are the most critical safety measures, said Wafaa El-Sadr, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia University.
But you may encounter other precautions, too. For example, your employer may be staggering employees’ return dates.If so, you could find out who returns first: those deemed most essential or those who volunteer? Will shifts be staggered throughout the week to reduce density in the office, or throughout the day, so employees relying on mass transit can avoid commuting during rush hour?
It’s also important to understand how your company will respond if an employee tests positive for the coronavirus. In most cases, employers shouldn’t have to shut down their entire facilities, according to the C.D.C.
Know your rights. If you feel as if your employer isn’t taking the necessary steps to ensure your safety or is discriminating against you for any reason, read up on the law. Not sure where you stand? Find a local advocacy group that can offer advice.
Employees can only do so much, Dina Bakst, a president and a founder of A Better Balance, said: “The onus should be on the employer to ensure health and safety.”
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the historic vice-presidential decision in the U.S.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Group of students (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times won 38 Malofiej International Infographic Awards. See the winning work.