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WES Sunday: of freedom of speech, workers' rights and geopolitics amid the pandemic.

WES Sunday brings you a quick-fire rundown of your biggest weekly stories. Read the recap every Sunday - from ground-breaking headline events to underreported perspectives on the issues that matter.

This week's roundup:

  1. Europe: tensions in Belarus and gig workers' health and safety.

  2. China makes the headline, again: updates on the TikTok ban and corporate Hong Kong.



Outrage in Belarus following killing of anti-government protester

The killing of Roman Bondarenko, an anti-government protester, allegedly by security forces, has triggered massive manifestations in the streets of Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

Witnesses say Roman Bondarenko was detained on Wednesday evening after scuffling with people in plain-clothes who had come to a playground to remove red-and-white ribbons that represent the protest movement against veteran President Alexander Lukashenko, who is widely considered to have stolen the recent election.

British Gig workers’ victory

The High Court ruled on Friday that ‘gig economy’ workers should be entitled to the same health and safety provisions as average workers. This is according to EU law, which extends health and safety protections to “gig economy” workers, including the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). The Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB), a union, argues that the Covid-19 pandemic makes it more urgent to address the gap in protection.


TikTok gets extension on US ban

The US government has announced a 15 day extension on the ban issued by the Trump Administration. In August, Trump signed an executive order to ban TikTok if it did not sell its US operations in 45 days. This forced ByteDance to consider deals with several American companies. The result, a proposal to have Oracle and Walmart, two American companies, own a minority financial stake of TikTok. This ban came from a place of national security concerns, alleging that the personal data collected on 100 million American users could be obtained by China’s government. TikTok has denied this.

Hong Kong’s Swire removed from Hang Seng stock index

Swire, one of Hong Kong’s emblematic colonial-era groups was replaced by Meituan-Dianping, a Chinese food delivery app, on the Hang Seng stock index. Swire’s shares have fallen by 35% this year, as it’s key businesses, including Cathay Pacific and Swire Properties, have been hit by the pandemic and the US-China trade war. This represents a clear shift to the mainland by corporate Hong Kong.


By Ariana López Corral



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