China’s leader, Xi Jinping, was in Tajikistan on Saturday, celebrating his 66th birthday with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, when the political crisis in Hong Kong took a dramatic turn with an unexpected retreat in the face of mass protests.
Mr. Xi’s trip fortuitously gave him some distance from the events in Hong Kong, where the leadership on Saturday suspended its push for legislation to allow extraditions to mainland China. But the measure had been backed by Beijing, and there was no mistaking that the reversal was a stinging setback for him.
The move, the biggest concession to public pressure during Mr. Xi’s nearly seven years as China’s paramount leader, suggests that there are still limits to his power, especially involving events outside the mainland, even as he has governed with an increasingly authoritarian grip.
Read the full article and more in The New York Times.