🌍 Xi holds court

Plus: The future of the #metoo movement.
🌍 Xi holds court

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

President Xi Jinping spoke at the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing. He kicked off the week-long meeting with remarks defending China’s zero-covid policy and the country’s relationship with Taiwan (more below).

A series of policy U-turns have jeopardized Liz Truss’s short reign. But Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed the UK prime minister is still leading the government.

Tens of thousands of people protested inflation and fuel shortages in Paris. Tensions are on the rise as a strike at a refinery rolls into its third week.

Flooding in Nigeria has displaced 1.4 million people. About 500 people have died as a result of the disaster, which is the worst flooding the country has seen in a decade.

A fire broke out after an uprising at a prison in Tehran, Iran. Four people were killed at Evin Prison on Saturday as antigovernment protests continue to spread across the country.

What to watch for

Once a mighty force on social media, #metoo’s viral power has lost steam five years since it exploded. The movement behind the hashtag now wants to find new ways to reach supporters beyond the digital space.

#metoo took over social media in the wake of an October 2017 New York Times exposé of sexual assault and harassment allegations against powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. It reached its peak a year later, around the time that judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the US Supreme Court despite being accused of sexual assault, which he denied.

A line graph of indexed Google searches for "metoo" in North America from 2017-2022.
Graphic: Ananya Bhattacharya

Even as the buzz tapered off, #metoo inspired important achievements and Tarana Burke, who first used the words “me too” in 2006 to describe the pervasiveness of gender-based violence and shaped the movement into an organization to support survivors, isn’t stopping there. me too. International launched a “#BeyondtheHashtag” campaign to invigorate on-the-ground advocacy efforts for the years to come.

Xi holds court

The 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) commenced this Sunday (Oct. 16) in Beijing, and president Xi Jinping, who became party boss a decade ago, is widely expected to secure an unprecedented third term as the nation’s leader.

There are several key issues to watch for at the twice-a-decade meeting, including the future of China’s zero-covid policies, its positioning on Taiwan, and how the party plans to revive a flagging economy. Appointments to the seven-member Politburo will also provide a glimpse into internal party politics, and a measure of Xi’s hold on power within his own ranks.

At the same time, this will be a moment for Xi to consolidate power, smooth over citizens’ doubts about the party’s capabilities, and project his self-confidence in steering the country. Especially as, just days prior to the congress kick-off, a rare protest took place directly attacking Xi and the country’s covid policies.

Is plant-based meat sizzling out?

A lack of appetite for fake meat is leaving financials at Beyond Meat undercooked. The plant-based meat company just laid off 19% of its global workforce, or about 200 employees, and is shuffling up its leadership as revenue slips.

But its struggles may be evidence of a larger trend. For one, Beyond Meat’s rival, Impossible Foods, has held back from going public due to the volatile market. As Quartz reporter Michelle Cheng writes, a combination of inflation and market saturation is keeping the food alternative off countertops.

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Surprising discoveries

A Japanese toilet maker is turning its plastic waste into roads. Lixil has made a new material that can be used as a concrete substitute.

Scientists now understand the ancient migration of eels from Europe’s rivers to the Sargasso Sea. All it took was strapping some satellite tags on the slimy creatures.

Speaking of slimy creatures… remember those fishermen who cheated by stuffing weights into walleye? The culprits are now facing felony charges.

Meet “Pan Solo,” a recreation of Han Solo made out of bread. Sorry, the 6-foot (1.8 meter) sculpture isn’t gluten-free.

Neanderthals and modern humans were likely copycats. Researchers found evidence that the species coexisted for more than 1,000 years and had similar tools and jewelry.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, recycled toilet plastic, and Pan Solo tastings to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Sofia Lotto Persio, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.