The chief executive of Hong Kong on Tuesday vowed that authorities will hound prominent pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow for as long as she lives, after she left for Canada and suggested she might never return to the city.
The SCMP puts a more positive spin on it, courtesy of former pan-dem, now government supporter, Ronny Tong. Perhaps he knows a thing or two about such things, effectively saying Agnes Chow’s patriotic tour of Shenzhen and letter of contrition are no big deal. He…
…brushed off concerns on Monday that the unprecedented conditions would infringe upon Chow’s civil rights, arguing the activist had agreed to them to study overseas.
“Once you’ve offended the law, you don’t have a right to leave [the city], as the law stipulates, unless police permit them to leave,” he said.
Bail conditions were usually decided by police and the arrested person, with no defined limits to the conditions as long as both parties agreed to them, Tong noted.
An unnamed opposition activist disagreed…
He feared such practices would become accepted as a new norm in Hong Kong. “Will forced televised confessions be brought to Hong Kong next?” he said.
This looks like the next step in counterproductive propaganda-performance – or where ‘soft power’ goes to die. Like the over-outraged press release demanding that Agnes Chow return, this Mainland-style video is going to alienate, rather than persuade, the supposedly intended audience. But, in the finest tradition of civil-service PR folks stretching back decades before NatSec, it will please superiors.
And the ICAC – originally founded to combat corruption – arrests someone for allegedly sharing a post urging people not to vote at the forthcoming District Council elections…
ICAC also said authorities had issued an arrest warrant for the author of the online post, a YouTube political commentator named Wong Sai-chak. Wong, better known as Martin Oei, is from Hong Kong and now lives in Germany.
(How many fugitives from Hong Kong’s NatSec justice now have de facto asylum overseas?)
Voters will get a tasteful thank-you card ‘designed by civil servants’…
…photo spots will also be set up outside polling stations for those who’d like to capture the moment and mark the occasion.
…A government spokesman added that the photo spots will include signs that feature election mascots, the “Ballot Box Babies”.
The classic cantopop song, ‘Under the Lion Rock’, will also be given new lyrics and be performed by popular artists to boost people’s morale.
SCMP pulls an op-ed advising the West to ditch Ukraine after finding the author is fictitious (maybe a figment of Alex Lo’s imagination)…
Bangkok-based journalist Tomasz Augustyniak said on Twitter, now X, that a reverse image search revealed that the headshot used in the bio was generated by artificial intelligence.
“Peter Sojka – according to his made up bio a fellow at the Slovak Academy of Sciences – argued that the US should convince Ukraine to sign truce with Russia. That would align with Beijing’s interests. But no such person works at the Academy and nobody in Bratislava recognizes him,” he said.
…In July 2020, SCMP pulled op-eds from “Lin Nguyen,” replacing her bio with a statement that the newspaper was “unable to verify the authenticity of the author.” Five columns were deleted, including one which urged Hong Kong protesters to “stay at home” during the extradition bill protests and unrest in 2019.
So how do you go about getting an op-ed published in the SCMP under a fake persona? They don’t usually pay for opinion pieces (boy, does it show), so you don’t need to provide a bank account number or anything. A fake email address and photo are easy enough to create. So it’s just a matter of crafting vaguely believable credentials – something from Eastern Europe (or maybe South/Southeast Asia) will do. Now all you have to do is write an immensely dull article.
This week’s ‘Anything I’ve missed?’ award goes to the Diplomat for an article on Hong Kong’s lessons for Taiwan…
Whereas, once, anyone could vie for office, now the powers that be – China operating behind the scenes – decide who gets a chance, and this gives the pretense of democratic rule over Hong Kong. It is one of many signs that what’s happening here is a cautionary tale for the next objective of China’s expansionary vision: Taiwan.
Officials tout Hong Kong’s “stability and prosperity,” but people decry, along with the democratic deficit, economic troubles, a sinking property market, weakening judiciary, rising crime rates, mass emigration, administrative mismanagement, compromised meritocracy, security crackdown fears, overzealous “patriotic” education, and the loss of media freedom. These make the “distant mirror” of what “unification” with China might mean for Taiwan look increasingly unappealing.
…“Hong Kong does not have any opposition politicians right now, no free press, no civil society organizations, and no student associations. Everything has been wiped out and been flattened, and no dissidents are allowed to speak up and people are under arrest, many leaders are still in jail… or in exile,” said National Taiwan University Professor Ho Ming-sho, author of a book on Hong Kong social movements. “…Instead of moving forward toward democracy, we see backsliding to the level of mainland China. It’s very worrying,” according to Ho.