Hard to keep up with all this…

Hong Kong authorities call their treatment of Agnes Chow lenient. Overseas media like Nikkei take a less-cheery angle…

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.

Funny he should mention that. Hong Kong indeed gets into televised confessions – HK Police release a video showing Tsang Chi-kin saying he was ‘incited’ to take part in 2019 protests.

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. 

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‘Hypocrisy, disgrace and disregard for law and order laid bare’

NatSec police ask Agnes Chow to come back to Hong Kong. An official ‘sorely vexed’ press release suggests someone is not happy…

The [HK government] issued a solemn statement today (December 4) to condemn strongly the shameful acts of Chow Ting, who was arrested by the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force for suspected violation of the offence of “collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security”, of absconding to avoid legal responsibilities. She blatantly claimed in social media that she planned to jump bail, which is a total disregard of law and order. The HKSAR Government will spare no effort in bringing her to justice in accordance with the law.

Chow Ting’s flagrant disregard for police bail terms showed that she is completely devoid of integrity. She has also never soberly reflected on her acts, which are suspected to have violated the law, but has tried to escape from legal consequences. No matter what excuses she put forward or how she attempted to deceive and win sympathy, her hypocrisy, disgrace and disregard for law and order are laid bare.

Endangering national security is a very serious offence, and the HKSAR Government will fight against it with full force and pursue the liability of the person to the end. Fugitives should not have any delusion that they could evade legal liabilities by absconding from Hong Kong. Fugitives will be pursued for life unless they turn themselves in.

The HKSAR Government urged Chow Ting to repent and co-operate with the Police, be responsible for her own act and turn over a new leaf, before it is too late for regrets.

To paraphrase PG Wodehouse, it is never difficult to distinguish between a ray of sunshine and a HK government press release with a grievance.

Guardian story.

Closing statements in the HK47 trial…

“This charge of conspiracy is like no other charge that has come before the courts,” [barrister Trevor] Beel said, concluding his arguments. “Everything was conducted openly for the simple reason that nobody knew what they were doing was illegal.”

The Chief Secretary denies that civil servants will be penalized if they fail to vote at the District Council election. But it seems the government really wants them to…

The official rejected the speculations at a civil service family day in support of the overhauled election organised by the Disciplined Services Consultative Council and the Police Force Council.

…Local media reported on Sunday citing sources that Secretary for Civil Service Ingrid Yeung had written to all department heads and said government employees must be allowed to leave their posts and vote when polls open this coming Sunday. Civil servants will also be allowed to claim back transportation fees incurred from travelling between the office and the polling station, local media reports read.

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Agnes Chow ‘jumps bail’

Or is ‘living in Canada’, according to taste. From the BBC

Ms Chow was jailed in 2020 for taking part in the anti-government protests of 2019, and was released in 2021.

She is still under investigation for “collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security”.

…in order to get her passport back, she had to go on a police-escorted trip to mainland China in August with five police officers – a trip she had no right to refuse.

…She said she was shown an exhibition of China’s achievements since the reform and opening up of China since the late 1970s…

…Ms Chow said when she returned to Hong Kong, she was also told to sign letters expressing remorse for all her past political actions, and also to thank the police for organising the trip, so that she could learn of “the motherland’s marvellous developments”.

…Ms Chow was one of the most prominent faces of the city’s pro-democracy movement and was even nicknamed “the real Mulan”, in reference to the legendary Chinese heroine who fought to save her family and country.

Media organizations shouldn’t make the story about themselves, but maybe this time it’s excusable…

In 2020, she was featured on the BBC 100 Women list, which names 100 influential and inspirational women around the world every year and tells their stories.

(Were the authorities seriously expecting her to eagerly come back? Or did someone think she would happily become a poster-child for patriotic re-education?)

This is what opposition looks like now: one-time pan-dem and former government official Anthony Cheung speaks out, saying let’s not go overboard on NatSec…

…authorities have to strike a balance between safeguarding security and maintaining a free and diversified society.

…[and] that Hong Kong should maintain its uniqueness and internationalization, and society should allow people to express different opinions.

There was no need to discuss everything at the level of national security, Cheung added, as this would undermine Hong Kong’s image if it took root in people’s minds.

He also says

…Hong Kong has “slightly suffered” from reopening its border later than its neighbors.

…Cheung stressed the need to avoid extreme political divisions and adopt more open and inclusive policies.

A group of LSD members are searched while on a hike.

It seems one District Council candidate had previously been working at the Liaison Office

Former Central and Western District Councillor Sam Yip Kam-lung (葉錦龍) pointed out that after doing community work for years he had never heard Law Kam Fai’s name. He suspects that Law’s experience as the deputy of a Liaison Office Sub-Office means he was directed to seek elected office by his central government employers and definitely has their backing.

The SCMP detects official concern about a low voter turnout at the District Council elections next Sunday. Asked how much it is spending to promote the polls, the government says…

…only that it would be more than the HK$100 million (US$12.8 million) spent on the 2021 Legislative Council polls…

Emeritus Professor John Burns, of the department of politics and public administration at the University of Hong Kong, said such extensive publicity drives only generated more votes in “competitive races”.

“Real competition based on competing policy platforms in elections that have consequences for people’s lives tends to increase voter turnout,” he said. “These elements are mostly absent from our December 10 district council elections.”

Ming Pao reports that the government will offer cash and other help to elderly homes in transporting residents to polling stations.

Speaking of the SCMP, its former editor prays for missing reporter Minnie Chan.

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Candidate-selection shocks judge

I forgot that candidate-nomination in the District Council elections had been the subject of a judicial review. But voila. The judge…

…expressed surprise that most direct election contenders in the upcoming race also sit on the committees which decide who can stand as candidates.

…[The] submission argued that the government’s requirement was designed to override residents’ right to vote, and that the committees could effectively bar candidates who were popular among constituents from running.

…[Counsel Anson] Wong told the court that some three-quarters of candidates sat on the three committees responsible for deciding who could stand, making it hard for non-committee members to get nominated.

The government’s lawyer says the plaintiff has no evidence to prove how many members of the pro-democracy camp had failed to obtain nominations, or the reasons for this – not a great argument considering quite a few hopefuls (pan-dem and others) complained about their inability to get approved. He also says there’s no rush, and the court can and should take its time. The SCMP report (lost the link) suggests that the action has come too late for the court to deal with, anyway, but some sort of decision is expected today.

Straits Times reports on John Lee’s rising approval ratings…

Veteran political commentator Chris Yeung said there has been more publicity in recent months about what Mr Lee has been doing and less negative news about his government.

“John Lee has not yet been able to impress people with charm, wisdom or competence. He is not likely to be a highly popular leader. On the other hand, he has not made any serious mistakes either, so he is also not likely to be a very unpopular leader,” Mr Yeung said.

Associate Professor Alfred Wu, from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, said he would take Mr Lee’s all-time-high approval rating with a pinch of salt.

“The socio-political conditions in today’s Hong Kong under John Lee are very different compared with those faced by the city’s other chief executives,” Prof Wu said.

“John Lee already has the best base in the polls as some 300,000 residents – likely those who would have disliked him and his government – have already left Hong Kong.”

One way to do it!

A US House of Representatives move to possibly sanction Hong Kong’s Economic and Trade Offices gets the angry-statement treatment for…

…its complete disregard of the status of the HKSAR under “one country, two systems”, its malicious slander against the just and legitimate objective of the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL) and the fact that human rights and the rule of law are properly protected in accordance with the law by the HKSAR Government, and its gross interference in the affairs of Hong Kong.

SCMP reporter (formerly at Apple Daily) Minnie Chan went to Beijing to cover a security forum four weeks ago. Now she’s missing.

For our local Bonnae Gokson Fan Club – the legendary colonial-era socialite is still indeed a thing – to the extent that she is, well, shutting down her renowned restaurant that we’ve never heard of. Pavva? Savva? Something.

Some other things…

China’s Internet regulators issue new rules against online ‘regional prejudice’, ‘gender antagonism’, and (not very Marxist-Leninist, surely?) ‘class antagonism’. CMP explains what the phrases mean. ‘Gender antagonism’ is feminism, and as for the class thing…

…the word used … in the CAC notice is not the jieji (階級) of Mao’s class struggle but rather jieceng (階層), which can also be translated as “strata.” Although largely interchangeable in everyday usage, the two differ significantly in sociological theory. While jieji relates to Marx’s notion that there are only two classes — the proletariat and bourgeoisie — jieceng invokes the work of Max Weber, who saw class as a more complex outcome determined by both economic and non-economic factors such as social prestige and political power.

…How else do you reconcile the official CCP line that they have eliminated meaningful class distinctions with the reality of a highly unequal society with the highest Gini coefficient in the region?

(Also from CMP, in case you missed it a few months ago, all you need to know about the suddenly-topical phrase ‘old friend of China’.)

At the Council on Foreign Relations, Carl Minzner asks whether the delay in the CCP’s annual plenum is a sign of institutional decay.

Marketwatch on the fall in foreign direct investment in China…

U.S.-China tensions are partly to blame, making investors more cautious.

But Beijing has also closed foreign consultancy and due-diligence firms, which are vital for potential investors and foreign companies to understand risk and other corporate and policy factors before making investment decisions.

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Cops speed to seditious t-shirt scene

First, burner phones; now this… Hong Kong NatSec police arrest a man at the airport for having an allegedly seditious t-shirt. He is denied bail and will be in jail until a hearing in early January.

The government’s press release says

The National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force today (November 29) laid charges against a 26-year-old man with one count of “doing an act or acts with seditious intention”, one count of “possessing seditious publications” and one count of “possessing a Hong Kong identity card related to another person”.

…On November 27 afternoon, Police received a report that a man was allegedly wearing a shirt with seditious wordings at the Hong Kong International Airport. Police officers sped to the scene and further seized some flags and clothing with seditious wording, as well as an identity card relating to another person from his personal belongings.

They ‘sped to the scene’? It was obviously an exciting day up at the airport.

Will foreign governments now issue travel advisories warning citizens that they could be arrested in Hong Kong for wearing the wrong t-shirt? Could the HK Tourism Board revive its old ‘stay an extra day’ slogan as ‘stay an extra six weeks, in jail, for your t-shirt’? (Meanwhile, the SCMP says Hong Kong will host a glitzy show to burnish its image as a fashion capital.)

As the HK47 trial nears its conclusion, the prosecution argues for a ‘wide interpretation’ of the NatSec law…

The prosecution examined the definition of “other unlawful means” as specified in Article 22 of the Beijing-imposed security law, which says people are guilty of subversion if they organise or conduct certain acts “by force or threat of force or other unlawful means.”

Man said Article 22 created two categories of activities under which national security could be endangered. The first was “force-related,” and the second was “all other means apart from force-related means.”

He claimed that the legislative purpose of the security law was to “punish, prevent, and suppress any endangering of national security,” and a narrow interpretation of the phrase “other unlawful means” would compromise the effectiveness of the law.

Samuel Bickett writes

As written, NSL “subversion” under Art. 22 requires first proving a predicate offense—an associated crime (“unlawful means” in the NSL) that was committed as part of the subversion, like assault or fraud. But in the HK47’s case, defendants were literally just exercising their right under the Basic Law to get elected and veto the budget. So what is the “unlawful means” the DOJ is alleging and the judges are allowing as a predicate offense? The NSL itself. 

In other words, the defendants committed subversion by committing subversion. 

This is brazenly stupid legal interpretation, even by HK court standards.

Wait! There’s more! Chinese U is criticized by the Audit Commission (who ‘sped to the scene’, right?) for not including clauses on NatSec in contracts and tenders.


Channel 4 Dispatches reports on attempts to intimidate Hong Kong dissidents in the UK.

Video: the best of Charlie Munger, who has died at the age of 99. (If you’re into random vids – here’s a deranged Elon Musk at a business conference telling companies to shove the ad-spend on which his own profits depend.)

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Security Bureau-themed photography exhibition to attract millions

The Hong Kong government will hold a range of activities to encourage interest in the patriots-only District Council elections next month. The events include a ‘drone show’ (lemme guess – candidates giving speeches?), free museum visits and outdoor music, which will take place only the day before the election. 

Chief Executive John Lee hopes people will not just vote, but buy stuff…

“Before the voting day, we want to enhance a sense of engagement, so that on December 10 everyone comes out to vote. We want to raise awareness, we also want to cheer everyone up. This is also the point of improving district governance,” he said.

“We hope more people will join these large-scale events in Hong Kong… and we will have more local consumption. This is what we have been trying to promote, to have people stay in Hong Kong to spend money and cast their vote.”

(The theory is that people would love to vote, but have an urgent massage/dinner/shopping run to Shenzhen that day.)

You may also get officials knocking on your door urging you to cast a ballot. (‘Hello! Yes I will – when you let the candidates I support out of jail. Thanks for the fridge magnet! Goodbye!’) RTHK reports that its own staff are on the streets promoting the polls. If you encourage people not to vote, however, the ICAC will arrest you.

After 71% last time, the authorities would probably regard a turnout of over 30% as a success. Less than 20% would look pretty bad. But an all-patriots/zero-opposition slate is the main thing.

While candidates permitted to take part are handing out leaflets on the street, League of Social Democrats members are facing 26 charges for unauthorized fundraising and displays of posters.

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HK gets an audit

A (paywalled) FT report says some major consulting firms are telling staff to use burner phones when visiting Hong Kong…

Deloitte and KPMG have advised some US-based executives not to use their usual work phones in the territory, according to multiple people with knowledge of the policies. Several McKinsey consultants have also taken separate phones when travelling to the territory, the people said.

Some senior staff are reluctant to visit Hong Kong as a result of the inconvenience of leaving devices behind, according to an executive at one global consultancy. The policy applies even to people not involved with sensitive projects, the person said, adding: “People are not prepared to come here.”

…“With much talk [about] national security issues, the general feeling is that it is important to be cautious in Hong Kong as well,” said James Zimmerman, a partner at Perkins Cole in Beijing.

While the companies have not always given staff an explicit reason for using separate phones, some executives said their organisations were concerned about the risk of hacks and, in particular, the chance that data about their clients could be accessed.

…One UK-based consultant at a Big Four firm said consultancies had in general become increasingly risk averse, in part because of fear of legal liability for a leak of client data.

The fear seems to focus on ‘risk of infiltration by a state-backed hacker’. The implication is that Beijing’s institutions and officials are now more active and powerful in Hong Kong and (as with the Office for Safeguarding National Security) may not be subject to local laws – therefore, visiting the city must be considered to entail similar possible risks as visiting the Mainland.

Who did this?

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DC elections not to be confused with so-called democracy

The Hong Kong government sets up a team to counter ‘smears and disinformation’ over the forthcoming patriots-only District Council elections…

Constitutional Affairs Secretary Erick Tsang said such teams have existed in the past, but the current one has been made stronger, in light of “special risks” associated with the upcoming polls.

…The public will only get to choose 88 of the 470 future councillors, but Tsang said the number of directly elected seats has no direct link to “so-called democracy”, adding that this will come through consultations and meetings.

The administration might also send officials to knock door-to-door to promote the polls.

HKFP finds little interest among voters in Yau Tsim Mong South. ‘Like a restaurant menu where the government has already decided what you’ll eat’. Of the six on the ballot, three are South Asian in origin (the pro-Beijing DAB have been co-opting members of that community in the area back for quite a few years). They were the only ones who agreed to be interviewed. And they also seem to be doing a harder job campaigning. But who would put money on any of them winning one of the two seats? (Prediction: there will be fewer brown people on Hong Kong’s District Councils than in the UK cabinet.)

Which brings us not very elegantly (it’s Monday) to…

The UK is perplexed as to why net immigration has reached all-time high when the country is supposed to be an economic disaster. A TV news chart shows Hongkongers are the cherry on the top.

Some other things…

Time profile on DPP presidential nominee William Lai Ching-te and the forthcoming election and Beijing’s ramping-up of pressure …

These tactics alone underscore that China and Taiwan share a language and history, but precious little else. Taiwan ranks 10th in the world (and top in Asia) in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2022 Democracy Index. China sits in 156th place. Taiwan’s politics are messy, partisan, and febrile; China is ruled by Beijing’s secretive Zhongnanhai leadership complex. China has banned Pride since 2021 in a crackdown on LGBTQ rights; in October Lai became the highest-ranking Taiwanese official to attend Taipei’s parade, saying his support was natural given his commitment to “freedom, democracy, and human rights.” Compare this to China, where online censors even scrubbed out “overly effusive” tributes following October’s death of former Premier Li Keqiang, lest the grief foment social unrest.

The Standard editorial today calls it for the DPP. So does the SCMP’s obviously miffed Alex Lo, who denounces the DPP as ‘secessionist’…

A three-way race will favour Lai and his running mate Hsiao Bi-khim, a former de facto representative of Taiwan in the United States. Both are card-carrying advocates of independence for the island. If they win, we are looking at some interesting times ahead.

They do not ‘advocate independence’; they state that Taiwan is already independent. And if you want to test their belief, visit the place and judge for yourself. Why the obsession with restoring Qing empire boundaries?

An excellent thread on what makes Taiwan’s Waishengren (KMT-era Mainland immigrants and their descendants) so pro-unification and more anti-American than anti-CCP. Author is a 3rd generation WSR convert to Taiwanese identity.

An FT story (maybe paywalled) on the ASPI report on China’s foreign loyalist social-media influencers…

“If they don’t say good things about China or how they enjoy being here, these foreign influencers will not be able to gain popularity in China. Nor will they gain any commercial value,” the manager added. “This is true even for beauty bloggers or lifestyle bloggers, unless they are already very famous when they enter the Chinese market.”

A thread on the influencer pipeline…

The PRC’s censorship regime cloisters its ppl in an info environment that’s cut off from the rest of the world & primed with a nationalistic ideology. Nationalism sells, & foreigners know it. It’s a shortcut to viral fame.

The guy smashing his iPhone after buying a Huawei is Bart Baker, a US YouTuber known for creating parody videos of famous songs. He left his 10M+ YouTube subscribers in 2019 to operate exclusively on Chinese platforms where his content style took a dramatic turn.

…But the foreigner-loves-China schtick has worn thin for many Chinese viewers. In Chinese internet slang, those who are seen to be praising China to attract views are said to be using a type of ‘wealth password’ (财富密码)—a formula or shortcut to internet fame and fortune.

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‘Systematic cultivation’ for kids

As part of a revamp of the humanities curriculum, Hong Kong primary school students will have their national sentiments and sense of national identity ‘systematically cultivated’ from the age of eight or nine…

The new subject, which will replace the current General Studies, would require primary three pupils to have a basic knowledge of the Beijing-enacted security legislation, the Hong Kong People’s Liberation Army garrison and national defence, the bureau announced on Thursday, local media reported.

‘Affection for the Chinese people’ is in the mix, too. 

If this doesn’t convince people to have kids and/or not emigrate, what will?

Civil servants who don’t vote in next month’s District Council elections will not be punished.

[Chief Secretary Eric] Chan also said if those who weren’t previously counted as a patriot show remorse to the government’s satisfaction, they can be approved by authorities to stand in the election again in the future. “Never say never,” he added. 

He also rules out making voting compulsory for everyone else…

“[Even if] you compel people to vote, you can’t control who they’re voting for,” Chan said.

Aren’t the patriots-only ballots designed to control who you can vote for? By way of a reminder, a Twitter thread on the DC election campaign in 2019 by former DC member Michael Mo – now in the UK. ‘Good old days, which, I believe, will never come back.’ (Guess he won’t be tempted by Cathay’s slightly desperate-sounding come-back-to-vote tickets.)

Some weekend reading and viewing…

Press awards in China stress ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Culture’…

A permutation of Xi’s legitimizing grand concept (the eponymous “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”), this phrase now packs together a set of political and ideological obligations for culture, the foremost being the CCP’s unquestioned leadership of ideology. 

National Interest on why TikTok is a national security threat.

Something different – a video on how to read Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. The first part of the novel set loosely around the Nazis’ V2 project is set in wartime London and is amazing in its detail, considering the author was born in New York State in the late 1930s and must have researched everything while writing the book before it was published in the early 1970s. I wandered off around the time halfway through when Germany’s regiment of Africans takes the stage. ’Paranoia in book form’, the guy says. The video gets so dense you’re tempted to give the book another go. Maybe that’s the point.

On a lighter note. When Motown came to Britain – documentary on the Black American invasion of the early-mid 60s.

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Un-writing history

The latest official Hong Kong Yearbook omits the longstanding chapter on the city’s history…

The chapter dedicated to the city’s history in the Hong Kong 2021 yearbook recounted the city’s archaeological background, the colonial era, and socio-political changes preceding and following the Handover.

Besides the missing section on history, several stand-alone chapters were merged with others in the latest edition. Among them, “media and communications” was incorporated into the chapter on “home and youth affairs,” in which a section on the city’s mass media followed a part on the “dissemination of government information,” unlike in previous editions.

The government department concerned won’t give much of a reason, so we can only guess. Perhaps someone thought the account of the 19th and 20th centuries was simply too Brit-heavy. Or maybe the narrative of the city’s post-WW2 success reflected badly on the rest of the motherland. More likely, the compilers wanted to avoid describing events since 2019 – mass-protests, Covid and the Nat-Sec system. The official spin about black riots, foreign forces attempting a ‘colour revolution’ and exciting new improved election systems would look absurd juxtaposed with chapters full of hard statistics.

Instead of dwelling on the past, senior civil servants are attending lectures on One Country, Two Systems and contemporary China delivered by Hong Kong studies faculty from Peking U. In particular, they seem to be studying Xi Jinping’s ideas on the Chinese path to modernization…

According to Xi’s report during the 20th party congress, the “Chinese path” has five characteristics: a large population, common prosperity for all, a harmony between material civilization and spiritual civilization, a harmony between humans and the nature, and peaceful development.

Those characteristics distinguish Chinese modernisation from Western modernisation, which was characterised by “excessive greed,” “loss in belief,” “pollution,” and an “extreme gap between the poor and the rich,” according to an article published by a Communist Party magazine.

Not sure if Beijing issues a yearbook, but would it mention China’s Gini coefficient?

The first one I ever bought.

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