Today’s censorings and bans

Beijing is of course censoring coverage of the Panama Papers. And the (mid-Alibaba-transition) South China Morning Post’s print edition today omits any mention of the story (unless my eyes are going) in its local, China, international and business sections.

The China Digital Times article ends by saying:

…the flight of new wealth from legal and political uncertainty in mainland China [is] a major contributor to this boom [in offshore/tax havens holdings]. The prominent position of Hong Kong in Mossack Fonseca’s operations may hint at the scale of this…

The Standard does mention the story, not least for the celebrity angle…


Many right-thinking people would relish conclusive evidence that actor Jackie Chan has engaged in illegal activities. But his use of shell companies – a conventional way to hold or trade property or other investments – tells us nothing. Similarly, the rich folks’ funds managed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s father are (unless the guy’s an idiot) probably using offshore facilities legitimately. ‘People take advantage of legal loopholes’ is not really a story. Maybe global revulsion following the mega-leak will provoke a clampdown on privacy and tax avoidance, but don’t hold your breath.

The real murk concerns figures who are not supposed to be ultra-wealthy in the first place – or more accurately, such esteemed personages’ aides and relatives. These include such obvious suspects as the Putin entourage, FIFA and Ukrainians. And China’s elite. It’s all guilt by association, of course.

This means we can’t be sure whether Hong Kong’s world-beating role in these offshore financial services reflects our local professionalism and expertise in respectable, squeaky-clean wealth-management, or – heaven forbid – our user-friendliness to the Mainland’s Communist-kleptocrat elite as a centre for laundering the proceeds of corruption and embezzlement. No doubt further details from the Panama Papers will confirm that Asia’s World City has nothing to hide.

After all, if HSBC are so cautious that they won’t even let Joshua Wong’s new group open an account, they’re not going to offer services to some sleazebag relative of a former Politburo henchman, are they?

Still, to be safe, Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing shoe-shiners might choose this moment to keep their heads down. Instead, we get tobacco-monopoly scion/media tycoon Charles Ho going embarrassingly adolescent on the aforementioned Joshua. And property tycoon/Tourism Board boss/movie-backer Peter Lam whines about Ten Years winning Best Movie at the HK Film Awards.


The truth is that Lam is pandering to Beijing by publically opposing the low-budget ‘dystopian’ flick (which would have passed relatively unnoticed but for the Communist Party’s mouth-frothing censorship-tantrum). But such obsequiousness would look bad, so he wants us to believe that he opposes the judges’ choice because the awards should recognize movies as business investments rather than art. Being ridiculously shallow looks more sophisticated and credible, you see.


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14 Responses to Today’s censorings and bans

  1. Like Charles Ho , I am worried about disappearing shops. I bought a T-shirt yesterday. If we all muck in, we can halt the retail crisis.

    Will I have to be the one who reports Mossack Fonseca to the police and the ICAC?

    MOSSACK FONSECA & CO. (ASIA) LTD. (Regional Head Office). Suite 1416, 14/F, World Commerce Centre, 11 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.

    Maybe I will pop round on my bike today and shout JUMP YOU BASTARDS in the traditional manner.

  2. Panama Papers says:

    SCMP finally, and reluctantly no doubt, joined the world’s free presses and began reporting on the Panama Papers stories. Like the way they deliver the story though. Screaming headline about some PLA corrupt general. Corruption and the PLA… do soldiers wear camouflage? The Panama Papers leaks are a byline.

    Enjoyable though, to watch Xi twist and turn in the ill-winds blowing through his family’s financial affairs in the midst of the largest commie anti-corruption blah blah blah in a generation.

    Personally find the PLA corruption story far more entertaining anyhow. Amidst all the commie chest-thumping, carrier-launching, submarine building, stealth-fighter design stealing and Pacific coral reef-nabbing is the core truth behind the PLA’s real weakness. It’s a mighty oak infested through and through with terminal termitic rot of systemic corruption and the plague of single-child soldiers who’s families’ dynastic aspirations rest solely on their shoulders. The overwhelming majority of commie peoples’ warriors only signed up to gain access to commie lucre and a foothold on the ladder to fast and sleazy money. Sure, undoubtedly should evil Yankee imperialist pig-dogs storm the beaches of Hainan a smidgen of patriotism might propel them to acts of deathly daring-do, but I highly doubt the average commie ground-pounder is entirely smitten with the idea of heroically bleeding out on some Pacific star fish for the greater glory of showing up Uncle Sam. And this doesn’t even touch on how systemic corruption would impact the integrity of the commie forces’ command and control.

    Sure, the commies are allegedly “purging” the rot, but we all understand what systemic means. The commies do too, it’s just that, well, how else do you extract 3-trillion a year from 1.4 billion hard-slaving serfs?

    Good times.

  3. Dreck says:

    The SCMP have published nothing about the Unaoil bribery scandal.

    Even the Straits Times covered that and Singapore’s Keppel has been fingered as an alleged perp.

    Mind you the BBC have totally ignored the Unaoil scandal totally. Why? Because a lot of British companies on the hook for that one?

    So who can we trust?

  4. HKCynical says:

    @Jennifer Eagleton, indeed now published, however chosen angle is to lambast foreign-devil-owned HSBC, with no mention of Chinese politicians named in the leak, which is where the rest of the world’s press is going with it.

  5. Chopped Onions says:

    “He was the grandson of Ho Ying Chie (1911-2000), the founder and owner of the Hong Kong Tobacco Cooperation Limited” ( read no competition) In other words Ho had money handed to him on a plate and with that a large dose of entitlement , and yet finds time an energy to bully HKs youth who’s future hes responsible for stealing.
    “Wong, 19, hit back, saying: “I think as a grown up, a mature person, a man of high renown and a media tycoon, it is childish to attack people who hold different political views with words that are based purely on his emotions.”

  6. Knownot says:

    Dirty money flows
    Through the upper rank
    But oh! how clean it is
    In an offshore bank.
    The Party isn’t sure
    What to do about
    All the silent money
    Creeping, seeping out.

    Now the pipes are leaking
    And begin to tell
    The gunk in Panama
    Has a nasty smell.
    Resolute and firm
    The Party will begin
    To block the noisy news
    Creeping, seeping in.

  7. Grande Poobah says:


    I’m hoping that you didn’t miss the coverage of SHKP in the Guardian?

    The whining and moaning at SHKP, and their attempts to nickel & dime the process, make the team at Fonseca seem the model of professionalism

  8. Joe Blow says:

    Can anyone explain to me why Ho Ying Chie (1911-2000) had a tobacco monopoly ?

  9. LRE says:


  10. Red Dragon says:


    You refer to old man Cameron in the present tense.

    He’s dead.

  11. PD says:

    Hannibal, No, Cameron is not dead.

    I was wondering, might your own financial situation be making you a teeny-weeny bit selective in your target?

    Just asking…

  12. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Joe Blow: Mr Ho sucked good Brit master schlong? Sold his daughters? Had the direct and sole import license for tobacco from mainland China (commies need money to fuel ideological zeal)?

  13. Hermes says:

    Interesting that both sleazebags are connected through the marriage of their respective offspring.

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