Thailand’s military junta would have barred Joshua Wong from entering the country anyway – the generals don’t want a Hong Kong activist speaking to students on the 40th anniversary of the Thammasat University massacre. But a special request from Beijing probably wouldn’t hurt. China similarly convinced Malaysia to turn him back last year. With wacko-President Duterte apparently eager to be buddies with China, Joshua would presumably be unwelcome in the Philippines too.
This is China flexing its might and power in 2016: stopping at nothing to counter a geeky teenager.
Joshua cut his teeth fighting to keep Communist brainwashing propaganda out of Hong Kong classrooms. But that struggle is not over. Hong Kong’s government wants to introduce a new history course in high schools. The city’s success, in this version of the past, will be due to China, particularly the Communist Party’s China, rather than to any inherent (let alone – shudder – foreign) abilities or influences. (More on Beijing’s rewriting of history here.)
It will be interesting to see how Beijing responds to Duterte’s overtures – the Xi Jinping regime must have some standards when it comes to buying mad/bad/dangerous dictators. Meanwhile, as many have predicted, Xi looks like breaking the unwritten rules to extend his grip on power in some way beyond the conventional 10 years. Far away, a US Vice-Presidential candidates’ debate just happened, Mike Pence versus Clinton’s Kaine, which surely few could bring themselves to watch.
So, perhaps, the Western world retreats and fades, and a new global order rises – the Xi-Putin-Duterte-Assad Era of Bliss and Charm.
How much simpler and more benign everything seemed just four or five years ago, when our biggest worry was local tycoon-leeches. Time Out HK marks the demise of rival HK Magazine by reinstating (if that’s the right word) its big Bloodsucking Tycoons feature from February 2012. It would be nice – some of us might think – if they gave a gushing stream of royalties credit to the author, whose name they seem to have misplaced. But it’s good to see it up there. Writing it was easy, but valiant editorial staff suffered major carnage getting it past the publishers and into print.