On Twitter this morning, someone quoting Lily Tomlin: “No matter how cynical you get, you just can’t keep up.”
I think it’s Apple Daily that has started referring to the Mainland-jurisdiction ‘Port Area’ zone at West Kowloon high-speed rail station as the ‘International Settlement’.
The comparison to old Shanghai’s British-American-etc district is historically and constitutionally inapt and absurd in itself. The allusion to Hong Kong-as-helpless-victim in latter-day ‘foreign persecution’ at hands of professional self-pitying rewriter of history the Chinese Communist Party is monstrously, gratuitously offensive. This pushes so many buttons the Beijing Mouth-Frothing System will explode. In short: utterly brilliant.
Among many, many other objectionable intrusions in Hong Kong from north of the border is HNA, the Hainan Airlines-related conglomerate that bought land at Kai Tak for otherworldly sums, and is routinely described in international media as ‘acquisitive’, or (more daringly) ‘shadowy’. The mystery is sort of thickening and unravelling simultaneously, as the group tries to hide its ultimate ownership in various ways, now as a charitable foundation. Details here and here.
Obviously, it looks like a princelings/kleptocracy/crony money-laundering/capital-flight mega-scam. But which princelings/faction/etc? The charity (or dog-ate-my-homework) story suggests someone is getting desperate. (On a related note: will Shirley Yam reappear at the South China Morning Post, or is she ‘disqualified’, as lawmakers put it? Her infamous swiftly excised article is here, for anyone who hasn’t seen it.)
There is murk, there is Mainland murk, and then to prove Tomlin right there is Land of Smiles Mega-Murk – behold an alleged and hyper-lurid-putrid reason why Thailand’s new king has long hung out so much in Germany, including guest appearance by his intellectually disabled son. A dozen re-education camps under West Kowloon would seem normal next to this.