Twitter ‘Botmageddon’ attracts coverage by AFP and the Financial Times, though as a Southeast Asian phenomenon. The best explanation I have seen has a Taiwan angle and notes that ‘the China Explainer/Apologist/Shill crowd’ seem to be spared the infestation…
“There’s a high degree of arbitrariness in who gets selected, but clearly an intelligence is directing them [the bots] because they don’t follow people who support China.”
So they have excellent taste. My overnight haul is shown up there at the top and includes an account named… Infamous Panda.
On the subject of spooky Chinese Communist Party-aligned forces menacing harmless and obscure innocents, Benny Tai presents his hypothetical futures for China. You wouldn’t have thought there are 10 possible futures, but he managed to find them. If the Chinese officials controlling Hong Kong’s prosecutors get their way, Benny will be imprisoned on bizarre charges going back four years to Occupy. If that doesn’t work out, the CCP might arrange for a retroactive law that makes it illegal in Hong Kong to discuss imaginary outcomes many decades hence – or at least specific potential outcomes. Or maybe with special exemptions for science-fiction writers. Or maybe not. We don’t know.
Worth reading: if it’s any consolation, there is a lot we don’t know about China – even things China itself probably doesn’t know, even, to get Rumsfeldian, doesn’t know that it doesn’t know.
We do know that citizens must be on the alert for evil foreign NGOs.
On a lighter note, fans of geometric art (think Mondrian) and pastel shades should check out these photos of Chai Wan fire station.
On the subject of aesthetics, I found this staring at me on the Mid-Levels Escalator yesterday…
It does wash off, right? (I’ll spare you the stuff on the back of his neck.)
It’s just occurred to me that people who have tattoos tend to be not just fairly/hyper-defensive about it, but are in many cases suspiciously eager to encourage the unblemished to take the irreversible plunge as well – and you also get this with people who have committed themselves to crypto-currency ‘investment’, and to marriage. Hmmm…
HK will soon become like the movie “Minority Report” where crimes will be thwarted before they’re even committed.
(All the) Folks that get tatted up to be “unique” and “special”, not following the masses. LOL.
“Nobody Knows Anything About China — Including the Chinese government.”
I’d actually go further and say the Chinese government knows even less than most about China, despite all its secret police, prying, hacking and spying.
Firstly, the communist party’s very desire for control over every aspect of people’s lives makes it an excellent breeding ground for convincing liars. As Thompson put it — “In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught.” The party also actively forces you to lie: Party policy is, over time, so capricious and self-contradictory that it is only possible to keep following policy and stay in the party by lying: you are punished if your lies are unconvincing, promoted if they are convincing. Everyone in government is perforce a passable liar.
Secondly, everyone in China has a vested interest in lying to the Chinese government about pretty much everything. Government regulations are so over-controlling, they’re essentially impossible to comply with in the real world, and come with all sorts of harsh punishment. Coupled with endemic corruption, rule-by-law and retroactive legislation changes, it means that the only sensible attitude to the law in China is — “Ignore the law and do what you want. Pay off whoever catches you doing it”.
Each level of the government in turn has a vested interest in lying about the lies they’ve been told to the next level up and any other departments. If anyone tells the truth without offering a sacrificial scapegoat, they will most likely be punished: it is far safer to tell your boss what you think he wants to hear. Creative and convincing liars are rewarded with promotions.
By the time you get to the top levels of government/party, the truth has been so thoroughly embroidered, everything the old men at the top hear is basically fictitious: meaningless noise specifically tailored to please them. They then go ahead and devise the next 5-year plan for the whole country based entirely on the contents of this pleasing noise.
This leads to impossible-to-fulfil targets and quotas coming down from on high, which of course require new and more outlandish lies. And so the cycle starts anew, and the leadership gets further and further from the truth…