World’s most mundane historic Sunday beckons

I am due to take part in a historic event on Sunday: the opening of Hong Kong’s ultra-expensive Vacant Express high-speed rail link to places we don’t want to go to. Specifically, I will be meeting someone arriving on a train. Assuming the traveller makes it through the Chinese security zone and the sinister secret basements, I might go for some extra excitement by eating in one of the humungous and tacky station’s enticing food outlets.

Speaking of thrills, the Hong Kong Free Press article will be out on Tuesday. Apparently, it is ‘utterly depressing’.

In the meantime, I declare the weekend open with Mainland-themed recommended reading.

Parallels between Hong Kong and Taiwan are always interesting (as are the differences). One similarity is the Chinese government’s inability to admit that it is part of the problem – viewed from the Taiwan angle in this Taipei Times op-ed.

Even by the sketchy standards of most national accounts and statistics, no-one knows anything about China, and that includes its own government.

From CSIS, another brave attempt to work out what Belt and Road is, noting that by now the visionary initiative includes the Arctic, cyberspace, and even outer space. In New Zealand, it’s Burglary and Road. And Bloomberg poo-poos Beijing’s tech dreams.

If you work at Xinhua, your key mission is to promote Xi Jinping Thought. David Bandurski walks you through the jargon-stuffed memo from the boss. Here’s a much bigger overview of how China’s propaganda apparatus probably works. And for deep hardcore CCP watchers, from Geremie Barme, the fourth part of Drop Your Pants – you must patriotize again.

If you want ‘utterly depressing’, legal activist Xu Zhiyong on time in prison.


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4 Responses to World’s most mundane historic Sunday beckons

  1. reductio says:

    Tried to read the links on ‘Xi thought’ but just couldn’t. I get the same glazed-eye feeling when reading pomo stuff on interrogating white male reactions to feminist intersectionality, or business articles on unconfining synergistic eco-systems. However, if I may be so bold, the Xu Zhiyong article was far from utterly depressing. I found it full of perceptive insights into the human condition, and heartily recommend it.

  2. HillnotPeak says:

    I am so not interested in China, for me the same as reading about the Ruhrgebiet in Germany.

  3. Knownot says:

    A Mundane Poem

    Well, it’s here at any rate,
    Now completed, three years late,
    At a huge cost over-run.
    Well, it’s done.

    Every map has clearly showed
    It links us with the Belt and Road
    And also with the Greater Bay,
    I daresay.

    A modern triumph, so to speak.
    Hope the tunnels do not leak.
    With Chinese safety standards here,
    Have no fear.

    And welcome, too, the Chinese laws
    Occupying several floors,
    Spaces which do not belong
    To Hong Kong.

    Pragmatism over-rides
    What the Basic Law provides.
    Is it legal? Heaven knows.
    So it goes.

    Travelling northward at high speed:
    Is it what we really need?
    Maybe you’ll be whizzing there.
    I don’t care.

    Sixteen miles and so much fuss,
    It’s really made a fool of us.
    A Vibrant train, a true Express,
    What a mess!

    At such a cost, at such expense,
    Does the thing make any sense?
    Perhaps demand will slowly swell?
    Time will tell.

    Being hopeful, I might think
    The railway is a precious link.
    And, yes, the Bridge is coming still.
    What a thrill!

  4. dimuendo says:


    A mundane poem, but spot on.

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