Weekend links

Should the Celebrity Death Pool start taking bets on how long Xi Jinping can stay in power? From mis-reading Trump, to alienating the Third World with Belt and Road Debt Traps, to imaging he can re-program a million Muslims in camps, to imposing mind-numbing ideology, to strengthening state control of the economy, to launching a personality cult – the guy must be starting to annoy smarter compatriots, and encouraging subversive thoughts among rivals. No doubt I am a few years ahead of the curve on this.

The South China Morning Post gave generous coverage to free-markets economist Zhang Weiying’s provocative speech last week. He dismissed the ‘China model’ as just plain economic-competence-plus-Western technology, and (essentially) warned that Beijing’s pretentious and arrogant strutting-around presents China as a threat to the world. Faster than an Interpol president or 100,000 Uighurs, the speech has disappeared. Commentator Willy Lam is quoted in this article on how the regime is hitting back at academics voicing criticism at this time when Xi’s blunders are starting to become obvious.

Some other links for anyone interested…

A densely written bullet-point prose-poem/thread on China’s economic dilemma to cut out and keep. Much, much more on Huarong, with gossip on the background and personalities, and how this sort of thing screws your humble retirement savings. An (unintentionally/mildly) amusing little abstract for a dry research paper on the geographic distribution of land-related corruption in China. A summary of how – even as the West is seemingly collapsing under the weight of its failed political, social and economic systems – China isn’t winning friends or influencing people. And a look at warm-and-cuddly soft power, Beijing-style, in the US.

The SCMP wrangled somewhat disastrously with the aforementioned Xinjiang concentration camps issue in a slightly infamous editorial, linked to and discussed here. And also in case you missed it, the horrendous and bizarre campaign to win Uighurs’ hearts and minds by invading their homes and treating them like sub-normal peasant-savages. Yes – that’ll work. And the mind-boggling tech/police/urban-planning re-invention of and Panopticism in Urumqi. (It’s a real word.)

The idea is that you can beat and crush distinct identities out of people and turn them into perfect lookalike cookie-cutter CCP-approved citizens. As this review of Last Exit to Kai Tak says: “…the people of Hong Kong are indeed different from their comrades on the Mainland… It is sadly a social and cultural fact, obvious to all, that runs counter to the politics of Chinese One Nation nationalism and the narrative of a self-interested establishment.”

I declare the weekend open with some light-ish reading on things that make Hong Kong different: the Portuguese community (where are they now?); thoughts of a half-Brit-half-Filipino in the city; and a history of the trams in pictures.


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6 Responses to Weekend links

  1. Not Shirley Yam says:

    Funny that Tammy Tam doesn’t sign her op-eds anymore

  2. Headache says:

    The Zhang Weiyang story is currently the 4th “most popular” on scmp.com.

    Above it are:

    3. China ‘has world’s strongest fibre that can haul a space elevator’
    2. Time for arrogant US to realise it’s not so special
    1. ‘Prepare for war’, Xi Jinping tells military region that monitors Taiwan

  3. old git says:

    Mr Xi comes across as a bit dim. Who else really thinks that Marxism / Leninism is a proven concept? Goucho Marxism and Jack Lemonism are proven concepts, by contrast.

  4. Knownot says:

    How to get 8,000 hectares of land for free

    I left my home one pleasant morn
    To market and to shop.
    A grizzled sage accosted me
    And motioned me to stop.

    “By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
    Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?”
    “I know you, friend, and in your gaze
    A learned heart I see.”

    Indeed I own a learned heart
    And little did he flatter.
    “Oh tell me, sage, what troubles thee;
    I pray, what is the matter?”

    I wander o’er the pleasant seas
    Where dolphins play and dive;
    I wonder if the fish and I
    Are going to survive.

    On Lantau’s calm and pleasant shore
    There is a marvellous scheme:
    A project or a fantasy,
    A vision or a dream.

    Enslaved or blinded, mad or sick,
    Our Government of boobies
    Will build a massive island there,
    A monument to hubris.

    I wander o’er the blighted land
    And roam from east to west.
    So many hectares, so much land,
    By so few is possessed.

    Farmland, farmland, everywhere
    Nor crop nor building yields;
    Flat land, flat land, everywhere,
    Brown and browner fields.

    I turn and see old trucks and cars
    Are scattered all around;
    Rusting tanks and ship containers
    Sinking in the ground.

    Farmland, farmland, everywhere
    With scrap and garbage filled;
    Flat land, flat land, everywhere
    And not a place to build!

    The boobies, saying land is scarce,
    Creating islands new,
    Enslaved or blinded, cannot see
    It simply isn’t true.

    Indeed I have an answer, for
    The land is held on lease;
    In 2047, all the
    Ownership can cease!

    Farmland fallow, flat land hoarded
    Therefore will appear
    Worthless if it is not built on:
    Worth less every year!

    “O, grizzled sage! Too wise, too bold!
    This can’t be done! You jest!”
    “Your learned heart, alas, is timid,
    Just like all the rest.”

    with acknowledgement to ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’

  5. Paul says:

    I think you may have put the wrong link behind “thoughts of a half-Brit-half-Filipino “

  6. Chinese Netizen says:

    Nectar Gan.

    Yes she is, indeed.

    ~H. Weinstein

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