And who would take her?

Did Theresa Cheng try to defect in London? Sounds unlikely, doesn’t it? Even assuming Hong Kong’s Beijing-friendly Justice Secretary felt a need to flee, why would she ‘defect’ like some Soviet chess player in the 1970s, when – so far as we can tell – there’s nothing stopping her from just walking?

Then again, Chief Executive Carrie Lam is by many accounts kept in office against her will. Indeed, all her fellow top officials look near-suicidal on their rare public appearances, yet mysteriously never resign. And we all know the CCP uses the most devious and callous means (blackmail, threats against family) to keep people in line.

On the face of it, the fuss over Cheng’s wrist looks like a lame stunt to elicit sympathy and demonize nasty protesters. But there’s a conspiracy theorist’s delight there: the long absence after her ‘fall’ in London, trouble at her husband’s company, then she turns up, having been in Beijing for two weeks – and looks absolutely, utterly frightful.

You be the judge.

The fact that we are even talking about this is a mark of how far we have come from normality.

I declare the chilly weekend open with a rich array of diversions to stimulate the mind…

Further to some subjects mentioned earlier this week: Why HK won’t be like Macau, and some more on the claims of self-censorship in Hong Kong’s financial sector.

Remember how Theresa Cheng was in London to promote Hong Kong as an arbitration hub? Reuters looks at how such work is moving to Singapore. One reason is that the lawyers have been reading things like this Time feature on Hong Kong as a tear gas hub.

China Daily produces a timeline on evil foreign interference in Hong Kong. Prepare to be disappointed: Canada issues statement, Belgian official meets Joshua Wong, etc.

On the culture side of things, a fetching protest-themed music video of a song by Charmaine Fong. And the pro-Beijing side finally does something creative that’s interesting: a grotesque series of caricatures of opposition figures, presumably by a Mainlander who knows Hong Kong. Artistically quite eye-catching, except (as the link points out) for the racism, sexism, other bad taste and unclassiness, and the fact that it copies a Japanese artist. Eddie Chu Hoi-dick should get the original of his and frame it.

On Mainland affairs, all you want to know about Aunty Xianglin – to whom a Chinese spokeswoman likened US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. As puzzled netizens point out, the fictional character who constantly prattles on about things is a victim of an oppressive feudal system.

Another example of Mainland public opinion not following the script: once-popular national treasure Huawei’s backlash from the Chinese public.

An interview with Jude Blanchette on Xi Jinping, with implications for Hong Kong and the whole planet…

…it is not surprising that Xi believes he has the power to control China’s destiny. But the limitations of this worldview are increasingly on display, and the question then becomes, how much longer and at what costs will Xi be able to push the country in the direction of his vision before he relents.

Carl Minzner goes into detail on Xi’s ideological rectification campaign in China’s academia and research fields. This trend potentially undermines innovation and productivity growth. Which brings us to…

How economic and technical challenges are limiting China’s aircraft carrier expansion plans. Which brings us in a roundabout way to…

Ancient 70s-throwback leftist John Pilger’s documentary on the Coming War with China, otherwise known as ‘Any regime that opposes the US is harmless and wonderful’. (Must confess I couldn’t handle the leaden, life-sucking narration and the self-parodying joylessness for more than five minutes. If Michael Moore had done it, maybe… If anyone manages, let me know if he mentions Hong Kong.)

For fans of ‘Belt and Road’ win-win positive energy: a video on rural Chinese men being ripped off trying to get mail-order brides in Pakistan.

Frank Dikotter does a hatchet review job on a book about the Opium War. His (not new) revisionist angle will go down like a cup of cold sick in Beijing (let alone with the volume’s author). Basically, the ‘drug trafficking’ side of it was less tawdry than we might think. Dikotter only briefly mentions the Qing regime’s mercantilism, but quotes John Quincy Adams as saying opium was “no more the cause of the war than the throwing overboard of the tea in Boston harbour was the cause of the North American revolution.”

And three cheers to plucky little Prague!

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13 Responses to And who would take her?

  1. Headache says:

    The author of the Diplomat piece credits China with “strategic prudence” but don’t all those artificial islands essentially serve the same purpose as aircraft carriers?

  2. Des Espoir says:

    Curious to know whether Theresa’s Beijing diversion flights were paid for by HKG or Beijing, or herself. Also, who collected all those air miles (What is government policy on this BTW.. when officials go off on taxpayer funded jollies do they get to keep the air miles, or do they go back to the Treasury?)

  3. Reactor #4 says:

    @Headache: “Strategic Prudence”
    That would be pretty good name for a band.

  4. Paul Lewis says:

    Was Theresa Cheng breathalyzed after her fall in London?
    Just asking.

  5. Ho Ma Fan says:

    Two things:
    1. @headache, my understanding of the artificial islands is that in a real firefight they serve little purpose. They cannot move, thus can be targeted easily, or you just do a Maginot and ignore them. However, when entering negotiations regarding access to South China Sea, it’s much more likely that you will get a good deal when in a position of strength i.e. “we are doing the favour here, not you”.
    2. On Theresa Cheng, since she was born in British Hong Kong, and was called to the Bar in 1987, it’s safe to assume she still carries a British passport. If so, which travel document did she use to enter the UK? If she used her British passport, she would have been, to all intents and purposes, a British citizen falling over in Bloomsbury Square. In which case, Beijing’s mouth frothing was a clear example of foreign interference in UK affairs.
    My tuppence worth. Have a nice peaceful weekend all.

  6. Stephen says:

    “And who would take her?”

    Well I have a horrible premonition that in about five years time there will be pictures in some dreadful UK society magazine of Teresa and Carrie hobnobbing with Lydia and Sir David Wilson on Hong Kong day in some leafy part of England. It will be held in a country pile with portraits of Hong Kong titans past like Sir Percy Craddock and SY Chung adorning the walls. Doubtless the discussion will be on the evils of democracy, they’ve never had it so good etc etc ad nauseum …

  7. Mark Bradley says:

    @Ho Ma Fan

    Principal HK officials are supposed to renounce their foreign passports so I think it is highly likely Theresa Cheng traveled on a HKSAR passport. The good news is that unlike most countries where renunciation is a permanent act, in the U.K. it is easy to “resume” british nationality and I am sure Theresa will do once her stint with the government is over.

    Also Reactor #4 nobody likes you and we all still remember how you wrongly predicted the district council elections. Buzz off you has been.

  8. max noodle says:

    @ Des Espoir:(.. when officials go off on taxpayer funded jollies do they get to keep the air miles, or do they go back to the Treasury?)

  9. MarkLane says:

    Just wanted to chime in here and say:

    I, too, remember how wrong Reactor #4 was about the District Elections, and about most recent political and social issues besides.

    A real internet “shouty-louty”, of the wumao variety.

  10. Paul says:

    @Ho Ma Fan,

    On your point 2: principal officials are not allowed to hold the right of abode in any other country, under Basic Law Article 61.

    Of course, if she previously held British Citizenship and renounced it then she is able, under British law, once in her lifetime, to resume it, on demand (more or less).

  11. Chinese Netizen says:

    What’s wonderful is that Theresa looks like the perfect Central Casting despicable, hateful and utterly slimy baddie. Bravo for her consistently great performance.

  12. @MarkLane – not so much a wumao as an Eeyore, spreading gloom and pessimism wherever he goes.

  13. Headache says:

    @ Ho Ma Fan

    I’m a long way from being an expert on military matters, but my understanding was that plenty of artificial islands means lots of places to put shorter-range aircraft and the facilities they require. The carrier’s own firepower is neither here nor there.

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