A mundane comparison between Taiwan and Hong Kong… The city of Taichung is making all bus rides free for the first 10km (not per day, but per ride). Only downside: your stored-value card might have a pink Hello Kitty on it. In Hong Kong, the Big Transport Dept Idea is the removal of unnecessary road signs, as seen on Ice House Street yesterday. In theory, it’s to improve the walking environment, but in fact to squeeze more pedestrians onto sidewalks – thus ensuring the all-important Alphards can still park illegally wherever they wish.
Five months after my last visit, I also find that Taiwan has largely successfully continued to resist Chinese Communist Party encroachment. How did Hong Kong do during my four days’ absence?
The Hong Kong Police arrest people for suspected (presumably as in ‘phony’) money-laundering offences and freeze HK$70 million in crowdfunded donations for protesters’ legal and other aid. HSBC becomes the city’s latest enemy-of-the-people company.
Chinese security arrest a Hongkonger going to Macau on the Zhuhai Bridge. The government says it wasn’t its place to warn residents that this part of the white elephant is under Mainland jurisdiction. (Could it be that our top officials simply didn’t know about this either? Would this be more reassuring? Or less?)
Beijing spokesmen agitate for Hong Kong to introduce Article 23 National Security Laws. (Local shoe-shiners alleviate concerns by pointing out that the CCP can do it by other, rule-of-law means anyway.)
Chief Executive Carrie Lam meets with the pro-Beijing losers from the District Council elections, though she has had no time so far to see the winners. (The elected representatives of the people have better things to do, like ridding public parks of lewd Mainland-granny dancers.)
The courts find two pro-dem lawmakers to be unduly elected because (roughly) their predecessors were unduly disqualified. To solve this mess of its own devising, the government must now either leave pan-dems/voters under-represented in the Legislative Council, or hold by-elections – respectively potentially problematic and humiliating.
Government plans for a bland Review of Various Stuff in 2019 (as opposed to an independent inquiry into the police) run into trouble as no respected former judges are dumb enough to take part.
The cops find one or two more dead bodies in what they say are totally non-suspicious circumstances. They manage to turn a small pro-Uighur gathering into another guns-drawn/pepper-spray fest yesterday, complete with some arrests to round up the numbers for the ‘assembly line’.
What else did I miss?
In another of its exclusive deep-throat scoops, Reuters reports that it was Beijing, not Carrie Lam, that pushed for the extradition bill – as most of us assumed all along (especially after the SCMP’s special exclusive scoop that the lady who doesn’t know how to buy toilet paper thought it all up herself).
I’m sure there’s more. It was, after all, four whole days.