Some weekend reading…

I declare the weekend open with the usual exquisitely curated artisanal links…

Trade mag Holmes Report on Hong Kong’s San Francisco trade office inviting PR companies to ‘inspire and enhance confidence’.

Sebastian Veg tries to find cause for optimism in the recent District Council elections…

…to some extent, there is still an expectation that the narrow path opened up by universal suffrage can offer a way toward further de-escalation, even though a full return to civil peace may not yet be within reach.

This presumes Beijing sees representative government as a solution. Asia Sentinel’s more realistic wrap-up of the crisis describes Hong Kong as ‘now trapped in a Communist-colonization nightmare’…

Beijing has singularly failed to win the ‘hearts-and-minds’ of its Hong Kong citizens since 1997. A one-party police state, ruling top-down through fear since 1949, preserving power for its party elite, cannot adjust to transparent, accountable governance.

Human Rights Watch joins in the criticism of the Hong Kong Police.

Mark O’Neil thinks the Chinese government will keep Carrie Lam in office for the rest of the year in order to rush Article 23 national security laws through. All the signs have been that even Beijing isn’t stupid enough to try that – but what a gift to the protest movement it would be!

A measure of how the world is watching Hong Kong: Burma’s Catholics are concerned.

On an entertaining note, M+ looks at Hong Kong in computer games over the years.

Over to Renegade Province: a reminder to mind your language when discussing Taiwan; Tsai Ing Wen cat manga; and you might just have time to read this big article from the Lowy Institute on the country’s election before it takes place tomorrow.

A great account from Claremont Review of Books of how Dengism replaced old Stalinist ways, and how Xi has taken it from there

Under Xi, corruption remains instrumental – not only in steering the economy in the direction the party wants it to go, but also in ensuring that high-level civilian and military officials have a stake in preserving the system. It is not a matter of one audacious embezzler here or there. Rather, it is the entire Mafia-like system itself, wherein each of the lower-downs kicks up to his boss until the money finally reaches the most powerful body in the system—the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.

…a tiny Manchu elite held on to power for 270 years. The comparably tiny Communist elite is unlikely to equal that record.

China Media Project on the return of Mao’s adulatory title – ‘possibly the start of a new round of worshipful praise for China’s top leader’ (because you can never have enough, can you?)

Evan Osnos’s magnum New Yorker opus on the future of the US relationship with China.

On a related note, Slate asks Why is Harvard training the next generation of CCP leaders?

A Sydney Morning Herald correspondent, after her kid’s globe is confiscated, looks back at changes in China in last few years.

And a long read from Echo Wall on how China manages to complete massive complex infrastructure projects so unbelievably quickly.

My gargantuan challenge for tomorrow is to go back to the HSBC Platinum-Jade-Premier Valued Customer service centre and insist they replace my battery-exhausted online-banking ‘security device’ without forcing me to go through the horrifyingly traumatic and fruitless button-pushing, waiting-on-hold phone system, which – by the time I slam the phone down in despair – turns me borderline homicidal. Just in case you never hear from me again.

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10 Responses to Some weekend reading…

  1. HSBC says:

    Use your smartphone as the token generator instead.

  2. I tried activating my new HSBC security device online, which is supposed to be possible, but after failing to navigate my way through multiple screens and mysterious passwords, I was glad to go back to the phone system. Whoever I spoke to got it sorted quite quickly.

  3. PaperCuts says:

    Harvard training the “next” generation?? They trained the first generation didn’t they?


  4. HKJC Regular says:

    @HSBC – if the batteries are dead on the code generator, it’s impossible to verify the HSBC app thingy as the old, battery-dead code generator is require to generate the code for y0u to get to the next stage in the process.
    Then, when you call the “helpline” it asks you to key in your account number … aarrghh!

  5. Stanley Lieber says:

    My HSBC customer experience is that one sits across the desk from a besuited HSBC employee who goes through the horrifyingly traumatic and fruitless button-pushing, waiting-on-hold phone system for you.

    Bring a cup of coffee and a good book and you’ll be fine.

  6. Kwun Tong By Pass says:

    Stanley Lieber
    Just did that yesterday. We waited together, me with coffee, for about 15 minutes…

  7. Spike says:

    HSBC’s web site and phone app have an option to use 3 randomly selected characters from your password rather than the security device. I’ve been doing that for years and now only need to use the security device if I’m transferring money to a 3rd party account that’s not already “registered”. What they SHOULD be doing is allowing one to generate the random number from an app like Authy or Google Authenticator rather than using their own dongle.

  8. Stephen says:

    I’m surprised and a little concerned how many of you bank with HSBC. For the love of god, why ?

  9. Stanley Lieber says:


    Habit, mostly.

  10. dimuendo says:


    I have accounts, for various reasons, with HSBC, Hang Seng, BEA and Standard Chartered. In relative terms, HSBC the best , although may be given extra service as most of what little I have is with them. However I really dislike the increasing imposition of electronic especially encrypted communications effectively forced on me.

    Plus it is a little worrying that for anything not perfectly straight forward/simple, Stanley’s experience has to be gone through.

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