At last minute, K-pop saves world from authoritarianism

Your Mainlandization du jour – as expected – was the passing of the National Anthem (Compulsory Adoration (Sincere)) Bill. Seems it takes effect next Friday. I look forward to seeing mischievous versions of the dirge on YouTube before long.

Meanwhile, the wonders of our era continue. As if the US doesn’t have enough peculiar political demographics, vast hordes of redoubtable K-pop fans support Black Lives Matter by swamping police tip-off services and racist websites with video clips of (I guess) boy bands. Just when you were despairing about kids today and their musical tastes.

And in Hong Kong, the government’s attempt to ban the June 4 vigil flops nicely, prompting impromptu gatherings not only in Victoria Park but a dozen other locations, plus solemn memorials in churches.

For an extra bonus, the annual event becomes newly relevant to youth. In the outdoor gatherings, the sub-theme of the evening wasn’t the traditional ‘democratize China’ but ‘Hong Kong independence’. CY Leung is credited with inventing the concept of a HK Independence movement; the CCP is responsible for making it a reality. This is a classic asymmetric struggle: one side has all the guns; the other has all the brain cells.

Perhaps with a few exceptions. Weirdly, apart from in Mongkok, the police stood back and let last night proceed in peace. What accounted for this uncharacteristic fit of common sense on the part of the cops? It’s hard to imagine their advisors in the Liaison Office caring about how bad it would look to tear-gas a bunch of people holding candles.

I declare the weekend open with another selection of suitably depressing links – many trying to work out what Beijing’s new national-security regime will mean for Hong Kong.

In HKFP, Patrick Poon explains how ‘subversion of state power’ could work in practice, and Kenneth Ka-lok Chan fears the worst for academic freedom.

Isobel Hilton in the Guardian is in little doubt that the Chinese leadership…

…has now effectively torn up the treaty it signed with Margaret Thatcher’s government and condemned Hong Kong to further unrest and decline. If Beijing’s desired outcome was stability and security, it has disastrously mishandled it. Few doubt that Beijing’s security law will criminalise dissent, undermine the rule of law and target prominent activists

In the Spectator, Sophie Mak examines officials’ use of dehumanizing language like ‘animals, vermin, insects, or diseases’ to portray the protest movement.

Simon Cartledge in LRB discusses growing repression in Hong Kong…

In January, China appointed a new hardline head of its Hong Kong Liaison Office. I wondered if the aim was to find out whether it would be possible to apply the coercive techniques used in Xinjiang to Hong Kong.

Or was it so the guy could spend his pre-retirement days feasting on dimsum? Find out here.

On a related subject: why are the HK Police so touchy about the 8-31 Prince Edward memorials?

Several Hong Kong journalists imagine how National Security laws will affect their work covering the city.

Kong Tsung-gan introduces his book, Liberate Hong Kong: Stories From The Freedom Struggle.

Before they get shut down – or the HK/CCP secret police start monitoring your online transactions (if they’re not already) – some causes to donate to.

Some people I follow on Twitter are beside themselves with rage to learn that Apple Daily’s Jimmy Lai does not share the entire spectrum of their political beliefs, and is a Donald Trump fan. Beijing’s decision to suppress Hong Kong is part of a much bigger struggle in the world and perhaps the start of a new phase of history. For those of us who wished they had been at a crucial place at a crucial date – your wish has come true. See it as a privilege to be alive and in the thick of it to witness such times…

Brian Fong in the Diplomat asks why Xi Jinping is making Hong Kong ground zero in the new Cold War? (He doesn’t actually say ‘damned if I know, the guy’s a total effing nut’ but there’s a hint of it.) 

In New Statesman, George Magnus ponders whether

Hong Kong could be the flashpoint for a possible financial war … At the very least, there could be close scrutiny over all capital transactions between Hong Kong and the US, spanning both foreign direct investment and portfolio capital affecting stocks, bonds and other financial products.

And other things, including threats to the currency peg, which sound a bit unlikely. But then we get to the ‘Yum – yes please’ part…

The United States could also sanction individuals deemed to be implementing the National Security Law, for example, by freezing their assets, and financial institutions thought to be associated or complicit with them. 

Drooling at the thought of how this would seriously wipe some smirks off certain pro-establishment faces.

On a similar note, CSIS mull over the interesting pros and cons of various US sanctions options in a fictional NSC memo.

Following HSBC’s forced kowtow, a thread on the CCP’s calculated use of economic coercion.

Christopher Balding with an important reminder: the conflict with China is not caused by or a reaction to Donald Trump, and is not the result of ‘poor communication/understanding’.

The Australian looks at the CCP’s warping of history to justify dictatorship…

…there are no compelling reasons for thinking the tragedy that befell northern Italy under the coronavirus pandemic had anything to do with latent collective memories of Zeus or Kronos.

China Media Project examines how Chinese official media are trying to cover the US protests without seeming to endorse Hong Kong’s own uprising.

From National Interest, US conservative think-tanky stuff on a potentially interesting tweak to the cross-straits balance of power.

The US officially protests China’s South China Sea claims at the UN.

A New Bloom interview with James Griffiths, author of Great Firewall of China – and maybe an idea of the censorship and surveillance that might be coming online in Hong Kong.

A glimpse into dark, twisted minds as some Mainland fine-arts students fantasize about the PLA invading Taiwan.

DeepThroatIPO’s latest witty/scary analysis of the analysis of Alibaba, including some delightfully rude comments about named analysts.

For history fans – Geoff Wade on the eunuch-commanded Ming-era maritime expeditions.

And a reminder that we in Hong Kong are not alone in praising the merciful Almighty for at least destroying the tourism industry…

…residents have been complaining for a very long time that the city doesn’t belong to them anymore.

From Sinocism discussion
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23 Responses to At last minute, K-pop saves world from authoritarianism

  1. Cassowary says:

    Jimmy Lai’s Trump support shouldn’t be surprising to anyone given that Mark Simon the Freaking Neocon is one of his best pals/colleagues. But seeing him endorse police brutality as long as it happens to other people is still disappointing.

  2. Penny says:

    In Hong Kong there is an anthem that doesn’t need a law to protect it. It is respected and loved in the hearts of the people. Glory to Hong Kong!

  3. Knownot says:

    Time will . . .

    Sombre the voices, downcast the faces,
    The air trembles with anger;
    People cry in private places,
    A famous man cries on television.
    People meet the tanks
    In the way they know best:
    Close their accounts in Chinese banks,
    And turn their backs.
    In the years following, the British create
    A new airport to symbolize the future,
    While the Chinese bluster and prate
    About wasting reserves.
    Fat Pang, a bull in a china-shop,
    A gourmet in a bakery,
    Changes politics from bottom to top,
    But he is a great sinner.
    After only eight years, people feel
    Hopeful – joyous – when the British leave.
    Time can deceive or heal;
    Time can heal or deceive.

    People have wondered every year
    If this is the last time,
    But now that the end seems so near
    What will happen?
    With barricades, the police feebly attempt
    To block the park;
    The people with glorious contempt
    Push them down.
    And there is glory when night falls
    And a lake of candle-light shimmers
    And the voice of Hong Kong calls
    To a benighted China
    Where people do not know
    (They love their country.)
    What happened thirty-one years ago
    On a Saturday night in Beijing.
    Muffled, purblind, they falsely believe;
    By candle-light we see the real.
    Time will heal or deceive;
    Time will deceive or heal.

  4. Reactor #4 says:

    I love how Trumpetty-Fart is now bitching on about “foreign interference” in the US’s riots. Several months back, though, he was more than happy to have his handlers “directing traffic” here on the streets of HK. That’s why the home-grown protesters have gone quiet.

    A key thing with Covid-19 has been the closing of the border. It’s the perfect excuse: “protect the city’s inhabitants”. Thus, it’s now nigh-on impossible for a significant proportion of the “overseas press” to fly in spend a week or four creating mischief. When Covid-19 does disappear, you can guarantee they won’t be letting-in anyone with suspected pesky intentions. Even if someone does slip through, the border people will have secretly installed on their handsets tracking software.

  5. anon says:

    the ‘CCPs warping of history’ link has a paywall. This seems to be a better link to the discussion, and is freely available.

  6. Roddy the Rodomontade says:

    @Reactor #4

    The “overseas press” you allude to, presumably publications such as the Asahi Shimbun, the FT, the NYT, the WSJ and others, plus news agencies like AFP, already have offices in Hong Kong.

    But perhaps you weren’t aware of that until now.

  7. reductio says:


    Cheers, very useful.

  8. The Hurdy Gurdy Man says:


    Biden is much more of a neocon than Trump. That’s why neocon “Never Trumpers” like Max Boot support him. He and his deadbeat dad son, Hunter, are also very close with the Chinese regime. Biden would be a disaster on China.

  9. pie-chucker says:

    Good link, anon.

    When you spot the full Ramsay Lecture online, appreciate the heads-up. Thanks.

  10. Hong Kong Hibernian says:
  11. Deeer says:

    Just noting that I am never able to read a complete comment from reactor 4 and quickly move on. Moron.

  12. Penny says:

    @Deeer – The trick is not to read it at all.

  13. Cassowary says:

    @ Hurst Gurdy: Mark Simon used to hang out with Paul Wolfowitz. I don’t know what he calls himself now, but dismissing police brutality that happens to people you don’t care about when holding yourself up as a champion of democracy and human rights is a garbage position. Joe Biden’s faults are beside the point.

  14. Quentin Quarantino says:

    I have been blocked by Mark Simon on Twitter. In regard to the troll Reactor #4, who also posts as ‘Penny’, please don’t pay attention to the troll. Ignore his puerile drivel. He is the Alex Lo of Big Lychee. And that’s all I have to say about that.

  15. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    I’ve followed the comments far less since relocating from HK to NY for a few years, the back to Sydney. Is Reactor #4 the same guy who used to do racist caricature impressions of African American women? If so, the derivative nature of his pseudonym/ attempt to infer gravitas via reference to something far more interesting than himself makes sense. A man forever lurking under Hemlock’s table, trying to snap up scraps of the attention he craves.

    If I’m mistaken, no apologies to George.

  16. Mark Bradley says:

    Nobody ever confirmed that Rectum #4 is George, but I strongly suspect this imbecile is in fact George. His comments have that same level of negative attention seeking obnoxiousness to them. You can tell he is super jealous of Hemlock.

  17. Mark Bradley says:

    “Drooling at the thought of how this would seriously wipe some smirks off certain pro-establishment faces.”

    Sanctions will be brutal for these pro establishment types if it involves freezing US assets and cutting them off the US banking system. It also means that HK banks would kick them off too otherwise HK banks would face secondary sanctions for doing business with a sanctioned person and then the HK banks themselves could be cut off the US banking system

  18. Penny says:

    @Quentin Quarantino
    Penny is just Penny – not posting under any other name. How did you ever equate me with the troll? I am insulted!

  19. dimuendo says:

    To everybody (understandably) getting upset about no. 4, bare in mind Hemlock knows who he is and his happy for his posts to appear. I suggest it just be ignored. Hopefully it will get tired and stop posting.

  20. Reactor #4 says:

    Another sound contribution from Yonden Lhatoo

    Presumably, President Xi is chuckling his head off. I certainly am.

  21. Mary Melville says:

    Pro-Beijing demonstrators seen tearing up their British National Overseas passport in front of British Consulate, whilst declaring allegiance to China. However, one was seen tearing up already-invalid passport with cut corners, casting doubt on the “authenticity” of this stunt. [Now News]. So ripping up expired passports while keeping current documents?
    It was noted on a posting that has since been removed that one of the group is a student union leader in UK!
    Will Brits demand that the protesters be identified and their status reviewed?

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