Nothing to analyse

Beijing releases some more hazy semi-details of the draft Hong Kong National Security law in the form of a Xinhua report outlining some of the explanatory introduction and framework. It omits any definitions of criminal offenses, like ‘colluding with external forces’. 

This vague piecemeal approach is probably the closest we will get to a public consultation. Maybe Beijing is trying to manage expectations, or redraft scarier-sounding clauses following the negative international reaction to the law (the Xinhua report includes lots of reassurances about legal protections). More likely, Mainland officials are doing their usual making-it-up-as-they-go-along thing.

NPC Observer has a good summary. Among other things:

– the Chief Executive (ie Beijing) will choose judges to sit on NatSec cases;

– Beijing will establish a local office headed by a NatSec Commissioner;

– this body will ‘supervise and instruct’ a Hong Kong government Commission for Safeguarding National Security comprising top ministers plus a Beijing-appointed (Mainland?) advisor – among its roles is to somehow ‘cooperate’ with the judiciary;

– Justice and Police functions will have their own dedicated NatSec units;

– this law will override all others; and

– in undefined ‘special cases’, Beijing will handle things even more directly.


…the NPCSC [ie Beijing] will have the sole power to interpret this Law … it is unclear how the Hong Kong courts could hear and decide cases arising from this Law without interpreting it.

A lot of this framework stuff is window-dressing to make a Mainland-managed system look like it’s being run in and by Hong Kong.

One distinctly ‘Mainland’ feature of this framework is the clear conflict of interest involved in having the Chief Executive (ie the prosecution, ie Beijing) choose which judges hear national security cases. Some pro-Beijing voices are spinning this as a concession – a more liberal alternative to barring foreign judges from such trials. This is garbage: rather than screen out a few non-ethnic Chinese, this system will weed out all judges except a few who are guaranteed to deliver the CCP’s required decisions. The Bar Association are naturally alarmed. But would you seriously expect a Leninist regime to accommodate an independent judiciary?

There are no details of what actions will actually be offenses, nor, as Jerome Cohen points out, about extradition, jury trials, the privilege against self-incrimination, etc.

And anyway, as we all know, the law will mean whatever they want it to mean.

NPC Observer has an update on the likely next steps of various rubber-stamp committees – it all points to the law taking effect on July 1.

That’s a very important date: it will be the first day of the Company Gwailo’s retirement (and quite rightly a public holiday). While I get on with clearing out my orifice, some recommended links…

An interview with one of the best commentators on China – Anne Stevenson-Yang…

It’s very sad about Hong Kong because it’s so small and vulnerable, and the same really is true of Taiwan. I wouldn’t be surprised if the mainland government had figured: “Well, we’ve only got six months left of Trump and we know he won’t do anything, so why don’t we move now.” Xi clearly has very poor political instincts, at least internationally…

Alibaba and Tencent are the two biggest private banks in China. That’s principally what they do: They aggregate and deploy capital. It’s essentially pyramid schemes.

China Media Project on how the British Embassy in Beijing has fallen victim to the CCP’s censorship system.

And, complete with introductory sentence that touches a raw nerve, Bloomberg opinion on how Beijing’s rewriting of history has distorted its Hong Kong policy

Refusing to acknowledge or understand that sense of separateness has led Beijing into a crisis that now threatens to ruin Hong Kong as a global financial center and further upend China’s relations with the United States and other democracies.

…To many in Hong Kong, the return to China is not the “homecoming” envisioned by the Communists, since China was never home. A survey … found that more than three-fourths of respondents identified themselves as ‘Hong Kongers’ compared to less than a quarter who considered themselves ‘Chinese’.

…In Hong Kong, mainland officials are trying to integrate what is essentially a foreign society with its own history and sense of self. And their heavy-handed tactics are only reinforcing Hong Kongers’ perception of their separateness.

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13 Responses to Nothing to analyse

  1. Joe Blow says:

    I guess you don’t need any help ‘clearing out your orifice’.

  2. More significant about July 1st is that it is traditionally the date of the year’s largest pro-democracy protest march. Given that virtually every protest is now routinely banned by the police, any bets on the following scenario this year: 1) police ban march; 2) lots of people march anyway; 3) police react with their usual heavy-handed brutality; 4) government and Beijing claim the resulting totally unnecessary chaos – which they caused – justifies the new natsec law; 5) people give up hope and the emigration rate junps even higher?

  3. Stephen says:

    “Company Gwalo’s Retirement.” Will it be spent in the Big Lychee? Do hope to continue reading your musings which are normally on the money.

    Not too long now until Emperor Xi departs stage left by 1 October 2022.

  4. Chris Maden says:

    @Stephen – I think you mean “until Emperor Xi is unanimously re-elected in accordance with the term limits he scrapped.”

    As to the Nat Sec law, my money’s on the law itself being declared a state secret. So we’ll never know what’s in it, but rather just see a steady trickle of activists, newspapermen and bloggers disappeared.

  5. Mark Bradley says:

    “Company Gwalo’s Retirement.” Will it be spent in the Big Lychee?

    Yes I am concerned about this as well. Despite this miserable situation with the NSL, I really don’t want to leave HK personally.

  6. stephen says:

    @Chris Maden

    I am aware he’s scrapped the two term limit however I think he’s will be “politely“ asked not to seek a third term by some stern waxworks on the politburo. He’s definitely showing all the usually signs of Dictator fatigue – war, rampant nationalism, a tanking economy and the last time I looked China was only 20% of the planet.

  7. Cassowary says:

    @stephen: Except Xi’s stacked the Politburo with his personal loyalists. His cronies would have to turn on him en masse. Fatigued dictators can hang on for a surprisingly long time by hammering the opposition. Look at Mugabe, who presided over 2 decades straight of economic mismanagement.

  8. Bob Barker says:

    Some cases must be treated with special leniency. Some cases must be treated with special severity. This does not apply to all cases.

    Has anything actually changed in 100 years?

  9. Mary Melville says:

    Those of us still lucky enough to be tax payers can sleep well knowing that our contributions are going to worthy causes;
    The Employment Support Scheme (ESS) Secretariat has published the list of the first batch of employers who have received wage subsidies
    HKSH Medical Group took up the largest share with subsidies of HK$86 million (US$11 million). The group with 3,238 employees runs Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital in Happy Valley and a few medical centres across the city.
    So a ‘Not for Profit’, the term is risible, service for the wealthy and ‘medical tourists’ that pays no tax and does not disclose how its profits are distributed gets the biggest bite of the apple.
    Of course our ever generous FS did not ask any questions like ‘what about all that money you got from Stan?”
    26th May 2020 – (Hong Kong) The casino tycoon, Stanley Ho, 98 passed away at Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital at 1am today, He has been hospitalised for more than 100 days in 2009…. and the total medical bills incurred during the 100-day period was over HK$100 million.
    Thereafter, the health of Stanley Ho improved. However, the family of Stanley Ho still needed to pay around HK$1.15 million per month for his medical bills. The independent suite on the 37th floor costs around HK$23,000. From 2009 to today, it is conservatively estimated that the medical expenses of Stanley Ho have exceeded HK$200 million.
    Moreover the community is more than underwhelmed by the assistance provided to public hospitals by the private facilities during the past months of crisis.
    That they got the cash before out of work Plebs could apply for their $10,000 underlines the disparities in our community.

  10. And now, as tears subsidise... says:

    @Mary Melville
    Perhaps the bigger question is why the hell is a hospital & medical centre venture asking for wage subsidies to cover loss of business during a worldwide outbreak of an infectious disease at all?!?

    It’s like Mr Whippy’s ice cream company asking for subsidies to cover the terrible impact on business due to an extra flavour of ice cream, a recent heatwave, a four-week public holiday and the opening of the new beach…

    Who else are we subsidising?!? Toilet paper factories? PPE & mask manufacturers? Ventilator companies?

  11. odaiwai says:

    The PDF is password protected, so the govt really doesn’t want someone making a database of this and sorting by columns, but the top ten by amount received are:
    (Name, total rec’d, HKD/head rec’d)
    “HKSH MEDICAL GROUP LIMITED”, $859,47,474, $26,543.38
    “I.T APPARELS LIMITED”, $47,106,591, $26,040.12
    “HONG KONG TELEVISION NETWORK LIMITED”, $32,747,166, $26,239.71
    “LF LOGISTICS (HONG KONG) LIMITED ()”, $18,231,189, $28,091.2
    “PRIMECREDIT LIMITED”, $17,541,018, $25,644.76
    “CIAO INTERNATIONAL LIMITED”, $15,965,508, $23,478.68
    “ALF RETAIL HONG KONG LIMITED”, $14,582,262, $17,175.8
    “RSM HONG KONG”, $14,116,875, $25,620.46
    “ZUELLIG PHARMA LIMITED”, $12,128,205, $27,377.43

    The top ten by amount received per capita are:
    “CIGAR COLLECTION LIMITED”, $189,000, $37800
    “LIPPO LIMITED”, $189,000, $37,800
    “CHINA TONGHAI CAPITAL LIMITED”, $377,709, $37,770.9
    “K&M MANAGEMENT LIMITED”, $3217407, $37,411.7
    “JV LOGISTICS LIMITED”, $183,528, $36,705.6
    “YUZHOU PROPERTIES COMPANY LIMITED”, $801,750, $36,443.18
    “VINSTAR DEVELOPMENT LTD.”, $2,561,691, $36,080.15

    And now…
    Most of the sick are going into the public hospital system, so the use of private hospitals will go down. This has been seen elsewhere, especially in the USA, where no elective surgeries and loss-making ERs mean that hospitals are going bankrupt. This is nuts.

  12. Elias says:

    Communist China enforces draconian “National Security Law” over Hong Kong.
    This is a sad day, a very sad day, above all for the Chinese people.
    Chinese People deserve better. They are normal people, just like all of us.
    For some perfect power politics reasons, the Chinese Communist Party rulers, who are certainly Chinese, but not even “communist”, but brutal corrupt autocrats, decided to perpetuate their power grip and maintain themselves in their autocratic and self-serving regime, they are afraid of Hong Kong and need to suppress Hong Kong’s freedom of expression.
    The Chinese Communist Party is breaking its commitment and promises to grant large autonomy to Hong Kong for 50 years.
    Period. Done. Over.
    They don’t care about world criticism as long as we buy their goods. Boycott, Divest, Sanction!

    The Chinese Communist Party since 2018, imprisons, sorry, “re-educates” over 1.5 Million Uyghurs, (Turkmens in the North West) of China, and the world is silent. The Chinese Communists are now allegedly enforcing sterilizations and abortions on Uyghur women!

    The Chinese Communist Party over the last years has been bullying all southeast Asian countries by unlawfully claiming land in the Pacific and to that effect even built artificial islands.

    The Chinese Communist Party hates that Taiwan has become a thriving democracy and bullies the WHO to prevent Taiwan to join.

    Still, the Chinese Communist Party’s legendary corrupt Officials need Hong Kong and Macao to travel and whitewash their corruption money.

    Still, the Chinese Communist Party Officials wish to continue whitewashing by paying in cash, outright in cash, real estate, property in Vancouver, in Toronto, in Seattle, and elsewhere in Australia for their “Elitist” children to study abroad.
    Still, they shall continue, in droves, to stash their corruption money abroad.

    But they want to silence Hong Kong people?
    Hong Kong was never communist, it is not a “homecoming to Communist China”, it is y an occupation and annexation.

    The Chinese Communists don’t believe in their own corrupt system. But want to re-educate, Uyghurs, Tibetians, Taiwanese and Hongkongers?
    Shame on you. And we continue buying Chinese products?
    Divest. Boycott. Sanction.

    You better also get out of the Chinese Pyramid Schemes stock market. Tencent and Alibaba, it’s basically the biggest Chinese backs, collecting money and redistributing it. It’s a massive fraud.
    A Ponzi scheme.

    A sad day for humanity, but time to wake up. Finally!

  13. asiaseen says:

    No 5 in the list is interesting, picking up $17.5 million: PrimeCredit provides personal loan and credit card services to overseas domestic workers of different nationalities in Hong Kong

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