No, you don’t want the books

Just a few days before I officially retire. Given his existing low workload, the Company Gwailo will have no more time in the day to be idle – so whatever I do, I am likely to be busier. This website will probably be updated less frequently, but rest assured there will be no obvious increase in quality.

People are understandably shocked at the thought that I am throwing out lots of books. Trust me – you don’t want them. Random examples: a volume of speeches by a tycoon, published and given to friends to celebrate his honorary doctorate; a visionary new-age business guru’s thoughts on saving the planet through sustainable mutual lovey-dovey; and pro-Beijing think-tank booklets on Belt and Road. The world will be a better place once they are recycled into toilet paper. To put them in perspective, ones I am leaving in case they are of interest to my successor (yes, we found one) include 500 years of Italians in Hong Kong and Macau, Regina Ip’s 2002-3 Public Consultation on Article 23, and Carrie Lam’s ‘election’ manifesto.

For the last time – from the orifice, at least – I declare the weekend open with some recommended reading…

More thoughts from Jerome Cohen on Beijing’s plan to choose special judges to try National Security cases in Hong Kong, complete with nice dig at Grenville Cross in the opening sentence.

HK Free Press on Beijing’s thinking on the NatSec Law, starting from a little-noticed CCP meeting last October, and how to explain the contradiction in the idea that this radical and elaborate law will target only a tiny number of people.

The FCC writes an open letter requesting assurance that the Hong Kong government will not take a long list of specific actions against journalists. Foreign Policy fears the worst and anticipates the jailing of journalists, Internet censorship and regulation, and clampdowns on academia, media, culture and religion. If it sounds extreme, The Guardian looks at how China extends censorship and propaganda in independent developing countries.

The US Senate passes a HK Autonomy Bill, which we are assured is merely symbolic. It’s hard to imagine really serious North Korea-style measures against Hong Kong or Mainland officials or regime-connected companies. Our local tycoons, bureaucrats and other collaborators are not so far visibly wetting themselves. But we have yet to see what nastiness the NatSec law will bring – how will the world react to the jailing of Martin Lee, for example? More to the point, this is not about Hong Kong, but the South China Sea, the Indian border, the taking of Canadian hostages, wolf-warrior diplomacy and so on. The Diplomat speculates what the US could do…

U.S. financial sanctions on Hong Kong will break the financial lifeline for China … More plausibly the United States will resort to selective financial decoupling to contain the spillover to its own economy. A potent weapon could be a threat to impose financial sanctions on the Bank of China (Hong Kong), or BOCHK.

National Interest on how Xi Jinping is messing everything up

…the problem with Xi and his entourage is that they perceive China’s history and future trajectory from a Han-nationalist point of view … Success is “payback” for the two centuries of “humiliation” that China, the rightful leader of the world, and the Han people have suffered at the hands of the West.

…it is likely that history will remember Xi not as the man who restored China to greatness, as he so desperately seems to desire, but as a sort of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who instead of waiting patiently for the inevitable triumph of his own country, felt compelled to aggressively push that triumph down everybody else’s throat, and in the process brought ruin to his country.

Over the last few years, Beijing has tightened its grip on Hong Kong and progressively eliminated the possibility of a peaceful or constitutional way of accommodating public demands for better governance. HKFP on the parallel evolution of Hong Kong’s protest slogans.

Hong Kong looks set to enter a new era of protest art. Another look back at the genre from the Nation and from Uwu.

And China Daily’s clunky and idiotic graphic on the NatSec Law suddenly becomes elegant and profound, courtesy of LIHKG forum.

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27 Responses to No, you don’t want the books

  1. Gromit says:

    Carrie Lam ‘Connecting for Consensus’: it would be wonderfully ironic if the results of her doing exactly the opposite weren’t so destructive.

  2. asiaseen says:

    In view of Zhang Yong’s statement that dual national judges will not be allowed to try Insecurity Law cases, it’s going to be interesting to find out just how many local judges don’t have a second passport.

  3. Clockwork Apple says:

    It really will be the end of Hong Kong without a daily dose of Hemlock 🙁

  4. Joe Blow says:

    First we have Dr George Adams ’emigrating’ to Vietnam and within a few months, Hemlock is ‘retiring’. Now that you mention it: I have never seen the two of them in one room. Have you?

  5. Mark Bradley says:

    “It really will be the end of Hong Kong without a daily dose of Hemlock ”

    Yes. I hope Hemlock reconsiders. Surely if Hemlock is retired, he can find some a few minutes to post in his blog. I am going to have some really painful withdrawals if biglychee is gone.

  6. Cassowary says:

    The National Interest article argues that Xi is alienating the world, making him less the leader of a rising superpower and more an obnoxious upstart like Kaiser Wilhelm.

    The problem is that the author never spells out the means by which China will fail. Kaiser Wilhelm obviously marched straight in to World War I. If China isn’t going to start WWIII, and most other countries are too concerned with preserving trade to do much more than wag the occasional finger, why does it matter that Xi’s getting on everybody’s nerves?

  7. Mary Melville says:

    So every household is going to receive 10 face masks, whether they like it or not. Is this to smother our laments when the new law kicks in or, more likely, some government supporter face mask producers find their product is as appealing as the granny knickers model so tax payer steps in, again, to save the day?
    Presumably there is a ‘Return to Sender’ option. Luckily some prescient individuals, moi included, have an official sticker on their mail box that advises the postie that no unsolicited mail to be delivered.

  8. Jennifer Eagleton says:

    Please clarify if there will be further Big Lychee columns; if there is not you can finally tell us your identity. Will you be leaving HK?

  9. Chinese Netizen says:

    Hemmers, did you at least buy a nice flat in the Nation of Taiwan?

  10. Ushekim says:

    Hem: retiring? I thought Lychee is your full time job.

  11. charlie says:

    I beg you to keep blogging after you retire. Biglychee is an essential part of my day. Your own commentary is indispensable, and better and more insightful than anybody else’s, bar none. And you link to a ton of other things that I would never come across otherwise. If you need Patreon contributions or something to continue, no problem, I will gladly contribute. But please don’t stop.

    And I wish you the very best for post-company life no matter what. All the best!

  12. Knownot says:

    “People are understandably shocked at the thought that I am throwing out lots of books.”

    Publishers and second-hand booksellers pulp hundreds of thousands of books every year, but individual owners don’t like to think of doing it.

    I used to be willing and able to read good literature in cheap and nasty British paperbacks, with small print and narrow margins. Recently I’ve been pleased to throw them away.

  13. Hamantha says:

    Hemlock retiring from the blog would be just about as devastating a thing as the extradition bill, the ViOLeNT PrOTeSTs, the Wuhan Flu, the National Anthem Law, and the National Security Law… Combined.

  14. Hamantha says:

    Hemlock, if you retire or “semi-retire”, please do a collaboration with someone like Mary Melville, whose commentaries are equally as insightful as your own. We need our daily dose, damnit!

  15. Stanley Lieber says:

    The unabashed blogger-grovelling on display here is appalling.

    Pull yourselves together!

    We’re not all Regina Ips and Ronny Tongs, are we?

    Maintain dignity, please.

  16. Joe Blow says:

    Let’s do that guessing game: where is Hemlock going to retire? There are only two real options: Thailand with its sunny beaches OR Angeles City, the elephant graveyard of the ‘retired expat’. That sultry, happy place where the beer is cold and the chicks are hot and always on the lookout for that elusive white sugar daddy. Who knows, you may even bump into Dr Adams eventually.

    Jennifer: we all know who Hemlock is and where he works and for whom the bell tolls.

  17. Mark Bradley says:

    “If you need Patreon contributions or something to continue, no problem, I will gladly contribute. But please don’t stop.”

    Yes I would absolutely chip into a Biglychee Patreon so Hemmers can keep writing. Please don’t stop blogging Hemmers!

  18. Ho Ma Fan says:

    @Joe Blow
    Speak for yourself. I, for one, have no idea who Hemlock is, and if there is a link between Hemlock and Hemingway I certainly don’t know what it is.
    I say he’s earned his retirement, so give him a break. I can remember my dad telling me that he had never been busier than when he retired, and I would expect the same for Mr H.

  19. Gooddog says:

    Hemmers. You and this website are brilliant. Thank you so much. I’ve been an avid reader for 11 years. I did notice a shift from amused observer to active satirist which was a relief…..

  20. Hermes says:

    Without wishing to appear to fawn or grovel, I also hope Hemlock keeps up his blog and continues to amuse us with his satire and wry observations. I’ve enjoyed it immensely over the last few years, even though it has inevitably become a lot more depressing as the Big Lychee has become rotten.

  21. Grocer says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter. Thank you for all that you’ve done to keep us informed. Here’s hoping your gold watch doesn’t come with manacles.

  22. Reactor #4 says:

    SCMP headline: “Hong Kong national security law: China’s top legislative body to hear calls for retroactivity, stiffer penalties for deterrent effect”

    I told you lot so. But no. You had to carry on stickin’ it to ’em. Day in. Day out. Why for once couldn’t people screw their principles (naive ones at that) and instead go for pragmatism? Anyway, you’d better get used to the new reality – it’ll be coming in 3D Widescreen rather 4ckin soon.

  23. Mary Melville says:

    Surely the most striking facet of the unfolding Hong Kong Tragedy is the lack of empathy displayed by our ‘representatives’. Even hard core Party members must be gobsmacked that while delegates from other regions push for benefits for their constituencies, HKers are ‘represented’ by malevolents like Stanley ‘Make it Retrospective’ Ng and Tam ‘ Harsher Sentences Please’ Yiu-chung. All the stunned audience can now hope for is a ‘What goes around, comes around’ epilogue somewhere down the line.

  24. Reactor #4 says:

    It’s Sunday afternoon and there’s a bit of a kerfuffle going on over in Mongkok. I am most amused to see herds of “photo-journalists” tracking what is an ostensibly demonstrator-free demonstration. How weird is that?

    Actually, the only people gobbing-off at the cops are 4-5 late middle-age women. For those of us who might soon find themselves with a bit of free time, they could prove easy pickings. You just need to tell ’em to turn the volume down.

  25. Gooddog says:

    Reactor #4 – you can grovel and whimper to bullies all your life but the rest of us would prefer to die on our feet then live on our knees. The sad thing that you don’t realise is that the jackboot was always going to come – but we choose how to respond. Like whimpering dogs or like dignified, defiant lions. In the end we both get stomped but at least we defy and draw blood and we can look our children in the eye and say we did our bit to defy tyranny.

  26. @Regurgitator #4 – it is no surprise to us that Hong Kong’s “representatives” are nasty bastards. So your answer is we should all just lie down and let them walk all over us, right?

    @everyone else here – yeah, I know, don’t feed the troll, but when he pisses you off that much…

  27. Din Gao says:

    Possibly the worst case scenario if this blog were to die would be that we would no longer be able read the regurgitations Pervert #4.

    His time will come though; his name will be on another list….

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