No, I don’t mean the menu at the Guizhou lamb noodles restaurant in Tung Choi Street – I mean the barrage of Mainlandization and related horrors hitting Hong Kong while I was on ‘staycation’. I count eight or so.
1. Beijing and Hong Kong officials orchestrate mass-freak-out over pan-dem primary polls (here, here and here).
Behold the CCP’s extreme phobia about civil society. From a Leninist point of view, what citizens did here was usurp powers that belong solely to the government – holding a plebiscite or similar means of determining the popular will (remember the freaking-out over a ‘referendum’ on strike action).
Amusingly, they don’t know how to frame their loathing of the exercise – so they rant about it as: cheating ahead of the actual LegCo election in September; a flagrant attempt to, er, win more seats; a ‘provocation’; an attempt to subvert the government through paralysis of LegCo; illegal because not specifically mentioned in the electoral laws; a Covid-transmission risk; and/or something to do with foreign interference.
All five electoral districts have new – and, you’ll surely agree, obedient-looking – officials with the power to disqualify candidates suspected of thought-crimes. Assuming they dutifully DQ the lot, can the pan-dems get their acts together and arrange a voters’ boycott of the LegCo election? Perhaps they can hold a parallel vote on the same day for a people’s assembly. (Cue the sound of total Panda-tantrum. It’s easy to torment people with extreme phobias.)
2. The NY Times’ Chris Buckley is expelled, and international news media start to look for alternative locations.
The CCP couldn’t care less, but this inevitable trend conflicts with the long-held position of Hong Kong officials who felt the city’s status as a media hub was worth boasting about.
Our worldly bureaucrats are going through more culture shock than many of us realize. The US measures against Hong Kong (more on that in a day or two) include the ending of cooperation in police training. Some impressionable young folk are shocked that this was even a thing. The reality is that, up until the last few years, Hong Kong was exempt from projecting a Glorious Motherland identity and free to be an honorary part of the Western/free world. Local officials took pride in this and relished the friendly hob-nobbing with overseas counterparts. No more. To make our bureaucrats sweat and squirm even more, the US measures also potentially include sanctions against them personally.
3. Facebook, Google and others suspend accepting government requests for user data, and VPN providers are pulling servers out of Hong Kong (or high-mindedly not doing so).
4. Hong Kong’s top Taiwan
compatriots representatives are sent packing for (shockingly) not signing a ‘one China’ statement.
This is presumably not just bloody-mindedness but due to Beijing’s suspicions that Taiwan is among the evil forces masterminding Hong Kong’s rebellion. The envoys would be – perhaps uniquely – exposed to collusion or other charges under the NatSec Law.
5. Carrie Lam agonizes over social media’s negative influence on vulnerable youths. And a NatSec Law/all-purpose patriotism study centre for young Hongkongers will open in Shenzhen. More such ‘bases’ will follow.
Full marks to the Hong Kong industrialists and other eager United Front shoe-shiners of SOFA (the Shenzhen Overseas Friendship Association, duh) for being first off the blocks in setting up a national education camp. Rather like the hasty establishment of Belt and Road Research Institutes a few years ago.
6. RTHK is heading for rectification in style – just ahead of the first anniversary, a documentary shows more evidence that police colluded with gangsters in Yuen Long 7-21. Summary here.
7. Amid all this, Hong Kong succumbs to a new wave of Covid.
We will look back one day and remember these times. In fairness, with such a frenzy of Mainlandization to implement, it’s a wonder the government has even remembered to pay hospitals’ electricity bills, let alone actually keep up all the testing/tracking/tracing.
8. This is just the beginning: Xi Jinping strengthens Party-centric ideology.
On other NatSec matters…
Donald Clarke in SCMP: it doesn’t matter what the law’s wording says – it’s all in the new all-powerful, unaccountable institutions. (There’s an echo of Beijing’s 2014 ‘universal suffrage’ proposal here. Endless detailed fuss about the complex multi-stage nomination process, yet it was all irrelevant because the end result was that the CCP would choose who was on the ballot – and thus who would be the next Chief Executive.)
Amnesty offers 10 things you should know about the law.
Speaking at a Law Society gathering (stacked with pro-Beijing figures), former Director of Public Prosecutions Grenville Cross ventures to raise some slight
problems issues with the technicalities of the NatSec Law.
And State TV cheerfully reassures viewers that all that extreme stuff you heard about how anyone in the world could be liable under the Hong Kong NatSec Law is, um, correct!
“Shenzhen Overseas Friendship Association”. Sounds like a whorehouse run by the local PSB…
The most pitiful example of scraping the barrel is the accusation that the prelims breached the privacy regulations. This from an administration that has allowed telecom and cable TV companies, purveyors of dodgy medical interventions, beauty and gym scams and other potential, and in some cases proven, abusers of citizens’ data, to openly and unhindered tout their services outside MTR stations and on busy street junctions for years.
One of the most popular spots used to be in front of Prince Edward MTR exit beside MKK police station now verboten for historic reasons. Other locations are business as usual and touts have already set up shop on government land outside the recently opened Kai Tak MTR station.
On the junctions not only are the operators collecting personal data with impunity, they are also clearly in breach of regulations that prohibit the mounting of banners within 30mts of a junction as they block the sight-lines of both drivers and pedestrians.
That many of the outfits enjoying rent free prime space on public pavements are subsidiaries of large property developers squeezing small operators in their malls is merely a further example of the selective enforcement of regulations that favours certain sectors of the community while hammering others.
Overlooking the Hong Kong landscape from my high seat at the Copacabana Sunshine Lounge in sunny Angeles City, I have come to the following conclusion, with the help of San Miguel and the Copacabana Special cocktail (comes with a fruit arrangement and a little umbrella on top) while Conchita (16) is blowing in my ear:
Hong Kong, you are fucked!
I think the major news stories are:
a) Mandatory face mask wearing on public transport. Yeah…like it’s important to make rules for the 0.00000000000000000000000000001% of people NOT doing so in the first place. Basically, they made a law for me.
b) Now it’s mandatory in all ‘indoor’ places apparently.
For a city where 7 people, allegedly, died…out of a population of 7.5 million…over roughly 10 months since Oct 2019 when this whole farce kicked off.
Nice going Hong Kong. But don’t feel alone or ashamed…the rest of the world is reading from the same memo.
On the plus side…those 7.5 million people are mainlined to FearMedia.org and are already some of the most compliant morons the world has ever known.
It seems someone high-up is concerned that all the bad press is having an effect, and the west really means that Hong Kong as an international financial center is over. Perhaps Deutsche Bank announcing move its base to Singapore has shown them that at least some companies will favour principles (and practical items like employee safety) over dollars.
Friday the Financial Secretary had to announce its business as usual and even better than before with USD 11 billion flowing since June and lots of IPO activity (overlooking that may be companies de-listed in the US for financial improprieties or not able to make the cut given new US scrutiny of PRC companies’ books).
The “reassuring message” (as advised by the SFC, to whom it was directed; perhaps it reassures the SFC but certainly no one else) addressed as “Dear Ashley” from Paul Chan from the “Office of the Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government People’s Republic of China” or “香港特別行政區財政司司長” just to make the point.
That’ll make people feel better!
Not unsurprisingly, thereafter Ashley Alder dutifully issued a press release, “Policy Statement by the Securities and Futures Commission” with similar non-reassuring blather. They don’t seem to at that shop have yet adopted the mainland style governmental work unit titling “of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government People’s Republic of China” on their stationary appended to the end of the name but wait for it in a couple of years.
He says the “SFC would like to clarify that it is not aware of any aspect of the NSL which would affect or alter the existing ways in which firms and listed companies . . . ” do business and helpfully gives an example implying that negative views in research reports will be accepted. He further helpfully advises that all regulations will be administered by the SFC in the same manner as they were prior to the NSL.
He seems to forget: (i) the NSL is not directed at companies but rather the people that work for them, who will leave (much as I am considering now); (ii) in 2015 Li Yifei the chairman of MAN Group China disappeared for one week after adverse market movements (later described by her as a one week holiday to “attend industry meetings and then a meditation holiday”); (iii) as we have sadly seen the Chinese will bypass Hong Kong governmental “organs” when they believe it is necessary. Perhaps Ashley believes that mainland companies will fill the gap left by the departing evil foreign companies, and increase their non-hiring of local graduates to staff them, i.e. favoring mainland transplants, as they are doing already.
Is it a coincidence that the spike in CCPvirus cases started immediately after the National Security Law? Is there too much un-regulated cross border transit taking place?
Or has it built up after June when cross-border bus and truck drivers, Shenzhen kids attending HK schools, businessmen and people on ‘government business’ no longer needed to be tested or quarantined?
“For a city where 7 people, allegedly, died…out of a population of 7.5 million…over roughly 10 months since Oct 2019 when this whole farce kicked off. Nice going Hong Kong. But don’t feel alone or ashamed…the rest of the world is reading from the same memo. On the plus side…those 7.5 million people are mainlined to FearMedia.org and are already some of the most compliant morons the world has ever known.”
Non-compliance with basic health measures is exactly what this city needs now! You’d be a shoe-in as a public health advisor to the great Queen Carrie.
@Probably — My sense is that the spike is to give the government a reason to postpone (cancel?) the Legislative Council elections…
“ Overlooking the Hong Kong landscape from my high seat at the Copacabana Sunshine Lounge in sunny Angeles City, I have come to the following conclusion, with the help of San Miguel and the Copacabana Special cocktail (comes with a fruit arrangement and a little umbrella on top) while Conchita (16) is blowing in my ear:
Hong Kong, you are fucked!”
Yeah but Philippines has a pretty nasty “anti terror” law too that allows for arbitrary justice
More on business as usual, a bit of old news but related to the above:
One year ago the prevailing wisdom was that the very capable Julia Leung, the current SEC No 2, was to be appointed to the top role because it was “time for a Chinese”. The Chinese anticipated the global concern about Hong Kong’s vaiblity after the NSL enactment.
I guess its foreign judges = no, foreign heads of financial services regulators = yes.
He could always be overruled by higher “organs” if the powers that be didn’t like a specific decision or rule made, for example coming down too hard on shenanigans involving H share listings.
@Mark: maybe, but it does not apply to kind white uncles.
Reactor four can correct me if i am wrong, but historically, the way this goes is:
1. If it wasn’t illegal to do so, the lot of us would laugh at this stuff publicly and whisper about it privately.
2. People start to get really angry.
3. The Economy goes in the crapper
4. The party gets even more stricter because the self destruction it is causing is a plot, i tell you, a nefarious plot!
5. The party ends.
Re HKPF training – there was an article in SCMP a year or so ago about HKPF training in Xiangjiang. I wonder whether it was there or in USA that they learnt the “knee on neck” tactic.
The woman in that cheery/scary/bouncy/threatening video graduated from HKU’s journalism program.
In addition to being an unpleasant exploitative quasi paedophile, as evidenced by your references to Angeles and 16 year old Conchita’s, you are naive. Being a “kind white uncle” will in no way protect you. I know of a precinct, about 2 hours on the bus, where the station sergeant personally shot a gwai lo, for 50,000 pesos. Admittedly, maybe 20 years ago, and I have no idea of the current going rate, but you hack off some of Duterte’s finest, or offend their sense of morality (they do have one, even if it accommodates) you will not be posting again.
Time for some lite relief, the minibus dai mas strutting their stuff. Multiple covid infections followed.
“Deutsche Bank announcing move its base to Singapore has shown them that at least some companies will favour principles (and practical items like employee safety) over dollars.”
Principles, schminciples. I think it’s more that for most global banks, the Hong Kong office minus the rule of law is redundant: they already have a Shanghai JV that they’ve probably just started owning outright, for the highly risky but lucrative Chinese business with no rule of law.
Likewise, they already have a Singapore base for that “close to China, but without having to lie about China’s economy and the companies to invest in order to stay out of jail” vibe and the sort of rule of law that means you can sign contracts and do arbitration without fear of an arbitrary seizure of assets or a capricious and retroactive change of law at any moment.
Even HKEx is becoming less and less trustworthy, as more and more dodgy mainland firms get IPOs without less and less financial due diligence.
Why do Global Banks need to spend more cash in a belt-tightening moment to rent an office and hire people in Hong Kong when they might lose it all and get arrested the same as in Shanghai, and HK-based contracts are no longer meaningful* and long term investments can’t be trusted? Basically ditching the HK office is going to be the number one go-to cost-cutting move for all banks in the next year or so.
As to the Stock Exchange “boost” boast by Paul Corrupt Mo-Fo — that’s the party averting a huge crash of the HSI by injecting tons of cash to boost stocks for a couple of weeks after the NSL and US sanctions legislation.
*If the party can completely bypass the Basic Law “legally” on a whim then, by extension, nothing can be guaranteed “by law” anymore.
So is Joe Blow our next Reactor # 4?
@Captain Blood – “Basically, they made a law for me”. No, they made a law to protect the vulnerable people you may sneeze or cough over. Pretending COVID-19 isn’t serious puts you in the same basket of deplorable idiots as Trump and Bolsonarsehole. if that’s where you want to be, there is no hope for you. Yes, only 7 people have died in Hong Kong (I think it’s up to 10 or 11 now) – that’s because the 7.5 million people you deride as compliant morons are smarter than you and understand the risks.
@Mary Melville – apart from all the other reasons that video is so wrong, none of them can actually dance!
A low blow to joe ‘barely-legal’ blow in that there thread
I agree: There seems to be a pattern. More and more DAB flunkies became active in the last days and demand a postponement of the LegCo elections. Few people would be surprised, if the “Authorities” manipulated the case numbers for political/NS reasons. And I don’t think, they will ever tell us, how many new infections are related to the open border to Shenzhen.
In defence of Joe Blow: I appreciated many of his comments over the last years. I don’t know the guy personally, but I think he wrote metaphorically, rather than staying in Angeles City with Conchita in reality.