Another farcical step to a police state

It is illegal not to wear a face mask. Then one day, some men come and take you away for wearing a face mask. The Plight of Joshua Wong by Franz Kafka. 

OK, so he was arrested at the police station and the main suspected offense seems to be ‘unauthorized assembly’ (same for veteran protester Koo Sze-yiu). But the mask absurdity is an angle in reports in NYT, Washington Post, FT and other international press.

If I were Joshua’s lawyer guerilla theatre coordinator, I’d get him to refuse to wear a mask when he next visits the police station, court, etc. He could end up facing charges of both wearing and not wearing a mask. Let’s make the Hong Kong government’s new PR agency sweat for their money.

Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters have probably been convicted on trumped-up charges. But it will be a big step for the authorities to put internationally recognized faces like Joshua Wong, Jimmy Lai or Martin Lee behind bars. Asia’s World City cannot transform into a proper police state without having some serious political prisoners.

Some more links to round off the week…

Index on Censorship on the gloomy outlook for academic freedom in Hong Kong.

From Global Times, a tear-jerking plea for sympathy from persecution-victim Junius Ho – who could lose his right to practice law in the UK. 

Finews Asia asks whether the HKD-USD peg might break the NatSec Law on collusion with evil foreign powers. (Article glosses over the fact that if the peg has Beijing’s blessing, it doesn’t matter.)

When repression was first stepped up a few years ago, people said Xinjiang was being turned into another Tibet. Now it’s the other way round. Reuters on mobilization of Tibetans as a labour force mass-labour. More from the Jamestown Foundation on the military-style training involved.

Where political forecasting meets Tom Clancy – US Naval Institute Proceedings envisages war over Taiwan, complete with Xi Jinping pushing around the (female) US President.

Some more – a bit tongue-in-cheek – on the CCP’s plans to increase influence over private-sector companies.

A thread on a WSJ story on Beijing’s apparent involvement in ‘helping Malaysia pay off 1MDB debt by inflating the costs of infrastructure projects’ (with help from McKinsey) and obstructing overseas investigations into the scandal.

Finally, Wuhan’s second most important contribution to the world in 2020 – a new album by punk band SMZB (sheng mìng zhi bing, 生命之饼). This video is treading dangerously close to committing historical nihilism…

Here’s another one, about the Cultural Revolution. This one (from a few years ago) impressively breaks the National Anthem (Compulsory Adoration) Ordinance while exhibiting strong Pogues influences. They wouldn’t get away with this in Hong Kong.

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11 Responses to Another farcical step to a police state

  1. HKJC Irregular says:

    It can be taken for granted that a Global Times piece will be riddled with inaccuracies, but this piece infers “China Hawk” De Pulford stood against Junius Whore in the district elections last November.
    The guitar-playing blonde Tory was in town at that time and confronted Hohoho, telling him that he was largely responsible for stripping the thug of his honorary degree.
    But the fun doesn’t stop there. GT then informs us that Ho practices law in the “UK anyway”. Very queer situation – makes me want to subscribe to GT just for the larfs…

  2. donkey says:

    I find the convulsions of the press to make something of the masklessness or masking of Joshua Wong to be quite annoying and fruitless. Nobody cares.

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    “He (de Pulford) interferes not only in academic freedom but also in the independence of the legal system,” Ho said.

    Too. Fucking. Rich.

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    Also…isn’t it amazing how a mask does wonders for Matthew Cheung’s overall appearance??

  5. Penny says:

    The “Index on Censorship” link incorrectly states that “titles related to China’s Cultural Revolution and Tiananmen Square massacre, were removed from library shelves.”
    I have just checked the library catalogue and such titles are still available – for now!

    Also, another link re academic freedom – or otherwise – here:

  6. steve says:

    @donkey: Actually, it’s easy to see why the story has trended. That Hong Kong simultaneously has laws banning and requiring face masks works as a small but revealing example of the city’s incompetent governance. It’s a usefully crystallizing Kafkaesque absurdity especially for overseas readers and viewers.

  7. Mary Melville says:
    Lance Lau, an 11-year-old Hong Kong climate activist, has been called the Chinese territory’s answer to Greta Thunberg……… On weekends Lau goes to shopping malls with his mother to speak to residents and advocate for change.
    And they have not been arrested ……. yet

  8. Red Dragon says:


    I’m sorry to mention the bugger, but I don’t think that Roughtrade#4 would agree with you.

    However, as he’s not a genuine Chinese commie, but merely a white Uncle Tom, he’d find it difficult to question your observation.

    Hence, l assume, his silence.

  9. Gromit says:

    SMZB – thanks for those links, gave me quite a lift this Sunday morning. Perhaps there is hope, after all. Shades of Stiff Little Fingers in style and type of lyrical content, (as well as, naturally, early Clash).

  10. Gromit says:

    And Green Day, of course

  11. where's my jet plane says:

    Joined up bureacratic thinking. Give humungeous wage subsidies to the two major supermarket chains who have been coining it in on the premise that they will return the beneift to their customers.

    Said supermarkets offer discount coupons to potential customers.

    Result: supermarket business booms because the coupons are only valid in their stores (and in the case of Wellcome, not in their subsidiaries like Jasons.

    On a similar tack:
    last January the Spawn of Eleven announced that the $2 travel concession would be extended to 60-64 year olds. 8 months later the Welfare Bureau has spent $13,5 million on a consultancy study to avoid fraud in the implementation of the scheme, not realising that the MTR has had for years a system of personalised Octopi for airport worker concessions. 8 months later, nothing has been implemented

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