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.
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.