Westerners who are outspoken blue-ribbons are especially unpopular in some pro-protest movement circles, and the classic example last year was retired businessman Peter Bentley, who has died. (It says so here, so it must be true. Typo in the column – Nury means July 2019, not ‘last July’.)
I met this guy several times, and as the videos show, he was a bit of a crusty and forthright character. Kind of amusing to be with, but you were glad to get away. From Bristol, England, he was one of the pioneer managers to go ‘into China’ in the 80s-90s. I think he ran some sort of metal-products factory in Wenzhou, and married there.
He was impressed by China’s development and was a fan of the CCP. He once mentioned considering joining the pro-Beijing DAB party. He also totally believed the ridiculous Gavin Menzies books claiming that the Chinese beat Columbus to the Americas and got to the Mediterranean. Last time I met him he was equally enthusiastic about a supposed discovery of the tombs of Jesus Christ’s family.
Some assorted links to end the week…
Jerome Cohen – the National People’s Congress Standing Committee didn’t clarify Article 38 (the extraterritorial stuff) of the NatSec Law at its last meeting.
An SCMP editorial asks (way too gently, but still) why the Hong Kong government has taken fright of the first microscopic signs that home prices might weaken and scrapped a plan to tax developers’ vacant apartments. Sadly, the paper is too timid to speculate about possible reasons.
HKFP have put together a digital archive of the materials that will probably disappear in the new Hong Kong Story exhibition at the History Museum.
A quiz on Hong Kong landmarks from M+ (I got 8 out of 10).
Vivienne Chow in ArtNet News on the protest/NatSec generation of young Hong Kong artists.
Zolima Citymag on the history of the State Theatre in North Point. It must have looked amazing in the low-rise 1950s, but I can think of dozens of more impressive structures worth saving. Unpopular view: despite its undeniable heritage/social-history role and some unique architectural features, this is a building that screams ‘tear me down’ – at least without major refurbishment.
A report on the ideological side of China in Africa – executive summary worth a read if you’re interested…
Instead of offering a proactive ideology, the CCP acts as a PARTNER or MENTOR in illiberal governance.
From Project Muse, a report on China’s many efforts to impose ‘ideological discipline’ overseas.
People seriously discussing a full-blown Chinese invasion of Taiwan. This would be a mini-Operation Overlord. Pre-positioning the men and equipment would take months and be impossible to hide. If Beijing was deluded enough to do it, Chinese forces would risk significant losses. The CCP could fall from power. You almost wish they’d do it. Discussion of why it almost certainly won’t happen here.
In other totally unrelated news: the great James Randi – who debunked Uri Geller, water diviners, faith healers and other swindlers – has died aged 92. And similarly-aged Tom Lehrer (my father introduced me to his songs) thinks ahead and puts his whole work in the public domain. Sample lyric from I Wanna Go Back to Dixie: “The land of the boll weevil, Where the laws are medieval…”