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…”
Tom Lehrer, one of my favourites. R.I.P.
A Cake in Fiji
In the Chinese embassy the wires are humming.
What action should they take?
Serious news is coming
Of a cake.
One hears in every corridor a warlike muttering,
Hearts begin to quake.
An illegal flag is fluttering
On a cake.
Two sturdy diplomats are summoned and directed.
A demarche they must make:
Tear down the flag erected
On a cake.
A flag – a challenge they must resolutely muffle
For One China’s sake.
A diplomatic scuffle
For a cake.
– – – –
Useless tit-bit of the week: The State Theatre in North Point was developed by one Harry Odell (Jew, refugee, blah blah). The same Harry Odell would bring the Beatles to Hong Kong and, at the top of Beatlemania, managed to organise the only Beatles concert that ever lost money. Odell, Odell….where have I heard that name before…?
I got 8/10 on that quiz, too.
Hemlock, Jerome Cohen link seems to be repeated inadvertently in the subsequent paragraph on the tycoon empty property tax.
Wild Man Odell was a fallen Mormon, wasn’t he? So I guess no relative….
Obviously, when the scripts were being handed out Peter Bentley and I received the same one. There is a powerful case for the short video clip that can be accessed via the link above to be played continuously in the common areas of our schools and universities. In my opinion, too many of our youngsters have gorged themselves silly on a grossly one-sided story. To gain some perspective, they need to spend some time chewing on the other one.
SCMP Editorial here: https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3106698/decision-shelve-plan-hong-kong-vacancy-tax-flats-raises-questions
Tom Lehrer isn’t dead.
Before China launches a surprise attack on Taiwan they have to drain the 5 Gorges dam which will be the first retaliation target. Because this will take several days no surprise attack is possible.
Strategist: they couldn’t launch a surprise invasion because massing tens of thousands of troops on the shores of Fujian would be really obvious.
Indeed – a drone/missile strike on the Three Gorges dam would make the effects of the RAF’s 617 squadron look a bit mild…
Educational illiterate #4: Thank you for providing your understanding of the educational process, which consists, according to you, of shoving crap down the throats of young people. But it has to be the right crap. Is there anything at all that you don’t know anything about?
Steve: I believe it’s “is there anything at all that you don’t not know anything about?”
Somehow, from your column, I have just read an article about Junius Odious Ho’s prosecution by the SRA in England. Seemingly confined to him shouting “without mercy ” when an NT nutter was shouting about killing people.
You should tell Luc de Polford (I am not on twitter) that’s should urge the prosecution also extend to Ho’s threats on live TV to Eddie Chiu dick.
Supposedly the HK Law Soc has a case ongoing against Ho. Nobody will ever hear of a result as all is confidential unless the Law Soc chooses to publicise a conviction; they do not always do so.
Since the 30th June I have felt sorry for the Tribunnsl and prosecutor. A rare sensation.
I would add more (about prosecution dept of HK Law Soc) but you then would not publish.
We are now clearly in the ‘Rule by Blog’ era. Blues demand something, administration does not think it is a good idea, but days later it is confirmed re the blog of which ever official is unfortunate enough to be designated official mouthpiece.
Courtesy of RTHK news “Mandatory tests crucial to lift economy: Paul Chan
Financial Secretary Paul Chan said on Sunday that mandatory testing is an “indispensable tool” to put the local Covid-19 epidemic under control and create the conditions for a new “dawn to emerge” for the battered Hong Kong economy.
Writing on his blog, Chan said the he expects the upcoming GDP figure to show that the city’s economy went on to a fifth straight quarter of contraction………..
But the finance chief pointed out that there is more than figures to the complex issue of economic revival.
Chan said the city must eliminate local infections through the “tool” of targeted, or even mass mandatory testing for Covid-19.
He said this will create the conditions for economic activities to return and ease the pressure on workers and businesses.”
Presumably the 5m who did not participate in the previous exercise are to be carried kicking and screaming to the testing centres.
@Mary Melville – as reported by TVB News, my impression is that Chan’s main message was “the economy is getting worse more slowly than before”. Apparently this was intended to be reassuring.
Claims that mass mandatory “Covid” tests are anything other than a DNA collection campaign for the CCP Insecurity Services become more and more unbelievable given that there essentially isn’t a local Covid-19 epidemic: like our manufactured goods, the epidemic is almost entirely imported.
All Eight cases on Monday were imported, and over the last several weeks the number of imported has outstripped local ones by a factor of 2:1. https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1556709-20201026.htm
If the HKSARG actually wanted to stop Covid-19, they’d institute mandatory, real, 14-day quarantines in government facilities with multiple tests (and at least one or two mandatory weekly follow up tests) for all people coming into the territory. Mandatory weekly tests for all locals involved.
Border Import/Export could be done rather like midstream container operations (either trucks load to another truck on the border, or you swap drivers). Mandatory weekly tests for all locals involved.
Airline and ship crews on stopovers would been confined to a designated quarantine hotel (maybe the Disney ones — they’ll be pretty empty). Mandatory weekly tests for all locals involved.
Schoolkids from across the border would have the choice of distance learning or if they really want face-to-face learning, they could always switch to a local school in their own city.
These measures would, of course, be mildly tricky. They would require our administrators to administrate things. Nobody in the relevant departments did them last year either. Worse still, these measures are sensible and might even be — horror of horrors! — effective, thus setting a dangerously unprecedented precedent.
So the HKSARG will no doubt prefer Hong Kong to just keep having *ahem* “inexplicable” Covid-19 outbreaks while they think up easy-to-do “stable door” style measures to help the economy tank further.