Beijing mulls a ban on pan-democrats from their powerless, essentially ornamental, presence as a minority of the powerless, essentially ornamental, Election Committee. The idea also seems to involve disqualifying them from the district councils they won in a landslide a year ago, and generally scrubbing the city’s ceremonial ‘political’ institutions clean of the opposition.
Let’s be clear that the Election Committee is a pure rubber-stamp: Beijing chooses the ‘winner’, and the rest is just play-acting. Ignore the SCMP, NYT etc gibberish about how Hong Kong’s Chief Executive is ‘elected by local elites’. In such a system, the pan-dems have no influence except arguably of the moral sort. It now seems that even the most symbolic manifestation of representative government – the presence of powerless opposition figures – is a threat to the party-state.
The pan-dems have always won the majority of votes in any free elections in Hong Kong, so this is basically the CCP’s way of sending a warm Christmas message to the city’s people: we really really hate you.
Small wonder residents are thinking of packing bags. A Reuters special on a family leaving Hong Kong…
They’ve been watching “English with Lucy,” a YouTube channel that teaches English, from pronunciation to accents – a good thing for a family going to Glasgow, a city with one of the most impenetrable accents in Britain.
Antony Dapirin’s latest Procrastination, with plenty of perspective on events of the last few months.
Some longer, deeper or just off-topic things for the holidays…
A nicely written mini-memoir – The Liverpool-Macau Border, by Gregory Lee.
From Bloomberg, why more Westerners are avoiding China.
Francesco Sisci looks at Xi Jinping’s nasty dilemmas.
Not relevant to anything here but interesting: why automatic soap-dispensers don’t work on dark hands – and other white-designed problems.
Recommended Yuletide Japanese TV binge-watching: Your Turn to Kill (Anata no Ban Desu), which you can probably track down somewhere. A whodunnit of some 20 episodes. It starts as a soppy romance, and moments of (not-tongue-in-cheek) soap-opera weepy schlock appear throughout the series, presumably to keep the lonely-housewife market-segment tuned in. But it gets increasingly bizarre, not to say in parts violent and – best of all – amazingly tasteless. Unmistakable David Lynch influence, and even perhaps has something of JG Ballard.
On a more literary level, when you’ve wrung dot dot news dry, browse through East of the Web – a library of public-domain short stories, with a lot of Ambrose Bierce. If you need a three-minute dose of funniness – here’s The Open Window by Saki.