The unimportance of being Ernest

Judge Ernie gets slapped down by the new Chief Justice – you may wear yellow underpants in court, after all.

Otherwise, it’s the usual grimness. Activist Frances Hui in The Diplomat looks at how Beijing is pretty much criminalizing pro-democracy opposition in Hong Kong. 

The Hong Kong government could not afford to let the democratic candidates demonstrate their substantial base of support … any center of influence or power outside of the CCP’s grasp is seen as a potential vulnerability that has to be eliminated.

And – you will be amazed to hear – Beijing is just starting. A mystery source tells Reuters that Hong Kong’s election system is not rigged enough, and the current clampdown-purge-rectification has a long way to run…

Among the next steps authorities could focus on … are disqualifying hundreds of democratic “district councillors” who dominate the grassroots political arena; entrenching loyalty to China within the civil service; squeezing businesses whose bosses explicitly support the democratic cause; and creeping censorship of the internet and media under the auspices of national security.

A reminder that the way to make your voice heard from now on in Hong Kong elections is simple – boycott. Can’t wait to see what infantile methods the government dreams up to try to lure people to polling stations if and when they open for business again.

The Reuters story suggests that the NatSec Regime will go further beyond ‘lawfare’ (like disqualifying candidates) into the realm of intimidation (enforcing loyalty in the public sector) and thuggishness (‘squeezing’ – a la mafia – pan-dem businesses). Missing from the list but certain to come: greater surveillance and data collection. Were you on anyone’s contacts list?

In the spirit of everything falling apart, the Tracker Fund is now going to be the Tracker Lite. Having dropped constituent stocks China Mobile and China Unicom, it will deviate from the Hang Seng Index it is designed to follow. Fund-manager types point out that it could underperform the HSI. But of course, it could outperform. They could even market it as a new sexy socially-responsible ETF concept – ‘Hong Kong ex-creepy Commie state-military complex’.

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15 Responses to The unimportance of being Ernest

  1. Casira says:

    If they pay you to vote, do the adult thing, take the money and draw a dick on the paper.

  2. Toph says:

    Yellow business are already being squeezed. They are being subjected to constant hygiene inspections by the FEHD, owners have received death threats, and kitchen staff have been beaten and stabbed with broken bottles. Yellow businesses as far away as Toronto are being harassed. It will intensify.

    They haven’t gone after customers yet but I bet many will think twice about patronizing yellow businesses if snitches are liable to plaster their photographs all over Blue Ribbon Facebook pages.

  3. where's my jet plane says:

    An error in the Diplomat piece which says all the 53 arrestees were charged. 52 of the 53 were released without being charged and only one was retained for forther intimidation IIRC.

  4. Real Fax Paper says:

    “They could even market it as a new sexy socially-responsible ETF concept – ‘Hong Kong ex-creepy Commie state-military complex’.”

    Or, more likely, the HK government will relieve State Street of the contract, and hand it to a mainland firm for (mis)management.

  5. Chinese Netizen says:

    Sure fire way to attract masses to the polls: limited edition Hong Kong Elections plastic Snoopy figures!! Prove upon exit that you voted for the one approved candidate and immediately receive your toy.

  6. MS says:

    You could boycott, but why would the government care? Even with just 20% of the population voting (the right way, of course), they will announce without a hint of shame that they have a mandate.

  7. reductio says:

    Pardon me for being dopey, but if the tracker fund just tracks the HS Index (either with or without the Chinese stocks), why does it need managing. If it goes up, you make money, if it goes down, you lose. Am I missing something? Genuinely interested if someone with investment nous can shed some light.

  8. where's my jet plane says:

    @ reductio
    More highly paid jobs for the boys is my guess.

  9. donkeybroker says:

    reductio: I write this without a hint of sarcasm. They need someone to push the button on the keyboard that re-allocates percentages of the stocks being held in portfolio, which leads to pushing the buy button, or sell button, depending on strategic decisions made by the person watching the bars go up and down.

  10. Mary Melville says:

    Everyone’s least favourite columnist again displays his poor grasp of facts compounded by facetious asides:
    “Help! We’ve mislaid two million old folk. Octopus staff noticed that there were now 3.6 million discount Octopus cards for the elderly in circulation, but Hong Kong has only 1.32 million people aged 65 plus.
    So that means there are 2.28 million missing old people – or that many younger ones who are pretending to be elderly.
    How to spot cheats? Maybe we can make rules that users of senior Octopus cards must prove they are ancient by removing their teeth, singing some Cantonese opera, wearing adult diapers, forgetting what day it is, showing their Beijing politburo membership cards, etc.”
    There are in fact over 30million Octopus cards in circulation, works out at around 4 per head of population. So the elderly card holders are in fact quite conservative re the number they hold.
    Again we the usual fear mongering, unsupported by any accurate data, being used to justify the introduction of what is effectively an additional community tracking device.
    So while the administration, like the ICAC, Competiiton Commission, etc, is diligently closing a small loophole, the great white sharks that have been gouging us for decades circle unhindered.

  11. Mark Bradley says:

    “ You could boycott, but why would the government care? Even with just 20% of the population voting (the right way, of course), they will announce without a hint of shame that they have a mandate.”

    Strongly agree on this. Boycott is pointless. They won’t care. Look at Legco; pandems all boycott it and without any shame the regime is taking full advantage. Any better ideas?

  12. Mark Bradley says:

    “reductio: I write this without a hint of sarcasm. They need someone to push the button on the keyboard that re-allocates percentages of the stocks being held in portfolio, which leads to pushing the buy button, or sell button, depending on strategic decisions made by the person watching the bars go up and down.”

    Indeed. And these days they don’t even need a person pushing a button, it can be handled by an AI. It’s the ultimate plum job and probably pays way too much for salary. I wish I could fall into brain dead jobs like this. Every job I have requires some kind of thinking. Guess it’ll protect me from Alzheimer’s at least, but then again so does chess and computer games which is what I’d rather be doing.

  13. Where's my jet plane says:

    Judge Ernie’s new excuse for banning yellow masks that they carried a policitcal slogan means he deserves a new name, Judge Eagle Eyes. And for someone who says he wants to keep the court clear of politics, he chose a bloody good way of doing it. /sarc

  14. Real Fax Paper says:

    reductio (and others):

    What’s easier, buying an ETF that tracks the HSI, or buying a basket of all the constituent stocks of the HSI in the correct proportions such that it tracks the index, periodically rebalancing the basket when the index constituents change (buying additions, selling deletions, plus altering the proportions of the basket), keeping track of dividends paid, and corporate actions such as rights-issues and mergers and so on?

    It’s not the bleeding-edge of asset management, but neither is it no work at all.

  15. reductio says:

    Thanks for your replies.

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