CFA to HK: Don’t come to us with NatSec stuff

The Court of Final Appeal rules that Jimmy Lai cannot get bail while awaiting his NatSec trial (‘collusion with foreign forces’ – also known as meeting Americans and Tweeting). The court basically says its hands are tied by Beijing’s NatSec Law, which inverts the usual presumption in favour of bail, and perhaps makes it virtually impossible. 

The implication is that you are now in the NatSec Parallel Universe, where the protections you thought you had under the Basic Law or ICCPR (or juries) do not exist. This could mean that if you are charged with a NatSec thought-crime like inciting secession, you are wasting your breath claiming ‘freedom of speech/expression/the press’. NatSec overrides all those fancy freedoms and rights. The Court of Final Appeal essentially has no jurisdiction; the CCP is the law. (See comments here and here, and from HK Watch.). You are screwed. 

But what did you expect? If the CFA had come up with a different decision, Beijing would simply sweep the judgement aside in some way. Maybe that was the topic at the mystery meeting between the Chief Executive and the Chief Justice: we are all screwed.

On a relatively light note, the HK Police have gone back to discovering dastardly scary bomb-outrage terrorism plots again. Will anything come of this one? There were several others last year – police making a big show after finding stockpiles of beer bottles, fertilizer, toenail-clippers, etc – and the cases mysteriously vanished without a trace, as if they were fabricated stunts designed to make widely reviled cops feel they were heroes.

In case you are a Hongkonger of Chinese descent and are arrested for such a terrorist plot (say, possession of suspicious quantities of chewing gum) and you’d like your friendly Canadian or whatever Consul to come and see you, bear in mind that the Hong Kong government has suddenly decided to stop recognizing dual nationality. This conforms with international practice, but it raises the obvious question of why it was not observed for 23 years since the handover. Answer: to finesse the contradiction that hundreds of thousands of Hongkongers hold foreign passports while simultaneously living here as Hong Kong PRC citizens – at a time when Beijing was in the mood to be flexible despite its phobia about dual nationality. In short, the CCP has closed a loophole in order to assert full ownership of the emperor’s subjects.

And the government wants to introduce a law against disseminating ‘fake news’, because what self-respecting authoritarian regime doesn’t do that? This is on top of the disinterment of colonial Elizabethan sedition laws. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that, before long, one brief outburst of satire could land you in prison for NatSec, for ‘fake news’ and for incitement-of-disaffection offenses.

We’re not finished. Because brainwashing primary-school students isn’t enough, the government will be educating its own civil servants in the new correct understanding of the NatSec-era order. All that stuff we said in the past about the Basic Law and a high degree of autonomy was wrong. This is the new truth.

If it’s any consolation for the endless horrors, the CCP is increasingly treating the local pro-Beijing loyalists like little kids. And recent reports about companies leaving Hong Kong out of legal contracts has obviously hit a raw nerve among officials (note hasty Chinglish in copy). 

So Happy Cow Year! Some holiday links…

Alvin Cheung in Critical Asian Studies journal has a (concise) go at those China-watchers, ‘experts’, panda-huggers and tankies who still find it hard to admit the CCP is crushing Hong Kong.

Also on an academic note, Kevin Carrico on Hong Kong’s universities under the NatSec Regime.

What is left of Hong Kong’s universities today, then, is thousands of scholars and students who came of age in a free learning environment and are now facing an unfree environment that is only likely to become ever more repressive. 

The HK Monetary Authority’s boss issues a Q&A painting a rosy picture of capital flows and talent retention – following reports by the usual bad elements (FT, Bloomberg, etc) about funds and bankers fleeing to Singapore or elsewhere, out of the reach of the CCP. Influxes of Mainland capital and financial professionals keep the numbers looking good.

A 30-minute ABC Australia video on the ‘crushing of a rebellion’ and what Hong Kong protesters are now doing.

Jerome Cohen on an Irish businessman held hostage in China for two years…

Why any multinational corporation would allow its employees to travel to China to settle a dispute is beyond me. 

That was quick. Human Rights Watch bids farewell to Clubhouse on the Mainland.

PIIE on why Trump’s China trade deal was a flop (more about the US than the Chinese economy, but interesting).

On more worldly matters…

For hardcore market followers only, John Hussman on why this is a bubble

…Fed easing “supports” the stock market only by affecting investor psychology. The Fed buys interest-bearing securities and replaces them with zero-interest base money…

You can try to get “out of” cash by buying stocks, but only by bidding up stock prices enough for a seller to accept the cash in return … the psychological impulse to own something other than cash, regardless of price, has created a situation where stock market valuations have been bid up to levels that imply negative S&P 500 total returns for well over 12 years.

And a really cool time-waster: radio garden – links to zillions of radio stations via Google Earth.

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25 Responses to CFA to HK: Don’t come to us with NatSec stuff

  1. Joe Blow says:

    Talking about ‘little kids’: if anyone is seriously wondering about l’il Nury’s miraculous conversion on the CCP road to Beijing, it’s really very simple to understand. Nury wants his old job back at the Alibaba Yawn. Circa 30 years ago, Nury wrote an almost daily column at the SCMP, as it was then, making fun of misspelt menu items and such. He made a fairly good living doing so. After he was let go, life never was the same again. He wrote books that nobody read and ended up doing a column that nobody reads in a paper that primarily wraps fish. In the process, old and bitter Nury discarded any principles he may have had, reinvented himself and thought ‘if Yonden Achoo can do it, I can do it too.’ And so it is. Sad.

  2. reductio says:


    Wow, that radio garden is compulsive. One thing I’ve noticed is that in the Middle East everybody is getting funky with the hip Western sounds, chillin’ with music played on local instruments or grooving with the Middle Eastern beat.

    Except in Saudi Arabia. Nada. Absolutely nothing except for some dude reciting the Quran. Maybe the buzz starts after prayers.

  3. YTSL says:

    “It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that, before long, one brief outburst of satire could land you in prison for NatSec, for ‘fake news’ and for incitement-of-disaffection offenses.”

    Hemlock, for this reason, I’m using this blog as one of the canaries in my coalmine.

    Re Twitter: This exchange there says so much (in so few words)…

    And yet some people still keep on Tweeting for democracy…for now.

  4. dimuendo says:

    With his open letter to Paul Harris, CY has signalled that Harris might be looked at for colluding with foreign powers. Member of foreign political governing body (Oxford city councillor), member foreign political party (Liberal Democrats). Be interesting to watch reactions if/when Harris is arrested and charged.

  5. Din Dan Che says:

    I just found the ‘Must Have Metal’ station in Nanning on Radio Garden. Will be tuning in tonight (do hope it’s not about China’s steel-making prowess)

  6. Mark Bradley says:

    “I just found the ‘Must Have Metal’ station in Nanning on Radio Garden.” No it’s legit metal. I found it too lol! The only “offline” station I have found so far, is of course in Myanmar.

  7. Reactor #4 says:

    A starter-for-ten question. Which jurisdiction is the most dictatorial?

    A) Hong Kong, which has just jailed a man for four months for absconding from a hospital when he knew that he was infected with Covid-19.

    B) The UK, for introducing a law that will result in up to 10-year jail sentences for inbound arrivees who falsely declare where they have visited recently on the basis that they MAY carry a virulent strain of Covid-19.

    Anyway, while ‘you lot’ are pondering that, I’d just like to say Kung Hei Fat Choi and all that!!!!

  8. Chef Wonton says:

    Thanks Hemlock for that radio link. Amazing stuff.

    As a wee aside to end the Year of the Rat before we welcome the Year of the Ox, how ironic that China and America have now manoeuvred themselves into mirror images of each other:

    America: just choreographed a bogus “election” where socialists stole a “win” from the majority populists

    China: always choreographs bogus “elections” where capitalists steal a “win” from the majority socialists

    Yup. That future? It is China not America.

  9. Paul Serfaty says:

    I don’t want to appear naive, but the CFA did not refuse Jimmy Lai bail.
    It said:
    (i) he could be entitled to bail (the DoJ said the law excluded it);
    (ii) there was a presumption against bail;
    (iii) the reference to ‘would not continue to commit NSL offences’ as a precondition for bail did not remove the presumption of innocence, and so ‘continue’ could not be taken to imply that there had been offences in the first place;
    (iv) neither Lai not the DoJ had the burden of proof on the matter of the risk of ‘continuing to commit’ offences; they would make their presentations, and then the judge would decide if there was a risk;
    (V) in deciding on the risk, the judge was entitled (the DoJ had said he was not) to take into account conditions imposed that might reduce that risk to an acceptable level.

  10. dimuendo says:

    Paul Serfaty

    The CFA in effect refused Jimmy Lai bail. He was on (conditional ) bail when the prosecution appealed to CFA. In his last judgement G Ma presided over hearing that said prosecution might be correct, and revoked Lai’s bail. In it legalistic and sopholistic ruling of this week CFA sent Lai back into custody while saying he could reapply (inevitably to So, the magistrate who initially refused bail).

    So they can dress it up however they want, but they revoked his previous bail and did not reinstate it.

  11. Low Profile says:

    @Chef Wonton – better stop drinking the Trump juice. Most of those US Democrats lambasted by the Trumpists and Fox News as “socialists” would be considered centrists in Europe. They only appear leftist because the Republican Party has moved so far to the extreme right.

  12. Chinese Netizen says:

    “I just found the ‘Must Have Metal’ station in Nanning on Radio Garden. Will be tuning in tonight (do hope it’s not about China’s steel-making prowess)” ~Din Dan Che

    That was almost coffee-out-of-nose laughter reading that!

    Yes, quite enjoying this site.

  13. Cui bonobo? says:

    Ha! The police claiming to have foiled a potential “bloody attack” is some breathtaking hypocrisy, considering they helped organise the last premeditated actual “bloody attack” on Hong Kong, with the other, more honest, triads.

  14. Chef Wonton says:

    @Low Profile.

    Wud? Trump has moved the Republicans towards populism not the far right. Open both eyes, my recommendation for your New Year.

  15. Low Profile says:

    @Chef Wonton – when I see Trump followers waving Nazi banners and clad in Auschwitz T-shirts, I don’t feel that “extreme right” is an inappropriate description. Trump has harnessed populism to bring these far right groups under the Republican umbrella, but populism is not exclusive to his party.

  16. where's my jet plane says:

    Bernard Charnwut Chan misses the point again in his SCMP puff-piece as he assumes that economic improvements are what will make people stop wanting to leave.

  17. HK Sojourner says:

    @Chef Wonton — “America: just choreographed a bogus “election” where socialists stole a “win” from the majority populists.”

    Please stop embarrassing yourself. It’s humiliating.

  18. Mary Melville says:

    Elizabeth Quat says BBC deserves to be banned by RTHK for producing fake news to smear China. And she certainly knows a thing or three about ‘fakes’. All three of her “degrees” were awarded by defunct diploma mill Greenwich University, Hawaii, which has never been recognized by an accrediting body of the federal Department of Education in the US.

  19. Knownot says:

    The End of the News

    In the first flat
    “This is the BBC World Service”
    And the air-cons whirr
    And the buses burr
    In the heaving street below.

    In the second flat
    “This is the BBC World Service”
    And the trams roar
    And the buses pour
    Down the narrow street below.

    In the third flat
    “This is the BBC World Service”
    And the birds chirrup
    And the crickets chirr
    On the hillside opposite.

    In the silent flat
    The news ends
    And the sound stops
    And a shroud drops
    Over the blighted land.

  20. Para-Doctor Para-Quat says:

    Here’s a pic of the so-called “Dr” Quat’s Alma Mater, just in case you suspect it might be even remotely legit:
    And the accompanying article on webb-site

  21. Mary Melville says:

    Current Legco bios :

    Hon Elizabeth QUAT, BBS, JP (As in Bronze Bauhinia Star and not to be confused with any legitimate achievement)
    Constituency : Geographical Constituency – New Territories East
    Education and professional qualifications : –
    Occupation : Legislative Council Member
    Political affiliation : Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong

    It is a little disturbing that decisions that involve billions of our tax dollars are being decided by an individual who does not even list secondary school, the level attained by a number of FCs representatives.

  22. Ho Ma Fan says:

    Aha! Just as I always suspected; she knows diddly Quat.

  23. Chinese Netizen says:

    Ah the lovely, bucolic village of Hilo, Hawaii on the biggest island in the Hawaiian Islands chain. Famous for active volcanos, a Pacific “Tsunami Museum” and the death site of Captain James Cook.

    And turning out renowned, scholarly thinkers like “Dr” Twat.

  24. Mark Bradley says:

    She used to list her fake doctorate in the education section. She is a total quack.

  25. paul says:

    Aree you the mark Bradley who was, maybe sill i a HK Solicitor? If so “Hi”.

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