Here’s an intriguing piece by journalist (and former guest of the Mainland’s NatSec apparatus) Ching Cheong on Beijing media and other documents dating from 2003 up to 2019, outlining plans for direct central control of Hong Kong. Among them is a policy of ‘retaining Hong Kong without undesirables’. Seems Xi’s current clampdown is not a new or original idea.
Which brings us to the latest rectifications…
A pro-Beijing lawmaker (the only sort, these days) accuses the yet-to-be-opened M+ museum of infringing the NatSec Law, prompting Chief Executive Carrie Lam to declare that the government will be ‘on full alert’ and not allow arts to threaten national security. Yes, they’re coming for the paintings. (This might have been prompted by the museum’s pledge not to censor. Examples of images the valiant NatSec police might round up at dawn here, here, here and here.)
And CCP paper Ta Kung Pao does the same to the HK Arts Development Council. Only a matter of time before any cultural or creative group will have to pre-emptively declare its patriotism in order to use public funds or facilities.
Meanwhile, the Dept of Justice suspends senior prosecutor and critic of police tactics William Wong. And a new oath-requirement will presumably be used to disqualify pan-dem district council members. Also, RTHK’s new boss aims to go full patriotic.
Anything I’ve missed?
Ah, of course – judges. Reuters reports on fears that patriotism tests for officials will apply to the judiciary.
And let’s not forget the internet. In Nikkei Asia, an expert on how Beijing is likely to take rectification online here…
Hong Kong’s internet has not developed with control in mind as China’s has. This difference will create technical challenges that make exporting the Great Firewall wholesale to Hong Kong exceedingly difficult for Beijing.
But … Beijing has no shortage of censorship and surveillance tools at its disposal and some may even be more effective in Hong Kong than in the mainland.
Far away, resistance is stirring. I’ve had the 2021 Hong Kong Charter open in a tab for several days, and the SCMP, no less, nudges me to take a proper look. It’s put together by Nathan Law and others and designed to serve as a rallying flag for ‘diasporic’ Hong Kong and to focus international advocacy efforts. The tone hints at a proto-government in exile, which you may find pretentious or inspiring – or (my preference) cool because it’s guaranteed to annoy all the right people. The SCMP, in a more-than-averagely gutless editorial, advises its readers not to go near it. So here you are.
Any more to the scuttlebutt about Jack Ma being directed to divest himself of the South China Morning Post? Word in the galleys room is that China doesn’t want tech companies running media platforms and hogging all the limelight, especially in the off chance that something untoward slips on to the pages, which have a tendency to go viral and spread disinformation so wantonly. Won ton Lee!
It’s essential to limit signatories to diasporic Hongkongers only because any Hong Kong resident who signs the letter will receive a one-way ticket to NSL jail.
As for forming alliances with the climate change, racial equality and social justice movements, the practical effect might be to swap one form of authoritarianism for another.
HKG will have a great reputation as an uncaring, hellish backwater
Expect not just judges, but lawyers, teachers and university lecturers to sign patriotism pledges. With not kindertarten careers too – kids are precious and their minds malleable
To add to Boris’ list of pledges and other mental / physical assurances that will inevitably be required by this government-of-paranoia…
When will the local authorities mandate Hong Kong residents traveling abroad to first set aside a (substantial) sum of money in escrow, likely in a patriotic and resolute Chinese bank?
If I’m not mistaken, this is the system practiced in Mainland China, no? At least with their handling of the BNO visa, the authorities have already taken the first step in this direction, by disallowing the withdrawal of MPF funds…
Boris Badanov – A couple of weeks ago I saw a group of very young students clutching their own cuddly toy versions of the NSL teacher owl, as seen here:
They were travelling home from school or kindergarten on the MTR. I assume that all such students are being given these “souvenirs” to remind them of their NSL indoctrination lessons.
Andrew M – Welcome to the real HK. Having a shower head and drain in the floor between a toilet and a sink is not an uncommon bathroom arrangement here. They are sometimes called sh*t-shower-shave set-ups. The people in quarantine should stop complaining about the facilities. There are many hard working local families of 4-5 people who live in 300 sq. ft. apartments that are only slightly better equipped than the quarantine facilities are. At least the woman and her kid know they will be leaving that place after a couple of weeks. Maybe she will gain an appreciation for how rough those with fewer financial means than her have it. Doubtful!
Signing the pledge is one thing. Honouring it is another.
A person owes no debt of honesty to a dishonest and tyrannical regime.
@Hamantha – making it hard for the “undesirables” to leave seems somewhat contradictory.
>A Poor Man
I’ve lived here 21 years – that ain’t me in the video.
By the way – the people in quarantine haven’t done anything wrong and aren’t prisoners – with all the decent hotel rooms available a young family should be put in an appropriate place.
Secondly – trying to drag others down doesn’t raise the poor in HKG up – so you need to give your head a wobble.
Just to point out that the piece by Ching Choeng was published on MEMRI, of which I understand:
“The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI; officially the “Middle East Media and Research Institute”) is a nonprofit press monitoring and analysis organization co-founded by former Israeli military intelligence officer Yigal Carmon and Israeli-American political scientist Meyrav Wurmser.”
i.e. it is an Israeli/ American security services info flow/propaganda organisation.
That does not meant the story is untrue, but it is a poor quality source of limited credibility.
@ Poor man – My sentiments exactly. Those conditions aren’t event slumming it. OK. it’s a step down from Mid Levels or Happy valley, but FFS Mr Mountford up there and the bleeding hearts on Twitter must have stunning luxury set ups.
@ Paul Sofatty – Is it really? That’s good to know, I’ll sign-up forthwith. Inshalla!
> A poor man
That’s a non-argument really, there are people living on card boxes under bridges as well… it’s not an excuse for forcing people two weeks in substandard accommodation when there’s plenty of empty hotels. They didn’t have any issues converting one of those empty hotels into the gestapo office.
I can understand it fulfills some people’s fantasies about entitled expats dragging the dirt, but the only result will be that those people will leave Hong Kong (and already all hkers < 30 yo are trying to, that won't help with the recovery).
AM – It ain’t you in the video, but you shared it and seem have sympathy with the whimpering woman…..
@A poor man
That’s my set up in my NT ding uk. A shitter and shower in the same cubicle. TBH I don’t mind – everthing is in easy reach, and the shower doubles as a bidet when required (but don’t tell the missus).
I’m with A Poor Man when it comes the Twitter clip of the simpering gwai por. It’s a quarantine facility FFS. I don’t agree with the HK government’s quarantine policies but it is what it is. And some of the quarantine hotels are by no means luxurious. As with reductio, the shower shitter combo has been my arrangement for years and I have thanked my lucky stars for it when I think about what some poor buggers in HK have to exist with. Her response was pathetic and it’s no surprise that it irked some viewers.