Two mildly amusing developments this week. First, the Big Tough NatSec Police was renamed the Bordello-Lurking Reputational Suicide Squad. The second was presaged by a chance conversation with a non-tech, non-libertarian and non-financially literate Discovery Bay resident. He proudly announced that he had ‘invested’ in a cryptocurrency I’d never heard of; it had a ‘market cap’ of X billion dollars (he showed me on a slick-looking trading app); and it’s blockchain and therefore just like the next Internet! As such innocents are drawn in, the ultra-leveraged, ‘group-hypnosis’ cryptocurrency bubble-scam took another lurch or three closer to the ditch.
The rest is not so funny…
You want trial by jury? Not if the CCP finds it inconvenient. The (CCP-cleared) judge making the ruling in the case of Tong Ying-kit argues that it is not a total right, and anyway the NatSec Law overrides it. The NatSec Law allows for trial without a jury for three reasons: to protect state secrets; in cases involving foreign forces; and – the catch-all, as here – to protect the personal safety of jurors (wink wink). And no bail either. The fact is that Tong Ying-kit is guilty of reckless driving; the rest – terrorism and inciting secession – is BS for which he will be convicted by a kangaroo court.
A history lesson: the guy who attempted to poison the entire bread-eating (ie Western) population of Hong Kong in 1853 got off – thanks to a jury.
CityAM describes the irreparable damage Beijing is doing to Hong Kong, through freezing Jimmy Lai’s assets and otherwise undermining rule of law.
Note that to Beijing, ‘irreparable damage’ means ‘permanent improvement’ – in the CCP’s ability to control the city. Harm to Hong Kong as an ‘international’ (ie Westerner-friendly) business hub is of no real consequence, so long as elites and their families can use the city to get their wealth out of the Glorious Motherland. If foreign financial and other players scramble for a slice of the action, that’s fine.
The most visible exodus in the next few years is likely to be of local people who want to get their kids out of all this.
Some links for the weekend…
Martin Jacques gets a kicking on Twitter for desperate tanky arguments about superior ancient Oriental wisdom. He even believes Beijing’s official 4,000-odd figure for Covid deaths.
From someone with an understanding of how Leninists work, silenced academic Xu Zhangrun’s letter to censors.
Human rights groups to push for a full boycott of China’s Winter Olympics.
Politico reports that the European Parliament is likely to pass a motion sure to anger China. (Does the body have any power to obstruct a trade and investment deal? Can’t imagine the German government would cede control to a transnational elected chamber.)
Andreas Fulda presents a flow chart of how the CCP’s propaganda system works.
A Quartz interview with British politician Tom Tugendhat, who takes a special interest in China.
If you find old sepia family photos interesting – SCMP Vancouver correspondent Ian Young’s great-aunt Elsie’s wedding picture from 1923, complete with symbols of ‘both Chinese nationalist and Anglo-Australian patriotism’.
Totally off-topic, but possibly interesting…
Prospect on the whole concept of government debt.
A badly needed laugh from Bob Newhart.