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.
AFR editorial on why Xi Jinping, not Australia, is to blame for the worsening relations between China and Oz. More on the subject from ASPI.
Also from ASPI, a report on the drop in the birthrate among indigenous populations in Xinjiang – greater than in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. (AP story here.)
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.
Bob Newhart had mastered awkward before awkward became a thing. Absolutely brilliant, thank you.
Your commentary on cryptocurrencies is solely based on price and volatility observations and I think you have absolutely no clue about what you are talking about, but if it helps you get a good guffaw from the equally ignorant and perhaps swell your audience by 1/8th, please, continue.
Comic genius from Bob Newhart. Thanks for sharing.
I am so effing old I remember the dot-com bubble/burst/ into the abyss fiasco saga.
I think what’s coming next in the cryptocurrency scenario. Popcorn cupboard fully stocked.
“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.)”
Yes it this. The EU parliament has to ratify the trade deal. I already wrote to my EU MEPs to vote against it and they replied back assuring me they would.
“Your commentary on cryptocurrencies is solely based on price and volatility observations and I think you have absolutely no clue about what you are talking about, but if it helps you get a good guffaw from the equally ignorant and perhaps swell your audience by 1/8th, please, continue.”
One useful purpose (other than gambling and criminal activity) for the blockchain and cryptocurrencies in general is that your assets can not be frozen unless you hand over your private key. Sure the government could torture you for it, but it certainly isn’t going to be as easy as the secretary of security arbitrarily and unilaterally deciding to freeze your bank accounts.
There are also cryptocurrencies that are volatility free called stable coins which are pegged to the US dollar and also can not be frozen.
Cryptocurrencies are here to stay and they do serve some useful purpose, both legal and illegal. Will they totally replace banks and the US dollar like some crypto evangelists think? No probably not.
In other matters: the Chinaflu pandemic continues unabated with a massive 41 patients being treated in public hospitals (as at 9am this morning) and a 4 yr-old child, with minor symptoms, one false positive test, several negative tests and no antibodies is declared by one supposed expert to have the disease on the basis of the expert’s visits to the testing labs.
@where’s my jet plane
In future, add a tad more punctuation to your missives. Then, your messages will be a heck of a lot clearer.
Only in Hongkers would legislators spend hours during a time of crisis debating restrictions on the choice of clothing and footwear of its members while urgent livelihood matters get postponed.
The loyal trash continue to deliver. Courtesy of a publication facing annihilation for exposing gross incompetence:
“Labor unionist mocked for suggesting employers ‘buy off’ employees’ holidays”
A Legislative Council meeting descended into farce on Friday as a labor group leader was mocked for suggesting employers can buy off staff’s holidays – a practice illegal in Hong Kong.
Lawmakers were discussing a government proposal to increase the number of holidays from 12 days to 17 days for all Hong Kong workers including domestic helpers. Pro-business lawmakers opposed the plan while labor unions supported it.
But the lawmakers broke into mockery when Wong Kwok-kin, of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said employers could buy back holidays from workers – an illegal practice that some employers of domestic helpers use to make them work through holidays.
“As a labor group, you should be more familiar with labor laws,” Wong Ting-kwong, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said in response. “We are inside the Legislative Council and we are not supposed to talk about an illegal practice like it is normal,” he added.
An official from the Labor Department told the meeting that holidays cannot be replaced by payments under Hong Kong laws. “It is not allowed even if the employee agrees to do so,” he said, as Wong Ting-kwong was heard chuckling.
And of course we know that the sudden enthusiastic support of workers rights on the part of the FTU after decades of supporting measures that favour employers is all about garnering support in the Legco election and will be abandoned if that objective is achieved.
Meanwhile we can sit back and revel in the cannibalization within the ProEs desperate for survival and the Legco iron rice bowl, if of course there is any media left with the balls to report on the process.
Martin Jacques was, is and always will be an ill informed, narcisstic, bombastic, doctrinaire, dogmatic, racist bigot. Not to mention a true hypocrite in being a dedicated marxist with his house in Hampstead (not a cheap or even middle cost part of London) and yet desirous of applying for legal aid.
He should be kicked hard, repeatedly.
To clarify, my comments about Martin Jacques are “merely ” my opinion.