Guilty of waving a flag

To no-one’s surprise, Hong Kong’s first ‘national security’ trial, with hand-picked judges and no jury, ends with a guilty verdict for Tong Ying-kit. Some discussion on the judgement, on what it means, and (in case you didn’t catch that) what it really means, bluntly. HK Watch’s reaction.

Essentially, if you were hoping that judges might protect freedom of speech, or the court show some independence, you were wrong. (But did anyone?) Tong is now liable for life in prison; whoever makes these decisions will probably order a sentence of 10 years or so, to balance ‘his first offense’ with ‘need to send serious message/gravity of crime’ blah blah. Judgement here if you can face it. When it comes to waving a flag, the defence lawyers might as well not show up.

Another fencing meme for you (or a piano version if you like).

Thomas Piketty and Li Yang’s paper analyzing the significant rise in inequality in Hong Kong since 1997 is pretty damning. The main paper is here. Not an especially easy read (non-native English-speakers and economists), but tons of comparative data showing Hong Kong as a real outlier in terms of inequality. Plus it coins a nice phrase – ‘pluto-communism’.

The research predates the 2019-onwards protests and NatSec regime, and focuses on effects rather than policy or other causes. It notes rising female participation, rising education levels, the fall of manufacturing/rise of services, and thus the rising role (and wages) of professionals and managers (all found in many economies since the 1980s). But it does not examine such specifics as the impact of a million low-skilled Mainland immigrants, the role of Hong Kong in storing/processing Mainland wealth, or the city’s perverse land/housing policies. Needless to say, housing prices have been a major contributor to wealth inequality…

Hong Kong’s 𝛽𝑡 ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔 started in quite low level compared to other economies in 1980s. Driven by the soaring of the assets price, it then raised to 363% national income in 1997. During the Asia Financial Crisis, it fell badly to 122% of national income in 2002; ever since it has raised phenomenally, in 2018 𝛽𝑡 ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔 reach to 450%, which is unparalleled by any other economies since 1980. 

On the subject of Hong Kong’s financial-services sector’s focus on Mainland opportunities…

A good dummy’s guide to Evergrande, plus Anne Stevenson-Yang on the repercussions of Beijing’s clampdown on China’s tech companies…

We are now witnessing the roll-up of the Chinese reform experiment. There is only one direction for this to go, and it’s not pleasant for foreign investors.

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6 Responses to Guilty of waving a flag

  1. donkey says:

    I’d be interested to learn what Stevenson-Yang believes this means for China’s billionaire investors and anyone lucky enough to ride on the coattails of IPO-listed funding rounds. This has long been a capital flight ticket for many of China’s middle class and rollicking-rich plutocrats.

    What happens when a country that for a good several decades allowed its money to visit foreign shores and make its princelings rich suddenly decides to put the lid on the jar and call home the chickens? Do we really think that this won’t touch a nerve? Does a CCP that depends on compliance and favors really want to force the well off to face squalor and loss simply because the upper echelon of the party don’t want to be trifled with or lose their seat at the very very small dinner table?

    China is heading for an implosion. It will be exactly like the Russian experiment. Only in this case, the difference is that China really doesn’t have satellites that fall and corrupt on their own. They have real sovereign countries that will finally have enough and fight back, by literally fighting. And the internal world of China yes sir and no sir will realise that it’s up to them to take it down.

    China got a real hard time coming, I think.

  2. Load Toad says:

    What a miserable, corrupt, inhumane Stasi state this place has become.

  3. Siobhan Blow says:

    For those of you who are not of Welsh or Oirish stock, one pronounces Siobhan as “Shay-von”.

  4. where's my jet plane says:

    a sentence of 10 years or so, to balance ‘his first offense’ with ‘need to send serious message/gravity of crime’ blah blah

    That is a very optimistic view. Two of the so-called judges are women with a less than stellar reputation as being lenient and who have demonstrated their subservience to TPTB. My guess, given the need to send a serious message, is that the lad will get a minimum of 20 years, with life a very possible sentence on the Admiral Byng principle.

  5. Just following orders says:

    @donkey

    Excellent questions/observations. Presumably, the intelligence agencies of the CCP’s opponents are are asking and observing along the same lines and doing everything in their powers to exacerbate the situation or at least manipulate the situation against the CCP.

    Sadly, China’s hard time will, as always, take its toll on many people who don’t deserve the grief it will bring but then again, a lot of people in China are having grief rained down upon them by the CCP right now.

  6. Ho Ma Fan says:

    @WMJP – indeed it would “encourage the others” but not in the direction they imagine. We have already had a policeman stabbed recently, and the bar for terrorism has been lowered to such an extent that we are now guaranteed more terrorism. U just hope that no one does anything silly, but with our current administration that seems unlikely.

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