NatSec regime comes for the museums

Another ‘no clampdown on civil society’ day. NatSec police raid the Tiananmen Massacre Museum, because obviously they’re going to do that straight after rounding up members of museum organizers HK Alliance. Then they charge Lee Cheuk-yan, Albert Ho and Chow Hang-tung with incitement to subversion (Chow almost welcomes the challenge). And a dozen pan-dems plead guilty to unauthorized assembly and incitement at last year’s 6-4 vigil.

Yet to be raided: Hong Kong’s M+ Museum, due to open in a couple of months. Aiming to keep themselves raid-free, the curators have pulled a work by Ai Weiwei from the online gallery to ‘await government review’. However, as Artnet News reports, some other artists’ potentially controversial pieces in the modern art collection remain on the website for now. This apparent discrepancy is easily explained: the pro-Beijing shoe-shiner-legislators and the government’s own bureaucrats have actually heard of Ai.

Some (OK, a lot) weekend reading…

Jerome Cohen on the Hong Kong crackdown on civil society.

Timothy McGlaughlin at Atlantic on the role Ta Kung Pao plays in creating the CCP’s narrative about Hong Kong and in triggering intimidation and persecution of pro-democrats ‘and others who land on Beijing’s ever-expanding list of enemies’. Stick around for the final sentence.

A week late (not good at anniversaries): a mega-thread on the 8.31 Prince Edward attack.

Yuck – the amount of vehicle tyres thrown into Hong Kong landfill every year.

A recent emigration and property exhibition in Wanchai last month attracted 28,000 registrants. Some findings.

How Hongkongers are settling down in the town of Reading, England.

A lengthy but readable paper on Hong Kong as a society stuck in a ‘late colonialism’ state. Perhaps tries too hard to wedge the city into some academic theoretical framework – but not a tanky thing.

A new Beijing-friendly lobby group in the UK is asked whether it has funding from HSBC, and responds by offering a ‘case manager’ to ‘refine the focus and framing’ of the question. Their team includes a Huawei UK board member and various investment, higher ed and other interests.

Cybersecurity company Fire Eye presents research on the expansion of Beijing-backed social-media campaigns into smaller platforms in multiple languages, and increasingly aimed at spurring protest action on issues like Covid and anti-Asian racism.

Brian Hioe at New Bloom on supposedly ‘progressive’ Western far-leftists’ obsession with being anti-American/capitalism and ‘imperialism’ leads them to support oppressive regimes like that of the CCP, rather than (say) Uighurs, Hongkongers or Taiwanese as you would expect.

(Not sure how seriously we should take these people, though recent examples from an outfit called Code Pink like this campaign against Taiwan arms sales and their webinar about the US supporting ‘color revolution’ in Hong Kong make you wonder whether they’re just really dumb tankies or funded by Beijing. Otherwise – file under the same category as Scientologists, blockchain nuts and the Ivermectin crowd.)  

A thread on China’s looming or actual insolvencies and defaults – much more than just Evergrande. It looks like there are some vast holes that need to be filled in. Presumably, Beijing has some magic way (aside from letting idiot Westerners holding Mainland property corporate debt get burned) to shift it into state-run bad banks and avert a financial crisis. It really does seem the CCP has managed to rewrite the laws of economics in such a way as to make infrastructure and real estate grow on trees.

As well as private education, online games and numerous other social evils, Beijing is clamping down on ‘sissy men’ from Chinese TV. (What about masculine women?)

A look at the ‘Xi for Kids’ textbook in Chinese elementary schools. (Thread includes a link to this illustrated comparison of Soviet and Nazi propaganda portrayals of Stalin and Hitler as father-figures of children.) 

It took a while for the Catholic church to accept Copernican heliocentrism, but they got there eventually. Is it finally dawning on them that the Chinese Communist Party is not going to arrive at a warm-and-cuddly ‘win-win’ agreement with the Vatican over running the faith in the Mainland?

The current version of the Vatican-China deal is set to run through 2022. But, with it increasingly clear that the pope expects neither good faith in diplomatic talks or concrete results on the ground, it’s paradoxically hard to see it not being extended, or ever judged a success. 

If so, that leaves just Blackrock still deluding themselves.

Nostalgic escapism from Zolima City Mag: a look back at a time when Hong Kong was happier and optimistic, and government campaigns could be fun – Lap Sap Chung.

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10 Responses to NatSec regime comes for the museums

  1. Big Al says:

    Does anyone know when the government’s new “Patriotic Dictionary (Xianggang Edition)” will be issued? This will provide correct definitions of phrases such as “rule of law”, “in accordance with the law”, “degree of autonomy”, “civil society”, “social stability”, “small minority”, “malicious smearing”, etc. I, for one, will welcome this tome, as based on my current understanding of what words mean, the majority of government pronouncements seem to be the opposite of what is actually observed. Confusing!
    Perhaps some of the erudite commentators on this blog could get the ball rolling?

  2. Knownot says:

    The Chocolate Revolt

    A modern legend tells
    Of women kept in cells.

    Still proud, those women pent
    Without make-up or scent,

    Despising bolts and locks
    They armed themselves with chocs.

    And every prison guard
    Who looked so tough and hard

    Was trembling and afraid
    And sent a call for aid.

    The men and dogs that came
    Were frightened just the same.

    How were the women beaten?
    Their weapons had been eaten.

    The legend cruelly mocks
    The guards afraid of chocs.

    Of course, it’s just a tale,
    A comedy in jail.

    You don’t think such a farce
    Could really come to pass?

  3. Low Profile says:

    The New Bloom article describes what I call Pilger Syndrome. The irony is that the US itself has been guilty of the same simplistic “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” naivety, as for example in its past (and long since conveniently forgotten) cozying up to Saddam Hussein as a counterweight to Iran.

  4. Red Dragon says:

    Big Al. I rise to your challenge.

    adjective /ˈsəʊʃəl/
    relating to society and living together in an organized way.

    noun [u] /stəˈbɪləti:/
    a situation in which something such as an economy, company, or system can continue in a regular and successful way without unexpected changes.


    Social stability, particularly in a paranoid, authoritarian political context, can only be said to exist when the ordinary members of any given society abandon (by choice, if possible; by force, if necessary – and it usually is necessary) every vestige of individual thought and action, and submit themselves completely and unquestioningly to the words and deeds of those who claim authority over them and who are prepared to secure their obedience by any means, legal or otherwise.

  5. reductio says:


    How could you have missed out on THE hot-button news topic of today (according to the SCMP) – the mega enlargment of the Qianhai business district and the huge (did I say huge? I meant HUGE business and job opportunities for Hong Kongers). I am going to invest everyting I own in this once-in-a-lifetime chance. However, before I do so I’d just like to clarify a few points:

    1) Will I be able to freely convert Yuan to currencies of my choice?
    2) Will I have the same internet access I enjoy in Hong Kong?
    3) Which legal system will be in operation over there?

    On second thoughts…

  6. Cassowary says:

    Big Al: Such a dictionary need only have one page. It would say “Words mean whatever the government wants them to mean at any given time.”

  7. IrishKuma says:

    For more than a year, I have been trying to retire the image of Xi Jinping as Winnie the Pooh to the 100 Aker Wood. Pooh is too lovable and naive to represent Xi. Xi is more like HumptyDumpty… “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “

    HumptyDumpty Xi was clearly seen from the moment that the national security law was unveiled, and so it has proved.

    But leading media organisations were not interested. Face it, for all the protestations of concern HK is just collateral damage.

  8. asiaseen says:

    Very OT, but shouldn’t Luis Vuiton be done for cultural appropriation?

    Louis Vuitton among brands being forged in mooncake scam

  9. steve says:

    That Codepink webinar is really offensive. They do good work in other areas of anti-imperialist, anti-colonial commentary and activism, but this crap is pure tankie, leavened with some unfiltered pro-government propaganda.

  10. Low Profile says:

    Alternatively, we could have a dictionary from the Hong Kong perspective:

    enemies of the people [n] – the people
    one country two systems [n] – one country
    silent majority [n] – minority
    smear [v] – tell the truth about
    so-called [adj] – actual

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