Avalanche of horrors to affect only small minority

Macabre Sense of Humour of the Week Award goes to the Hong Kong government for creating a severe shortage of affordable housing, then having a photo-op of an official handing out fire extinguishers to tenants in tiny and dangerous subdivided apartments. In a Korean dystopia-flic, the next scene would be the guy’s entrails slithering down the grimy stairwell. 

A United Front zombie casts doubt on whether the Democratic Party will be allowed to run in the new fake-election system, saying it…

…must review its platform, respect the Communist Party-led state system, not act against national security to meet the minimum requirements of the principle of ‘patriots ruling Hong Kong’. This is the only way it could hope to be reborn.

Beijing’s overseers would probably like a token ultra-moderate to take part for the sake of appearances. Watch the DP agonize over this.

Another United Front drone says the Buy-One-Get-Two No Extra Charge locally-enacted Article 23 NatSec Law will – heard this before? – affect only a small group of people. ‘Who’, he goes on, ‘have been told repeatedly to stop’. Who wrote Tam’s lines for him? Do I detect the same spin-doctor who thought up the fire extinguisher PR stunt?

Similar you-won’t-feel-a-thing cheer from Financial Secretary Paul Chan, who says the Evergrande problem will have only a very minimal impact on Hong Kong – as our stock market hits a 52-week low, and the China-only index a five-plus years one. While over the border…

local authorities … are resorting to various measures to protect the interest of their communities [ie, to stop Evergrande from using local assets to pay off out-of-area obligations], as they are anxious to ensure stability and a protest-free period during the ruling Communist Party’s centenary [or any time].

To put it in context: these stats say salaries in Shenzhen are around a quarter of what they are in New York City, yet property prices are maybe a fifth higher. (Not sure of the source, or whether it includes migrant workers, etc, but it sounds about right – an affordability ratio of 30 or 40.)

Paul Chan’s confidence may be well-grounded: Beijing’s policymakers will surely blink at some point and do whatever it takes to stop the Mainland’s property bubble from bursting. Assuming, of course, they can. What happens if, for example, thousands of Mainland owners rush to sell their Hong Kong apartments? Contagion can be surprising sometimes.  

On cultural matters… Fascinating clip (in Canto) about how film-makers brought the streets of 1980s Hong Kong back to life for a movie about Anita Mui. Especially interesting for bores like me for whom anachronisms (hairstyles, dress, billboard ads’ typefaces) jump out and ruin recent-modern period dramas. Watch out for the venerable old Lee Theatre at 0.38. I remember watching David Lynch’s Blue Velvet there – had to go to a nearby bar and order a double whisky afterwards.

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10 Responses to Avalanche of horrors to affect only small minority

  1. A Poor Man says:

    I remember that soon after the NSL was enacted, Ah Chan commented that the fact that HSI went up a bit was a sign of public’s approval of the NSL. I wish he would just shut his mouth and collect his salary. He is a simple-minded moron that would be easy to ignore and forget.

  2. Load Toad says:

    Surely ALL laws affect ALL people? Whether the law is sensible or right or not – its mere act of existing means that everyone has to comply with it?

  3. Mary Melville says:

    Perhaps the deflation of the HSI is part of the ‘Master Plan’. This would explain why a gweilo was allowed to take the CE role, to carry the can and then be replaced by a mainland saviour?

  4. Toph says:

    I’m pretty sure that the government only wants the Democrats to run for the pleasure of disqualifying them.

    The government might want to let a couple of Democratic nonentities through their screening so as to boost turnout to respectable levels, but are so paranoid that if they actually won, they would be disqualified within days of taking office.

    In the interests of running a controlled experiment, the Democrats should run one candidate in a single constituency. Watch that person become the next King or Queen of Votes. Watch turnout languish in all the other districts. Watch the government blame the result on the pandemic.

  5. Low Profile says:

    @A Poor Man – or better still, shut his trap and NOT collect his (very generous) salary. After all, we pay it.

  6. A Poor Man says:

    Low Profile – Someone will collect that salary, and I don’t mind if it is Ah Chan if he is a harmless moron who doesn’t try to do too much. Another, more active person could do real damage and put a lot of people out of work.

  7. justsayin says:

    Just waiting for an interpretation of Blue Velvet from Knownot which Hemmers is clearly asking for here.

  8. Once A Ponzi Time says:

    Re: Paul Chan MoFo of Suetheboys Hall:

    Of course what he’s leaving out of the contagion equation is how exposed HK is to all the other mightily indebted mainland Ponzi Property developers.

    Because they are going to crash and burn into default soon after the Evergrande fiasco makes it too expensive for them to borrow any more cash to pay off their debts: Sunac, Sinic, Kaisa, China Fortune Land Development, Seazen Group, Central China Real Estate, CIFI Holdings Group and Fantasia (oh the wonderful irony of that name).

    And then the price of property debt will go up further and take out the only mildly insolvent… and possibly screw things for developers who were once from HK but now are, like Evergrande, headquartered in the Greater Bay Area.

  9. donkey says:

    Oh dear. Load Toad forgets that in the Leninist system there is no such thing as Law for All People. It’s Law that we use against all people as we see fit, that’s why it’s called codified or Civil Law, rather than Common Law. It’s Law Against the People, whenever the People, who we must also protect, do things that are against the CCP, which is always. I guess that’s the only thing common about it?

  10. Lap Sap Chung says:

    @Mary Melville
    For quite a while now I’ve wondered if the Master Plan was for China to starve off the worrisome HSI (alongside Macau casinos). And having an ex-JPM gweilo man-in-charge running it into the ground would be satisfying. They already have Shanghai & Shenzhen and soon Beijing exchanges that are much more controllable. Xi hates HK, it’s people, and all that it stands for, and his nestegg stashing is probably done without having to go thru HK anyway.

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