I didn’t intend to look through the government’s Northern Metropolis Development Strategy, but after an astute observer of such things assured me it ‘looks like it was pulled out of someone’s ass at the last minute’, I obviously couldn’t resist.
And oh boy – is this utter bilge or what? Welcome to ‘Twin Cities, Three Circles’, which is a ‘strategic spatial structure of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen boundary area’.
Basically, someone was told to use some existing plans and a bunch of buzzwords to contrive cross-border hub-zone-type districts that make currently separate (even quite distant) areas look like naturally united neighbourhoods.
Thus you have: the Shenzhen Bay Quality Development Circle; the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Close Interaction Circle; and the Mirs Bay/Yan Chau Tong Eco-recreation/tourism Circle.
The first echoes the ‘Quality Living Circle’ promised by the Greater Bay Area, but for tech and logistics activities straddling Yuen Long, Nanshan and Qianhai, with some mangrove conservation thrown in. The second sees a ‘Technopole’ sprouting alongside Fanling and Sheung Shui and hooking up with a New Financial Centre, an Innovative Financial Industrial Belt, an Emerging Industrial Belt, an Internet Industrial Cluster and other hub-zones over in Shenzhen, plus some fish pond conservation. The third is a desperate attempt to find a destiny and role for the areas around Mirs Bay, resorting to sustainable, traditional and cultural blah blah.
If you never realized how important it is to make sure geographers never get their hands on hallucinatory drugs, check out some of the transport/connectivity maps.
I’ve just reached the episode where they have to play marbles, and I must say Squid Game is getting rather compellingly grim. Depends on the rate of binge-watching, but I might be absent for three or four days. (An academic’s view.)
A few things you might have missed…
HKFP on the judiciary’s response to the government’s attempt to apply ‘joint enterprise’ to riot…
The Court of Final Appeal is set to hand down a far-reaching verdict to decide whether people who are not physically present at an illegal assembly or a riot may face the same criminal charges as the actual participants under the legal principle in question.
Also HKFP, a discussion of the level of policing on National Day gives rise to some awkward comparisons…
Whereas the last Governor of Hong Kong could amble around pressing the flesh, Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive in Name Only, does not dare venture out without a phalanx of armed police sheltering her from any possible casual contact with the public.
Indeed, the suspicion lurks that one reason why Chris Patten’s name is greeted with such venom by the current rulers simply comes down to jealousy over his popularity and ease of contact with the people he was governing.
A thread on (and link to) HK Alliance videos taken down from the group’s YouTube channel – many are being archived elsewhere on the site.
Hong Kong’s anti-Covid measures amusingly compared to EM Forster’s The Machine Stops.
From Asia Times, more on the purge of Jiang-faction officials Sun Lijun et al…
Xi has been trying to cut off Jiang and all previous leaders, but there are simply too many … To isolate them totally would deprive Xi of part of his own legitimacy, derived from being born into this elite. But to keep them around undermines Xi’s power.
Politico on how Xi lost Australia…
Nearly 10 years ago, Australia thought it was on the cusp of a beautiful friendship with China: It was opening up its economy to Beijing, wanted to teach Mandarin in schools and invited the Chinese president to address parliament.
Now, that’s all over.
…Xi’s “wolf warrior” tactics simply pushed Australia right back into its traditional military nexus, with the U.S. and U.K., costing Beijing a potentially valuable partner in the region.
(Also from Politico – China’s self-defeating bullying of Lithuania.)
And CSIS on how Beijing, on balance, came out the loser in the two Michaels/Meng Wanzhou saga…
The defeat for Beijing was not absolute, but it was quite comprehensive, and those who advised the Xi leadership to take this approach will have a lot of explaining to do…
China’s scheme to force Meng’s release by taking hostages backfired in ways big and small. China showed its teeth, but instead of cowering in fear, Canada and the United States held firm. Chinese state media is highlighting Meng’s return home as proof of their victory, but this claim is reminiscent of the Lu Xun character Ah Q, who deluded himself into thinking that his string of failures were actually successes.
New Statesman brings up the rear and asks whether China’s ‘rise’ is inevitable.
…35% of BRI projects have run into serious implementation problems, including corruption scandals, labor violations, environmental hazards and public protests, according to the study. That compares to 21% of non-BRI projects.
BRI projects take 36% longer to implement than non-BRI projects, and face a higher probability of being shut down by host countries because of “corruption and overpricing concerns, as well as major changes in public sentiment that make it difficult to maintain close relations with China,” the report finds.
Example: dirt-poor Laos now has a shiny high-speed rail line. To help pay off debt, it has passed majority control of Électricité du Laos to a Chinese power firm. (Dire headline from the Economist.)
A CNN feature on torture in Xinjiang witnessed by a defecting police officer – a lot of stomach-turning detail.
On cultural matters…
Some wall art by Badiucao in New York.
Worth a quick perusal if you’re a historiography fan, from Project Gutenberg – Hong Kong by Gene Gleason, 1963.
Finally, do you ever hear Hong Kong Thais or Filipinos complaining over and over that Hong Kong restaurants offering their homelands’ cuisine are all, universally, always terrible? No. From the SCMP, a thought-provoking report on That Problem your Malaysian and Singaporean friends have…
It’s remarkable how every one of them likes to whine and grumble about not being able to find the foods they miss from their hometown … Even when the food is actually good, they’ll say it pales compared to Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh … At every opportunity they like to remind us how all the Malaysian and Singaporean restaurants in Hong Kong suck.