Your final reminder that the Hong Kong government desperately wants you to vote in the ‘election’ on Sunday even though it has put the most popular candidates in jail – the ICAC charges two people with ‘inciting others’ to boycott the poll or cast blank ballots’. Meanwhile, Beijing seems to be adopting the line that to disagree or not participate with the patriots-only elections process is to be a tool of foreign forces.
The Hong Kong government – the one planning a law against ‘fake news’ – plays dumb when caught peddling misinformation. (Speaking of which, a comment on police claims about the power of airguns they seized in their pre-election anti-terrorism bust.)
And more on the disappearance of plans to make Hong Kong streets more pedestrian-friendly.
Some Sunday reading…
From Samuel Bickett – Hong Kong, you’re so extraterritorial – including a good primer on how countries apply laws outside their jurisdiction.
A paywalled article in WSJ on Xi Jinping’s micromanagement, issuing sometimes cryptic instructions ‘that officials go overboard trying to carry out’. Examples include the clampdowns on private tutoring and property developers, and the plan to punish Hong Kong companies that comply with US sanctions – initially supported by Carrie Lam but later abandoned after CH Tung appealed directly to Xi.
Some bureaucrats, unsure how far to push Mr. Xi’s priorities, err on the side of aggressive interpretation,
“When loyalty is the critical measure for officials, no one dares to say anything, even if the instructions from the great leader are vague and confusing about what to do,” one official said.
Sounds familiar to anyone observing Hong Kong’s Covid policies, the campaign to stop people from encouraging an election boycott, and much more.
How singer and actor Julian Cheung’s 15-year-old son upset delicate Mainlanders…
…unhappy Chinese netizens questioned Morton’s political stance and even accused him of being pro-Hongkong independence, since his answer implies that Hongkong is not part of China.
Things apparently got so intense that his mum had to step in and issue a clarification.
A Hill op-ed proposing sanctions against the Olympic bureaucrats for helping Beijing obscure human rights violations…
To say that the IOC has become a tool of the Party is too generous – it is now a junior partner in the commission of an ongoing rights violation and thus shares responsibility for it.
The Guardian does a big feature on home-grown influencer/mega-bore Global Times editor Hu Xijin – including an interesting history of GT itself. Hu then gets ‘retired’, possibly for comments on the Peng Shuai affair (CMP article also includes an intro to his successor).
Beijing is further tightening controls over opinions and personalities online, now shutting down some 20,000 ‘top influencer accounts’. It’s all about ‘guidance’.
Asia Nikkei on Xi Jinping’s embrace of Bo Xilai’s Chongqing housing policy.
George Magnus in New Statesman on Evergrande and the coming difficult decade for China…
[The property sector] faces years of adjustment shaped by a kaleidoscope of excessive debt, rapidly ageing demographics, low marriage and fertility rates, historic overbuilding and the risk of falling prices…
China’s leaders have to choose, now or very soon, between two poor options: deflate the bubble by accepting debt write-offs, bankruptcies and weak growth (or even a recession); or allow inflation to rise and thereby lower the value and burden of debt, which may be no less disruptive as it could entail financial instability, capital flight and a significant depreciation of the renminbi.
Foreign Policy offers a fairly brutal analysis of why Pakistan’s Gwadar port hasn’t taken off as a Belt and Road mega-hub-zone…
Pakistan—like Djibouti, Kenya, and Sri Lanka—assumed that China’s Shenzhen or Shekou model is not only replicable but also plug and play. This discounts the fundamentally different natures of the Chinese and Pakistani states. China is an authoritarian, hierarchical, developmental state. Pakistan is a semi-democratic, disaggregated rentier state marred by criminality and incompetence from the top down … [which] simply lacks the will to create value in the global economy. It is largely focused on extracting from its populace and foreign donors.
Brief author interview on a forthcoming book, Multiracial Britishness: Global Networks in Hong Kong, 1910-45, by Vivian Kong.
On an irrelevant subject – the The Jean-Paul Sartre cookbook.