Can HK Govt avoid a turnout below 30%?

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. 

ASPI paper on China’s use of foreign social media influencers to push its bright-and-rosy picture of life in Xinjiang. Summary here.

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.

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15 Responses to Can HK Govt avoid a turnout below 30%?

  1. Knownot says:

    And he remembers Wuhan

    He wakes at five. It is dark. He squirms in bed.
    “Sleep!” he tells himself. He takes his pillow,
    Hits it, takes another, hits it. No,
    He cannot sleep. He thinks, “Do not blame me,”
    He thinks, “for Delta or for Omicron;
    Nor, in all those countries, for the mess,
    The deaths. And even at the start, the Mayor,
    Why did he hold that banquet? And why deny,
    Deny, although they knew? There were others,
    Others were complicit.” Somewhere in China
    There is a haunted man
    And he remembers Wuhan.

    Two years ago, October was it, November?
    The Chief said briskly in the Lab, “Come on,
    Be careful (come on, be careful, come on).” Each word
    Goaded, echoed in the blameless man,
    Echoes. “Why did he say that? Unnerving me,
    Rattling me. Didn’t he understand?
    Anyone could have fumbled, slipped, as I did.
    Why blame me? It could be anyone.
    A poisonous speck, a mote. Why was it sucked
    Into the ventilator? Why blown out
    The floor below? Was that my work? Am I
    To blame? Did I create the virus?” Somewhere
    There is a burdened man
    And he remembers Wuhan.

    First light. Sleepless, squirming, his mood changes.
    “This is a safe house, here for my own safety,
    Not a prison, safe.” He is still.
    He feels amused, perverse, and proud.
    “I have changed the world. No-one knows
    And never will. And I’m alive!” Somewhere
    There is a hidden man
    And he remembers Wuhan.

  2. Danny DeVeto says:

    Samuel Bickett’s run down is a great primer on the extraterritoriality, but it does skip over the fluorescent yellow elephant in the room — the ridiculous fact that the heinous “offence” boils down to “inciting people to do something that’s completely legal”. AKA total nonsense.

    Furthermore, inciting people to vote for a certain candidate is allowed, and by a logical extension, inciting people to vote for one candidate is de facto inciting people to not vote for the other candidates.

    Finally we should probably also consider that the act of rigging the elections completely with less directly elected candidates and the government having final say over said candidates is the greatest incitement to not vote or ruin one’s ballot.

  3. Stuart says:

    That last sentence from the foreign policy quote could very well be describing the HK (and UK, Trump etc etc) government.

  4. Red Dragon says:

    Knownot.

    Marvellous! You have excelled yourself this time.

    Thank you.

  5. Chinese Netizen says:

    Dec 13 NY Times as well.
    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/12/13/technology/china-propaganda-youtube-influencers.html?searchResultPosition=1

    Fully and resolutely support sanctions on those ass sucking, POS IOC execs ASAP.

    HAGWE

  6. Kwun Tong Bypass says:

    Looking forward to Sunday evening when due to a ‘technical problem’ the results of the “election“ will be delayed – I guess for several days – until the HK Patriotic Government has got approval from BJ what to announce and what to say about the dismal turnout.

  7. Ms Chernobyl says:

    Whatever happened to my dear Reactor #4?
    In its absense, I have to say that think the SARG is now wonderful and when I travel free of charge to my nearest polling station tomorrow (minibus, to the MTR, MTR round trip to HKI, Kowloon, Lantau, NT North, bus back home, walk) I shall feel warm a safe from terrorists, protected by all the nice young policemen with their guns and the ICAC in the macs and dark glasses.
    I shall than write to all my like-minded friends, to let them know that I had a wonderful day out, especially my bootie and former bootie friends.

  8. Mark Bradley says:

    @ Ms Chernobyl

    Love it. Dripping with satire. I too shall be traveling free of charge all over HK tomorrow.

  9. Kwun Tong Bypass says:

    I always wondered how “brainwashing“ actually works. Now, don’t we just all get a taste of it?
    Just watched the TVB News where one James Aitken refers to „the chaos“ during the 2019 district elections!?!
    The News on the English Channel duly followed by Financial News in Putonghua.
    Well, I guess One Country. The one with the superior form of democracy.

  10. Mary Melville says:

    Unfortunately ‘brainwashing’ does confuse some folk. A person I know, registered first time a few years ago with a view to supporting certain factions. However none of them are in the running but because of the ceaseless reminders to vote, vote, vote, is now afraid that failure to show up could come with repercussions even though not a clue about who the local candidates are and certainly no desire to have them represent the district.
    Friends had to explain that voting is, still, voluntary not mandatory.

  11. Low Profile says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YypM56IQZJ4 – listen from around the one minute mark. Remind you of anywhere?

  12. where's my jet plane says:

    A spokesman for the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) announced today (December 19) that, due to excessive usage, the system originally set up on the election website allowing electors to check the expected queuing time at each ordinary polling station is out of service.
    Or, perhaps, embarrassingly short waiting times?

  13. Mary Melville says:

    WMJP ; Most likely the short waiting time. I toddled past my local PS around 3pm and around 7pm, usually long queue time when the younger folk rock up.
    It looked like the few folk who wandered in were personnel as they were in uniform. The ritual of staying up all night tuned in for the results is history.
    Even the supporters manning the stands along the way appeared to be as unconvinced as the pedes studiously ignoring them.

  14. Hamantha says:

    @Mary

    “…younger folk…”

    Folk? Oh you, must mean “folx.” It’s the new gender-fluid way of saying things.

  15. Ms Chernobyl says:

    So solly my flends Semen and Louse lost la 🙁

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