No sweets for naughty emigres

The government is planning another round of clunkily-distributed HK$5,000 cash handouts to help compensate for the economic damage it has inflicted through its Covid measures. But it will try to exclude anyone planning to emigrate…

…Financial Secretary Paul Chan said that the government would determine whether residents have left or intend to leave the city permanently … 

Those who have applied to withdraw their Mandatory Provident Fund early due to permanent departure from the city would also be seen as ineligible for the second phase of consumption vouchers. The government will also look at other evidence.

So petty it hardly counts as vindictive. But it suggests someone is more frustrated at the ongoing exodus than officials publicly admit. It also has a slightly sinister Minority Report thing about it. Will they employ mind-readers to determine whether people are thinking of leaving town? As a Standard editorial puts it:

…it is ill conceived to extend this policy to those who are still in Hong Kong just because someone in the government “thinks” they are making plans to leave the city.

…They are Hong Kong citizens and, therefore, have the same rights as anyone else.

Mind you – with so many families packing their bags, this could save billions.

Liberal Studies have been scrapped in Hong Kong schools after the subject supposedly fed kids warped political brainwashing. Thoroughly non-biased and objective replacement textbooks describe the 2019 protests as ‘violent terrorist attacks’. They also push a pedantic/desperate argument that Hong Kong was never a British colony. (If they catch you thinking otherwise, you won’t get your HK$5,000.)

VOA describes journalists as an endangered species in Hong Kong…

[A] journalist, who covers politics for an online European outlet, said he has considered leaving because of threats online, criticism from pro-Beijing media, and abuse on social media.

“It seems that this is a well-orchestrated pro-government attack against Western media. And even though it’s not official, for me on the ground it feels the message is quite clear,” he said. “Certain reporting is no longer welcome in Hong Kong.”

It is a stark change from when that journalist first moved to Hong Kong. “There were almost no restrictions at all, so there was nothing to worry about,” he said.

(On a related note… I’ve always allowed pretty much anything in the comments section of this site, save for the ravings of the odd sociopath. But people are currently in jail for writing or publishing opinions, such as calling for overseas governments to sanction Hong Kong officials. So, for reasons of plain everyday cowardly paranoia, comments are now moderated – self-censored, whatever you want to call it – accordingly. Sorry.)

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32 Responses to No sweets for naughty emigres

  1. Stanley Lieber says:

    Dear Hemlock,

    Moderating the comments makes sense. You’ve done well to exercise a light touch for as long as you have. You or any of your contributors going to jail isn’t going to do anybody any good.

    Of course, the authorities no longer need a reason.

  2. Learn English with Regina says:

    Dear Censor,

    if I write that Curry is a Cunt, will that be “moderated” to read Carrie is a Carrot, and then we’ll have to read between the lines?

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    “Mind you – with so many families packing their bags, this could save billions.”

    Yeah, to be spent instead on massive election “campaigns”/polling infrastructure/security for ONE person or even more(!) white elephant boondoggles (Hmmm…a NatSec Museum & educational “experience” comes to mind: BYOGM*)!

    *Bring Your Own Gas Mask

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    (On a related note… I’ve always allowed pretty much anything in the comments section of this site, save for the ravings of the odd sociopath. But people are currently in jail for writing or publishing opinions, such as calling for overseas governments to sanction Hong Kong officials. So, for reasons of plain everyday cowardly paranoia, comments are now moderated – self-censored, whatever you want to call it – accordingly. Sorry.)

    Sign of the times and I don’t begrudge you. It’s late and the dance hall is emptying out…

  5. Lurker says:

    Thx Regina-you gave me a nice warm smile!

  6. Fishchris says:

    “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
    “We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.”

  7. Mark Bradley says:

    I would rather have self censored Hemlock than no Hemlock. Though if your website is hosted in a free speech jurisdiction like the USA, it’ll be harder for HK authorities to collect the ips of local hk residents be they expat or local.

  8. Mary Melville says:

    The petty exemption of certain locals from the cash hand out is indeed spiteful when we all know folk who fly in from time to time to tick the resident status box while they continue to pocket fruit money and enjoy handouts they have not contributed to via tax.

  9. Jim Prideaux says:

    You’ve always censored them.

    Anyone who disagrees with your GCHQ views…

  10. Paul says:

    The other sad thing about the next round of handouts is that the eligibility (apart from the weird thing about people thinking of leaving) could very precisely be phrased as “everyone legally resident in Hong Kong, except those brown people that clean our homes and look after our children”. The racism would be shocking if it hadn’t been endemic for so long.

  11. Kwun Tong Bypass says:

    SCMP: “Scheme covers an extra 300,000 people…….”
    Hmmmm….
    150 newcomers per day x 365 days = 54,750 per year x 7 Years (to become PR) =383,250 minus 85,000 who leave this year = ~300,000 eligible non-PR

  12. Roddy the Rodomontade says:

    I wonder how “the odd sociopath” is getting on in Phnom Penh. Haven’t seen many updates on his website, nor read any ravings here.

  13. Mark Bradley says:

    “You’ve always censored them.

    Anyone who disagrees with your GCHQ views…”

    @Jim I’ve experienced the least moderation / censorship from Hemmers compared to other platforms, besides Hemlock let plenty of trolls who disagreed with GCHQ views to post here and most were ridiculed and stopped posting like Reactor #5

    Sorry it makes you so mad that even the locals prefer GCHQ views compared to what the thick heads up north try to bludgeon them with.

    Sounds like you are one of those fake “anti imperialist” clowns that people like to call tankies.

  14. Knownot says:

    “pedantic/desperate argument that Hong Kong was never a British colony”

    I think I have this correct: As a member of the United Nations, China contrived (before 1997) to have HK removed from the organization’s list of colonies, describing it as a part of China being temporarily administered by Britain. Not a colony.

  15. justsayin says:

    The Broom Head English Academy will soon be the only accredited teaching centres left in HK at the rate things are going.

  16. dopey says:

    How long before permanent residency for foreign nationalities is revoked?

  17. wmjp says:

    How long before permanent residency for foreign nationalities is revoked?

    Given the number of the great and the good (and their families – yes we are looking at you, the Failed Social Worker) with foreign passports that could be a bit tricky to implement.

  18. Pope Innocent says:

    We’ve long had a sweepstake up here on how long Hemlock would last (not with Him Upstairs, of course, betting against the All-Knowing is a mug’s game). Now that voluntary censorship is on the table, the next question is: what is the purpose of a blog based on government critique when it no longer feels safe criticising government?

    Another question doing the rounds up here, as opposed to “why are people leaving” (the answers to which are multitudinous and well documented), is, why are so many expats clinging on? Other than money, that’s obviously a given. Answers by postcard prayer, please.

  19. Sam Clemens says:

    Re: the future of PR status for foreigners in Hong Kong

    We will fall in line with mainland practice regarding PR for foreigners.

    It’s my understanding that it’s possible for foreigners to obtain PR in China, but it’s difficult and has become more so in recent years. It would be great to hear from someone who knows more about this subject than I do.

    When will HK begin to limit or revoke PR for foreigners? I’d say within the next five years. Colluding with foreign forces and all that. A lot of NSL work still left to do.

  20. Smell the music says:

    @Pope Innocent

    Unfortunately, these expats who cling on simply can’t admit the party they enjoyed for so many years has come to an end. They go around in a delusional stupor saying to themselves “it’ll all go back to normal soon” only to say it again next year and the year after that and the one after that. Maybe they try to convince themselves that their life is fine as they’re not in prison and as long as they block out news of concentration camps, imprisoned democrats, shuttered news agencies and constant politically-motivated Covid restrictions, they can keep earning a decent salary in blissful (and masked up) ignorance. It’s a fascinating case study on how authoritarians can quite easily manipulate a supposedly well-educated population. These expats have had the life sucked out of them by a criminal government and yet they’re still here thinking someday that same government will be kind enough to give it back.

  21. Mark Bradley says:

    “Other than money, that’s obviously a given. Answers by postcard prayer, please.”

    Other than money (and tax haven tax residency), I really like the sub tropical climate. I like the food. I like the Blade Runner dystopian aesthetic, which is now no longer an aesthetic but a real dystopia. I like beaches, BBQs, and hiking while also having the concrete jungle. I like pool parties with friends at the golf club. I like the fast (but soon to be great firewalled?) Internet. I like the people here, well people from the yellow camp which thankfully is the majority.

    I like that HK is a travel hub for all over Asia, but that hasn’t been a thing since the covid lockdowns happened. But maybe in 2024?

  22. Mark Bradley says:

    “It’s my understanding that it’s possible for foreigners to obtain PR in China, but it’s difficult and has become more so in recent years. It would be great to hear from someone who knows more about this subject than I do.”

    Also PR in China doesn’t grant “right of abode” which is usually reserved only for citizens in most countries. This means PR in China allows people to be deported. Hong Kong is a bit of an anomaly in that regard.

    In theory in HK if you have right of abode you can’t be deported either, but in practice I’m sure some NSL reason will be rule by lawed that will allow right of abode to be stripped. Or they can just lie and claim you obtained right of abode on false pretenses and therefore it can be stripped for that reason alone similar to denaturalization which is also done if naturalizing was done via fraudulent documents.

  23. Mark Bradley says:

    “They go around in a delusional stupor saying to themselves “it’ll all go back to normal soon””

    I am under no delusion things will be normal. This is the new normal. HK has been irrevocably changed. Maybe if we’re lucky we can have quarantine free travel in 2024, or maybe not. But our pre NSL pluralistic society? It’s forever gone. Welcome to the new East Berlin.

    But I fucking love Hong Kong and I don’t want to leave. Just gonna go down with the ship. I don’t pay any taxes here anyway (offshore dividend income) so I’m not feeding the beast.

  24. Stephen says:

    @Pope Innocent
    To answer why expats cling on ? Take a quick look at LinkedIn and there you will find them. They will jabber on, unconvincingly, about how Hong Kong has bounced back before and once the final curtain falls on ludicrous Covid theatre, everything will be peachy, Hong Kong Club and Rugby Sevens again. They remind me of the expats that stayed too long in Shanghai prior to the Japanese Invasion of the city in World War II. Sad but realpolitik.

  25. Low Profile says:

    @Pope Innocent – you make “other than money” sound like a trivial matter. For many people, it isn’t – for example, those with chronic medical conditions may depend on HK’s hospitals for healthcare they couldn’t afford back home. Then there are those with local partners who have family obligations here. And some expats come from countries which for various reasons they have no desire to return to. Plus a lot of us still love HK, politics excepted.

  26. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Pope & Stephen: Has it occurred to either of you there is a large LOCAL but Caucasian/Indian/Etc population that has been in HK for generations, born and raised (who can go at it with the best of Chinese locals in perfect Canto) and aren’t of the South Stand/LKF/murdering banker or bored tai tai from NYC sipping mint juleps subspecies??

  27. Hamantha says:

    @Stephen

    Your mention of expats failing to leave Shanghai before WWII sent me down the rabbit hole, and I was shocked to learn how cruelly they treated the “prominent [expat] citizens” of Shanghai, for three years no less!

    “The round-ups of foreigners began on 5 November 1942 when the Kempeitai launched early morning raids, arresting 243 Britons, 65 Americans, 20 Dutch, and some other foreign nationals, totalling 350 men in all. Labelled ‘Prominent Citizens’, they were hauled off to Haiphong Road Camp, run by the Imperial Japanese Army. ‘The Japanese were showing their teeth,’ recalled arrested British reporter Ralph Shaw, ‘and, from their record of cruelty in China, we knew that many of us were going to suffer indescribable ill-treatment.’”

    https://www.military-history.org/feature/war-zone-city-of-terror-the-japanese-takeover-of-shanghai.htm#:~:text=The%20round%2Dups%20of%20foreigners,by%20the%20Imperial%20Japanese%20Army.

    Hong Kong expats — especially the type obtuse enough to overstay their time in an brutal authoritarian regime such as China — will be in for a particularly rude awakening…

  28. Eric Blair says:

    @Hamantha

    All I want is one more big wave of Harbin girls visiting on temporary visas and one more big run-up in property prices. Is that too much to ask?

  29. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Hamantha: What? You didn’t just watch “Empire of the Sun” back in the ’90s??

  30. Hamantha says:

    No, but I will now!

  31. AHW says:

    Chinese Netizen /Hamantha: my uncle (Australian and a missionary) was interned in Shanghai. Took several months before my aunt (they were engaged at the time) discovered from the Red Cross where he was, indeed – was he still alive?). Communication was sporadic. He travelled back to the UK by ship after liberation. My aunt and my Dad, who drove her to Southampton, failed to recognise him initially. Skin and bones.

  32. Pope Innocent says:

    @Chinese Netizen, hence my use of the word “expat”, which does not mean “persons of non-Chinese ancestry even though they were born here” as you seem to think.

    Many thanks for the “reasons to stay”, which will at least put the sweepstake to rest. We’re a bit sceptical up here regarding their validity, mind you, because there are numerous places around the region with similar or better weather, scenery, food, cyberpunk architecture, travel connections, etc. – all without the police state elephant in the room. Healthcare is a marginal pass, provided one has good insurance (difficult if chronically ill) and the service doesn’t implode under the flood of yellow practitioners fleeing to more appreciative lands.

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