Your tax dollars at work

A 68-year-old man gets prosecuted for playing an erhu ‘without a permit’ at a bus terminus. You might wonder why the Justice Dept would bring such a minor infringement of the law to court. He was playing Glory to Hong Kong. How many other streetside erhu-players – there are lots – have been prosecuted lately?

The magistrate let the guy go. Another glimpse of judicial independence occurs at the High Court, where the judge gives Albert Ho bail (plus a string of patronizing warnings). This comes after last week’s lifting of reporting restrictions in NatSec cases. Signs of some pushback among the judiciary?

Could/would/do you get arrested for having Glory to Hong Kong as your phone ringtone? Or for whistling it? For singing it in the shower at home?

Final post-op stuff tomorrow, so some mid-week links…

The SCMP’s tech editor is in need of some rectification…

The sight of a hazmat-suited medical worker in the Chinese city of Xiamen sticking a cotton bud into the mouth of a fish to test whether it had coronavirus was saddening.

It is a sign that common sense and pragmatism in China are retreating, giving way to self-destructive madness, where political correctness trumps basic reasoning.

The ridiculous conduct in Xiamen received no official reprimand from the provincial or state authorities because, politically speaking, it was seen as the right move towards implementing Beijing’s strict dynamic zero Covid-19 policy.

In Atlantic, Richard McGregor looks at the ‘radical secrecy’, along with the rewriting of history, of Xi’s China…

Xi Jinping has never given a press conference … he does not have a press secretary … His office does not preannounce his domestic travel or visitor log. He does not tweet … What are billed by the official media as important speeches are typically not released until months after Xi has delivered them in closed forums … Beijing’s radical opacity has real-world consequences.

One of the more amusing aspects of shoe-shiner-watching in Hong Kong is the way local ‘heavyweights’ – members of the National People’s Congress or Mainland think-tanks – pontificate on Beijing’s thinking, when they are just as clueless and out-of-the-loop as anyone else.

Brian Hioe explains Taiwan for the Guardian. Michael Turton explains the language behind the US position on Taiwan (perhaps every journalist and columnist should read this). 

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7 Responses to Your tax dollars at work

  1. Stanley Lieber says:

    Michael Turton’s column on U.S. policy towards Taiwan is a good read.

  2. Ru o L says:

    From HKFP report on Erhu man:
    “[Deputy Magistrate Felix] Tam responded by saying that court proceedings in Hong Kong were never influenced by politics.”

    Also, Santa and his eight reindeer really do fly around the whole world in one night delivering presents down chimneys.

  3. donkeynuts says:

    It’s always seemed to me that people who digest and contemplate and puzzle over the workings of the party and chairman are thrilled to do so. I think the fact that this practice of sifting through opaque and non-directional language makes people feel like 1. civilisation in the Chinese characteristics is complex, complicated and nuanced, and 2. only the few and the elite are able to truly understand it.

    seems a bit like a cult, then.

  4. Mary Melville says:

    Albert Ho probably has medical conditions and it would not look good for the “HK Story” if he were to keel over inside the nick, hence the bail arrangement.
    It appears that a message has gone out to the judiciary that some minor rulings to indicate that citizens still have certain rights under the Basic Law would help support the ‘Story’ myths.

  5. Ru o L says:

    @donkeynuts
    True enough, Also:

    3. Nobody actually knows anything concrete anyway because the party line is secret, deliberately vague, changes all the time and anything the party says is usually a lie anyway. So being totally wrong about it is fine. You can mostly spin it to look right, often just by waiting a month or two, plus given points 1&2, hardly anyone will notice even if you can’t.

  6. Chris Maden says:

    @Ro o L: I noticed that gem, too.

  7. Mark Bradley says:

    @Ro o L: Sounds a lot like astrology

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