An early weekend…

HKDC issues a report on international business’s role in Hong Kong, calling on companies not to attend the forthcoming ‘financial summit’ in the city. Weird thing: I can’t access the site on plain-vanilla browsers (as of 6.30am HK time), but I can on the VPN-like Tor. Hmmm…

Summary from Samuel Bickett.

Moving house, so that’s probably it around here until next week. Some weekend reading…

More banning of films in Hong Kong, this time a documentary about migrant workers in Taiwan because it featured scenes of a protest. (The protest was outside the Presidential offices in Taipei, which could have been a problem with NatSec censors – since how can China’s Taiwan Province of China have a President?)

And Jimmy Lai found guilty of what must be the lamest-ever ‘criminal fraud’ case (using 0.16% of a premises outside the lease conditions).

Converting temporary Covid facilities into temporary housing is not ‘cost-effective’, the city’s leader says, owing to refurbishment work required.

Why not just let them out at peppercorn rents to anyone, allow them be used for any reasonable residential/retail/business use – and see what happens?

Oiwan Lam on the aesthetics of NatSec Hong Kong…

Designers have to play safe by avoiding politically sensitive colors and icons. One design strategy is to avoid local expressions and symbols and pick up mainland Chinese references. Hence, communication has become less effective, but subversive overtones continue circulating, very often, in the form of mockery.

You don’t think of the EU or business chambers as sources of critical comment on China – but a Joerg Wuttke interview is an exception…

The most important fact is the President’s absolute, unrestricted power. Xi Jinping has managed to de facto lock out the entire Party faction of the Youth League. This was not to be expected on this scale. He has practically tailored the Politburo to himself and filled it with loyalists. A man may now become Prime Minister who previously had no national job at all and who has not grown into the office as Vice Premier … We have to state clearly today: Ideology is once again taking precedence over the interests of the economy in China.

…We have to get away from the idea that China’s policy is still basically tailored to economic growth. In his speech to the Party Congress, the President mentioned Karl Marx fifteen times. The word ‘market’ appeared only three times.

More from Journal of Democracy: forget the economy – the new priorities are ‘security and struggle’. A must-read…

…increasing state repression of the private sector, and will unquestionably continue. The intention is clear: Although China depends on the market economy in order to prosper, certain social, legal, and political requirements of market activities may challenge the one-party dictatorship.

The Guardian on China’s drift to isolation.

A China Daily op-ed by a professor at the Institute for Taiwan Studies, Tsinghua University says…

…it is necessary to eliminate the political, cultural and material foundations of “Taiwan independence” and establish a legal system that reflects the central government’s authority, so as to make national reunification permanent.

Singapore nanny state’s gruesome pre-execution photos.

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11 Responses to An early weekend…

  1. Chinese Netizen says:

    Ironic, innit? Flout US sanctions laws, as reps of American corporate investment wings, to meet and mingle with HK administration players (under US sanction) in order to assess and further massage HK’s “unique role” as a gateway to Chinese money. All while Uncle Winnie has now thrown “economic development” out the window in favor for full, hard-on power move and military projection.

    Will Hunter Biden and Javanka be attending?

  2. Stanley Lieber says:

    The “Journal of Democracy” article is excellent. Thanks for the link.

  3. Mark Bradley says:

    “Weird thing: I can’t access the site on plain-vanilla browsers (as of 6.30am HK time), but I can on the VPN-like Tor. Hmmm”

    I believe it was discovered a few months ago that the HKDC council site was NSL-blocked hence no accessibility on HK ISPs.

  4. reductio says:

    @ Hemlock

    Yup, can’t access it using my usual browser but can if I use a VPN. Surely, they wouldn’t have blocked it because that, like, proves the point of the report?

  5. wmjp says:

    Surely, they wouldn’t have blocked it because that, like, proves the point of the report?

    It’s yet another example of the finely-honed intelligence of the administration and its inability to look beyond step one and assess potential consequences, coupled with a high degree of technical ignorance. I believe it is a quality particularly prevalent in people who have a predominantly law enforcement background.

  6. Mary Melville says:

    The ‘good story’ re our much vaunted rule of law has been shafted by the news that as soon as the courts rule that the government has exceeded its authority, it can trot across the road from the High Court to Leggers and have the pliant rubber stamps there amend the relevant legislation in record time.
    This in stark contrast to the decades it has taken for much needed reforms proposed by the Law Reform Commission to get through even the preliminary stages. Some of the proposed reforms are of considerably greater concern to many citizens, for example:
    “To consider whether reform may be required to the law in Hong Kong, the subject of causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable adult was referred to the Law Reform Commission in September 2006 and a sub-committee was established in November 2006.” Fast forward, it is now 2022………………………….. still under consideration.
    In contrast the holders of the exemption certifications while trying to avoid enforced vaccination did not pose any risk to the community.
    That regulations pertaining to contractual obligations could be amended in a similar expedient manner will not escape the attention of canny investors.

  7. A Poor Man says:

    Mary – Good comment as always, but I think many are overlooking the implications of this case from a medical point of view. Basically, the government doesn’t like the decisions/diagnoses that some doctors made for their patients. While the doctors may be accused of selling “fake” vaccination waivers, they have not been found guilty of anything by any organization with authority over such matters. Yet the government still wants to override 20K medical decisions.

    I can foresee a situation where a public hospital doctor prescribes a treatment that Po Po Lee or a member of his posse doesn’t like due to religious beliefs, and he changes the law to stop a potentially life-saving treatment.

  8. Low Profile says:

    When you look at Jimmy Lai’s “fraud” conviction, it appears that in essence, all he did was lease premises for his main business, then use a small corner of them to run his side business. I would bet that thousands of other local business people are doing the same thing. In most cases their landlords will simply ignore it; for those who do object, there are civil remedies available. It takes a particularly vindictive frame of mind to transform such a trivial breach of lease conditions into a criminal matter.

  9. Frances Gumm says:

    @Low Profile,

    The company secretarial company at the heart of the farcical fraud case against Mr. Lai was, for practical purposes, a captive subsidiary of Apple Daily. Its work consisted overwhelmingly of tasks on behalf of Apple Daily and its majority shareholder alone.

    The company was created to handle the myriad administrative tasks and regulatory filings required of Apple Daily as a public company, and Mr. Lai as a wealthy person with extensive investment interests, so as to avoid paying the ridiculous obligatory company secretarial fees that arise every time a director sneezes.

    At the time, Apple Daily had acres and acres of unused office space in its two eight-storey premises in the TKO industrial estate. Most Apple Daily employees probably couldn’t find Dico Consultants’ tiny office space within the Apple Daily complex if their lives depended on it.

    One may say that putting Dico on premises, as a technical violation of the lease conditions, was penny-wise and pound-foolish, but was it criminal? Such a conclusion is beyond absurd and strictly political.

    Never mind. The rule of law is safe in Hong Kong. PC Lee said so.

  10. charlie says:

    I’m in Europe this week and can access the HKDC site without problem.

  11. Mary Melville says:

    To put the Dico sham into context, HKSP has lodged another application to convert part of the Innocentre in Kowloon Tong into F&B. It withdrew a more ambitious plan a few months ago. Festival Walk with 220 restaurants and shops is next door.
    When folk were objecting to the Cyberport extension images were provided to Town Planning Board of existing units being used for storage and other purposes. Microsoft does zero research at its premises there. But of course the development was approved because ……. its inno, Stoopid.
    The manipulation of a minor breach in contract terms that would normally attract nothing more than a small fine is absolutely shocking. No wonder so many businesses are looking to relocate elsewhere as the myriad of minor transgressions that were once part and parcel of commercial life here can now be adapted and backdated to incur criminal liability and years behind bars.

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