Told you it would be an interesting week!

Not neurotically micromanaged or anything, just People’s Daily following the deaths of Deng Xiaoping in 19927 and Jiang Zemin three days ago (from here). Apart from the dead former leaders’ names, it’s a strict template: the headlines are the same, key phrases are the same, layout the same. Jiang gets a bolder font. (Exhaustive details at China Media Project.)

Many Hong Kong government websites went black-and-white. A quick Google search shows the DAB’s and HKU’s have as well, though Cheung Kong didn’t – can’t be bothered to look at any more.

A selection of pretty good weekend reading…

Even before Beijing’s ‘interpretation’, the HK Immigration Dept withholds Jimmy Lai’s would-be lawyer’s visa. The chief prosecutor in the case applies for an adjournment…

The interpretation would not only determine whether overseas counsel are allowed to represent national security defendants in courts, it may also ban foreign lawyers from giving advice to clients, said Chau.


From NPC Observer, a full explainer on the Jimmy Lai ‘interpretation’…

[CE John] Lee’s failure to identify one or more specific NSL provisions that require interpretation stands in contrast to past Chief Executive requests for NPCSC interpretation of the Hong Kong Basic Law. Perhaps this was a tacit acknowledgement that, as Prof. Fu Hualing succinctly put it, the conceptual distinction between the NPCSC’s legislative interpretation and supplementation “is a distinction without differences.”

Human rights activist group Article 19 calls for the release of Jimmy Lai…

An advocate for media freedom, democracy and the right to protest, his words and actions have made him a target of those in Hong Kong and Beijing whose cowardice leads them to believe that crushing dissent is a show of strength. In reality, it is the desperate tactic of the weak. 

William Pesek in Nikkei Asia on hedge fund manager Bill Ackman’s bet against the Hong Kong Dollar peg. Basically, toppling the peg is next to impossible so long as the Hong Kong authorities are willing to withstand high interest rates and/or deflation. However, the underlying reasons hedge funds are tempted to have a go are worrying…

The lack of an independent monetary policy is exacerbating strains in Hong Kong’s economy, including chronic inequality. The need to ratchet rates higher and higher pushed Hong Kong back into its pandemic recession.

As wages flatline, the managed nature of the property market keeps living costs high as opportunity declines. If Hong Kong has a solution other than occasional cash handouts, Chief Executive Lee is not saying.

An underappreciated catalyst for the 2019-2020 protests, as well as those of 2014, was inequality. In the years between those episodes, Hong Kong’s Gini coefficient, a key wealth-gap indicator, hit a 45-year high of 0.539, where 1 indicates maximum inequality.

In Foreign Policy, Lynette H. Ong looks at China’s protests… 

Why has Xi’s seemingly unprecedented strong grip on power been met with social resistance of unparalleled scale throughout China? How has Chinese society reached this boiling point?

…When the implementers of party policy lock families up and demand that they hand over the keys to their apartments, when they send people into mandatory quarantine despite negative test results, and when people die because they cannot gain access to hospital treatment, the implementers and masses alike start questioning the policies—and disobeying them. Citizens are resisting and rebelling.

Cindy Yu has a personal take in the Spectator

I’m also afraid of the unknown: few one-party countries successfully change into happy democracies. So is it really worth agitating for? I don’t have any good answers.

Foreign Affairs begs think tanks, commentators, politicians, and everyone trying to read Beijing tea leaves: just pay attention to what China’s leaders say…

…[The CCP] congress served to codify a worldview that Xi has been developing over the past decade in carefully crafted official party communications: Chinese-language speeches, documentaries, and textbooks, many of which Beijing deliberately mistranslates for foreign audiences, when it translates them at all. These texts dispel much of the ambiguity that camouflages the regime’s aims and methods and offer a window into Xi’s ideology and motivations: a deep fear of subversion, hostility toward the United States, sympathy with Russia, a desire to unify mainland China and Taiwan, and, above all, confidence in the ultimate victory of communism over the capitalist West. The end state he is pursuing requires the remaking of global governance. His explicit objective is to replace the modern nation-state system with a new order featuring Beijing at its pinnacle.

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9 Responses to Told you it would be an interesting week!

  1. Probably says:

    “Basically, toppling the peg is next to impossible so long as the Hong Kong authorities are willing to withstand high interest rates and/or deflation. However, the underlying reasons hedge funds are tempted to have a go are worrying…”

    Do these hedge fund guys not realise that all the time CCP officials need an outlet to launder their ill earnt gains then the HK dollar peg will remain?

  2. Dr Zhivago says:

    Deng died in February 1997, not 1992. I remember it like yesterday, ’twas in the run up to the handover

  3. justsayin says:

    1992 would have been ‘the Southern Tour’ for Deng…

  4. wmjp says:

    re The Trial from HKFP”:
    There was also a heavy police deployment around the High Court, with armed officers and a sniffer dog patrolling the area.

    I would have thought the smell of the administration’s evil-doing and corruption would incapacitate any sniffer dog.

  5. Knownot says:

    Jiang Zemin “spoke and acted with a spontaneity
    unimaginable among today’s leadership”

    While knowing that
    He was a technocrat
    Of repression,
    I like the way
    He could give way
    To self-expression.

    So I admire
    That true red ire
    Made him express
    His irritation
    And frustration
    With the Hong Kong press.

    His anger pent
    At questions sent
    Made him believe
    Those kids were callow,
    Simply shallow,
    And naïve.

    “Naïve.” And we have heard
    The actual word
    He used;
    We were impressed
    (Or felt repressed)
    Or were amused.


    Rare Footage of Former China Leader Jiang Zemin Freak Out (With English Subs!) – YouTube

  6. asiaseen says:

    All government vessels will conduct three minutes’ honk during the mourning in silence.

    Doesn’t that rather defeat the objective of the exercise?

  7. Chinese Netizen says:

    All Alphtards will observe 3 minutes of ceaseless horn blowing while illegally parked with engines running.

  8. Kwun Tong Bypass says:

    What’s all the extensive mourning ‘celebrations’ about Jiang Zemin? Crocodile tears of Xi and friends hiding their joy that the last important member of the “Shanghai Gang” has gone?

  9. Mary Melville says:

    Eric Cheung’s argument that the Basic Law does not guarantee the right to representation by a foreign lawyer is specious at best. (Recent TV News clip)
    Article 2: The NPC authorizes the HKSAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication
    Article 5: and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years.
    Article 9: In addition to the Chinese language, English may also be used as an official language by the executive authorities, legislature and judiciary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
    Representation by foreign lawyers has been a regular feature of our legal system, and this is underlined by the government’s own reliance on such expertise. There is no mention of representation in the Basic Law while the popular maxim in common law systems is “everything which is not forbidden is allowed”.
    That the NPC has the power to amend the law is indisputable but it is unacceptable that our legal ‘experts’ seek to muddy the waters by trotting out indefensible rationalization that can only further diminish the public perception that the legal rights of the community are being gradually eroded and those who should be defending them are complicit in the process.

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