It’s all academic

RTHK, with a straight face, reports that…

Students of a secondary school said they mourned former state leader Jiang Zemin’s death with a heavy heart on Tuesday morning.

[One student said] “We didn’t mourn in silence just for the sake of it or to comply with the Education Bureau’s guideline. We knew in our hearts the meaning and why we mourned.”

Some academic reading, or at least perusing…

From Alvin Cheung of Queen’s University, Sole and Despotic Dominion – a lengthy examination of how governments can abuse their powers as land owners. Sounds dry except exhibit number one is the case of Apple Daily’s eviction from the state-owned industrial estate at Tseung Kwan O. (Link is to abstract, pdf free to download.)

Which leads to CUHK journalism professor Francis Lee’s somewhat lighter paper on the ‘politics of legalization of press control’ in Hong Kong and the city’s ‘democratic backsliding’ in the last 10 years. Very topical.

And of course Kevin Carrico’s Two Countries, Two Systems. The (pretty short) book expands on his 2016 article.

Expect quite a lot of sociology/anthropology jargon, frequent use of the word ‘differend’, and references to obscure works on the theory of people-state relations (including at one point 1950s Algeria). But there’s also a lot of more digestible – and entertaining – analysis and anecdotes about what has been happening in Hong Kong in the last few decades. Specifically, the rise of Hong Kong ‘nationalism’ or sense of self-determination among Hongkongers who perceived that ‘One Country, Two Systems’ was failing.

Subjects broad and narrow include: the impossibility of ‘One Country, Two Systems’; the role of cross-border smuggling in alienating Hongkongers; initial disbelief at police brutality; being followed by CCP newspaper staff; eccentric genius Chin Wan’s city-state idea; Beijing’s ‘Orientalist’ view of Hong Kong; and how – according to Mainland logic – permitting pro-independence speech undermines rule of law.

Perhaps the best part is the examination of Beijing officials’ hilariously bad explanations for why Hongkongers are resentful of Mainland influence, and the psychology behind the CCP’s attitude towards a city that so vividly contradicts and disproves its ideology.

A former – quite prominent – economist I know spent the 2017-18 period writing what he hoped would be the definitive book on post-1997 Hong Kong, only for the project to be derailed as he (so far as I know) frantically amended and ultimately abandoned the near-finalized ms as 2019 unfolded. Carrico was luckier with timing. But most of all, he is able to argue that the events of 2019-21 confirmed the basic thesis in his original article.

Worth a read.

(‘Differend’.)

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5 Responses to It’s all academic

  1. Natasha Fatale says:

    Use “differend” in a sentence without seeming a prat and win a cookie!

  2. Terence Leung says:

    That school is Scientia Secondary School, formerly called Workers’ Children Secondary School. It is a leftist school that made bombs during the 1967 riots. Students there are probably trained to cry whenever the national anthem is played.

    I wonder if the RTHK was directed by the Education Bureau to interview students of this particular school.

  3. Joe Blow says:

    In the past 10 years the Education Bureau has become the Government Department from Hell.

  4. Mary Melville says:

    The latest scameroo, transitional/temporary housing, whereby the administration gets to reduce the PH queue numbers, developers get lots rezoned and utilities and roads installed for free and government friendly NGOs a steady income stream, is getting some media time.
    Not of course the in-depth investigative focus it deserves, but that would rock the ‘Good Story’.
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/society/article/3202161/some-temporary-flats-under-light-public-housing-scheme-could-cost-more-build-permanent-homes

    Some temporary flats under ‘light public housing’ scheme could cost more to build than permanent homes, minister reveals.
    Temporary flat under scheme could cost about HK$680,000, while construction fee for permanent home is HK$650,000, Secretary for Housing Winnie Ho says

    The article is worth scrolling down for the quote from Leggers Tony Tse
    “I feel that the government has little respect for Legco”

    Indeed, Joe Public is fully aware that that the current electoral system has been designed specifically to ensure that no obstacles get in the way of decisions that involve billions in public funds, in this instance $32 billion, however questionable.

  5. LaapSaap Wui says:

    @Mary Melville
    Thanks for the Tony Tse Wai-chuen quote: pure comedy gold.
    “Slow on the uptake” doesn’t even begin to cover the glacial thinking behind his epiphany. Safe to say he is definitely not the sharpest egg whisk in drawer, and that’ll be the prime factor why he’s still allowed in LegCo.

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