Possibly not a coincidence: just before the winter solstice/Christmas/New Year/CNY season starts, the government ‘proposes’ a wacky new NatSec restriction. They want to (can’t believe I’m writing this) require online crowdfunding campaigns to get permits from some sort of regulatory body (reports from SCMP, RTHK).
The idea seems to be to prevent funding of ‘colour revolutions’. A few questions spring to mind…
Surely the CIA, not local populations, finances uprisings? Also, how will this help Hong Kong become a tech/culture/innovation hub-zone, if budding entrepreneurs and creative types need a permit just to raise small sums for their startups and projects?
And how do you even enforce it? How does the government prevent anyone from registering a cause with GoFundMe, Kickstarter, Patreon or any other platform? Can the authorities determine whether such an appeal is Hong Kong-based? Do officials expect the platforms to turn away would-be fundraisers from Hong Kong who do not have a permit? Will officials complain – as with Google – when the platforms do not cooperate? What other online applications will we need a permit to use? Whatever happened to laissez faire and ‘none of the government’s business’?
Will officials react badly when commentators tell them the idea is absurd?
Which brings us to the worst example yet of an embarrassingly over-whiny official press release in response to Ming Pao content. As usual, the government expresses ‘regret’, which Google defines as feeling…
…sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that one has done or failed to do).
Since the government is not a person, it cannot experience emotions (though a named spokesman speaking personally could complain that an op-ed ‘hurt his feelings’). More to the point, the government did not write the Ming Pao column, so does not need to regret it. Officials could, on the other hand, regret making decisions that invite criticism in the newspapers.
Meanwhile – there goes any hope of turning Hong Kong into Asia’s leading bathroom accessories hub…
After school that day, Gary said the school had summoned all 30 members of the running team and confiscated their towels, telling them the case would be reported to the police.
This is a patriotic/petrified school administrator at work, not law enforcement. We do not know if the nifty design that sort-of reads ‘香港’ in one position but ‘加油’ in another is banned as a national security threat. Maybe the whole ‘Heung Gong ga yau’ phrase is prohibited. If it is, what are Hong Kong fans supposed to shout at international sports tournaments? Should the government set up a committee? It could urge spectators to make a ‘T’ sign with their hands if they hear the words, and devise a new officially recommended correct phrase, like ‘Go Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China!’
Next step: hounding Google for still including the phrase in search results? (The Google-angst continues, by the way.)
In other matters – an interesting article on former Global Times editor Hu Xijin attracting criticism from other, more devout nationalists for backing Beijing’s Covid U-turn…
After China’s abrupt change on Covid policies, the nationalist influencers and the “zero-Covid camp” are having a hard time pivoting themselves.