Some belated weekend links

When a normally-missable SCMP sex-and-shopping column says you’re lame, you might have a problem.

From HKFP, the latest from the Stand News trial. With prosecutors obsessively questioning why the outlet’s editors covered particular subjects (why shouldn’t they?), it almost seems the aim is to criminalize opinions – and independent journalism itself.

Ted Hui gets the ‘Hello Hong Kong’, ‘please visit’ treatment.

Desmond Shum (author of Red Roulette) thread on the disappearance of tech financier Bao Fan.

Foreign Affairs on the aftermath of Beijing’s Covid U-turn…

…as the years wore on, the zero-COVID strategy, sustained at enormous social and economic cost, seemed to have more to do with tightening the government’s grip on society than with effective pandemic mitigation.

…Reuters has reported that Chinese provinces spent more than $50 billion on COVID containment measures in 2022; over the three years that zero-COVID was in effect, the government is estimated to have spent as much as 200 billion yuan—$29.2 billion on PCR testing alone, according to data compiled by Hua Chuang Securities and Goldman Sachs. These immensely costly and invasive programs came at the expense of more efficacious policies such as full vaccination programs for the elderly.

From an observer of CCTV, an interesting article on how Russian propaganda is driving Chinese state TV news coverage of Ukraine…

Volodymyr Zelensky almost never gets airtime … On most days, Kiev is denied even the pretense of sovereign respect, Although the state media is a notorious stickler for exactitude in nine-dash maps that shore up contested claims of sovereignty, its studio map of Ukraine is tellingly borderless. Ukraine is depicted as a land open to contest, up for grabs. The Donbas, Luhansk, Donetsk bleed imperceptibly into Russia.

…China’s coverage of its place in the world is right out of the technicolor wizardry of the Wizard of Oz. The promised land is blooming and pristine, full of vivid hues, flowers in blossom and a landscape undergoing magical transformation, while the US-led West is cinematic Kansas; a stark, gritty, storm-blown land of suffering rendered in black and gray.

From the Lowy Interpreter – the Philippines’ reset to the US as another failure of Chinese diplomacy.

On other matters: for amateur artists and/or Studio Ghibli fans – how to paint like Hayao Miyazaki.

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15 Responses to Some belated weekend links

  1. Chinese Netizen says:

    Also found this quite interesting.

    A metaphor for the vast differences in a free society versus one where you’re cowed into slouching and hanging your head low.

  2. Peggy Chin says:

    Has anyone directed Ted Hui to the response given in Arkell vs Pressdram?

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    Re the “Lame HK” article: John Lee’s “See You in Hong Kong” happy face is the epitome of someone who emotes like he has a barrel jabbing his back and is reaching for what he thinks the director wants because he sincerely doesn’t know what it’s like.

    The locusts will come in droves, regardless of glitzy, celebrity filled video shorts, as will the western gweilos because – let’s face it – would you *really* want to go into China right now??

    I think the reason the government reflexively reaches for the singing, dancing Canto celebs every effing time a campaign is needed is due to the genetic Chinese need for the kind of “entertainment” that’s so intrinsically Chinese over thousands of years and guaranteed to placate the masses into giddy compliance: Traveling, performing street monkeys with a “bad guy” master who whips them but allows the monkeys to eventually get the better of him, and the captive bears that summersault on command and balance on rolling balls.

    The author of the article gets it. Too bad no bureaucrats in the decision making chain-of-command can be bothered (quite possibly because of Legco “representative” ownership shares in video producing companies).

  4. Sid Gozzer (Cab 1997) says:

    I had that non-existent enthusiastic tourist fired up by all the recent Please Please Visit Our Really Really Interesting City Oh Yes publicity in the back of the cab once.

    Just then I heard this on the radio sung by that Nina Simone:

    Oh prices, you look so high tonight
    Paying up with all my might
    Where I got no heart to be
    And I ain’t comin’ home no more

    Expensive hotel room, I’m all alone with you
    Tell me what’s a Honkie to do
    When his freedom is gone
    And he ain’t comin’ home no more

  5. Load Toad says:

    You compare the adverts Thailand ‘Amazing…’ runs to get tourists in or Malaysia’s’ Truly Asia’ and compare that to Hello Hong Kong and our 11 suited totally out of touch government appointed officials song & dance bore fest and – it is pathetic.

    They are on a hiding to nothing anyway – we still have to wear masks and they can avoid mentioning the NSL but that elephant in the room is taking up all the space whether they address it or not.

    If they think the world will forget about political prisoners held for years without trial, the show trials when they eventually happen & the actions of the police during the protests then they are either stupid or deluded.

    Then the added dumbness of ‘CBD is a Dangerous Drug’ at a time when many places are liberalising attitudes and policies towards it – Hong Kong hardly looks like fun does it?

    Yes, we will no doubt get many visitors from the north looking to take advantage of arbitrage on luxury goods & parallel trading – but that’s hardly tourism and it won’t comprehensively revitalise the economy related to true tourism.

    Likewise banker & business types interested in making money may well come back (equally they may choose elsewhere that’s cheaper and less restricted) – but again – that isn’t going to reverse HKG’s decline

  6. Low Profile says:

    An interesting point in the Stand News story: prosecutor Laura Ng argues that “the public need not know [people’s] radical or illegal convictions”. Clearly she has never heard of the Streisand effect.

  7. Hub Killjoy says:

    @Load Toad and add to that the bans on
    – Electric bikes and scooters
    – Vaping
    – AirBNB
    – Uber
    And this place really begins to look like the killjoy hub of the world let alone Asia.

  8. Hello Ho ... oh they've gone says:

    @Load Toad
    A minor tweak — 
    CBD is mostly illegalised purely as a blanket thing because it’s “a cannabis derivative”, and in most cases where it’s illegal it’s either because the legislation / legislature hasn’t caught up with the science and caught on to the fact that CBDs aren’t fun or else because the regime is massively repressive and uptight.

    The World Health Organization officially recommended on December 14, 2017 that cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD) not be internationally scheduled as a controlled substance, based on it’s 2017 report which found: “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

    Hong Kong’s actively illegalising it after that WHO announcement is not just unscientific, it is also yet another deliberate signal to the populace that things that even remotely sound like they might be fun are officially banned (see also vapes). From now on, there’s only going to be one type of party in this town, and it is most certainly not the fun type of party.

    Personally I reckon that, aside from epilepsy where it shows some promise, most CBD “uses” will likely turn out to be the usual crystal squeezing nonsense, but that’s all the more reason not to ban it, frankly.

    Re your last para:
    I’d go a bit further: the CCP removed most of HK’s attraction to bankers & business types with the NSL. There’s no longer any tangible legal protection against the CCP/Government here, so if you’re up for making unprotected cash in the mainland, you might just as well go to the mainland proper as skulk around in irrelevant Hong Kong — there’s no substantive difference from a corporate point of view. And if you want some vestige of legal protection whilst being near the mainland, Singapore is the best you can do now.

    Covid lockdown further illustrated the point that not only is Hong Kong only rule by law, but also governance on the irrational whims of the Grand Pooh Bear.

  9. Cassowary says:

    @CN: could you please refrain from inventing broad sweeping generalizations about “the Chinese” to explain trivial bullshit? It sounds ridiculous and not the least bit insightful. A bunch of unaccountable braindead bureaucrats were told to do a thing allowed taxpayers to be fleeced out of a couple billion dollars by some cynical PR company so they could tell their boss that they’d done their homework. Everyone from top to bottom knows that they’re phoning in a bunch of crap but they do it anyway because nobody really wants to make any effort and it’s safe, expected crap. See? That didn’t require a single ethnic stereotype.

  10. Mary Melville says:

    Just asking, did they send Ted a complimentary “Hello HK” return air ticket with the notice?

    A diversion. Leggers Quat has updated her profile and now claims a single academic qualification: The University of Hong Kong, Master of Social Sciences
    But this raises the question as to how could she be enrolled without a genuine degree (ditto for other fields)
    Programme Entrance Requirements
    Applicants shall hold a Bachelor’s degree of HKU or an equivalent qualification from a comparable institution

    Another example of how dodgy HKU is these days

  11. Chinese Netizen says:

    Cassowary: Actually, my generalization on “the Chinese” needing – since time immemorial – the type of entertainment that tortures and inhumanely treats animals (in addition to pulling the same old so called celebrities out of the broom closet) was quite specific and, IMO, very accurate stemming from having spent too much time at rail stations (before all the new, sleek super bullet trains) and having been in Chinese “zoos” in various parts of the country. I wasn’t talking about bureaucrats that were “just following orders”.

    I do stand by the comment and your empathy for the feelings of “the Chinese” is noted. Thanks!

  12. A Poor Man says:

    Mary – take it from an insider: HKU has been dodgy for a long, long time!

  13. Load Toad says:

    @Hub Killjoy & @Hello Ho … oh they’ve gone,

    Yes, totally agree for sure. Hong Kong was a place where basically if you didn’t go out and hurt anyone and if you had some degree of respect, consideration and courteousness &c you could pretty much get up to what you wanted. HKG was also where, innovations, efficiencies and the can-do spirit were visible, applauded & encouraged. In contrast to other countries in the region where there were all manner of limitations, restrictions and red tape and bull shit to deal with.

    Not now, Hong Kong is stifling, oppressive, and bureaucratic and you can find yourself facing the consequences of actions that the NSL can arbitrarily decide when it wants are unlawful.

  14. Mary Melville says:

    Coincidentally a comment yesterday re the Admission Schemes for Talent, Professionals and Entrepreneurs that is relevant :
    “Lee said master’s programmes were more like a business, offering those with bachelor’s degrees from less well-known universities or even diploma mills an opportunity to improve their resumes provided they could afford the tuition fees.”

  15. @ Cassowary 10:35 pm says:

    Re Netizen’s reply to you…

    Guess you’ll have to file that under “Whooosh…”


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