New-look freedom of assembly wrapped in red tape

Hong Kong’s first post-Covid protest – a few dozen Tseung Kwan O residents campaigning against reclamation – resembles a procession of Japanese kindergartners. Footage of the event, complete with compulsory numbered tags around necks and a ‘moving cordon’ strictly enforced by cops…

After the rally organiser Cyrus Chan said police went through the design of all banners, placards and leaflets and “communicated” on what slogans to chant to prevent “politically sensitive or seditious words”. Participants should not wear all black outfit or yellow raincoat. 

Police say the aim is to keep ‘criminals’ away – and indeed, any criminals planning to join an anti-reclamation march would probably balk at the inconvenience and humiliation. Also, restrictions on reporters’ movements at the scene. 

Sports federation officials deny scapegoating their member-group underlings over national anthem blunders. It’s not merely scapegoating, but overwrought criticism-as-performance and dump-on-your-colleagues in order to appear patriotic and loyal. Can’t imagine why anyone would want to head up an ice hockey association in Hong Kong at the best of times.

ArtNews on the removal of video installation No Rioters at Sogo…

For [artist Patrick] Amadon, the removal of No Rioters “irrefutably” demonstrated how much things had changed in Hong Kong compared to a few years ago, in contrast to the positive news coverage the city’s reopening. “I think the piece being pulled down completed the piece,” he said. “A lot of people in the art world saying ‘Hong Kong is back’ was completely glossing over the erosion of freedoms.”

Some links from the weekend…

HKFP op-ed on the numerous ‘sedition’ cases in Hong Kong…

…Most common law countries have either abolished sedition altogether or restrict it to advocacy of violence. Observers in those countries are unlikely to be impressed by the number of cases now cropping up in Hong Kong, or the rather imaginative connection with violence involved in some of them.

It is no good our government complaining that overseas writers or officials are “scandalising” our judicial system if its conduct is by their standards scandalous.

Samuel Bickett on the first anniversary of his release and deportation from Hong Kong.

Interesting thread on Hong Kong’s role in the fight against TB.

Reuters report on US-China rivalry over subsea fiber-optic cables.

Minxin Pei on the potential pitfalls for Beijing of a closer alliance with Russia…

The more dire Russia’s straits, the more sensitive and solicitous Beijing must be to avoid slighting ordinary Russians, many of whom may not have fully absorbed how much richer and more powerful China has become. Unfortunately, stroking the national egos of weaker powers is not something for which China has shown notable talent.

Excellent China Media Project piece on the big missing part of Beijing’s revanchism: ‘lost’ Russian territory…

Whereas the retrocession of British Hong Kong and the taking of Taiwan — two much smaller possessions ceded in Qing-era unequal treaties — are considered sacrosanct milestones for the “Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation,” the area known now as Outer Manchuria is politely overlooked.

…The window of acceptable discourse takes on very different dimensions depending on whether one is looking out over the East China Sea or the Siberian taiga. In the case of the former, talk of restoring imperial borders is familiar to the point that it has become mere background noise; the latter, however, provides a sobering vision of what happens when such “historical claims” are applied evenly and taken to their logical, bloody conclusions.

From CNN: the ROC is losing its few remaining full diplomatic ties with small Latin American and Pacific states (Honduras was demanding big bucks) – but Taiwan builds far more meaningful de-facto relations with Western countries.

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2 Responses to New-look freedom of assembly wrapped in red tape

  1. Chinadookie says:

    The Outer Manchuria Question is one of the most interesting in modern day politics. Who actually is holding the levers of power here? I believe it is actually Putin, who has something on Xi — energy needs and technology needs (though Russia is crap in the latter) — and it may be that Xi really does believe that by glomming on to this Ukraine disaster he can convince the world that there will be “peace in our time.” Ironic that Xi wants to be a Churchill, but in a very expansionist and international vein. He may be very strident in saying that China is being. hemmed in by American militancy, but I think we all know that the true threat is on his borders, AND within. And China has NOTHING BUT expansionist aims and must constantly prove one type of legitimacy in the world, and one type at home. The problem there is, those two positions are contradictory in the current fashion of Chinese politics. Illusion after Illusion awaits.

  2. Mary Melville says:

    While TKO folk are being frogmarched to ‘protect’ them from ‘criminal elements’, meanwhile in other districts jewelry shops are being robbed, pick pocketing on the up, illegal parking rampant but nary a copper in sight.

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