A 48-year-old housewife arrested on sedition charges is denied bail…
The 48-year-old homemaker stands accused of “doing an act or acts with seditious intention” linked to posts on Facebook and Twitter. She was said to have intended to “bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection” against the Hong Kong and Central governments,” incite violence and “counsel disobedience to law,” among other intentions, according to the charge sheet.
Local media outlets reported that the content included the popular 2019 protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Times” and pro-independence chants, as well as an image of Hong Kong’s flag in black and white – known as the “black bauhinia” flag.
At this rate, merely linking to content including the wrong slogan or flag will soon be ‘sedition’. Or is it already?
The WSJ (paywalled) reports on how arrests like this have been accelerating…
The arrests picked up pace after Mr. Lee returned from the capital on March 6. He went there to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and other top officials as the opening session of the National People’s Congress got under way to rubber-stamp Mr. Xi’s unprecedented third term in office…
Two days later, national security police embarked on a spate of arrests, signaling that authorities have no intention of relenting on former activists who have shrunk from public sight and have ceased to take part in campaigns in Hong Kong.
From the HKDC, why some accused plead guilty to NatSec/sedition/protest charges…
#NSL & #sedition trials have so far a 100% conviction rate among the only 15 who’ve plead not guilty & received a verdict. Trials of protesters–by far the majority of political trials–have a little lower conviction rate but not much–around 90%.
…Most defendants don’t see their trials as a matter of principle but of math in a rigged system. The charges are bogus & the judges biased–in #NSL & #sedition trials, they’re “designated” by the #CCP-appointed CE. In riot trials wearing black is enough to get you years in prison.
…On top of all that, lawyers are expensive, & these days, there’s almost no legal aid. It used to be groups like #SparkAlliance & #612HumanitarianReliefFund covered legal fees of protesters. That’s why the Hong Kong government smashed them.
I don’t think it’s any secret that at least one prominent defendant in a NatSec case has told co-defendants to plead guilty and even give evidence against him, to help themselves.
Meanwhile, a retired cop gets seven days’ jail for a road-rage assault of a van driver who subsequently died.
Elsewhere in Hong Kong…
Standard editorial on importing workers. It should be obvious that the problem here is not a shortage of labour, but an excess of pointless artificially-driven economic activities, namely unnecessary infrastructure mega-projects and mass-tourism. Plus an aversion to letting market forces push up wages.
Want a pictorial on low-budget tour groups? Voila!
Some weekend reading…
The Diplomat (specifically Eric Lai, ‘visiting researcher at the Dickson Poon School of Law’) on the challenges of telling ‘good Hong Kong stories’ when the government is taking over law courts’ powers to decide on admission of overseas counsel.
Asia Nikkei on how China has pushed the Philippines closer to the US…
China, for its part, continues to make blunders. February’s laser incident was not the first between China and the Philippines. In April 2020, a similar incident took place when a Chinese ship directed a laser at a Philippine naval vessel. At that time, Manila had already informed Washington of its intention to annul the VFA, and the accord would have expired in August that year. If that had happened, the U.S. would no longer have been able to conduct military exercises and training in the Philippines, which had been held 300 times or more a year.
But Beijing blew a golden opportunity to expand its influence in the region. After the laser incident, Duterte reversed course and kept the agreement intact, yielding to pressure from the Defense Department and the armed forces
Why are Belgian security officials monitoring Huawei lobbyists in Brussels?
The intelligence gathering is part of security officials’ activities to scrutinize how China may be using non-state actors — including senior lobbyists in Huawei’s Brussels office — to advance the interests of the Chinese state and its Communist party in Europe, said the people, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
CMP on the ‘CPP’ versus ‘CPC’ debate…
Considering the enduring confusion, it comes as no surprise that the messages put forward by different organs of the party-state are not only inconsistent but even contradictory. The Party itself says “CPC” is superior because it emphasizes the Party’s Chineseness, while the Global Times argues “CCP” is racist because it emphasizes the Party’s Chineseness.
(A comment – ‘One example of how vacuous the pro-CPC crowd’s argument is: 中国人民政治协商会议 is officially translated as CPPCC. According to the dogma, it should be PPCCC instead’.)
Former President of Taiwan Ma Ying-jeou’s visit to China prompts criticism among Chinese ideologues. (I bumped into Ma – who was born in Hong Kong – when he was riding, smiling and waving on the Mid-Levels Escalator during his sort-of historic trip here as mayor of Taipei back in the CH Tung era. He was denied a visa to visit again in 2016.)
Economists and others have a go at Jeffrey Sachs over his stand on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The sharp-eyed will notice a connection between one of the above items and a recent Oscars winner. Which is a circuitous way of getting to Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, which I have now seen. Amazing visuals; total mess of a plotline (though it’s easy to glide over and perhaps the whole multiverse point); digestible treatment of ‘road not taken [Asian immigrant edition]’ theme. Fun.