Following Rita Fan’s pronouncements on the evils of democratic elections for District Councils – the age-old question of whether these people should be called ‘heavyweights’. The argument against is that such pro-Beijing figures have no input into what goes on or even what they can say. The argument for is that the phrase neatly illustrates the downward force they exert when shining shoes. The debate continues.
The Diplomat on Hong Kong’s missing May Day march…
…nowadays, even demonstrations concerning social and economic issues are seen as threats by those in power.
…the May Day demonstration incident is just another rerun of the inscribed script of “self-cancellation” of demonstrations, which has already been written by authorities ahead of time.
Thread with video on the tightly restricted May Day events yesterday.
(You’d have thought communists would like a gathering for workers’ rights.)
HKFP on month 34 of NatSec in Hong Kong. Since it started, this series could have shown several possible trajectories – like a slow but gradually tightening clampdown, or a big initial clampdown that subsequently relaxed. Instead, NatSec seems to be a state of constant grinding away in search of targets, however obscure they become.
Perhaps the most disturbing recent case: a single mother of four sent to prison for four months over Facebook and Twitter posts.
The latest tally of political prisoners in Hong Kong.
Some links from the weekend…
WSJ report (probably paywalled) on Beijing’s cutting – in the name of NatSec – of overseas access to regulatory and other databases…
Prodded by President Xi Jinping’s emphasis on national security, authorities in recent months have restricted or outright cut off overseas access to various databases involving corporate-registration information, patents, procurement documents, academic journals and official statistical yearbooks.
Of extra concern in recent days: Access to one of the most crucial databases on China, Shanghai-based Wind Information Co., whose economic and financial data are widely used by analysts and investors both inside and outside the country, appears to be drying up.
Following recent expansion of China’s anti-espionage law, aimed at fighting perceived foreign threats, many foreign think tanks, research firms and other nonfinancial entities are finding they can’t renew subscriptions to Wind over what Wind described as “compliance” issues, according to interviews with Western researchers and macroeconomic analysts.
Thread by co-author of article.
(As the story mentions, this follows law and other enforcement actions against Mainland offices of consulting firm Bain & Co, due-diligence group Mintz and auditor Deloitte.)
Thread on signs that China might ‘play the Okinawa card’ – supporting ‘Ryukyu’ independence to retaliate against Japan’s stance on Taiwan. Amusing/desperate/clever/worrying? Or just another Chinese diplomat trying too hard? (The island chain stretches as far south as the Senkakus/Diaoyu. Some Chinese nationalists see the former kingdom and Ming-era tributary state as rightfully the motherland’s.)
Also in the Diplomat, William Nee on ambassador Lu Shaye’s claim that ex-Soviet republics lack legal status, and Beijing’s broader campaign against ‘historical nihilism’…
Most likely Lu’s comments, like China’s confusing position on the war in Ukraine itself, are a natural outgrowth of the political positions top leader Xi Jinping has forced Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members to internalize – with disastrous ramifications for foreign policy in Europe and China’s human rights record at home.
Xi has constantly seen the collapse of the Soviet Union as a tragedy, and a historical lesson for CCP members to meticulously study so as to avoid.
The always-lightish Sixthtone on how young Chinese find life in Sweden…
Liang Yajun, a 26-year-old from central China’s Hubei province, said she avoided Swedish food whenever possible. Like many Chinese, she found Sweden’s love of cold meat and fish dishes off-putting and hard to digest.