Good read in SCMP shock

Maybe this happens more often – I don’t spend much time perusing the paper – but it really jumps out: SCMP publishes a gutsy and angry opinion piece

In their latest nasty foray, various crank-up, scratchy-sounding mouthpieces of other “minds” wearily echo similar civil society crackdowns in mainland China, targeting local LGBTQ activists’ perceived advocacy of decadent “Western” lifestyles.

Dolefully baying attack dogs lose their original purpose when their political opponents have quietly decamped, are locked up pending trial, or have otherwise opted for public discretion in these strange times.

When calling for the deaths of their political opponents at public rallies becomes redundant, fresh targets have to be sought. For what else justifies their continued existence but vindictive harassment of a new cohort of supposed victims specifically targeted for the proxy purposes of others?

Confected moral panic by self-professed “Christians” whose ostentatiously carried, shoddy knock-off moral righteousness makes for frightening populist dog-whistles among the less educated in any society, and a near-constant preoccupation with sex, particularly any variant on what they consider “normal”, shudderingly reflects their fundamentally filthy-minded prurience.

The government won’t reveal details of NatSec expenditure in order to keep everyone guessing the nature of operations. Or prevent them from guessing…

(Serious-ish question. Does the NatSec budget include the costs of incarcerating housewives who repost things on Facebook and primary election participants denied bail? Or do those taxpayer’s funds come from the regular Correctional Services budget?)

An array of links from the weekend…

Samuel Bickett comments on the High Court’s rejection of the government’s Glory to Hong Kong injunction…

…Judge Chan implied that merely hosting the song was NOT illegal under NSL/sedition, at least in some circumstances. And he implied that if the DOJ believed hosting was illegal, they could always charge Google with aiding and abetting an NSL crime (good luck).

Judge Chan also found that the injunction could have a “chilling effect” on the Basic Law right of free expression. This is, I think, the 1st time a judge has found that a NatSec action could infringe fundamental rights. Nonetheless, on this point Judge Chan ruled that the chilling effect was outweighed by other factors in favor of the injunction and thus disregarded it as a ground for his ruling. Finally, it’s unlikely that Judge Chan will have the final say. Appeals are likely—the DOJ rarely gives up when faced with losses like this.

The Commonwealth Lawyers Association statement on Hong Kong…

…the CLA considers that the National Security Law applicable in Hong Kong as draconian, oppressive and as an example of a law used for unlawful purposes to pursue individuals for exercising freedom of opinion and expression in the defence of the rule of law.

Brian Kern looks back at old Hong Kong friends and where they are now.

Hongkongers tend to assume NatSec is all about them. A reminder from Foreign Affairs that Xi Jinping’s ‘comprehensive national security concept’ applies to far more than just one city, and has international implications…

…The paradox at the heart of Xi’s quest to neutralize all threats to CCP rule is that an ostensibly defensive goal at home, protecting regime security, demands that China take increasingly assertive actions abroad. These actions, in turn, invite responses from other countries that only heighten Beijing’s fears – an escalatory cycle with no obvious off-ramp.

A (leftist, ideological) Jacobin article from a few months ago on China’s transformation into state capitalism. The overall political analysis is ruggedly non-tankie…

This economic model, based on the state’s paternalistic guidance of private firms and a work ethic unfettered by socialist welfare, resembles state capitalism under fascist regimes in interwar Europe and Asia. But the likeness does not stop there. Many have already pointed out the party-state’s ever more militant nationalist rhetoric, persecution of minorities, rise of the cult of the great leader, and obsession with total surveillance and control of the population. Prominent official scholars’ open and fervent embrace of Nazi theorists like Carl Schmitt in recent years says it all.

This statist and fascist turn in China’s political economy does not stem from the personal preference of Xi Jinping but is rather a result of the country’s long economic crisis.

European Council on Foreign Relations brief on the impact of the war in Ukraine on Chinese thinkers’ attitudes. No surprises…

Wang Zhen, a foreign policy expert from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, put it, “hyping up Russia’s so-called aggressive role in the conflict and supporting Ukraine both militarily and strategically will earn the Joe Biden administration a lot of political advantage, notwithstanding the fact that the conflict has proved lucrative for a host of US energy companies and the military-industrial complex, which are the very entities the US politicians are trying to please.”

…at the strategic level, there is a sense among thinkers that a structural logic binds China and Russia closely together. Simply put, if the US is China’s principal rival, it is crucial that America does not defeat and humiliate Russia. One prominent Chinese scholar argued that Xi’s and Putin’s political fates are intertwined. As the leaders of the two largest authoritarian states in the world, which both display revisionist ambitions, their shared goal is to reshape the US-led international order to make it safer for autocracies and the survival of their regimes.

Foreign Affairs essay arguing that de-risking is not enough…

Presumably, had U.S. policymakers known in 2000 what they know now about China’s trajectory, they would not have conducted the reckless experiment of tightly coupling the U.S. economy to a larger one controlled by a communist, authoritarian dictatorship. But rather than admit their error, many in Washington seem determined to stay the course under the illusion that they can constructively influence Chinese policy through continual efforts at conciliation, even though Beijing has shown no desire to reciprocate.

National Interest on China’s dominant position in rare earths.

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8 Responses to Good read in SCMP shock

  1. Nury Vibbrachi says:

    What does SCMP stand for? Is it a reference to that newspaper owned by Mr Kuok or was it Mr Murdoch? Is it still coming out?

    Foreign Affairs gets it wrong in their liberal kind of way. Communists don’t aim to “neutralise” or even “neutralize” opponents They want to put them in a steel box with steel spikes inside. In every liberal commentary there is the underlying assumption that it is all a game really. Communists don’t play games. They also don’t have “concepts” dears. They have mechanisms, usually destructive ones.

    Always best to check what the USSR did to understand present-day China and Hong Kong, lovies. Oh, by the way, the two “places” are just the same, just about.

    ” The court system of the USSR was designed to ensure party control of judicial decisions at all levels. Juries—which had shown considerable independence under the tsars—were abolished, replaced by a trial court consisting of a judge, who was selected by party officials and who almost always was a party member, and two carefully chosen laypersons, who were under pressure to agree with the judge. The system was designed to give the outward appearance of popular participation without actually involving it. Control over judicial decisions also was exercised by allowing easy appeals through higher judicial levels to the supreme courts of the Soviet republics and the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union. Cases of political importance were subject to so-called “telephone law”—legal decisions dictated by telephone calls from party officials to judges.”

    I guess the judges get a lot of phone calls. Just like Norman or Eric or Brian, or is it still John Lee Ka-Chiu aka Coo Ca Choo. Yes, let’s call him Coo Ca Choo from now on and let Alvin Stardust sing his anthem.

    Will they ban it?


  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    Careful there, lest your musing on the NatSec budget has you breaking the NatSec Law. Not that you’d ever know as they drag you away for “tea and a chat” at 0400.

  3. whatsup says:

    Appeals are likely—the DOJ rarely gives up when faced with losses like this.

    Why don’t they cut out the middlemen and go straight to Beijing for a new grafted-on law?

    As an aside what is it about arbitrators that get them selected as Justice Secretaries? St T of the Arm-in-a-Sling was hardly a good example of a professionally well-rounded lawyer and the current incumbent seems not a lot better.

  4. Low Profile says:

    I suspect the SCMP piece got into print because it was too literate and subtle for the paper’s editors to understand. The swipe at Odious Ho was a particularly nice touch.

  5. Joe Blow says:

    I guess Jason W is planning to retire soon?

  6. Mary Melville says:

    The sad aspect to any LGBT debate in Honkers is that, apart from entertainers, the community is fully aware of the many tycoons, high ranking civil servants, legislators and professionals who are gay but ostensibly flaunt the acceptable formula of opposite sex spouse, kids, etc.
    Until they have the balls to embrace their true nature we will be hostage to the influence of the prurient bigots.

  7. Seamus O'Herlihy says:

    Yes, those prurient bigots are so intolerant of people who hold differing views.

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