HK ‘back to normal’ but with ‘hostile foreign forces’

From the SCMP

Beijing’s top envoy in Hong Kong on Saturday called on local police to strictly enforce the national security law, warning that “hostile foreign forces” were still attempting to undermine the city’s stability while anti-China elements were plotting a comeback.

Being too lazy to get around the paywall, I didn’t read the part where the paper asked the obvious questions: Who are these ‘forces and elements’? Where are they from? Which countries or organizations are involved? And please don’t repeat the old mutterings about the long-departed, DAB-training and apparently omnipotent National Endowment for Democracy. 

Perhaps part of the reason is that Beijing officials do not distinguish between tangible and intangible ‘forces and elements’. They might be talking about actual people, but they might also be referring to foreign ideas. Or is it that the system simply needs threats?

At least in the UK they tell you who or what the threats are. The Spectator’s China affairs columnist distances herself from the UK parliamentary assistant arrested a few months ago…

‘Everybody can be recruited in the right circumstances,’ [a former UK intelligence] officer tells me. ‘It’s about asking the right questions to the right people at the right time.’ A recruit could be charmed with a compelling narrative of Chinese culture or persuaded China was wronged by western imperialism. Money or sex could be a factor. If there is some deep-seated anti-Americanism, this could be developed into pro-communist sentiment. ‘The recruitment of every intelligence agent is individual to the person involved,’ says the officer.

…It should be made very clear to anyone in Westminster where the line lies between above-board information-sharing and covert dalliances. Could the parliamentary researcher have been a useful idiot, not quite realising the seriousness of what he was doing?

The wrong reaction, though, would be to assume that people with experience of China are already compromised, or that those who advocate a more sophisticated approach to the country … I would say this, though, wouldn’t I?…

Good unrolled thread on the comparisons between the Japanese and Chinese development models, starting with…

You start as a discredited elite. You brought absolute ruin to your country. You need to justify your rule, fast. You start with a rural reform (Japan 1946-50, China 1978). Small farmers get a plot of land. Agricultural productivity goes up. There is a food surplus…


– Use state-controlled banks to drive loans to fund productive capacity and infrastructure – Focus on politically connected companies without thinking too much about future profits.

– Direct it all by a powerful, but competing bureaucratic fiefdoms: ministries in Japan, provinces in China – Get everyone into an interlocking web of relationships of patronage and debt to assure that you control things: keiretsus, SOEs, state banks, developers, exporters…

…and finally…

The system you have built is not a proper market economy. It is a giant web of personal relations optimized for wage suppression; production, infrastructure and housing investment; and carefree liquidity

You realize everyone that matters is involved. You have no idea how you will distribute the losses without getting a lot of important groups furious Worst of all you do not even have the institutional capacity to implement the theoretical interventions the economists suggest…

In another thread, Michael Pettis responds to the notion that Beijing won’t fix things simply because ‘Xi opposes consumerism’…

For well over a decade, China’s growing imbalances should have been fairly obvious, even if many analysts didn’t recognize them. The implications of transforming this model and reversing these imbalances should also be fairly obvious.

It requires a transformation of deeply embedded business, financial, and political institutions along with, inevitably, changes in the structure and composition of business, financial and political elites. It is that, not ideology, that is the hard part.

And for those interested – Patrick Boyle interviews Bloomberg scribe Zeke Faux on his (reportedly hilarious) book Number Go Up about the rise and more recent ugly and inevitable collapse of the crypto mania-fetish-scam-bubble, featuring the bizarre ape-cartoon NFTs, Sam Bankman-Fried and all the rest.

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8 Responses to HK ‘back to normal’ but with ‘hostile foreign forces’

  1. Russell Brand says:

    War with China is coming . That’s why they’re trying to shut me up.

    Don’t. Stop. Don’t stop. It’s exactly the same with China Policy.

  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Simon Wong Ka-wo, president of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades: I’m sure if you make enough of a kerfuffle tying trips to Shenzhen with jeopardising national security, the right heavyweights could make it happen (forcing all HK citizens to remain in the SAR – on weekends).

  3. Mary Melville says:

    That even the Education Bureau finds the unexpected announcement of the closure of Rosaryhill School questionable underlines the dodgy nature of the deal to merge with a new establishment, the Dalton Scool. This is a recently established and does not even have a proper campus as it is operating at the Cullinan, West Kowloon.
    Among the Dalton board are folk like Whiskers and Yat Siu.
    My take would be that the arrangement is more about real estate than education. Rosary board has been lured by the prospect of lots of $00t that sale of the Rosaryhill campus would generate, check the location, next to an upmarket development on mountain slope off Stubbs Road.
    Whatever, removing a school from a strong catchment area should certainly be subject to scrutiny.

  4. Red Dragon says:

    Mary Melville

    Who, pray, is “Whiskers”?

  5. Mary Melville says:

    Re; Red Dragon, John Tsang, ex FS, now wearing a number of hats including Bowtie, but that might confuse him with an ex CE.
    The scenario is now more clear, it is indeed a property deal. Dalton, currently with no proper campus, gets to take over the Rosaryhill site to redevelop it as a private fee paying secondary school.
    Delving into the history of the school, it was originally a monastery that in the 1950’s was expanded into a school. This statement is probably relevant:
    “The monastic structure of the building was only a temporary measure to be used for the school. A more appropriate building was needed both for educational purpose and for meeting the requirements of the Educational Ordinance. Fr. González negotiated with a Hong Kong Construction Company that agreed to build a new school building with a capacity for 5500 students, in exchange for ……… the ownership of about two-thirds of the land property whereas the school kept the ownership of the rest”
    No doubt someone like David Webb can identify the HK Construction Company.
    So essentially the current affordable aided school will become an elite institution. Cantonese is to be dropped so one can surmise that the intention is to provide schooling for the growing number of affluent new residents from the north.
    If only Whiskers had been half as canny when he was in charge of the territory’s finances.

  6. Slug balancer says:

    @Red Dragon
    Whiskers = the moustachioed NFT scammer and one time Chief Exonerative wannabe, John Tsang AKA “Uncle Pringles”.

  7. A cautious acquaintance says:

    Mary. Red Dragon, et al

    I have never previously heard of Dalton school but its website is remarkably uninformative. See

    The only two staff named are a New Yorker who appears to be a direct import from the USA with no HK experience at all (how did he get a visa?), and a lady from the mainland who seems equally uninspiring.

    If I was now looking I would stay well clear.

    Note their email address for staff applicants is a gmail one!

    But like Red Dragon would like to know something about whoever goes under the sobriquet Whiskers.

  8. justsayin says:

    Dalton is presumably named after/connected to the fancypants K-12 school in NYC of USA

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