A really heavy week for NatSec/clampdown action?

Even more, just from the last couple of days…

Lee Cheuk-yan’s sister-in-law faces prison for taking items from her sister’s apartment, thus ‘perverting the course of justice’…

Judge Patrick Tsang … said the length of time she spent in her sister’s house and the fact that she entered twice could reflect careful planning on her part. Jail time for Tang was unavoidable, Tsang said.

Hong Kong’s Tiananmen vigil group appeal over their conviction, alleging that the prosecution withheld evidence that they were foreign agents..

The barrister added that it was the responsibility of police and prosecutors to prove that the Alliance was a foreign agent. At present, the activists did not even know which foreign body they were accused of colluding with, meaning they had no way to defend themselves on the basis of facts, [Senior Counsel Philip] Dykes said.

Transit Jam reports that Hong Kong police in Kowloon East want to enlist vehicle owners to pool 24-hour dashcam footage to ‘link into a community recording network’…

The project, dubbed “Project CARCAMS” has nothing to do with traditional dashcam road safety but will use parked vehicle cameras as district surveillance tools to “strengthen community security,” according to a police blurb.

…there are no laws, other the laws of physics, preventing vehicle owners capturing, in full HD, the face of everyone who walks past their car, 24-7, without any warning or permission.

While there may be some genuinely useful police work going on, the issue is how a potentially million-camera high-definition 5G surveillance network is being built right under our noses.

Prison authorities bar jailed activist Owen Chow from receiving a copy of a book on European history and culture because of ‘obscene’ content – a disgusting picture of a nude woman on a beach by Italian porn merchant Boticelli. He is asking for a judicial review.

After a relatively measured government press release, Chief Secretary Eric Chan says Moody’s downgrade of Hong Kong’s credit outlook is ‘part of a United States-led smear campaign to curb China’s national development’. (He does know Moody’s threatened to downgrade the US government’s credit rating last month, right?)

An SCMP editorial takes a slightly gutsy view of Agnes Chow skipping bail, somewhere under all that passive voice…

It is not clear whether the trip [to Shenzhen], and another letter expressing regret for her past actions, were part of her bail conditions. This should be clarified.

Such requirements would be unusual, if not unprecedented.

Bail conditions should be confined to ensuring suspects behave and are present for any legal action taken against them. Further details of what happened should be provided.

Chow has already served a prison sentence for an offence committed during the 2019 civil unrest. She has had the national security investigation hanging over her head for more than three years, a very long time.

Efforts should be made to either charge or release suspects expeditiously, or at least explain why it takes so long to make a decision.

Efforts should be made to enjoy some or all weekend reading…

A HKFP op-ed on Hong Kong’s Audit Commission, which is (allegedly) wasting taxpayer’s money not looking into genuine wastes of taxpayers’ money.

Agnes Chow talks to France 24.  And one from Reuters.

Bloomberg review of Among the Braves looks at the authorities’ attempts to convince everyone the 2019 protests were foreign-organized black violence… 

Four years on, the winners are still struggling to make their story stick.

Hong Kong’s official line is that the democracy protests were an attempted color revolution instigated by hostile foreign actors and “black-clad rioters,” and that everything has returned to normal since the city’s post-pandemic reopening. Reality keeps on refusing to cooperate.

…The former police and security personnel who now dominate the upper ranks of the Beijing-appointed Hong Kong government hold all the megaphones, but have won no hearts and minds. The lying-flat apathy of society suggests to me a population that knows it’s being fed transparent falsehoods…

Ends with a quote from Hannah Arendt…

‘…whatever those in power may contrive, they are unable to discover or invent a viable substitute for [truth]’.

FT (probably paywalled) on Moody’s advice to staff in China…

Moody’s Investors Service advised staff in China to work from home ahead of its cut to the outlook for the country’s sovereign credit rating, a suggestion staff believed was prompted by concern over Beijing’s possible reaction, according to two employees familiar with the situation.

The move by the US rating agency highlights the unease of many foreign companies doing business in the world’s second-largest economy, where some have suffered police raids, exit bans for staff and arrests amid tensions between China and the US and its allies.

…In a statement on Wednesday, the National Development and Reform Commission, an economic planning body, accused the rating agency of “bias and misunderstanding of China’s economic outlook”.

Also from the FT – over 8.5 million people, most of working age, have been blacklisted in China for defaulting on mortgages and business and other loans. That’s up from 5.7 million in early 2020 and around 1% of the working population…

Under Chinese law, blacklisted defaulters are blocked from a range of economic activities, including purchasing aeroplane tickets and making payments through mobile apps such as Alipay and WeChat Pay, representing a further drag on an economy plagued by a property sector slowdown and lagging consumer confidence. The blacklisting process is triggered after a borrower is sued by creditors, such as banks, and then misses a subsequent payment deadline.

…Life for blacklisted borrowers can be difficult as they navigate dozens of state-imposed restrictions. Defaulters and their families are barred from government jobs, and they can even be prohibited from using toll roads.

Be careful whom you report. From China Digital Media

The drama began on November 24, with a video released by the People’s Court of Wenchuan county, in Sichuan province, sternly warning Chinese internet users: “If you use software to circumvent the firewall in China, no matter what your purpose is, it is considered an illegal act.” The spokeswoman in the video further cautioned that “by scaling the wall, you’re actually putting yourself right in the middle of the enemy’s hunting ground, blithely walking into the enemy’s carefully laid illegal, collusive, and political traps.” More worrisome still, the video interprets the vaguely defined crime of “firewall circumvention” as a “hacking attack,” or a criminal intrusion into a computer system.

In response to the video, current affairs commentator and blogger Xiang Dongliang … reposted a quote from the Wenchuan court and duly reported Hu Xijin to the authorities for using a VPN to “scale the wall” and access overseas websites:

Xiang’s account was then banned.

Speaking of ‘scaling the wall’ – Chef Wang is one of the more engaging YouTube cooks going (sample here, for eggplant and pork) and surely a contributor to Chinese ‘soft power’. But he has recently managed to ‘hurt the feelings’ with his recipe for egg fried rice… 

The Chinese Academy of History has said the claim about Mao Anying is a “most vicious rumour”, but the story remains popular. The rumour – and references to egg fried rice – are now a taboo topic in China’s highly sensitive and controlled political environment. References to the dish are not censored but are fraught around this time of year.

China clamps down on students of Marxism who take Karl too literally about workers’ rights…

Though President Xi Jinping has called for a refocusing on Communist roots — including a May speech which called for Marxism to be promoted in campuses and classrooms — Beijing is increasingly wary of student-run Marxist societies, especially those that try to apply theory to practice.

Over the summer, when university students joined efforts to organise a labour union for factory workers in southern Guangdong province, Chinese authorities flew into action.

In August, a police raid swept up the student activists, beating several of them and confiscating their phones, according to the Jasic Workers Solidarity group, a labour rights organisation that the students joined.

China Media Project explains ‘hyping’ – Beijing’s preferred allegation in response to criticism…

Furious at a wave of reports in September 2023 about the weakness of China’s economy, the official Xinhua News Agency alleged that Western journalists for media such as The Economist had “fundamentally lost their capacity to view China objectively” as a result of “longstanding ideological prejudice” and the “desire to gain readers through hyping and mudslinging.”…

This use of the term “hype” (炒作) to characterize fact-based coverage by Western media of the Chinese economy, which according to a broad consensus by economists and professional analysts faced numerous challenges, is a good example of how the term “hype” — and related phrases such as “media hyping” (媒体炒作) and “news hyping” (新闻炒作) — is routinely used by Chinese state media to attack factual coverage on key issues that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regards as damaging to its interests.

…“hyping” may be paired with the hardline term “hostile forces” (敌对势力), a phrase that for decades has been used by the CCP to broad brush perceived enemies both internal and external — often with the suggestion, apart from any justification, that the two are in collusion.

Asian Review of Books looks at A Young Englishman in Victorian Hong Kong: The Diaries of Chaloner Alabaster, 1855-1856. A precocious 16-year-old sent out as an interpreter. Uses the word ‘beastly’ a lot. 

This might strike a chord with Hongkongers: Japanese complain that there are too many tourists…

…Kyoto has terminated its popular one-day bus pass to discourage tourists from using the city’s busses.

Extended queueing times and jammed public transport have inconvenienced locals. In 2022, roughly 80% of residents complained about public transport and the streets being overly filled with tourists. 

…the sector triggered a dynamic of “tourism gentrification” with locals being pushed out from the housing market since short-term holiday rentals are more lucrative to landlords. Shops and restaurants started catering to travelers rather than locals.

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6 Responses to A really heavy week for NatSec/clampdown action?

  1. Chinese Netizen says:

    “…the sector triggered a dynamic of “tourism gentrification” with locals being pushed out from the housing market since short-term holiday rentals are more lucrative to landlords. Shops and restaurants started catering to travelers rather than locals.”

    Kyotoites are just NOW coming to this conclusion???

  2. Judge Bao says:

    “Judge Patrick Tsang, however, said the length of time she spent in her sister’s house and the fact that she entered twice *could* reflect careful planning on her part. ”

    So much for the presumption of innocence. With statements like that from the bench, who needs prosecutors.

  3. A Simple Minded Man says:

    Doesn’t the fact that she went into the home twice actually indicate a lack of planning? If she planned so well and was organized, why the need to go back a second time?

  4. wmjp says:

    Don’t expect logical thought from an adminstration employee.

    And as for presumption of innocence, that is a very out-dated counter-revolutionary concept.

  5. seedy tabloid journo Mike Lowse says:

    Presumption of innocence? You want presumption of innocence? Before I saw the revolutionary light and became a true patriot, I would also bother myself with concepts like that. But no more of that bourgeois nonsense: put a dunce cap on their heads, force them to kneel on a bed of broken glass and poke them with bamboo sticks to sing “The East is Red”. That will put paid to crap like human rights (like that Xinggiang boo-hoo story), habeas corpus or “fair trials”. Bah, humbug.

  6. Eggs n Ham says:

    The Bloomberg review of ‘Among the Braves’ is as lucid as the book itself, starting with its premise that “[History’s] victors are those who have succeeded in having their version of events accepted.” In that battle, the braves and allies are outgunning officialdom daily (qv. 10 December).

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