Indignant government statements ‘R’ us

After officials pretty much declare that Hong Kong’s Heritage Museum will be ejected to make way for the Science Museum, itself being moved to accommodate a new ‘patriotic’ facility, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department issues an irate press release…

There are recent online accusations by suspected overseas organisations and individuals that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has decided to abandon the Hong Kong Heritage Museum (HKHM), which will erase a large quantity of invaluable archives and artworks and threaten the preservation of the cultural heritage of Hong Kong. The [LCSD] today (December 13) severely condemned the ill-intentioned parties for spreading false information online and sternly made the following statement to set the record straight.

For anyone on tenterhooks, the rest (one more para) is here.

Expect another angry press statement after jailed activist Chow Hang-tung is awarded a human rights prize…

The 12 winners of the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law were announced by the French and German foreign ministries on Tuesday. The award honours “civil society’s commitment to human dignity and the inalienable human rights of all people,” according to press releases issued by the ministries.

…The 38-year-old has been charged and sentenced in relation to Tiananmen vigils in 2020 and 2021. She is awaiting for allegedly inciting subversion under the national security law, and is separately appealing her conviction and sentencing in a security law case over refusing a data request by national security police.

And here it comes

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) today (December 13) expressed its strong disapproval of and firm opposition to the ministries of foreign affairs of France and Germany for issuing the so-called “Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law” to Chow Hang-tung, who was charged for suspicion of committing offences under the Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL).

A spokesman for the HKSAR Government said, “Chow Hang-tung is facing a criminal prosecution of ‘incitement to subversion’ and the case has been committed to the Court of First Instance of the High Court awaiting trial. The judicial proceedings of the case are still ongoing, but the ministries of foreign affairs of France and Germany have issued the so-called prize to Chow Hang-tung in the name of ‘human rights’ and the ‘rule of law’, which is obviously contrary to the spirit of respecting the rule of law. The HKSAR Government strongly urges these foreign countries to respect the spirit of the rule of law, abide by the international law and basic norms that govern international relations, and immediately stop interfering in the affairs of Hong Kong.

Etc, etc. This is a relatively mild rebuke by the (so-called) standards of these things, perhaps reflecting Beijing’s eagerness to maintain good relations with the Europeans. (Do the editors at the Information Services Dept deliberately not polish away the clunky Mainland phrasing as a form of ‘soft resistance’? Or are they under threat of disciplinary inspection if they dare make the copy less alienating?)

Now awaiting an indignant official press release aimed at the Asian Corporate Governance Association, for knocking Hong Kong from joint second to joint sixth in its rankings… 

Dual class listings, “homecoming” secondary issuers and pre-revenue biotech firms now account for 20% of market cap, and they play by a set of very different – and much weaker – rules. Five out of the top ten companies by market cap are either secondary, or weighted voting right, listings. Nearly 10% of Hang Seng Index constituents now fall into this category. Capital market development has focussed on attracting more of the same, and with the continuing lowering of entry requirements and rules applicable to these issuers, the rights, and safeguards available to investors have diminished…

…The long-stated separation of powers at the heart of Hong Kong’s governance have been declared void and judges are palpably under pressure to respect the boundaries of an executive-led system. A reconfigured legislative council which prioritises patriotism may be more prone to give the government an easier time with its lawmaking programme. Indeed, ACGA was disappointed that changes to company law allowing virtual AGMs (after the pandemic) passed with no detailed debate, and at breakneck speed. 

Hong Kong’s score in Civil Society & Media also fell significantly. The shuttering of media outlets and wariness of reporters to cross red lines has stifled a once-vibrant fourth estate. Notably absent from the media landscape today are the cohort of scandal-chasing tabloids who helped to keep the tycoons and company directors on their toes, as well as the deep-dive data investigators among the foreign press who delved into the uncomfortable business interests of the elite. Not helping matters has been the curtailed access to director and company information: the ability to shine a light on corporate digressions is much compromised. Nor do academics in Hong Kong seem to pontificate on the governance issues of the day: a reported exodus of university scholars is evident when searching for research on Hong Kong CG issues. Today it is more likely that a research piece on stock market reform or weighted voting rights will be penned by an academic in Singapore or the PRC, than in Hong Kong. 

Meanwhile China’s Ministry of Finance is hosting a gathering of bankers in Hong Kong to ‘bolster the city’s status as a hub’. Bloomberg reports

The discussions will center on how to enhance Hong Kong’s position as an international finance center, its risks and challenges, and how strengthening ties with mainland China can help consolidate its status as a hub, the people said. The ministry didn’t respond to a fax seeking a comment.

Hong Kong is facing big challenges… The city has seen tens of thousands of residents emigrate after years of strict Covid curbs and as China tightened its political grip. Dealmaking has all but dried up as China’s economy struggles to rebound to past levels, with major banks cutting staff and shifting out of the city. Scores of smaller brokerages have shut down.

…City leaders have been adamant that Hong Kong is open for business and not losing its luster…

But leaders have also maintained a heavy focus on national security, even years after protests were quashed, hundreds of people were arrested and newspapers were shuttered.

The city’s leader, former policeman John Lee, last week defended his focus on national security, saying most of his policies are on other matters, according to city broadcaster RTHK. At the same time, he warned that criticizing government policies on housing and the economy could be a form of “soft resistance.”

More angry official responses: Beijing attacks the UK Foreign Secretary for meeting a UK citizen about another UK citizen jailed overseas.

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17 Responses to Indignant government statements ‘R’ us

  1. Polyglot says:

    For years, people have been asking me “Your Cantonese is so good! Why don’t you learn Mandarin? You could get lots of work on the mainland.” To which I replied that they’ve answered their own question.

    Do, when I saw “how strengthening ties with mainland China can help consolidate its status as a hub”, I could only smile.

  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    Speaking of awards, has anybody been following the so-called Confucius Peace Prize recently? Has Putin won (again) or did this year’s award go in absentia to Yevgeny Prigozhin and Wagner PMC? Netanyahu? Maybe to the Tories for their Rwanda Final Solution?

  3. reductio says:

    And now we have free flow of data from HK into the GBA. But don’t worry, there are safeguards to make sure it doesn’t get accessed by the wrong people, so that’s ok then.

  4. Roderick Spode says:

    Franco-German attempts to interfere with Hong Kong’s internal affairs are doomed to fail.

  5. Load Toad says:

    Hong Kong can’t be a hub or a conduit to the Mainland when it doesn’t offer anything that the Mainland doesn’t.

    Being able to use Google and WhatsApp without having to use a VPN is hardly sufficient.

    Hong Kong is now just a more expensive version of any Tier 1 or 2 Chinese city.

    I get the nagging suspicion this just might have been the intention all along.

  6. Stanley Lieber says:

    @Load Toad

    From the CCP’s perspective, Hong Kong’s ONLY surviving value is as a wholesale hard-currency money laundry (Macau is retail; suitcases only). This has been true since the Handover, if not before.

  7. Flaccid Resistance says:

    “Being able to use Google and WhatsApp without having to use a VPN is hardly sufficient.”

    And 10…9…8…7…

  8. Mary Melville says:

    The CUHK sacking is a message that a few vindictive Leggers can now derail any career and upend even the most established and previously respected isntitutions.
    That it was done with a cash cheque and a kick in the butt underlines the reality that etiquette and traditions are to be dispensed with, as underlined by the arbitrary decisions to evict the history and heritage museums.

  9. Famous Grouse says:

    Could the robotic control freaks that pass for policymakers these days be any less imaginative or any more manipulative than giving out $100 dinner vouchers to residents to spend at designated restaurants after 6:00 p.m.? Undoubtedly some around the table were thinking (but not saying, oh no!), “Why spend $100? We know the old people will crawl over broken glass for a $20 lunchbox, and then we could put the difference into our civil service pension fund.”

  10. Taachi&Taachi says:

    You might think the smarter play for the HKSARG would be spinning the good Hong Kong story of “HK wins Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law” for all its worth instead of condemning it and inadvertently rebuking MOFA’s statement on Jimmy Lai in the process; I couldn’t possibly comment.

  11. Lo Wu Vuitton says:

    Can anyone tell me why the Rugby 7s are moving from HK Stadium to Kai Tak?

  12. justsayin says:

    HK Leisure and Cultural Services department is doing a good impression of being a mainland department in its press release. I feel that the main audience of such reports are the relevant departments of people Up North rather than the rest of the world

  13. Bigly Chee says:

    @Lo Wu Vuitton – I think they’re demolishing HKS because it’s not big enough for Taylor Swift.

  14. K11 Nausea says:

    @Lo Wu Vuitton: perhaps because Adrian Cheng (New World heir) is on practically every committee and quango in the city, including the chair of the Mega Arts and Cultural Events Committee which has sticky fingers all over events like the Sevens. And New World also runs Kai Tak Stadium, as well as eg Avenue of Stars (NIGHT VIBES) etc etc.
    And if Cheng uses the word “Sportainment” one more time…….

  15. ex-pd says:

    Suspected is the new go-to word, can apply to adjectives or nouns.

  16. justsayin says:


  17. Bertram Wooster says:


    Nice touch.

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