NatSec police take family members of two more exiled activists – Simon Cheng and Frances Hui – in for questioning. Jimmy Lai’s London-based legal team ask the UN to investigate the alleged torture of key witness Andy Li…
“Credible evidence is emerging that Andy Li was tortured when in prison in China before confessing to allegedly conspiring with Jimmy Lai to collude with foreign entities to endanger national security,” the lawyers alleged.
Li’s confession against Lai was suspected to have been “coerced and obtained after he endured torture, inhuman and degrading treatment in Chinese detention,” they alleged.
In case you haven’t kept up – Jimmy Lai’s trial continues with details about donations to pro-dem political parties.
The Standard reports that Hong Kong’s dazzlingly original regulators might follow the SEC’s decision to approve spot crypto ETFs. The issuers accept only real money, of course. David Gerard on the US move…
The SEC really didn’t want to approve a spot bitcoin ETF. SEC Chair Gary Gensler issued a statement explaining that the SEC was pretty much forced to approve by the court decision in Grayscale. He stresses that this stuff is still shaky trash.
Unlike in the last two elections, HKU will not be sending students on a study tour to Taiwan this year.
Some more Taiwan reading…
Nikkei Asia reports that financial analysts don’t want to talk about Taiwan…
Ning Zhang, senior China economist at UBS Investment Research, said at a news conference in Hong Kong on Thursday that the topic of the election was “political,” and that it was “inconvenient” to comment on it.
BlackRock shied away from answering a question from Nikkei Asia on the impact of the Taiwan election on the fixed income market at a Singapore briefing on Tuesday. The fund manager skipped the online written query, with the company’s public relations representative later saying they had received too many questions.
“I feel very humble in my ability to predict politics,” Ben Powell, chief Asia-Pacific investment strategist at BlackRock Investment Institute, told reporters last month. “Even if you told me the answer, it is not totally clear what the implications for the markets” are.
A public relations representative with French bank Societe Generale, during a Tuesday briefing in Hong Kong, declined to answer a reporter’s question on the election’s impact on the Taiwan equities market, one of the top picks for the bank: “We’re not commenting on it right now.”
Thread from correspondent William Yang…
…an important point to highlight is that there is a huge gap between the level of interest in this election in #Taiwan versus around the world.
…when the #HongKong protest triggered a surge in this doomsday feeling among #Taiwan voters, [and their] attention and interest in the election was very high. It also resulted in a very high voter turnout.
This time around, the international community is paying a lot of attention to this election, mainly from the perspective of how the outcome of the election will have an impact on regional security and geopolitics.
However domestically, a lot of voters have told me that they are quite disinterested in the election, citing different reasons. Some said they can’t imagine themselves supporting any of the candidates while others feel very desensitized by all the campaign dramas and rhetoric.
So as all of us in the international media tries to fulfill our assumption and needs, please try to take some time to really understand the Taiwanese voters’ perspective on this election. Instead of shoveling questions related to cross-strait relations, China and the possibility of war into their faces, maybe try to give them an opportunity to plainly explain what matters the most to them in this election. It’s likely that you will get a very different set of priorities from them.
From the BBC (‘But a Bit Cliched’) – the Taiwan that China wants is vanishing…
“We are all Taiwanese today regardless of where our grandparents came from. We inter-marry and mix Taiwanese and Mandarin when we speak to each other,” say a group of hikers on a trail near Taipei.
When they travel abroad, they say they are from Taiwan. “We do not want people to think we are from China.”
That is a problem for Beijing – because they are deciding what they want to be.
And that runs counter to the CCP’s message – a unified China under the rule of the Communist Party. It’s a message that has been delivered to Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongols – and Hong Kong.
Guardian video about Taiwanese civilians, inspired by the Ukrainian experience, organizing their own military training to defend urban areas from invaders.
Chatham House on Taiwan’s ‘China challenge’…
The successful consolidation of Taiwan’s democracy in recent decades has intensified the growth of a distinct Taiwanese identity. The more Taiwanese democracy and identity bed in, the harder it will be for Beijing to secure a peaceful integration of Taiwan, something that very few Taiwanese want.
As this uncomfortable reality has started to dawn on Beijing, it has ratcheted up its grey-zone tactics, using military intimidation and information operations to try to break Taiwan’s resolve, and diplomatic initiatives to isolate Taiwan internationally.
Other reading for the weekend…
Taiwanese people don’t want to be a part of China – nor do Chinese people. CNN on the rise in Chinese illegals into the US…
…In the first 11 months of 2023, more than 31,000 Chinese citizens were picked up by law enforcement crossing illegally into the US from Mexico, government data shows – compared with an average of roughly 1,500 per year over the preceding decade.
Many who left point to a struggle to survive.
Three years of Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions left people across China out of work – and disillusioned with the ruling Communist Party’s increasingly tight grip on all aspects of life under Xi. Now, hope that business would fully rebound once restrictions ended a year ago has vanished, with China’s once envious economic growth stuttering.
Following the recent arrest of a Catholic bishop, the Pillar on the Vatican’s ‘Two Chinas’ problem…
The effective suppression of a diocese without Roman approval is a major departure from the norms of the Vatican’s current agreement with the Chinese government, though it is not the first time the Communist authorities have done so.
With the Vatican-China deal up for renewal this year, the Holy See’s Secretariat of State will have to decide if Beijing’s unilateral redrawing of the ecclesiastical map is a calculated provocation, and how it can respond within its limited diplomatic room to maneuver.
As such moves become more common, however, the Vatican will have to reckon with the emerging divide between the Church in China recognized by Rome, which increasingly exists only on paper, and a different reality on the ground, run by the [Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association].
China Media Project looks at the CCP’s mixed feelings about the word ‘dictator’…
The Party wants to have its cake and eat it too: to be all-powerful but also to be seen as representative; to be feared and to be loved — avowedly — throughout the world.
…In 2021, as authorities in Hong Kong used the Beijing-imposed national security law to jail nearly every prominent member of the political opposition, a microblogging account amplified by official media said pro-democracy protestors were the territory’s “real dictators” due to their appeals for sanctions on the authorities imprisoning them.
And something relaxing from Public Domain Review – a circa 1902 book of kimono fabric designs…