Week fizzles out

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

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10 Responses to Week fizzles out

  1. A Poor Man says:

    HKEX already allows trading of bitcoin and ether futures ETFs (3066 and 3068). Aren’t they even more speculative/riskier than the proposed spot ETFs would be?

  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    Japan is greying rapidly and they have issues about allowing immigration, yet they need immigrants to do the jobs.
    Are there already secret talks of opening the door to all Taiwan citizens that are interested, should the commies invade and, like locusts, take over? If so, when? How? The assimilation fit for Taiwan people to Japan would be pretty smooth (thousands of Taiwanese go to Japan regularly for leisure travel) and a natural fit except are there enough non blue collar labor jobs for the younger, educated class?

  3. Akio Morita says:

    @Chinese Netizen

    “Japan is greying rapidly and they have issues about allowing immigration, yet they need immigrants to do the jobs.”

    This same claptrap about ageing Japan’s need for immigrants has been peddled for the past 35 years to little effect. It is a complete canard.

    The Japanese like things the way they are and they’ll muddle through just fine.

  4. reductio says:

    @Akio Morita

    10% are over 80 now. In a few years you’ll have 1/3 of the population over 65. “Muddle through”? Yeah, probably; “just fine”? Don’t see how they can.

  5. HK-Cynic says:

    @Chinese Netizen – Taiwan needs workers too. Perhaps a more liberal immigration policy with HK residents?

    https://twitter.com/taiwanplusnews/status/1745001531500527752

    TaiwanPlus News
    @taiwanplusnews
    Taiwan faces a talent crunch, with 73% of businesses struggling to fill jobs.

  6. more than 3 shakes is a wank says:

    Since I was growing up in the 70s there has been this waffle about computers and robots taking over and there would be no jobs left for the labor force. And here we are, labor shortages all over. I, for one, would like to think that the use of non-human labor will fill up the gaps quite nicely and that many old-time jobs, that we didn’t really need, will be phased out and replaced by a new reality. Another upside of the declining birth rate is reduced use of existing resources. Ergo, less stress on our planet.

  7. reductio says:

    @more than 3 shakes is a wank

    I’m pretty liberal-minded but I find your user name a bit offensive, frankly. I was told by Father O’Callahan that it’s more than 5.

  8. Akio Morita says:

    @reductio

    Automation may be part of the answer. Immigration is not.

    The Japanese would rather die out as Japanese than become a race of mutts.

    They’ll adjust.

  9. the real dr adams says:

    @ Akio Morita

    My son is mixed race. In your view, is he just another mutt? Instead of falling in love with and marrying my wife should I have done a racial screening on all potential marriage partners to ensure complete racial matching so as not to pollute your sad little world with more ‘mutts’?

    If you did a genetic analysis, I’d bet you’re more of a mutt than you realize and, by the way, the Japanese, like every other ethnic group, are not racially homogenous, that’s just a myth some Japanese and gullible and credulous gaijin believe.

    You can find traces of Korean, Chinese, Mongolian, indigenous Ainu, and southeast Asian/pacific islander in Japanese DNA. Their genetic variety is the reason individual Japanese can look so different from each other: some can look Korean/Mongolian whereas others can seem more southeast Asian, fair skin, dark skin, large body frame, small body, etc.

  10. Akio Morita says:

    Answer to question 1: Yes

    Answer to question 2: Yes

    “In your heart, you know he’s right.”

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