Jimmy Lai ate my hamster

Prosecution witness in Jimmy Lai trial…

Former media tycoon Jimmy Lai sought to paint China in a negative light in Apple Daily’s English edition so the United States would take hostile actions against Beijing, an ex-senior executive of the now-defunct outlet told Lai’s national security trial on Wednesday.

…“Lai felt that the Chinese Communist Party regime was suppressing human rights, covering up [issues] and lacking integrity, so he hoped to portray this image to foreign readers,” he said.

The defendant hoped that the English edition could “influence public opinion in the United States and thus create an impact on American politics,” in order for Washington to take hostile actions such as sanctions, to “protect Hong Kong and Apple Daily”, the court heard.

UN human rights experts

“We are alarmed by the multiple and serious violations of Jimmy Lai’s freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, and his right to a fair trial, including the denial of access to a lawyer of his own choosing and the handpicking of judges by the authorities,” the experts said.

More ‘smearing’ of Hong Kong from the Guardian, which visited M+ and the West Kowloon Cultural Hub-Zone…

Herzog & de Meuron decided to dig, taking an “archeological” approach, unearthing an unlikely gift in the form of the Airport Express train tunnel, cutting diagonally beneath the site. “It was like discovering the body of a huge animal,” says Herzog. “It gave us the impulse to create a kind of underworld, which is mysterious and strange – and so Hong Kong.”

…The architects describe it as “a space of unprecedented potential”, and it has so far staged some dangling installations. But it was empty on my visit, and curators confide that they struggle to find ways to use it. 

And it’s difficult to get to…

The nearest metro station is across a bridge, up and down several escalators, in the bowels of a shopping mall whose operators clearly prefer people to get lost in their retail labyrinth rather than find their way to the museum. Once you emerge, you are greeted with the blank concrete silo of M+’s conservation and storage building, a later addition to the brief whose lower floors are leased to the Phillips auction house, so it is their gigantic logo you see first, not the museum’s.

The nearest bus stop, meanwhile, drops you on the edge of an eight-lane highway from where you must tackle a 20-minute obstacle course of bridges and underpasses. Finally, coming by car (which, strangely for such a public transport-oriented city, was the recommended option) leaves you in an unprepossessing undercroft, as if you’re coming to service the boiler. Even arriving on foot presents challenges: the building is so big and “permeable”, with entrances on all sides, that the museum cannot staff all its doors, so many remain locked. A dedicated ferry service, opening later this year, should hopefully provide a more seamless arrival.

Coming by car is the ‘recommended option’ – in a city where 90% of households do not have one (and are not car-owning planner-bureaucrats who design everything for themselves). The writer concludes with the phrase ‘a motley hotchpotch of architectural misfits, marooned on the waterfront’. And he didn’t even get to the Cruise Terminal or the Zhuhai Bridge.

Beijing’s attempts to prop up China’s falling stock market fail to impress – from Bloomberg

China’s history of botched market rescue efforts, the grim state of its economy, and uncertainties over Beijing’s long-term policy roadmap are keeping investors skeptical about the sustainability of these gains.

…“Xi Jinping’s people are almost certainly telling him that the rout in the equity market is a stability risk,” said George Magnus, a research associate at Oxford University’s China Centre. “Investors aren’t just abandoning Chinese stocks for normal reasons of valuation, but because the whole economic policy and political environment has atrophied. Getting confidence back probably requires major changes in both.”

…[Previous efforts suggest] that throwing money at the market as Beijing appears willing to do, while economic woes lie unresolved, will only embolden traders to sell into what may at best be a bear-market rally.

Howard French – always worth reading – in FP

Xi is not just ideologically hostile to the creation of more generous health, retirement, and unemployment systems. The real problem is that China has waited this long to grapple with these issues in the first place. Beijing was slow to take aging and population decline seriously, putting them off until they could no longer remotely be denied and then all but panicking. The country is suddenly now awash in campaigns urging young people to create bigger families, and these are unlikely to work.

…[Beijing’s dilemma] looms as an increasingly excruciating choice between guns and butter … China saw the present period as a window of opportunity that was bound to close. Beijing hoped to use this window to make big geopolitical advances and lock them in through a combination of impressive economic growth and extraordinary military modernization before the costs unavoidably associated with aging forced it to switch direction and prioritize social needs at home.

Signs of this strategy can be found nearly everywhere one looks, from China’s muscling into the seas of the Western Pacific, where it has rebuffed its neighbors’ territorial claims while building artificial islands that host military outposts, to its enormous capital expenditures on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Now in something of a retreat, the BRI is the program through which China has invested massively in infrastructure projects throughout Eurasia and other regions of the world.

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7 Responses to Jimmy Lai ate my hamster

  1. Jennifer Anne Eagleton says:

    Regarding M+, as a Kowloon resident, I can get a direct bus to the museum that stops before the Western Harbour Tunnel. You can also get a bus from Central that stops just after the Western Harbour Tunnel, but you do have to walk across the footbridge across the highway – but it’s no more than a 10-12 min. walk to the museum.

    I agree it can be hard to get there from other locations. I had always thought a ferry from Central was a good idea and why had not done that in the beginning.

  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    “Beijing hoped to use this window to make big geopolitical advances and lock them in through a combination of impressive economic growth and extraordinary military modernization before the costs unavoidably associated with aging forced it to switch direction and prioritize social needs at home.”

    Yup…the more fancy, shiny toys you buy, the more upkeep and finding of qualified operators will cost. All that requires an economy that’s always (mostly) humming along and an educated population.

    Look how the US (YES!!! I managed to draw the USA into a comment yet again!! Bwaaaahaaahaaaha, my evil plan worked!) is having problems finding qualified recruits for the military as an example. And with the so-called Republicans doing everything they can to resolutely eliminate public education, those pesky “woke” universities and halting immigration, the dumbing down of the population is a viable strategy evidenced by the popularity and surging of their orange messiah.

    I suppose a saving grace is that some allies of the US – such as Japan – with US bases in their country are basically footing the bill for the US to occupy them through treaties and the Status of Forces Agreement thereby saving the American taxpayers a little $. Try getting China’s “friends” to do the same.

  3. Stanley Lieber says:

    The Palace Museum and the M+ Museum are fairly easily reached by travelling to the MTR’s Kowloon Station and then taking a short minibus ride that drops one off practically at the doorstep of either museum.

    For people who live in Hong Kong, as opposed to on Hong Kong, it’s fine.

  4. Mary Melville says:

    Meanwhile over in TST East the Good Story.
    Club Bboss is coming back. Waterfront location, next to a harbour crossing with far more accessible bus stops, major transport interchange with trains to two border crossings, two bus stations, multi floor well ventilated above ground Autoplaza. And with it a dollop of good old style Honkers culture, SDRnR, lightly clad hostessess, fast and loud cars, triads, garish signage, turbaned doormen, the works. Nite Vibe embodied.

  5. Hong Kong Cyclist says:

    Re West Kowloon, I don’t quite understand the defensive replies to the effect of: catch a train, meander through a shopping centre, wait for a minibus, and then it’s just a long walk.

    I go there often, while riding my bike – usually in sociable groups. And indeed, cycling makes everywhere accessible, and should be part of HK’s plans. But it isn’t, and so we’re stuck with the reality that M+ etc are out on a limb.

  6. HKJC Irregular says:

    WKCD will be home to luxury high rises before too long. It supremo Bernard Chan has already made this clear – the museums will be simply a fancy part of the complex. I suppose it’s good to try and visit before the piledriving starts.

  7. donkey says:

    @Jennifer Anne Eagleton
    there is a green minibus right outside of exit A or D at Kowloon Station that takes you right to the M+ and Palace Museum entrances

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