Meaningful retail space to bless community

The Sunbeam Theatre in North Point is famed for a gloriously garish foyer that delights passers-by and Cantonese opera performances that few under-70s find appealing. The site was on offer a few years back for HK$1.2 billion. Now prices have fallen to something more like just one ‘bil’ (been watching Succession), the Island Evangelical Community Church is buying it. Pastor Brett says the property…

will … provide fantastic opportunities to bless the community with meaningful retail space, some limited housing, and great space for ongoing ministry 24/7.

(I know a few members of this congregation. It is evangelical in the religious rather than political sense, but obviously well-heeled.)

‘How can we ask tourists to believe us when Hong Kong holds another major event?’ asks lawmaker Doreen Kwong after the government spends HK$16 million to attract the Inter Milan soccer team to play here, and mega-star Messi sits on the bench the whole game.

[Correction: Inter Miami. Never heard of them.]

Officials seek to reassure that the Article 23 NatSec Law will not infringe people’s rights…

The government is also looking into ways to delay or stop suspects from meeting their lawyers, as [Justice Secretary Paul] Lam said this is to prevent lawyers from being a channel of communication for suspects to continue their behavior to endanger national security.

“The principle of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is that we cannot unreasonably delay,” Lam said.

“We will balance defendants’ rights to consult a lawyer, but also prevent defendants from abusing this right.

…Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung said exaggerating legislative or district councillors’ performance to incite hatred might also breach the future Article 23 legislation.

“Whether or not a behavior breaches the law will depend on their intention and consequences,” Tang said.

“It is very reasonable to provide an opinion on people taking public office, but if they exaggerate things, only illustrate one side of the truth or even make up information and are intended to incite hatred, then he or she will breach the law.”

…Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said the enactment will be beneficial to “maintain a good business environment” in Hong Kong.

(So you can be arrested for ‘only illustrating one side of the truth’?)

Standard editorial notes

In the blink of an eye, roughly a quarter of the public consultation period promised for the Article 23 legislation is gone.

From David Webb

Thought on Sunday from an atheist: if Christians in HK pray to their God that NSL defendants are acquitted & freed, does that constitute requesting a foreign individual to interfere & endanger NatSec, thus a breach of NSL? Will God be at risk of conviction and punishment? 

What if the prayer is spoken in a church?  Does that constitute an NSL offence? Or will there be no case to answer because the Govt cannot prove that God exists, therefor no foreign force is involved?

Some links from the weekend, starting with two from the (paywalled) Economist

On the Article 23 NatSec Law

After a four-week public consultation, the new measure is expected to be swiftly passed by the city’s legislature, which is packed with Communist Party supporters. The statute will cover acts such as treason, insurrection and sabotage. The government says it will complement the one imposed by the central government. Some of the acts the new law will proscribe are distinct, such as espionage. Nevertheless, given that the existing law is so broad and ill-defined, it is difficult to conceive of an activity that would fall foul of the new law and not already be covered by the old one, says a barrister in the city.

And on the government’s plans to close the HK Heritage Museum…

[Aruist Kacey Wong] organised a petition calling on the government to keep the Heritage Museum as is and expected around 60 signatures. Some 700 Hong Kongers signed it; many are associated with the pro-democracy movement and so have left the city. He does not expect the government to take any notice of their anger. Hong Kongers living abroad will preserve the city’s culture, he says. But “if you’re staying in Hong Kong then you have to endure.”

The Spectator reviews The Political Thought of Xi Jinping by Steve Tsang and Olivia Cheung…

Xi and the CCP are solipsistic in the vulgar rather than true philosophical sense. They are supremely self-centred in their belief that the external world should exist or conduct itself only in so far as it reflects the CCP’s reality.

…Tsang and Cheung have done the hard work for us by ‘munching rhinoceros sausage’, as the sinologist Simon Leys described reading CCP documents. They have read the corpus of Xi’s books and speeches and ‘swallowed bucketfuls of sawdust’ (Leys again). 

From China File, an interview with journalist Chun Hang Wong on why Xi Jinping is not a ‘second Mao’…

[Mao’s rival Party leader] Liu Shaoqi, who was the arch Party-builder. Liu really believed in internal discipline, internal propaganda, internal political education. Liu wanted to ensure the Leninist hierarchy of the Party remained strong. Mao, by contrast, mobilized normal people to destroy the Party from the outside. This is something Xi Jinping would never do. The Party is his one true vehicle of power, the one instrument he has for implementing his vision. Xi is only powerful if the Communist Party is powerful. Xi’s internal purges, the internal Party inquisitions, emphasis on discipline, that’s from Liu Shaoqi. Xi Jinping doesn’t proclaim that theme loudly in public, but you can tell from the way he does things. Mao wouldn’t have done it that way.

And from a week ago – Gavekal Dragonomics’ Dan Wang’s annual letter. Parts II and III are about young Chinese ‘running’ overseas and related matters. Long, but worth it…

2023 was a year of disappearing ministers, disappearing generals, disappearing entrepreneurs, disappearing economic data, and disappearing business for the firms that have counted on blistering economic growth.

No wonder that so many Chinese are now talking about rùn. Chinese youths have in recent years appropriated this word in its English meaning to express a desire to flee. For a while, rùn was a way to avoid the work culture of the big cities or the family expectations that are especially hard for Chinese women. Over the three years of zero-Covid, after the state enforced protracted lockdowns, rùn evolved to mean emigrating from China altogether.

…The Chinese who rùn to the American border are still a tiny set of the people who leave. Most emigrés are departing through legal means. People who can find a way to go to Europe or an Anglophone country would do so, but most are going, as best as I can tell, to three Asian countries. Those who have ambition and entrepreneurial energy are going to Singapore. Those who have money and means are going to Japan. And those who have none of these things — the slackers, the free spirits, kids who want to chill — are hanging out in Thailand.

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15 Responses to Meaningful retail space to bless community

  1. Knownot says:

    Gregory Rivers

    I heard
    that he was dead
    from the BBC. Famed,
    they said, in Hong Kong, though elsewhere

    His death,
    however caused,
    is sad. In these troubling
    times, it seems to have an extra

    Some things
    have changed; some things
    stay the same, or nearly.
    Is he changing, the typical

  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    I think it was the lesser soccer club – Inter Miami – in which Messi was a part of. Obviously the “fans” came for Messi only (who really gives a rat fuck about Inter Miami) and were rightly disappointed when he was benched the entire time and they were forced to watch a crap American pro soccer club.

  3. #YNWA says:

    It’s ‘Inter Miami’ not ‘Inter Milan’.

    If only it had been the Italian giants that came to Hong Kong – the game would likely have attracted more true footie fans rather than people only seeking to get Insta pix of at-the-backend-of their careers Messi and Suarez.

  4. Mjrelje says:

    So the HK SARG paid $16m to Inter Miami / Tatler to have the event in HK… I guess that’s what you get for bribery. Was that one of the 80 Mega events?

  5. Chinese Netizen says:

    “And those who have none of these things — the slackers, the free spirits, kids who want to chill — are hanging out in Thailand.”

    Or at least close enough to Thailand without leaving the comforts of the motherland…

  6. reductio says:

    The Inter Miami fisasco. Why are people surprised? “Show me the money” is the mantra of professional sports. The HK government should have put in a clause that no Messi equals no money. Don’t like it? Don’t come. He’d have played.

  7. Leaky Buttplug Pikachiu says:

    Only 79 Mega events to go…

  8. James O says:

    Watch it Hemlock, according to the first page of the Article 23 Annex outlining new crimes, “Succession” will be an offence. They might mean “secession” but then I pointed out the typo on the first day of consultation and they haven’t corrected it yet so who knows?

  9. A Poor Man says:

    The government should suggest that no-show Messi and his team might have violated the national security law by breaching a contract with it as a way to get the organizers to voluntarily return the HK$16m.

    PS – I am a huge fan of David Webb. Unfortunately, I don’t share his investing acumen.

  10. Knownot says:

    The Inter Miami fiasco.

    Reminds me of an incident around 2000, I think. A major Russian orchestra – the Moscow Symphony or whatever – came to play here. It was discovered that another orchestra with the same name was playing somewhere in Europe on the same day.

  11. Casira says:

    At least promising subventions then withdrawing them seems like a good deal for the taxpayer.

  12. Northern Menace says:

    Re: Inter Miami

    What a perfect metaphor for the new Hong Kong. All the top talent sits on the bench while the mediocres take the field.

  13. Mary Melville says:

    Messi was probably pissed off with being treated like a performing monkey.

    Re the IECC purchase of the Sunbeam Theatre, where does IECC get all the money from??????????
    In October it got Town Planning Board approval to redevelop the North Point Kai Fong vuilding at 210 Java Road. According to the data provide this would entail $800m in construction costs, and in return IECC would become majority owner of a 20 floor building. A typical religious NGO sweetheart deal.

    Despite the ambigious and evasive responses from Hilliard with regard to the source of the funding and claims that no government subvention would be involved in the operation, it was clear that the plan was not for the church itself to provide the community services outlined, but to engage in a rent-seeking arrangement whereby premises would be leased to a variety of NGO’s………………………….. that would receive government subvention, handouts from Jockey Club, Community Chest, etc.

    Needless to say our ever gullible officials enthusiastically supported the plan and any member of the board who had doubts about the integrity of the deal kept quiet.

    An investigation into the finances of religious NGO’s that pay no tax, provide zero details of how they accumulate reserves, about how their bounty is disbursed, etc is long overdue, particularly as Hong Kong has been a secular state for almost 30 years but these organizations continue to benefit from colonial practices.

  14. reductio says:

    @Mary Melville

    An astute post as always, except for one minor slip. I think the creature you are comparing Messi to is “parasite” not “monkey”. Something that takes nourishment from its host and gives nothing in return. It’s a rare day when I agree with Yondon Lhatoo but he got it right in today’s rag about the entitled twat (and I don’t even bother with football.)

  15. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Mary Melville: They must be “patriotic” god lovers in order to get sweetheart deals like that. Wonder if the CCP got their cut yet?

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