Official press releases not what they used to be

HK Watch issues a joint statement with dozens of other NGOs asking the Hong Kong government to ensure that the Article 23 NatSec law complies with human rights, and – among other things – urging other governments to sanction Hong Kong officials. (Site blocked in Hong Kong.)

The English version of the government’s response portrays the statement itself as justification for a new NatSec law. Perhaps what’s most striking is not just that it’s overwrought, but that it’s so poorly written/translated – giving it a weirdly semi-sinister feel (allegedly).…

The Hong Kong SAR Government said the joint statement by Hong Kong Watch and other organisations smacked of deliberate smears and was no further from the truth, adding that it must refute them and set the record straight.

…It is fully justified for the Hong Kong SAR to put forward measures that could be considered, having regard to the relevant laws of foreign countries as well as the shortcomings as revealed from experiences gained from handling cases concerning offence endangering national security.

…Regarding the joint statement’s appeal to foreign chambers of commerce and international companies based in Hong Kong to re-evaluate risks, as well as its request for them to impose so-called “sanctions” on officials handling the Basic Law Article 23 legislation, the Hong Kong SAR Government said it totally disrespected the constitutional duty of the Hong Kong SAR and blatantly trampled on the city’s legislative process.

The Hong Kong SAR Government pointed out that such practice interfered through intimidation in the affairs of Hong Kong that are purely China’s internal affairs, which not only violated the international law and basic norms that govern international relations, but also allegedly constituted the offence of “collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security” under Article 29 of the National Security Law.

What the joint statement advocated squarely reflected the ongoing national security threats which anti-China and destabilising forces pose, the Hong Kong SAR Government added. 

Presumably, the English-language audience is an afterthought. As perhaps is that of the traditional-characters Chinese version.

CE John Lee says the consultation exercise…

“…gives me the impression that [respondents] are in support of the overall goal of enacting Article 23 to ensure that we protect ourselves when people want to cause damage to us,” he said.

“A lot of the opinions subscribe to the idea that this is a piece of legislation that will ensure when other people want to break into our house, cause harm or damage to us, the Article 23 enactment should be able to protect them from all these threats, attacks, break-ins and harm.”

The ‘door and lock’ analogy also appears in the official response to the Nikkei Asia piece about the shortage of judges. ‘Lines to take’ were never a strong point.

On other matters…

Twitter thread by Holmes Chan on going to see a movie with no title – Beijing Bastards at M+…

The film’s title was blacked out on brochures by hand. Outside House 1, there was no indication what movie I was going to see … Opening credits list screenwriters, producers, director… but no title.

Also on Twitter, a graphic showing the top consumers of various types of meat (including seafood). Hong Kong is top in pork – with each inhabitant apparently getting through over 2lb of the stuff per week. This puts the city in top place for overall meat consumption, at 8lb a week – a third more than the US. Further down, Macau comes top in seafood consumption. After feeling slightly ill for a moment, it occurs to me that tourism is probably pushing up the per-capita figures. Though that wouldn’t be the case with the sheep/goat stats for Mongolia. Maybe it’s just waste.

From China File – six experts’ expectations for the Chinese economy. Most foresee problems in boosting household consumption and ramping up tech/industrial capacity without provoking protectionism overseas. The essential one is Anne Stevenson-Yang…

After the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, fearing a bank contagion and declining exports, leaders put the investment model on steroids. Under instruction from Beijing, banks threw caution to the winds. In five short years, Chinese banks added loans worth the entire value of the U.S. banking system—which had taken 150 years to create, in a country with a much larger economy. Those loans went to industrial schemes and much more infrastructure than the country actually could justify, but very largely, to real estate.

…The illusion of property values that would rise forever was burst in 2021, and since then, China’s economy has weakened. What to do? The whole Chinese economy has kited atop property speculation, and no official dared allow it to stop. Now, banks say that 70 percent of assets are invested in the property sector. Bloomberg Economics calculates that a 5 percent fall in housing prices would equate a loss of 19 trillion renminbi (U.S.$2.7 trillion) in wealth.

…To revive the old model and save the defaulting assets, the government would need to hose trillions on the economy. But all that cash would break the renminbi’s peg to the U.S. dollar, and that is a consequence the Chinese Communist Party cannot accept: It would mean massive capital flight, an angry populace, and the end of the dream of great wealth.

So, China’s leaders pace like caged tigers, lunging at half measures like new bond issues and a “stock market stabilization fund,” as if these efforts might bring back the glory days. But half measures will not work.

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7 Responses to Official press releases not what they used to be

  1. Chinese Netizen says:

    The “so-called ‘sanctions’ on officials” bit from the HKCCPSAR government presser reminds me of Miranda’s mum regularly spouting “what I call….” such as “what I call tea…” or “what I call brunch…” as a form of verbally doing the quotes movement with one’s fingers, or “what I call sanctions…”

    “Such fun.”

  2. Northern Menace says:

    “…[respondents] are in support of the overall goal of enacting Article 23…”

    And it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime.

  3. Grammar pedeant says:

    “the Hong Kong SAR Government said *it* totally disrespected the constitutional duty of the Hong Kong SAR and blatantly trampled on the city’s legislative process”

    So, HKSARG says HKSARG totally disrespected…? A Rare moment of candour?

  4. Mary Melville says:

    “and was no further from the truth” indicating close to.
    Clear indication no mother tongued involvement as presumably the intention was to say ‘nothing further from the truth.’
    English is easy to learn, but the nuances difficult to master.

  5. Stu says:

    What RMB USD peg is the last article referring to?

  6. Square Peg says:

    The RMB is not pegged to the USD at all in the same way as Article 23 will ensure every Hongkonger lives safely and normally.

  7. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Mary Melville: Soft Resistance perhaps?

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