Seditious noodles to be on menu?

Shanxi place on Wo On Lane, Central.


Asked on a TVB programme on Sunday whether people who repost online criticism of the legislation may be in breach of the law, [Secretary for Justice Paul ] Lam said factors such as whether they intend to incite hatred against the government, or if they only wanted to start a discussion, would be taken into account.

The SCMP adds

“[Some people] might repeatedly circulate [the criticisms] online. Is this driven by a quest for truth, curiosity or a desire for relief? It’s challenging for me to discern the mens rea [guilty thought] at this point.”

He said prosecutors would evaluate each case to decide whether the individuals involved had intended to endanger national security.

So, in the interests of starting a discussion in the quest for truth, with zero mens rea

The Times of London hasn’t received the ‘tell good Hong Kong stories’ memo. A pseudonymous journalist writes of her experience since 2019…

Most of my family and many colleagues and friends have left, a bitter reality that I have to live with every day. For the past few years, I have been spending weekends visiting friends in prisons in some of the most remote parts of Hong Kong.

During these visits, it is strange to meet my former colleagues also visiting their former colleagues. It is almost like being back in the newsroom — except that we are in a high-security facility, and none of us are journalists any more.

…“Are you leaving?” has become a standard conversational opening for Hongkongers these days. My answer was always no. But over the past few weeks, as I studied the draft bill of Article 23, and saw how it was being rushed through, I began to have second thoughts. Could I be charged for my present work, freelancing for an overseas organisation? Do I need to second-guess and self-censor before I have even written a word?

The Guardian is more brutal

So farewell, Hong Kong. The vibrant, pulsating city-state that grew, under British rule, into one of the world’s great financial, business, cultural and tourism hubs has finally been brought to heel. Browbeaten, abused, silenced. Trust Xi Jinping, China’s dementor president, to suck out all the joy.

…Eating noodles is a seditious act now, if the noodles have secret foreign connections….

…John Lee, Hong Kong’s placeman chief executive – whose approval rating is at a record low – hit new highs of paranoia. The measures would “allow Hong Kong to put a stop to espionage activities, the conspiracies and traps of intelligence units and the infiltration … of enemy forces”. Translated, this means locking up ordinary people who dare to speak their minds. Unhappily, most no longer do.

…Chinese officials surely realise – and possibly do not care – that their risible over-the-top security crackdown is accelerating Hong Kong’s decline. 

Waiting for the government press release furiously denying that noodles can be seditious. But it’s no joke: a throwaway remark about keeping old Apple Dailies led to an international news story and now (see Paul Lam’s remarks) serious official explanations of how and when back copies of newspapers might land you in jail. If a T-shirt can be seditious, isn’t it theoretically possible for noodles to be? Say, if the recipe or menu item is called ‘Ga Yau lo mien’ or something? It seems all sorts of things can get people into trouble, like weightlifters being accused of supporting Hong Kong independence…

…[Hong Kong Weightlifting and Powerlifting Association chairwoman Josephine Ip Wing-yuk Ip] … called Hong Kong a “small country” yesterday, a day after the domestic security law came into force.

Speaking at the Weightlifting Invitations 2024, Ip, pictured, said it was the first weightlifting competition held after the pandemic.

…”This arrangement was recognized by the International Weightlifting and Powerlifting Federation as well as the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong. It’s also common in smaller countries, including Hong Kong and Australia.”

For sure, there were some audible gasps in the crowd.

Commenting on it later, New People’s Party lawmaker Adrian Ho King-hong said it is “utterly unacceptable” for Ip to declare “Hong Kong’s independence,” and demanded the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee to suspend the association’s membership for further investigation.

From the Diplomat… 

Just as on the mainland … “mission creep” of national security may have serious implications for citizens and the private sector alike. The SNSO also adds broadly phrased sections on state secrets and espionage, bringing Hong Kong legislation in line with worrying changes to Chinese law enacted over the past year. It claims extraterritorial applicability for many offenses, which for example means that all entities with a registered presence in Hong Kong could be prosecuted for perceived infractions. This raises key concerns for media outlets and rights organizations still based in Hong Kong, but may also hit corporate actors in information gathering or legal proceedings. 

Western companies active in China often use the mantra that “politics is politics, business is business” to explain why ever more repressive laws will not affect their bottom line. But Hong Kong’s mainland-style “securitization of everything” means that this distinction is becoming increasingly meaningless. Hong Kong authorities first targeted outright dissent voices and collective action, but political control is already curtailing civil society and media in Hong Kong – vital elements that keep politics and liberal market systems in check.  

Just like their mainland counterparts, Hong Kong officials are increasingly seeing the world through a security lens. The political uproar when Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi failed to play during a match in Hong Kong is just one example. Regina Ip, convenor of the Executive Council that advises the chief executive, attributed this to “black hands” trying to tarnish the city’s reputation – boycotts of and a hasty apology by Messi ensued. 

…There will be plenty to watch in areas like judicial independence, rule of law, and government transparency. In addition to obvious human rights concerns, governments and companies should be paying close attention to spill-over effects, as the hallmarks of mainland politics – political agenda setting, restriction of information, and arbitrary enforcement – become more prominent features in Hong Kong.

And University World News looks at how academics are worried…

“I will continue to conduct research on Hong Kong as I so desire, but I cannot do so in Hong Kong. I can now only continue my research outside of Hong Kong and I do not [expect to] return to Hong Kong anytime soon,” [academic Aaron Han Joon ] Magnan-Park said.

“I am not the only scholar who finds [themselves] in this geopolitical self-exile scenario. Those who chose to remain in Hong Kong have had to radically change their research agendas so that they are in compliance with the new political reality,” he added.

…“Article 23 is written so that you can be held in violation of statements and positions and acts that were made before this coming Saturday [when the law comes into effect]. So, if they catch you after Saturday, they can go back into the past to define a pattern of ‘seditious behaviour’.

“What at one time was legal, is now illegal.”

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7 Responses to Seditious noodles to be on menu?

  1. Mens rea: patriotic says:

    From the SCMP story: ““In this world, there are some individuals who persistently cling to their beliefs … they might repeat themselves 10 times, a hundred times,” he said. “[We] will examine the content, and whether this occurs after the government has responded. The burden of proof lies with us.”
    Well I find this “government responded” part very interesting and perhaps alarming: on Friday I had *seven* responses from govt on various issues and complaints I had raised, including a very belated and random response to a complaint from 2021! All this unusual activity coming at once (the day before the SNSL) did feel like someone tying up loose ends or covering themselves. “But all along we responded to all [Mens rea: patriotic]’s complaints,” they will be able to say in court.
    What Paul Lam needs to understand is, we may repeat ourselves 10 times or a 100 times, because the government response to any local environment complaint other than “the National Day Chinese flags stuck to the railings with mop handles are much too small and tasteful” is usually a copypasta nonsense which changes nothing.

  2. wmjp says:

    On a lighter note to ease the burdens of the week:
    Team GB’s Sian Rainsley wins elite women’s race, only for local organisers to play Spanish national anthem at medal ceremony.

    Hong Kong officials “sorry”…

  3. Kwun Tong Bypass says:


    I hereby solemnly declare and swear ‘cross my heart and hope to die’ that I never, never, ever intentionally or even unintentionally think about, dream, or wish to endanger national security.

    If anybody, for whatever reason, thinks I do it is because he/she/it does not understand me. It’s your fault! You got it?

    In this case, please leave an email address so that I can explain. I always seek the truth from the facts.


    Kwun Tong Bypass

  4. Mark Bradley says:

    @ Mens rea: patriotic

    About a week ago I complained to IRD that it’s impossible to open Form IR 1263 on a modern PDF viewers including the official Adobe Reader 24 which is the latest version. Every time you open the doc it says you need to view it in Adobe Reader 8 or higher.

    Well I am using 24 which is higher than 8 and it still doesn’t work. Adobe 8 is from 2006. It is ancient software and it is clear that the PDF doesn’t open on modern viewers.

    I emailed them this a week ago and no response so they didn’t tie up all loose ends. I ended up having to goto Inland Revenue Centre to pick up a physical version of From IR 1263. The form is nothing special and they could have made it work with modern viewers like other government agencies and departments have (Companies Registry, Immigration Department, etc)

    If they don’t fix this I am going to Ombudsman.

  5. Formerly Known As... says:

    I see this miserable disgrace of a quisling didn’t waste any time. He got the first sentence wrong though: the reaction of miserable quislings like him was predictable.

    He mentions “the resources and opportunities of the vast mainland market”, but fails to mention the GBA. Could this be soft resistance?’s-insurrections

  6. HKJC Irregular says:

    That’s a delicious – bit not sed8t88s – music link today!

  7. Low Profile says:

    @Formerly Known as… – I clicked on your link and got a “403 Forbidden” error message. I did eventually get to the article through a bit of Googling.

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