Consuming, rather than producing, end-of-week stuff

HKFP op-ed asks why (or how) we are supposed to maintain that press freedom is intact in Hong Kong…

When the News of the World was caught in criminal mischief its owner, Rupert Murdoch, was summoned to a hearing in the House of Commons. He was not paraded through his newsroom in chains.

…there is a clear consensus in the profession that times have changed. Indeed, a common topic of conversation at journalists’ gatherings these days is who will be next for closure, jail or exile.

Transit Jam post on a small private gathering of Hong Kong cyclists for a ‘ride of silence’ to remember bicycle-users who died on the road. The police seem to have treated the event as a major threat to public order, with a dash of ‘evil foreign forces’ thrown in. The government, he says…

…tries desperately to hide any tragedy or unwanted behaviour from view.

But, while cyclists keep getting killed, a small memorial is the least we can do for the victims. So we will continue, every year, as part of that global day of respect.

Shame on the Hong Kong government and @hkpoliceforce for repressing even this tiny apolitical civil voice.

(Previous live Tweets with pix here.)

In another sign of general intolerance and nanny-state authoritarianism, the Security Bureau-heavy administration wants to fine and/or imprison people who go hiking or ‘chasing the wind’ during extreme weather…

For citizens who refuse to listen to warnings, [Chief Secretary for Administration and ex-Immigration Dept head Eric] Chan said the government will take strict enforcement actions and charge them to reach a deterrent effect.

…He added that the government would shut down beaches and the country parks during extreme weather, and those breaking the ban will be fined HK$2,000 and jailed for 14 days.

You could make a case for sending people who recklessly endanger themselves a bill after being rescued by emergency services (an opportunity for the insurance industry?). But jailing folk for strolling on a beach during a typhoon is hyper-Singaporean.

Standard editorial bemoans the fact that banks don’t want to offer hefty mortgages to people buying overpriced apartments. Uses the word ‘undervaluation’.

From Artnet – a review of the Leeds City Museum exhibition of Hong Kong diaspora artwork and other material (see the painting Moon We Share)…

…the exhibition also drew criticism from pro-China students studying in Leeds, noted Cheung. Some left derogatory remarks, ranging from anti-democracy comments such as “Hong Kong should not be free,” to others claiming that Hong Kongers were “kneeling to their U.K. colonial masters.” The comments were written in simplified Chinese on Post-It notes and put on the exhibition’s version of Lennon Wall, which echoes one of the key elements of the 2019 protests that allowed people to leave their remarks and wishes on sticky-notes.

From Atlantic – an surprisingly decent analysis of the trade war that China’s unsustainable mercantilist policies have made inevitable…

China’s leaders have no one to blame but themselves. They joined a global trading system and then gamed that system. 

…“It’s the whole financial system, the whole economic system that is leveraged for industrial policy, which is very different than what’s been happening in market economies,” Camille Boullenois, an analyst of Chinese industry at the research firm Rhodium Group, told me. Where electric vehicles are concerned, “it’s very hard to imagine the industry growing as fast without government support.”

…Rather than encouraging spending on goods, all of the economic incentives are to make capital investment in manufacturing. China’s economic model favors producers over consumers, which holds down household incomes and limits their spending. Lacking customers at home, Chinese industry is forced to seek them abroad.

…Xi Jinping seems set on making matters worse. His principal economic goal of achieving “self-sufficiency” aims to reduce what China purchases from other countries and substitute goods made by foreign companies with Chinese alternatives—especially in industries, such as green energy, that other governments find strategic. In doing so, Xi is practically inviting more intense trade disputes.

China’s government tolerates free enterprise and free markets only up to the point that they serve the ruling party’s political interests. The logic in Beijing (and Germany, Japan, etc) is that people exist to produce, rather than enjoy, things – and workers in other countries lose jobs as a result. At some point, trade-deficit countries are going to lose patience with a country that accounts for 30% of global manufacturing but only 13% of consumption. That moment has been a long time coming.

From 9 Dash Line – China is losing its grip on the South China Sea…

China continues to expand its claims with the recently released 10-dash line “standard map” that it wrongly believes would tighten its claims. However, the tide is turning. The neighbouring nations are growing weary of Beijing’s coercive tactics, drawing their lines against the revisionist power, demanding respect for national sovereignty, and uniting around a Free and Open Indo-Pacific

Really? The Philippines is clearly hitting back. Malaysia, on the other hand, seems spineless, while Vietnam’s communist rulers can’t bring themselves to square the ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend’ equation.

On YouTube, US Naval War College professor Sarah Paine on the prospect of a Chinese attack on Taiwan…

‘I can’t imagine the Chinese being less brutal (than Russia in Ukraine)’

And Chinafile looks at how Beijing is trying to make Uighurs eat congee and cut out the lamb and carrots…

The CCP views many facets of Uyghur life as “backward,” so it seeks to refashion Uyghur cultural expression in a way it finds both intelligible and non-threatening, promoting a set of officially sanctioned “Han” tastes and habits as the standard for hygiene, modernity, and normalcy. In the case of food, Beijing often works to impose this standard through direct interventions with local women. Even when authorities extol the virtues of the cuisine of the region, they often speak not specifically of “Uyghur food” but of “Xinjiang food,” as though the dishes so many Han tourists enjoy have their origins in geography rather than the practices and culture of the Uyghur people. At the same time, officials consider ethno-cultural diets of Uyghurs—especially if they are shaped by Islamic law—as obstacles to ethnic unity at best and a gateway to extremism at worst.

…the introduction of “Chinese cuisine” into Uyghur communities is a key part of the Party-state’s comprehensive “stability work.”

…For some work, changes in diet must start with breakfast. Villages in Yeken (Ch. Shache) and Khotan hosted household school trainings that provided instruction on preparing morning meals. Dishes included scallion pancakes, fried dough sticks, cold cucumber, fried eggs, congee, porridge, and milk tea. The goal: transform the monotonous “traditional” (i.e., Uyghur) breakfast of nan and tea.

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4 Responses to Consuming, rather than producing, end-of-week stuff

  1. Irritable Gweilo Syndrome says:

    “Walking on a beach in a typhoon” has long been illegal in Taiwan. I’ve had friends who have been fined for it there. The foreigners in the party were let off with a warning, but the locals had to pay up as the police said “you should know better”.

  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    HK should be interesting for a tourist when half the population is in jail for blowing their nose, going on rainy day hikes (on paved walkways), riding their bikes (and being followed by a sizable % of the force, apparently), looking up songs on Youtube, playing musical instruments in public places, wearing black while being young and local, ad nauseam.
    What used to be trivial matters approached with a laissez faire attitude are now major crimes with mandatory jail time.

    “Hong Kong! Asia’s Fine City!”

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    I found a bit in The Atlantic piece particularly interesting about how the governmentally prodded EV industry has created a vast web of people jumping aboard the supply chain/service industry to enable that EV industrial complex with potentially disastrous results once the culling begins and lesser EV companies start dying and leaving the market to maybe 3-4 top producers.

    Enjoy the ride for now, I suppose.

  4. Mary Melville says:

    Kevin Yeung to boost HK at Cannes
    Secretary for Culture, Sports & Tourism Kevin Yeung will depart for Cannes, France, in the early hours of May 15 to take part in various activities at the 77th Cannes Film Festival.
    Kiss of death for the integrity of the local movie industry.

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