Some mid-week reading

SCMP reports on the ‘Dragon Slaying’ bomb plot trial…

An alleged core member of the “Dragon Slaying Brigade” has accused Hong Kong police of using threats to force him into giving false statements after his arrest over a thwarted bomb plot targeting officers during the anti-government protests in 2019.

Christian Lee Ka-tin told the High Court on Tuesday that following his arrest in 2020, some officers had instructed him to give false evidence against other suspects believed to have tested firearms and explosives in preparation for the planting of two bombs in Wan Chai on December 8, 2019….Lee said he complied because he was scared of being waterboarded or violently interrogated after he was allegedly abused following his arrest.

The police sergeant threatened to harm him and his mother, Lee alleged.

“[Fung] pulled out his service weapon and put it in my hand, and said he could use it to kill me as he could accuse me of attempting to grab his gun,” he added.

The defendant claimed that another officer had grabbed his hair and pulled his head back, before using a wet towel and shower head to waterboard him.

“The feeling was like drowning, I could not breathe and I felt like I’d almost die from asphyxiation,” Lee said.

NATO gets the wolf-warrior treatment, as the organization criticizes Beijing’s support for Russia over Ukraine. The lady doth protest too much – or at least uses the word ‘smear’ to excess.

China Media Project explains the dynamics of ‘commercial’ deals between Xinhua and media companies like AP and Reuters…

The deal between Xinhua and AP, which involved cooperation on the distribution of photos, videos and press releases, was finalized with a handshake and the exchange of signed copies. It was covered enthusiastically by Xinhua. For AP, meanwhile, the story was apparently not news — no reporting was available. The same pattern held for Reuters and PA Media Group: enthusiastic coverage from Xinhua, silence from its partners. 

These deals with Xinhua should invite tougher questions about how international media companies with a stated commitment to professional standards should deal with Chinese media giants whose sole commitment — crystal clear in the country’s domestic political discourse— is to strengthen the global impact of Party-state propaganda. 

Politico looks at Taiwan’s intensive ‘retail diplomacy’ in the US, winning friends among state governors and legislatures…

There are pro-Taiwan caucuses in more than a dozen state legislatures, in left-leaning territory like Connecticut and in MAGA bastions like West Virginia and Kentucky. Pro-Taiwan resolutions have passed in states as conservative as Utah and as progressive as Hawaii.

How many state legislatures have a Lithuania friendship caucus?

Michael Pettis on why some countries – notably China, but also Germany, Japan and others – consistently export more manufactures than they import…

Surplus economies tend to export a much wider set of manufacturing products, and they import less than they export largely because domestic demand is insufficient to convert export revenues into an equivalent amount of imports. A trade surplus, in other words, simply means that domestic demand is too weak to allow the economy to absorb the equivalent of what it produces. 

And it is almost always too weak because of the low share workers in these economies—compared to their counterparts in deficit countries—directly and indirectly retain of what they produce. This is why these economies must run surpluses to sustain employment and growth: their citizens cannot consume in line with what they produce.

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2 Responses to Some mid-week reading

  1. Chinese Netizen says:

    “How many state legislatures have a Lithuania friendship caucus?”

    Depends…how many generations of Lithuanian-Americans are there residing in the U.S. have had their kids regularly graduate from all the top name brand prestige unis and contribute to American society at the highest echelons of government, business, education, medicine, etc all while maintaining a steady, vigorous program of injecting money into the coffers of the various American political parties to ensure lobbying effectiveness for the island nation of Taiwan?

  2. Mary Melville says:

    So while the 47 face stiff sentences, judges are displaying astonishing leniency towards the public housing scammers being brought to court for failure to declare assets/providing false information.
    While the sentencing guidelines are a maximum penalty of $50,000 fine and imprisonment for six months, to date the fines have been $5,000 – $10,000 with suspended sentences of 14 days.
    Some of the scammers may have the enjoyed the subsidized housing for years and saved hundreds of thousands in rent, and all have deprived needy families on the waiting list and living in squalid subdivided units of affordable and adequate homes. This government announcement is an example:
    One judiciary, two systems, eh?

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