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What's wrong with Hong Kong (and how to fix it)

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  • DOR
    replied
    Opinion: There are two Hong Kongs. China is betting one can survive without the other.

    Keith B. Richburg, The Washington Post, September 5, 2021

    Keith B. Richburg is the director of the University of Hong Kong Journalism and Media Studies Centre and a former Washington Post correspondent.

    Hong Kong now is increasingly a story of two cities occupying the same compact space, but existing in parallel realities.

    One Hong Kong is populated by bankers and financial services professionals, real estate developers and property owners, and businesspersons whose primary pursuit is trade with mainland China. In this universe, times are good and getting better.

    The stock exchange this year reported its best quarter on record, fueled by nearly $30 billion worth of new IPO listings. Profits are up 26 percent in the first half of the year. Property sales are up, interest rates are low and new developments are being launched. Big banks are all on a hiring spree and offering new products to take advantage of China’s rapid post-pandemic economic recovery.

    And the national security law, which came into effect in July 2020? It has restored calm and stability after a year of often-violent anti-government protests.

    The other Hong Kong is populated by people in the public space — politicians, journalists, teachers, labor leaders, artists, filmmakers, those active in civil society groups as well as many students and young people. To them, Hong Kong has become unrecognizable, a place where dissent is crushed and debate stifled. They see no future here and no hope.

    More than 100 people have been arrested under the national security law, and thousands more still languish in jail or are on bail for various offenses related to the 2019 protest movement. The city’s most popular newspaper, Apple Daily, has had its assets frozen and its owner and top editors sent to jail. Political parties, student and teachers unions, human rights groups and civic organizations have all been targeted and some forced to disband. Even a popular Cantopop singer had a venue cancel her bookings for an upcoming concert series.

    Many from this universe are voting with their feet. Nearly 90,000 people have left Hong Kong in the past year, the biggest net outflow in more than half a century since records were kept, leading to a steep 1.2 percent drop in the population. The exodus has led to warnings about a pending shortage of teachers and medical professionals. Soon, there might not be enough children to fill the vacancies in schools.

    Communist Party authorities in Beijing, and their appointed leaders in Hong Kong, are taking a gamble that the first universe, the one of bankers and financial professionals, can help the city thrive and prosper without the other. They believe Hong Kong can become like Singapore or Shanghai — prosperous cities largely devoid of distracting political debates.

    From this view, Hong Kong’s future lies in integrating more closely into the southern China region known as the Greater Bay Area linking Hong Kong and Macao with nine cities in Guangdong province and encompassing more than 70 million people. The global travel market might be hammered by the pandemic, but Hong Kong plans to launch Greater Bay Airlines, with its inaugural flight to Beijing scheduled for Oct. 1, the 72nd anniversary of the Communist Party’s takeover of China.

    At a recent high-level meeting in Hong Kong, mainland officials from Beijing chided the local government for not moving more quickly to integrate Hong Kong’s economy and population with the mainland.

    And Hong Kong officials seem eager to comply. Asked about Hong Kong’s shrinking population plus the added burden of an aging demographic, Chief Executive Carrie Lam was sanguine. Hong Kong could attract mainland talent to fill the void, she said. And the elderly? They could simply retire in mainland China to ease this city’s burden.

    With China’s own looming challenges of finding jobs for university graduates, Hong Kong could indeed be its safety valve. Many of those new banking and finance jobs are being taken by mainland professionals. As one longtime expatriate businessman here wryly told me, “China wants to keep Hong Kong. They just want to get rid of the Hongkongers.”

    Hong Kong’s role as a premier global financial center has always been underpinned by its respected legal system. The new security law has created a parallel judiciary, where handpicked judges have largely deferred to prosecutors and police. But in normal cases not involving national security, judges continue to rule impartially. Even in such cases relating to the 2019 protests, judges have often acquitted suspects and criticized police for offering flimsy evidence or making contradictory statements.

    Finance and business professionals see a judicial system still functioning independently and cite the continued presence of foreign judges from common law countries. Those in the opposite universe warn of a gradual erosion of judicial autonomy.

    Can China get away with remaking Hong Kong into a financial center devoid of politics? In truth, it already has. “Hong Kong is in the final stages of becoming another Shanghai or perhaps Singapore,” an American business executive here said, speaking, like most, anonymously.

    The old Hong Kong of raucous debate and protest, of independent-minded activists and politicians and filmmakers, is gone. The new Hong Kong is being built. Whether it can continue to thrive without the old one is the only question that remains.

    (I served on the board of governors of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong with Keith; he has lived in the city a long time, and knows his stuff.)

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  • DOR
    replied
    Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post

    Oh, how touching. Now I wonder just who these 4,000 local residents were? The average Joe or those with status? Pretty impressive meeting with 363 people each day.
    The Liaison Office does not suffer from a manpower shortage, and regularly holds "meet and greet" with housing estate residents. A single housing estate can easily have 4,000 residents.

    Leave a comment:


  • tbm3fan
    replied
    Originally posted by DOR View Post


    Staff for the Chinese agency, including Director Luo Huining, met with almost 4,000 local residents between Sept. 30 and Oct. 10, according to a statement posted on the office’s website Tuesday. Their mission was to convey “the central government’s care and love for Hong Kong, and in-depth understanding of the policy of benefiting Hong Kong and the people,” the office said.
    Oh, how touching. Now I wonder just who these 4,000 local residents were? The average Joe or those with status? Pretty impressive meeting with 363 people each day.

    Leave a comment:


  • JRT
    replied
    Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Unfortunately can't access. Nonetheless, I can't see how anyone would think those 23 million in Taiwan would be happy to give up their freedoms in exchange for a version of slavery which is what Xi is all about.
    A sometimes workable workaround is to translate the website using Google Translate in an incognito tab in Chrome. This time it worked for me. Try the link.

    https://www-nytimes-com.translate.go...&_x_tr_pto=nui

    Leave a comment:


  • DOR
    replied
    China Hands Hong Kong 500-Point To-Do List, SCMP Says

    by Jenni Marsh, Oct 12, 2021: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...list-scmp-says

    China’s top agency in Hong Kong handed the city’s leaders a to-do list with 500 policy demands, according to local media, evidence of Beijing’s growing footprint in the Asian financial hub.

    The Liaison Office assembled the list after consulting with local residents over the past few weeks, the South China Morning Post newspaper said Tuesday, citing a person familiar with the matter. The body planned to handle those tasks that relate to the functions of mainland authorities, such as cooperation with neighboring cities in southern China, as well as the reopening of the border.

    A spokesperson for Lam’s office declined to comment, saying they weren’t aware of the report.

    Staff for the Chinese agency, including Director Luo Huining, met with almost 4,000 local residents between Sept. 30 and Oct. 10, according to a statement posted on the office’s website Tuesday. Their mission was to convey “the central government’s care and love for Hong Kong, and in-depth understanding of the policy of benefiting Hong Kong and the people,” the office said.

    The outreach drive coincided with Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s delivery last week of an annual policy address, suggesting that the once low-profile body was becoming more active in governing the former British colony. Beijing has tightened its grip on Hong Kong, imposing a national security law in June 2020 that supersedes the city’s charter.

    Leave a comment:


  • tbm3fan
    replied
    Unfortunately can't access. Nonetheless, I can't see how anyone would think those 23 million in Taiwan would be happy to give up their freedoms in exchange for a version of slavery which is what Xi is all about.

    Leave a comment:


  • DOR
    replied
    This is the best article I've seen on the suppression of freedom in Hong Kong, and how Taiwan is negotiating the dangerous path of its relations with China. The depth of understanding of both Hong Kong and Taiwan is astonishing, particularly for an author who casually mentions having to use an interpreter.

    Is Taiwan next?, by Sarah A. Topol,
    The New York Times Magazine, August 8, 2021


    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/04/m...wan-china.html



    Leave a comment:


  • DOR
    replied



    Hong Kong charged 47 of the 53 prominent political activists with crimes under the draconian National Security Law. The main charge is planning to hold a perfectly legal primary to identify candidates for a now-“postponed” legislative election.

    The government says that by using the primary, the group were intending to win a majority of the seats in the Legislative Council, and then to “paralyze the Hong Kong government.” Because the government did not think it could continue to hold enough seats to prevent such a perfectly legal outcome, it decided to arrest its opponents.

    Leave a comment:


  • DOR
    replied
    Nov 2020 update


    HKMAO: Beijing's watchdog Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office

    CE: Chief Executive (of Hong Kong SAR)

    NSL: National Security Law

    BL: Basic Law




    Today (Nov 17), HKMAO deputy Zhang Xiaoming said -4 dissidents had been removed from LegCo, setting a good example
    • the HK judiciary needs to be reformed as suggested by H Litton (introduce a sentencing council)
    • the BL needs to change with the times
    • Former CE CY Leung said HK youth could be brainwashed and turn murderous like Islamist terrorists in Europe
    • The DoJ appointed a National Security judge to deal with the case of Tam Tak-chi, who is not charged under the NSL
    • Former head of the Basic Law Committee Qiao Xiaoyang said the BL can only be understood through Beijing's perspective and people should stop looking at it from HK
    • Beijing scholar Tian Feilong accused The Alliance of subversion, collusion, staging a color revolution, displaying “untrue and provocative” information about the Tiananmen massacre
    • Finally a professor was attacked in pro-Beijing press and her words twisted to refer to HK independence and a former government offical (and former pan-dem) Fung Wai-kwong called on her university to fire her.

    CCP-controlled state media claim that even puns of banned HK protest slogans, such as “Heal Hong Kong, Fight Against the Epidemic of our Times,” which are printed on surgical masks and sold by pro-democracy shops, are violating the National Security Law. One of the most popular slogans during the recent protests was “Free Hong Kong. Revolution in our time.”



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  • Officer of Engineers
    replied
    Originally posted by astralis View Post
    in this way Xi is very much like Putin: it takes a smart person to do really dumb things.
    *** Looking at the US COVID response *** Name me one thing that Putin and Xi did that even came close to Trump?

    Leave a comment:


  • astralis
    replied
    Xi isn't interested in 1C2S, nor is he really interested in peaceful reunification with Taiwan on anything other than utter submission.

    in this way Xi is very much like Putin: it takes a smart person to do really dumb things.

    Leave a comment:


  • DOR
    replied
    How Hong Kong's Dream Died

    Investigation of a Death Long Feared: How China Decided to Impose its National Security Law in Hong Kong


    By Minxin Pei, Sept 1, 2020, China Leadership Monitor (https://www.prcleader.org/pei-2)

    Synopsis:
    China’s imposition of a national security law in Hong Kong has effectively ended the “one country, two systems” governance model in the former British colony. *Available evidence suggests that this was one of the options for Beijing in order to quell the unrest in the city. *Chinese leaders were reluctant to resort to this drastic measure until last year when protests against a controversial extradition law resulted in mass demonstrations and escalating violent confrontations between protesters and police. Our open-source research suggests that because the events in Hong Kong were deemed by Chinese leaders as touching the “bottom line” set by Xi Jinping in his speech commemorating the twentieth anniversary of Hong Kong’s reversion to Chinese rule on July 1, 2017, they decided to use this option. The decision to impose a national security law was likely made between late July and the end of August 2019 with little involvement of the SAR’s leadership.
    One Country, Two Systems: “...the case of the skeptics has been thoroughly vindicated. The end of the HKSAR as a semi-autonomous entity came much sooner than expected – less than half-way through the 50-year grace period promised by China.”

    Implications: “By breaking probably its most important international commitment, Beijing has seriously undermined its credibility, alienated potentially neutral actors such as the countries in Europe, and greatly bolstered Washington’s case for confronting China before it is too late.” and, “Another grave long-term consequence of Beijing’s imposition of the NSL is the total discrediting of the OCTS model, originally conceived as a plausible framework for Taiwan’s eventual peaceful reunification with the mainland.”


    Comment: Professor Pei assumes that as of July 2019, nearly a year before any action was taken, the alternative to imposing a harsh national security law on Hong Kong was to send in the troops – the paramilitary People's Armed Police (PAP) or even the People's Liberation Army (PLA) – to crush dissent.

    While Pei usefully points out that blaming external forces was part of the justification, and little else, he also highlights the repeated references to the dangers of a 'color revolution' as one of the most important considerations.

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  • DOR
    replied
    The COVID Economy, Hong Kong Q-2 2020 Edition


    According to preliminary estimates, Hong Kong's economy contracted 9% in the second quarter of 2020, after falling 9.1% in Q-1. Private consumption fell 14.5% (vs. -10.6% in Q-1), and capital investment by 20.6% (-15.8%). Two-way trade fell 10.9%, with imports dropping more quickly than exports, and services trade falling by nearly half. See: https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/...0072900384.htm

    Retail sales, which have fallen for 17 straight months year-on-year, dropped 35.1% in the first half of 2020, after discounting mild inflation (+2.5% on the retail deflator). Tourist arrivals are down more than 88% from last year. Arrivals since February have been off 98-99.9%. https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/...0073000272.htm

    In normal times, that news might have dominated the headlines, but these are not those times. After receiving 184 nominations for legislative elections scheduled for early September (see: https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/...0073101009.htm), the government decided to cut its expected losses and postponed the poll for a year (see: https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/...0073100898.htm).

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  • Double Edge
    replied
    Extradition treaties comes next

    Click image for larger version

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    That's what got the whole circus going isn't it. Extradition to China from HK

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  • Double Edge
    replied
    Originally posted by Oracle View Post
    In a first, India speaks up on Hong Kong

    God damned. Name China FFS. Name and shame China.
    We should be content that India decided to say something here. Anodyne as it is. It sets a precedent for the future.

    It represents a shift from the past where as a rule we do not comment on internal affairs of other countries.

    This practice is followed by Russia & China as well.

    Except China took us to the UNSC over 370.

    The reason its important to say something about HK is because its a harbinger of things to come.

    That is China exporting its domestic policy to other states.

    HK today, more countries along its periphery tomorrow.

    Internal security law, yes in other countries.

    China does not occupy these countries and force it down their throats, these countries gradually adopt Chinese laws

    They will call it Pax Sinica

    A milder form is BRI that does this with standards
    Last edited by Double Edge; 05 Jul 20,, 01:48.

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