Sunday, May 26, 2019

China will not pass U.S. GDP nor GDP per capita unless its culture evolves; middle-income trap

I kept hearing and reading that "China's economy will pass the USA's anytime soon" and "China will be the #1 super-economic-power from 2030 on" and so-on and so-forth. Yet, a few factors made me doubt the assertion:

  • By Chinese academics themselves, China's population has essentially plateaued, and is going to start shrinking in less than 10 years. Meanwhile, the USA's population keeps growing, thanks to a healthy dose of immigration and very slightly higher birth rate
  • The Chinese economy is at the end of its 'low-hanging fruit' economic boom, with GDP-per-capita growth shrinking rapidly year-on-year
My question therefore was: will China's economic engine have enough 'stream' to pass the USA's for a brief number of years, or will the USA/China GDP gap fail to close?

On the chart above (Google/World Bank), it certainly looks like China's economy is trending to pass the USA's in 10 to 20 years. Let's us dig into the data... 

China's fertility rate is below replacement rate, and its net migration is negative

China has seen a huge surge of its population, starting at the beginning of the 18th century, and all the way into the mid-20th century when fertility peaked and fell dramatically between 1965 and 1995 where it stayed relatively stable, yet below the replacement rate. 
While the mid-80s to mid-90s fall in fertility can be attributed to the one-child policy, the sudden rise in family wealth of the 90s to this day has created a condition akin to every other secular nation in the world; couples are delaying having a child, or do not have one at all, as is illustrated on the chart below. 

Furthermore, China's net migration rate is negative (-0.4%) while the USA's is positive at 3.9%. 

China is currently facing a situation of a diminishing population trend.

China's GDP-per-capita growth is slowing down at a fast pace while the USA's is relatively stable

The chart below plots the GDP per-capita of a few territories in focus from year 2000. What is interesting to note is that while the world is impressed with China's newfound economic might, its GDP-per-capita is still and order of magnitude smaller than Hong Kong's, Singapore's, Macao's, and the United States'.

This is important to note because although there are a lot more millionaires in China than there are in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macao combined, it does not mean that China is richer; it means that China is more populous.
And since total GDP is a factor of population times productivity-per-capita, if either variable stalls or reverse, the growth of total GDP can also stall or reverse...

We have seen before that this is exactly what is happening to the population trend in China; a growth reversal. It is also what is happening to China's GDP per-capita growth trend which rose between China's liberalisation and adoption of market-economics principles in the 90s and the first decade of the 21st century.
Below are two charts where the solid line is the yearly GDP-per-capita growth rate (Google/World Bank) and the dotted one is the trend (calculated by Excel), going all the way to 2030. It is clear that China's is on a rapidly diminishing growth path while the USA is more or less stable (adding the 2018 and 2019 figures would reinforce this stability trend).

To be noted: The CCP is most likely lying about its GDP growth figures

For the computation in this article, I did use the official GDP figures provided by China's CCP. However, there is a problem with these GDP growth figures; no-one knows what they really are and it is very likely that they are not quite as rosy as what the CCP would want them to be.
I thought it was important to mention it here because while the CCP can lie about these figures, it will eventually catch-up to them in the long-run (it always does) and it also makes the argument for China's GDP surpassing the USA's even less likely...

Below are some analysis from external sources:

"It's difficult to determine China's true rate of growth, as a lot of government data 'don't make sense,' according to Scissors, who is also chief economist at China Beige Book. For example, the numbers on the economy's size compared with the average income of Chinese citizens don't tally, he said.

Plenty of other analysts resort to their own metrics to get a sense of how the economy is doing.
Research firm Capital Economics examines a range of data including sea freight, electricity generation and financial lending to come up with a proxy indicator. Based on that, China's economy may have only grown by around 5% last year (2018) rather than the official rate of 6.6%."


Forecasting GDP from actuals

Using the World Bank's year 2000 to 2017 GDP-per-capita data, I used Excel forecasting feature to calculate the year 2018 to 2050 year of GDP-per-capita for both China and the USA as can be seen in the chart below.

Using population projection from the U.S. Census for the USA population, and from Chinese government sources as well as the U.N's for China's for 2020, 2030, 2040,205, it became easy to project the Chinese and American total GDP figures by multiplying the projected population figures and the matching years' projected GDP-per-capita values.

The computed figures are shown in the table below:

Some observations:
  • I didn't have the population forecast data for 2060; that is what has stopped me from plotting the trend to that year. However, it would likely indicate that the USA/China GDP gap would reverse its narrowing trend
  • The story of China's growth is one of scale due to its large population, not one of exceptional growth as it mimics all 3rd-world nations growth patterns
  • The figures used for China's GDP and therefore, its growth rate, come from the Chinese Communist Party and therefore likely inflated. subtracting 2 percentage points of growth would make the narrowing of the USA/China GDP gap even less likely
In conclusion, unless China reverse its population growth trend, or dramatically change the way it is doing business to reverse its shrinking GDP-per-capita growth rate, the total Chinese GDP will not exceed the USA's and, by 2050, the USA/China GDP gap will start to widen again.

The middle-income trap; what is needed for China to exit it

Being based in Hong Kong, I hear a lot of the CCP-apologists' rhetoric about how China is proving to be a new model for the world where an authoritarian regime is creating wealth without a need for democratic institutions such as the rule-of-law, freedom-of-speech, freedom-of-the-press, freedom-of-thoughts, separation-of-powers, etc...

Actually, the data is telling another story; China is following the developing nations pattern to a tee and, as I explained before, while it might feel to the outsider that it has reached parity with the Western world (and the large Chinese cities may be close), China is has reached a level of economic advancement similar to other 2nd world nations such as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, or Iran. The sheer size of China's population is what made this economic 'lift' different.
Bloomberg has a great write-up on the current macroeconomic situation in China:

“The confrontation comes at a critical moment for China as it tries to avoid falling into what economists call the middle-income trap, where per-capita income stalls before a nation becomes rich. Usually that happens because rising wages and costs erode profitability at factories that make basic goods like clothes or furniture, and the economy fails to make the jump to higher-value industries and services.
Only five industrial economies in East Asia have succeeded in escaping the trap since 1960, according to the World Bank. They are Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.

To join them, Xi must oversee a transformation in China’s markets, injecting more competition in financial services, upgrading technology, and tightening corporate governance, while waging a trade war with a U.S. administration bent on containing the Asian nation’s rise. Xi’s challenge is compounded by an aging workforce, the mountain of corporate and local government debt, and an environmental clean-up that will take decades.

'No major economy that is not democratic has managed to surpass the middle income trap, so the odds are not in China’s favor even without the trade war,' said Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute at the University of London. 'Abandoning the Dengist approach has raised alarm bells in the West, particularly in the U.S. This makes the task much more difficult.'

Today, China’s private sector generates 60 percent of the nation’s output, 70 percent of technological innovation and 90 percent of new jobs, according to Liu He, Xi’s top economic adviser."

Until Xi Jinping's took power, it seemed possible for China to further open-up not only its economy but also its mindset; reform the education system so that the individualism required for people to come up with the out-of-the-CCP-box ideas that would revolutionize tomorrow's business.

Instead, Xi's returning to a foregone era of top-down thinking which only works because Chinese company operate in a non-competitive environment where they are heavily supported by the government through direct and indirect investments, through a legal framework that benefits them, and via a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to enforcing employee rights and protection of intellectual property.  China’s oversized demographics which flooded the job market with hundred of millions of cheap laborers will be of no use in a Chinese post-industrial world. It is no surprise that the CCP forces technology transfer from foreign companies investing in China; they recognize the current inability of the Chinese workforce for large scale innovation.
Sure, token innovation occurs, but not on the size required for China to exit the middle-income trap.

“About 70 per cent of Hongkongers who quit a China-headquartered company blame the office culture and low salaries, according to a study published by recruitment firm Michael Page.
Many Chinese companies are entering Hong Kong as a gateway to tap into the global market. But 44 per cent of them struggle to retain talent in the former British colony, according to the survey polling 2,998 Chinese firms and employees who previously worked in such companies from different industries in September this year.
Chinese companies are also more traditional with more power difference between the chief executive and the rest of the staff. This may shock some of the Hongkongers who used to work in British companies with a more liberal management style, he added.”

The true reforms that China will need and could have it claim the title of world-leading economic-powerhouse would be:

  • Reform the education system so individual thinking is favored over CCP reverence and unconditional Chinese patriotism so China can leverage its population into a nation of individual thinkers that will bring unmatchable (due to sheer number) new ideas to market
  • Strongly enforce intellectual-property (IP) laws locally and internationally and crack down on copyright infringements at all levels so the international community can have faith in its ability to share technological advancements with China
  • Reform the legal system to implement proper rule-of-law as it is a condition for the success of long-term international trade, and to prevent capital outflow due to the rich leaving China for jurisdiction where the legal system is more predictable
  • Ending the one-party system would guarantee that failed economic and social leadership such as Jinping's will have checks-and-balance and won't be allowed to take the country down disastrous path such as Mao's Cultural Revolution

The next 10 years will be telling; it is possible that via its indirect imperialist model (aka Belt&Roads), China may achieve its goal but it seems unlikely since that model is based on 2nd world 'brick&mortar' growth.

20th century China has seen the country mostly adopt Western governance principles. In 1949, China adopted the Western system of Communism which has failed them miserably. Then, they adopted the Western system of globalised capitalism which has saved them. Whether China can accept the final Western system of social-democracy which will bring them to the next level of growth, with freedom as a by-product, remains to be seen...

P.S. Have a read at the following article which paints an interesting picture of the CCP's 'economic miracle':
P.P.S. I hear some ultra-China nationalists saying "The U.S is just afraid that they are no longer going to be the world's superpower and they are anti-China racists, blah blah blah". I think that's bunch of bull; the U.S is afraid that a dictatorship would gain the top-spot by way of cheating and stealing, which is largely what China does. Actually, there's already another economic power with a GDP right about the same size as the U.S'; Europe. Major trade wars between the two? Nope...
Data sources:

GDP growth rates data source: World Bank via Google

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Better in Hong Kong, why would anyone want to mainlandize?

Some stats which should make any Hong-Konger wonder why would they want to mainlandize. And that does not even into account that Beijing most likely fake the stats so that they look better for China than what they really are...
  • People live longer in Hong Kong
    85 years vs 78 years in Shenzhen, 82 years in Beijing, 83 years in Shanghai, and 76 years in China overall
  • Hong Kong has a much richer economy
    Its GDP is USD $46,194, USD $27,000 in Shenzhen, USD $21,188 in Beijing, USD $20,398 is Shanghai, China overall is USD $8,900 per capita
  • People are freer
    According to, Hong Kong is 'partly free', with a score of 59%, while China is 'not free', with a score of 11%
  • Health-care is better
  • Food is safer
  • Water quality is of higher quality
  • Construction standards are higher
    e.g. buildings don't fall apart after 5 years
  • Air is less polluted (locally. Most of the crap comes from the mainland)
  • Homicide rates are lower
    Homicide rate was 0.2 per 100,000 people in Hong Kong while it was 1.0 per 100,000 (5 times more)
    (and here as well, very probable that the CCP is cooking the books so, I didn't report the overall crime rate:
  • Rule-of-law
    Hong Kong is 16th out of 126 countries while China is 82nd.
  • Freedom-of-speech
    China; none. Hong Kong; not as good as pre-1997, but still much better than China
  • Freedom-of-the-press
    China; none. Hong Kong; not as good as pre-1997, but still much better than China
  • Hong Kong is less corrupted (although this is changing fast)76% clean score for Hong Kong, while China sits at 39% clean
  • Population is more educated
  • Economy is freer
  • Internet access is not restricted
Article interessant

"Il y a donc un lien de causalité entre la déconsolidation démocratique et le fait que, dans la période récente, la captation de la quasi-totalité des fruits de la croissance économique par la petite minorité des plus aisés se soit accompagnée d’une stagnation voire d’une régression du niveau de vie du plus grand nombre. "

Conclusions douteuses, quoique prévisible de la gauche Française...

La montée populiste américaine, par exemple, a peu a voir avec l'égalitarisme économique et beaucoup plus a voir avec une cassure modernité (villes) vs conservatisme (campagnes).
Meme chose pour le Canada. Dans les 2 cas, la classe moyenne ont, dans l'absolu, significativement profitées des 30 dernières années de progrès économique.

Et que dire de la France et de ses gilets jaunes, certainement un mouvement des plus populistes qui existent présentement dans le monde. La France est certainement aussi un des pays avec le plus ample cadre légal pour la protection et redistribution économique.

Les exemples abondent.

Je ne nie pas la pression exercée par les inégalitées économiques dans le processus de desafectation politique, mais il n'en est bien souvent pas la cause principale.

Il me semblerait plutot que la source se trouve au contraire dans la nature non-participative (l'encroutement) des institutions démocratique qui sont maintenant uniquement associées a l'intelligentsia dans leur definition et mise en place.

Au final, c'est le système d'éducation qui est malade car il enseigne que la politique est un monde séparé de la vie de tout les jours réservé a certain qui nous 'gouvernent'.

Lorsque que la politique s'ouvrira a tous, le populisme deviendra chose du passé.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Hong Kong, and China: rule-of-law, freedom & democracy tracking (#2, continued)

To me, the critical values a society has to protect above all are related to democracy. The rule-of-law (justice), independent judiciary/legislative/executive, separation of church and state, freedom of the press, protection of private property, freedom of travel, thought and expression. And once these are secured, the freedom for each citizen to elect who is going to represent them in government.

However, and maybe as a result, I also believe that equality of outcomes is not as important (if at all important) as providing equality of opportunities. Equality before the law trumps order. Opportunities to dream and be free to pursue these dreams more important than social normalization.

With the fall of the U.S.S.R., and the opening-up of China, the world could have hoped to reach, as Francis Fukuyama puts it, the "end of history"; liberal democracies as the final stage of society's evolution.

I still firmly believe in that vision but it is being threatened by autocratic populists on both side of the political spectrum, herding people, with comforting lies, ever closer towards the dismissal of these democratic institutions.

I do believe that the democratic culture will ultimately prevail in countries that have built it over centuries.

I am not sure that the same can be said of the countries that have, over hundred of years, been dominated by supreme rulers or single party systems.

I thought that the rise of the Chinese middle-class would also see the rise of the political will for change. However, it seems that repression and the CCP's propaganda machine have managed to 
effectively shut dissent 

I believe that the Chinese Communist Party is the greatest threat to the global freedom of individuals, and a major impediment to democracy's progress. I also believe that a rational look at the behavior and outcomes of the actions of the CCP is the best way to make sure that the Chinese people demand change for their governance and ultimately break the one party system.

I will use this entry and update it as I find more information which I consider important in that reflection on the suppression of the democratic thought process by the CCP, as well as events that are impacting Hong Kong's democratic institutions and aspirations.

Note: the following documentary gives a very thorough and fascinating background to the current situation in China and Hong Kong:

''Hong Kong press?"

''Money moving out?"

"HONG KONG (Reuters) - Some Hong Kong tycoons have started moving personal wealth offshore as concern deepens over a local government plan to allow extraditions of suspects to face trial in China for the first time, according to financial advisers, bankers and lawyers familiar with such transactions.

One tycoon, who considers himself potentially politically exposed, has started shifting more than $100 million from a local Citibank account to a Citibank account in Singapore, according to an adviser involved in the transactions.

'It’s started. We’re hearing others are doing it, too, but no-one is going to go on parade that they are leaving,' the adviser said. 'The fear is that the bar is coming right down on Beijing’s ability to get your assets in Hong Kong. Singapore is the favoured destination.'”

''Hong Kong's first bona-fide CCP dictator?"

"No concessions. That was the message from Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor as she refused to ease back from a controversial amendment to the fugitive law despite Sunday's mass protest.

But she did say there would be regular reports about implementation after the amendment went into force.

She was talking after a stunning 1.03 million protesters took to the streets on Sunday, according to organizer Civil Human Rights Front, which called for the amendment bill to be withdrawn.
Protesters had also called for Lam along with Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah and Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu to step down.

Lam's response to that was no one was going - a message she delivered flanked by Cheng and Lee during a press conference at government headquarters yesterday.
'But there are also more than 300 social groups supporting our works, and many citizens showed their support in many other ways,' she added. 'So when there are controversial issues, especially those involving the mainland, society tends to be polarized.'
As chief executive, Lam said, 'I will need to achieve balance between different opinions.'
During her election campaign in 2017, Lam promised she would resign if mainstream public opinion no longer allowed her to function as fully as chief executive, and she was asked yesterday whether she would keep her promise.

Her response: 'What I promised is to make Hong Kong a society of the rule of law, civilization, harmony and tolerance. In every aspect of our society, including economic growth and especially in terms of innovation technology, our efforts in the past two years have been acknowledged by many.'

"'China resolutely supports the SAR government’s amendment and is not worried about the impact on the business environment,' Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, noting the authorities’ estimated protest turnout figure was 240,000 – much lower than the number organisers touted.
In an interview with the Post on Monday, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung noted the 'unusual number' of critical statements by various foreign governments over the bill."

  • Unwillingness to hear and abide by the will of the vast majority of Hong Kongers
  • Willingness to lie and use false-equivalence to paint a situation of 'chaos' and social disorder which she has herself created
  • Complete alignment with Beijing's demonization of democraties, labelling their legitimate concerns as 'foreign interference' 
  • Authoritarian decision making that accepts no other way but her own way, which also happens to be the CCP's way

"Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has spoken of her preference to serve just one term as Hong Kong's leader. In fact, she told a special phone-in program on RTHK that this was a condition of her husband for her taking up the job." 
October 13th, 2017


"The Law Society has made an 11-page submission calling on the government to shelve the fugitive law amendment.

This follows the Bar Association's strong opposition to the amendment.

The society warned the amendment would have far-reaching and important implications, so there should be comprehensive review of the current extradition laws and extensive consultations.

The fact that the mainland had signed but not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also exacerbated people's concern about the prospect of being extradited there, as "the legal amendment could be conveniently be used for political persecution and suppress freedom of speech."

The society said local courts could not act as effective gatekeepers under current fugitive laws as documents in support of extradition could be submitted without further proof and evidence by the defense could not be offered as a counterargument.

The society suggested committal proceedings be introduced, and that "mandatory procedural requirements are laid down for both the prosecution and the defense to comply with," adding the defense be allowed to "give evidence and call evidence."

In the NewYork Times

"China's WeChat is a site for social interaction, a form of currency, a dating app, a tool for sporting teams and deliverer of news: Twitter, Facebook, Googlemaps, Tinder and Apple Pay all rolled into one. But it is also an ever more powerful weapon of social control for the Chinese government.
I was in Hong Kong to cover the enormous candlelight vigil marking 30 years since the People's Liberation Army was ordered to open fire on its own people to remove the mostly student protesters who'd been gathering in and around Tiananmen Square for months in June 1989.
Naturally I took photos of the sea of people holding candles and singing, and posted some of these on my WeChat 'moments'.
Chinese friends started asking on WeChat what the event was? Why were people gathering? Where was it?

That such questions were coming from young professionals here shows the extent to which knowledge of Tiananmen 1989 has been made to disappear in China.

I answered a few of them, rather cryptically, then suddenly I was locked out of WeChat.

'Your login has been declined due to account exceptions. Try to log in again and proceed as instructed,' came the message on the screen.

Then, when I tried to log back in, a new message appeared: 'This WeChat account has been suspected of spreading malicious rumours and has been temporarily blocked…'

It seems posting photos of an actual event taking place, without commentary, amounts to 'spreading malicious rumours' in China.

I was given time to try and log in again the next day after my penalty had been served.

When I did I had to push 'agree and unblock' under the stated reason of 'spread malicious rumours'.

''Must read"

Very, very good article in Foreign policy. Take 5 minutes and read it all... Abstracts:

"Authoritarian governments deploy a range of strategies to maintain their grip on power. Sometimes, they terrify their citizens into submission. At other times, they take a softer approach, trying to persuade the public that democratic contestation threatens stability and prosperity. A middle way strategy looks to grind people down until they are too tired to resist and give up hope for change.

But as Chinese President Xi Jinping has concentrated power and suppressed opposition in mainland China like no leader since Mao Zedong, so too has he looked to stamp out dissent in politically defiant Hong Kong. It doesn’t help that the city is an ever-shrinking part of China’s GDP; a region that was once critical to its success is now one city among many, with an economy similar in size to the neighboring metropolises of Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

The pace of the erosion of freedoms and autonomy in Hong Kong in recent years has been relentless, even though it was those very attributes that made the financial center a global success story.

Within the last three years, the Hong Kong government, which is appointed by Beijing, has taken many unprecedentedly repressive steps.

It has disqualified elected lawmakers, banned young activists from running for office, prohibited a political party, jailed pro-democracy protest leaders (including a sitting lawmaker and two respected professors), expelled a senior foreign journalist, and looked the other way when Beijing kidnapped its adversaries in Hong Kong."


"A record turnout of more than 180,000 people, according to organisers on Tuesday night, turned Hong Kong’s Victoria Park into a sea of candles in an emotionally charged vigil to mark the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
After months of political turmoil and mounting concerns about diminishing freedoms, brought to a head by the government’s recent push to change the city’s extraditions laws to allow criminal suspects to be sent back to mainland China, Hongkongers came out in force for the biggest gathering on Chinese soil to mourn the victims of June 4, 1989.

Police put the turnout at a far more conservative 37,000 at its peak.
At 8.20pm, organisers closed entry to six soccer pitches, each accommodating some 20,000 people, as the crowds still pouring in had to be diverted to an adjacent lawn."

So, even if the soccer pitches were just half full, which was absolutely not the case (they were packed! I was there), that would still be 60,000. Police clearly underestimated the count.  Note that it seems to be the case that police underestimate since the 2014 Occupy movement, coincidence?

"Key foreign envoys to Hong Kong on Monday raised the stakes in their opposition to the city’s controversial extradition bill, with some saying they would consult their governments on what action to take if the local administration insisted on pushing it through the legislature.
After a closed-door lunch attended by more than 30 consuls general and other consular representatives, along with 21 lawmakers, at the Legislative Council, one opposition politician quoted some diplomats as saying a unilateral review of their governments’ bilateral relations with Hong Kong was an option, but others did not confirm this."

"Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said some envoys had expressed support for the bill, but she declined to identify them."

Starry-pants on fire!

The following would be hilarious if it were in a slapstick movie... but it is unfortunately real quotes...

"Beijing's human rights are in the 'best period ever,' said China's embassy in the United States as it crossed swords with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the June 4 crackdown.

In a strongly worded statement, Pompeo called on Beijing to mark the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising by releasing all prisoners jailed for fighting human rights abuses in China.

He again urged China to make a full public account of those killed or missing in the 1989 incident who he referred to as 'heroes' who inspired future generations to call for freedom and democracy around the world.

Over the decades that followed the incident, the US hoped that China's integration into the international system would lead to a more open, tolerant society, he said.

'Those hopes have been dashed. Today Chinese citizens have been subjected to a new wave of abuses, especially in Xinjiang, where the Communist Party leadership is methodically attempting to strangle Uygur culture and stamp out the Islamic faith, including through the detention of more than one million members of Muslim minority groups,' he wrote.

China's embassy in the US expressed 'strong dissatisfaction' with Pompeo's statement, saying the intervention in China's internal affairs was made out of 'prejudice and arrogance.'

The embassy added: 'The Chinese government and people reached the verdict on 1989 long ago. After four decades of reform and opening up, China's human rights are in the best period ever. The Chinese people have the best say on China.'

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a press briefing in Beijing that Pompeo's statement "maliciously attacks China's political system, denigrates the state of China's human rights and religious affairs, wantonly criticizes China's Xinjiang policy and severely interferes in China's domestic affairs."

''June 4th. Never forget"
These barring of freedom & democracy activists entering Hong Kong started after 1997. 
That's the start, then they will pass Article 23 and claim that these June 4th vigil is compromising Hong Kong's security and China's integrity by questioning its government. That's how a free society turns into a dictatorship ; bit by bit, under the pretence of social order...

''June 4th. Never forget"


"Some Hong Kong judges fear they are being put on a collision course with Beijing as the special administrative region’s government pushes for sweeping legal changes that would for the first time allow fugitives captured in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Three senior judges and 12 leading commercial and criminal lawyers say the changes, called the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance amendment bill, mark one of the starkest challenges to Hong Kong’s legal system and are increasingly troubling its business, political and diplomatic communities.

It is the first time judges - who by convention don’t comment on political or legislative matters - have discussed the issue publicly.

The city’s independent legal system was guaranteed under the laws governing Hong Kong’s return from British to Chinese rule 22 years ago and is seen by the financial hub’s business and diplomatic communities as its strongest remaining asset amid encroachments from Beijing. Hong Kong’s extensive autonomy is guaranteed until 2047.

The judges and lawyers say that under Hong Kong’s British-based common law system, extraditions are based on the presumption of a fair trial and humane punishment in the receiving country – a core trust they say China’s Communist Party-controlled legal system has not earned.

'These amendments ignore the importance of that trust - and in the case of the mainland, it simply doesn’t exist,' one highly experienced judge told Reuters on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

'Many of us see this as unworkable,' the judge said. 'And we are deeply disturbed."


"Beijing officials told foreign journalists on Tuesday to 'inject positive energy' into their coverage of proposed changes to Hong Kong’s extradition laws, according to China’s foreign ministry.

The briefing, attended by Reuters, CNN, CNBC, Kyodo News and the Financial Times, was organised by the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong.
Outgoing president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) Hong Kong, Florence de Changy, told HKFP that she rejected attempts by governments to influence foreign reporting: 'I would only comment [saying] that it is not in the tradition of the western media to be told what to write or what tone to adopt by any government… We [the FCC] have invited the Chinese authorities to present their views at the FCC and I hope they will do in due time.'”

"China will give a five-year tax break to its home-grown semiconductor makers and software developers in a bid to bolster the industries as the trade war shifts to an assault on Chinese technology."

"Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed the need for self-reliance and innovation in a rallying call to the country to prepare to fend off various long-term challenges from the United States.
'Technological innovation is the root of life for businesses,' Xi said on Monday on a visit to Jiangxi province, state-run news agency Xinhua reported. 'Only if we own our own intellectual property and core technologies, then can we produce products with core competitiveness and [we] won’t be beaten in intensifying competition.'”

"Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she can't act on her own accord and extradite whichever fugitives Beijing wants.

One of the concerns regarding the fugitive law amendment is that people have no confidence in rule of law in the mainland, but Lam, who has the power to initiate extradition procedures and make final decisions, can't reject any extradition requests by Beijing.

In an article this month, University of Hong Kong law professor Albert Chen Hung-yee said "the concern for many people in Hong Kong is that the chief executive can hardly refuse any extradition request from central authorities."

In a question-an-answer session yesterday, Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Wong Kwok-kin voiced public concern over the mainland's judicial system and quoted Chen's opinion.

"As the chief executive is held accountable to Beijing, is it the case that the chief executive has no right to refuse the mainland's requests, and has to transfer fugitives even if the court rules against extraditing them?" Wong said.

Lam answered that she is accountable to both Beijing and Hongkongers, and the courts will be hearing cases about "everything under the sun."

"There is the fourth estate in Hong Kong, as the media has great power of supervision, thus the chief executive cannot transfer the fugitive if the court rules that he shouldn't be transferred due to a lack of evidence," Lam said. "It's not the case that chief executives can act on their accord to transfer somebody to other jurisdictions."

Wong also emphasized the suggestion that extraditions to the mainland should only be granted if the Supreme People's Court or the Supreme People's Procuratorate make a request.

Lam said the government has listened to many opinions over the past three months, and will make positive responses to some of the suggestions in the future.

Au Nok-hin of Council Front criticized Lam for falsely blaming foreign interference, which caused Beijing's intervention and eliminated alternatives to the fugitive law amendment.

"Western countries won't easily intervene, but the Communist Party eliminates all alternatives due to your accusations of Western intervention," Au said.

Lam mocked Au, saying that the pan-democrats had double standards by encouraging foreign intervention.

Meanwhile, a Chinese Chamber of Commerce delegation met the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference chairman Wang Yang in Beijing.

Chamber boss Jonathan Choi Koon-shum quoted Wang as saying that vice premier Han Zheng had stated Beijing's support for the fugitive law amendment the day before, and hopes the chamber will back the SAR government in getting it passed."


"For many decades, every democratic government in the common law world has successfully resisted efforts by the People’s Republic of China to conclude an extradition treaty. These democracies have refused to commit to forcibly delivering, for trial in China, people whom Beijing claims have violated Chinese criminal law. Australia signed an extradition treaty with Beijing, only to have its parliament reject it in 2017.

The UK, the US, Canada, New Zealand and other common law democracies have never even signed such an agreement.
...personal experiences of many Hong Kong citizens, and those of many other countries, have shown that even though 70 years have passed since the People’s Republic’s establishment and much relevant legislation has been promulgated, its criminal justice system can still not assure alleged offenders a fair trial
Despite the Chinese system’s legendary non-transparency, its failures to meet international standards of due process are well known. Arbitrary, often lengthy, secret and incommunicado detention, widespread existence of torture and frequent denial of the effective help of defence counsel are hallmarks of the process.

The police, more powerful than prosecutors and judges, dominate China’s criminal justice officialdom, and all three departments operate subject to the dictates of the Communist Party political-legal committee and the new National Supervision Commission that control them. A single party leader’s brief instruction can determine guilt or innocence, the duration of a sentence or even the death penalty."


"Public support for Taiwan’s embattled President Tsai Ing-wen has risen sharply after her tough rejection of Beijing’s call for unification talks, boosting her chances of winning her party’s nomination for the 2020 elections.
Tsai, whose popularity had been flagging at a low of 24 per cent due to widespread disapproval of her performance, has seen her approval rating climb by 10 percentage points to 34.5 per cent in the latest opinion poll by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation.
Michael You Ying-lung, foundation chairman and a hardline supporter of independence for the self-ruled island, said the turnaround in Tsai’s popularity showed there was no market in Taiwan for “one country, two systems”, the model for unification proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the beginning of January."


'Fatality of corruption in CCP's authoritarian model...'

"China’s green efforts hit by fake data and corruption among the grass roots.
China’s notoriously lax local government officials and polluting companies are finding creative ways to fudge their environmental responsibilities and outsmart Beijing’s pollution inspectors, despite stern warnings and tough penalties.
Recent audit reports covering the past two years released by the environment ministry showed its inspectors were frequently presented with fake data and fabricated documents, as local officials – sometimes working in league with companies – have devised multiple ways to cheat and cover up their lack of action.
Local governments have been under pressure to meet environmental protection targets since Chinese President Xi Jinping made it one of his top three policy pledges in late 2017. The performance of leading local officials is now partly assessed by how good a job they have done in cleaning up China’s much depleted environment.

According to the reports released this month by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, pollution inspectors have found evidence in a number of city environmental protection bureaus of made-up meeting notes and even instructions to local companies to forge materials.
Cao Liping, director of the ministry’s ecology and environment law enforcement department, said many of the cases uncovered were the result of officials failing to act in a timely manner.

“In some places, local officials didn’t really do the rectification work. When the inspections began, they realised they didn’t have enough time, so they made up material,” he said.
Environmental officials in Shizuishan, in the northwest region of Ningxia, tried to improve their results in December 2017 by ordering sanitation workers to spray the building of the local environmental protection bureau with an anti-smog water cannon. The intention was to lower the amount of pollutant particles registered by the building’s monitoring equipment.

The scheme may have gone undetected if the weather had been warmer but the next day a telltale layer of ice covered the building and the chief and deputy chief of the environmental station in the city’s Dawokou district were later penalised for influencing the monitoring results.
Similar tactics were deployed in Linfen, in the northern province of Shanxi in March 2017, when former bureau chief Zhang Wenqing and 11 others were found to have altered air quality monitoring data during days of heavy pollution.
The monitoring machine was blocked and sprayed with water to improve the data and Zhang was also found to have paid another person to make sure the sabotage was not captured by surveillance camera.

According to the environment ministry, six national observation stations in Linfen were interfered with more than 100 times between April 2017 and March 2018. In the same period, monitoring data was seriously distorted on 53 occasions."

'More despicable news than I can keep-up with...'

So many despicable news about Hong Kong and China, I just can't keep-up!

CCP-fan-boy Xiaorong Han censors review which exposes Uyghur's treatment:
"How an Academic Journal Censored My Review on Xinjiang
On January 1, 2018, I received a request from China and Asia: A Journal in Historical Studies, a new journal sponsored by the academic publisher Brill, a respected Dutch publishing house with some 275 journals under its aegis, which claims “over three centuries of scholarly publishing.” The request from the journal was to review Tom Cliff’s book Oil and Water – an ethnography about Han settler experiences in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The next day, I received a brief message from the book review editor. The editorial staff “suggest a minor change,” he wrote: to delete the entire first paragraph, in which I had outlined the situation in Xinjiang. I opened the edited document to see the first paragraph, as well as the first two sentences of the second paragraph, had been crossed out (see screenshot below). I was more confused than upset. I spent the evening and next morning trying to make sense of this editorial decision, before responding in an email asking for clarification and expressing my concerns over censorship. The book review editor forwarded my note to the editor-in-chief of the journal, Han Xiaorong.
On digging deeper, I came to believe that this was not an “honest mistake” (they chased up the review several times, after all) but that the journal would not allow my review to criticize the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) policies in Xinjiang. I discovered that the editor-in-chief, a professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, conducts formal research on Xinjiang and Tibet, and claims state-minority relations as one of his specializations. In 2013, he wrote an op-ed in Ta Kung Pao, Hong Kong’s pro-CCP paper, in which he identifies “outside influences, especially from the western world and the Muslim world” as one of six sources of the region’s unrest. I shared this information with Brill, but they haven’t responded yet."

"Both the Liaison Office's article and its director Wang Zhimin in its leader meeting showed strong support to back the #FugitiveExtraditionHK bill amendment. Meeting Ronnie Tong in Beijing, HKMAO director Zhang Xiaoming said the amendment is appropriate, reasonable and legitimate. This is not the first time officials in Beijing backing the bill amendment. Zhang Yong, deputy director of Basic Law Committee, and Chen Dong, deputy director of the Liaison Office, also said they do not want Hong Kong to become a fugitive sanctuary."

Proof that commies haven't learnt what has been saving China from collapse since 1980... globalisation capitalism, not cronyism... 

"The Communist Party in China is handing out low-interest loans to companies that prove their loyalty to the party and to Xi's ruling doctrines"

Bloomberg Businessweek, May 6, 2019

Read the following article and remember it when deportations start...

"In the current debate on extradition, some commentators have defended the mainland’s legal system, pointing to various “improvements” in recent years. We should examine such “improvements” and China’s rule of law, not in terms of the statute books, but by how people experience the rule of law.
For example, since 2002, those who aspire to join the private legal profession, the state prosecution body and the judiciary must pass a national exam. This written test, which includes multiple choices questions and essay writing, is all you need to qualify for a lawyer’s practice certificate; formal practical training is generally non-existent.
Recently, law students have been provided with standard study material on Marxist-Leninist socialist rule of law. Professors are required to take a multiple-choice test on the thoughts of President Xi Jinping and are increasingly wary that students may report their teaching to the university Communist Party committee. Tsinghua University, ranked Asia’s top university, recently suspended law professor Xu Zhangrun, who wrote articles criticising the country’s governance.
Meaningful legal aid is not yet widely available. The latest nationwide legal aid budget is around 2.2 billion yuan, compared to around HK$1 billion in Hong Kong. In Beijing, practising lawyers are obliged to take up at least one legal aid case a year, at a nominal rate of 200 yuan per case. The general impression is that lawyers who are obliged to take up these cases lack passion.

In some cities, there has been some improvement in terms of witnesses attending court proceedings. One survey indicates that, on average, in about 10 per cent of cases, defence lawyers can cross-examine witnesses in court. Even if lawyers successfully apply for leave to summon witnesses, there is no guarantee they will turn up. It is common for the police to refuse to attend court without giving a reason. 
Since the evidence leading to a conviction is predominantly confession-based, torture remains an attractive means of investigation. Also, if Chinese judges were solely concerned with the truth of a confession, there would have been fewer cases of miscarriage of justice over the years, including wrongful executions.
Chinese prosecutors’ performance is appraised annually according to the conviction rate of the cases they handled and judges must pledge loyalty to the Communist Party. A judge in Shaanxi province lost her job after finding against the local government in a case ruling that the latter’s conduct was unconstitutional. The Supreme People’s Court, upon overturning her judgment, issued a directive, stating that the constitution must not be referred to and relied upon in any court proceedings.
Since President Xi came to power, lawyers have been subject to tighter state control; they are subject to, for example, annual inspection of their licences. In 2012, the Ministry of Justice required all lawyers to take an oath that starts with pledging 'to faithfully fulfil my solemn duty as a legal practitioner under socialism with Chinese characteristics, to be loyal to the motherland and to its people, and to support the leadership of Communist Party of China and the socialist system”, before mentioning a duty to “safeguard the dignity of the constitution and the law'”.

"Wikipedia blocked in China ahead of Tiananmen Square anniversary"

Then there's Alex Lo's article on... ah... nevermind. Nobody seriously care anymore about whatever drivel Lo has to write...

'Munk Debates, always relevant...'

Is China a threat to the liberal international order?
74% say Yes, 26% say No

As usual, Munk Debates are worth watching.

''nough said...'

"Taiwan won’t ask for murder suspect if Hong Kong passes ‘politically motivated’ extradition law"
There is no rush, there is no reason, and Carrie Lam is a liar...

'Failure of logic...'

A friend told me recently that the Hong Kong government's problem is that they are a bunch of bureaucrats that are more concerned about processes and rules than results that benefit Hong-Kongers. This was somewhat of a revelation to me as I couldn't fathom the source of the incompetence of the current and prior administrations (since 1997); it is the level-0 of incompetence "They don't know what they don't know"

Worthy proposal from the pan-dems:

Yet rejected by the bureaucrat because it would change the way they do things...

Typical bureaucrat answer.

The answer for accountability: fully elected government.

P.S. Of course, town-idiot Ronny Tong provides his tidbit of incoherence:
" Ronny Tong: People Against Bill Amendment Don't Believe in 1C2S, Better Emigrate

ExCo member Ronny Tong said the proposals mentioned in the community with regard to the bill amendment are practically or technically impossible, and that reflects people proposing these packages do not understand the principles of amending the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance (FOO) or even misunderstood the government's proposal. Tong added that those who are against the amendment do not believe in the judicial independence in Hong Kong as well as One Country, Two Systems (1C2S). Their concerns cannot be solved and there is no room for discussion, so these people should emigrate to elsewhere, Tong said.

The ExCo member also said the current FOO was enacted during the colonial era. Back then, there was no requirement of handing fugitives to jurisdictions under the ICCPR. Tong pointed out that the UK and the US also surrendered fugitives to some countries not under the ICCPR, so he has doubts over whether it is needed to set such a principle."

'Know thy enemy...'

Garbage article in The Standard by a certain Susan Liang who obviously has no clue what the Rule-of-law means, probably because her law degree only served to close property deals...

Let's review the falsehoods:

"The jailing of four leaders of the Occupy Central movement is a message to all those who aspire to advance their own ideas of democracy that they should do it 'peacefully.'
By occupying Central, the life and hub of this city, it is a form of "violence" imposed on the silent majority who may not share in their fight for immediate full democracy.
The offer from China was one man, one vote, but from a pool of preselected candidates, which was rejected by the pro-democracy camp.

The silent majority prefers stability and a step-by-step progression to democracy through negotiations with the central government."

I'm quite certain that the editor forced her to use the quotes there because it was overwhelmingly recognized that the Occupy movement of 2014 was done extremely peacefully, to the point that not count of violent protest or inciting to violence could have been charged towards the organizers.
Second lie is the idea that there's a "silent majority" which prefers a "progression to democracy through negotiations with the central government". First, this will never happen as the CCP will never allow proper democracy from Hong Kong, so, there's no 'negotiation' possible beyond accepting the fact that Beijing runs the show. Hong Kongers know that full well. Second, there's no 'silent majority', that's a false concept resulting from a bogus interpretation of opinion polls. 
This is yet another example of how CCP supporters, through what is portrayed as an individual's 'opinion piece', play a part of the wider propaganda plan to convince Hong Kongers to just go with the flow and accept the unacceptable.

'China sad...'

Why would the happy country of Taiwan want to be merged into big, unhappy, communist China?

'Know thy enemy...'

" 'The essence of patriotism is to combine one's love for the country with love for the party and socialism,' said Xi Jinping to the gathered crowd of students, workers, soldiers, and local party officials.

Xi also condemned those who 'betray the motherland' as well as those who are not patriotic in support of China as a communist country.

'It's very shameful if a person isn't patriotic or even deceives or betrays the motherland. There is no place for such a person to stand anywhere,' said the autocratic ruler to his captive audience."

'Bunch of links'

"Who Owns Huawei?
In summary, we find the following:

• The Huawei operating company is 100% owned by a holding company, which is in turn approximately 1% owned by Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei and 99% owned by an entity called a “trade union committee” for the holding company.

• We know nothing about the internal governance procedures of the trade union committee. We do not know who the committee members or other trade union leaders are, or how they are selected.
• Trade union members have no right to assets held by a trade union.

• What have been called “employee shares” in “Huawei” are in fact at most contractual interests in a profit-sharing scheme.

• Given the public nature of trade unions in China, if the ownership stake of the trade union committee is genuine, and if the trade union and its committee function as trade unions generally function in China, then Huawei may be deemed effectively state-owned.

Regardless of who, in a practical sense, owns and controls Huawei, it is clear that the employees do not."

"I grew up learning that my city’s core values were rooted in the freedoms granted by the Basic Law, including freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of press and publication. Myself and many people from Hong Kong take pride in being somewhat politically separated from China, which is governed by the Chinese Communist Party that notoriously censors the internet and imprisons dissident people in China. Many citizens even call themselves “Hongkonger” which the Oxford Dictionary later adopted in 2014."

'#1 country in the world... for hacking democracies'

"Amnesty International's Hong Kong office has been hit by a years-long cyber attack from hackers with known links to the Chinese government, the human rights group said yesterday.

The hackers attempted to collect information on the group in order to obstruct its humanitarian work."


"Carrie Lam, Hong Kong Chief Executive
I want to reiterate that Hong Kong is a rule of law society, and we deeply cherish the spirit of the rule of law. No matter if it is the government or the public, they must respect and strictly adhere to the law… I cannot see how these court cases have affected freedom of speech, assembly or demonstration in the free society of Hong Kong…. Since the Handover, whenever we have issues – big and small – a lot of people, organisations and lawmakers have used Hong Kong’s freedom of expression to organise marches and public assemblies."
 Quite sad that the Hong Kong C.E. does not even know the basics of what rule-of-law is...

See more reactions on this Hong Kong Free Press article:

The Progressive Lawyers Group releases a report tracking the threats to Hong Kong's rule-of-law:


"There has been much debate about the China fugitives transfer bill. Yet, surprisingly, the government has rarely pitched Hongkongers on the reciprocity that would allow local authorities to get hold of criminals on the run beyond its jurisdiction.
This could have been good spin, given the number of criminals that have disappeared into mainland China over the years. They formed the majority of those on the wanted lists from the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).
There are two possible explanations for that. Firstly, the benefits of the amendment to Hong Kong have never come to mind. If you have never thought about it, it could be easily overlooked.
Or, alternatively, they know very well that reciprocity doesn’t really work when it comes to mainland China. That’s not an unfair assessment judging from the lessons learnt in two financial scandals."

'Human Development Index'

China has to be more like Hong Kong, not the other way around...

The United Nations' 2018 Human Development Report


"The Occupy 9 trial shows Hong Kong’s judicial standards are out of line with the rest of the world’s

Basically, these are the people who in disciplinary circles would be labelled 'ringleaders.' The charges were some interesting legal antiques involving 'inciting to commit a public nuisance,' and even 'inciting to incite a public nuisance.'

Lurking in reports of the proceedings was an interesting legal issue. All or most of the defence lawyers commented, it appears, on the length of time taken by the prosecution to charge and try the defendants, as a factor which should mitigate the resulting sentences.

The delay was as follows: the offences took place in September 2014. Some of the defendants were not arrested until January 2017 and charged a further two months later. There followed a further two-year delay before the trial.
As one of the standard textbooks puts it: “According to article 14 (3)(c) of the International Covenant and articles20 (4)(c) and 21 (4)(c) of the respective Statutes of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, every person facing a criminal charge shall have the right “to be tried without undue delay.” In the words of article7 (1)(d) of the African Charter, article 8(1) of the American Convention and article 6(1) of the European Convention, everyone has the right to be heard “within a reasonable time.”

This point is also recognised in the Department of Justice’s own Code for Prosecutors, which says that “The prosecutor must be alert to the rights of an accused which are relevant to the prosecution process, including equality before the law, the rights to have confidential legal advice, to be presumed innocent, and to have a fair trial without undue delay.” These rights are attributed to Basic Law Articles 25, 35 and 87, and  Bill of Rights Articles 10 and 11.
The European Court examines each case on its merits and does not have a stated time limit. The Supreme Court of Canada is less timid. It 'rejected the framework traditionally used to determine whether an accused was tried within a reasonable time under section 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and replaced it with a presumptive ceiling of 18 months between the charges and the trial in a provincial court without preliminary inquiry, or 30 months in other cases.'"

'C.Y 2.0'

"Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor says the Hong Kong government will create a favorable atmosphere for the enactment of Basic Law Article 23.

Several officials from Beijing had explicitly or implicitly hurried Lam to enact the security law over the past few years.

Speculation has been rife that Lam would finally do so as it is believed by some to be a prerequisite for her reelection in 2022."

'Doom for Hong Kong's freedoms'

No-one will be able to say they could not have foreseen the CCP's desire to remove freedom-of-expression from Hong Kong's mini-constitution; first, you demonize what was essentially a peaceful demonstration, then you rationalize that freedom-restricting laws are required. Then you divert laws to abolish any resistance.

"Liaison Office director Wang Zhimin yesterday accused some locals of 'colluding with anti-Chinese politicians' and posing threats to national security even as some countries are employing tactics to try to contain China.

Wang's remarks came in a speech at the National Security Education Day Hong Kong Symposium attended by representatives of the SAR administration, the Liaison Office and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.

Wang said Beijing is coping with the most complex and capricious security environment since the end of the Cold War, and some countries are desperately trying to contain China by playing the 'Hong Kong card.'

He added: 'A handful of individuals in Hong Kong are busy colluding with anti-China politicians and organizations by taking part in closed-door meetings and seminars in an attempt to badmouth Hong Kong and beg for foreign intervention.

'These few individuals, who are paid generously with taxpayers' money, have made repeated overseas pilgrimages to sell out Hong Kong for personal gain.'

And they were set to be despised by the people of Hong Kong and the entire nation, he declared.

But Wang did not go on to name anybody.

It was noted, however, that former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang and legislators Dennis Kwok Wing-hang and Charles Mok went to the United States in March and met American politicians - including Vice President Mike Pence - to express their concerns over the implementation of the one country, two systems arrangement.

Wang then moved on to identify the Occupy movement as having been a serious threat to national security.

He said: 'Many of my friends kept asking these questions: Why did some professors and scholars brazenly instigate this illegal campaign of Occupy Central that endangers national security? Why should the general public pay for the damages they inflicted?'

He also said the Occupy movement pointed to a legal loophole in Hong Kong's legal system when it came to safeguarding national security.

'There is only the responsibility of one country in terms of national security," Wang remarked, "and there is no difference between the two systems.'

He said the fact that all nine defendants in the Occupy public nuisance cases were found guilty on April 9 made that day an important one in the manifestation of the rule of law in Hong Kong.

The deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Deng Zhonghua, who arrived from Beijing for the event, said there were incidents in Hong Kong impacting the bottom line of national security and they should be handled with zero tolerance.

'This is the most important item in implementing the one country principle in Hong Kong and also the duty and responsibility of the SAR government and Hong Kong citizens,' Deng said. 'Relevant laws should be improved, and any behavior threatening national sovereignty and security should be prevented and punished.' "

"The fugitive law amendment must proceed even if the suspect in a Taiwan murder case gets released, says Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu.
Separately, the Civil Human Rights Front has called on groups that have voiced concerns over the proposed amendment bill to join its protest in front of Legco at 8am tomorrow."

'C.Y 2.0'

"Nine democracy leaders responsible for the largest civil disobedience movement in Hong Kong’s history were on Tuesday found guilty over their roles in the 2014 protests.

Judge Johnny Chan Jong-herng called the three founders of the city’s Occupy movement – academics Benny Tai Yiu-ting, 55, and Dr Chan Kin-man, 60, and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, 75 – 'naive' to suggest that by encouraging people to block roads they could force the government to bow to their political demands."

It is interesting to see how the CCP propaganda paper ChinaDaily presents this outcome:

"Hong Kong residents have plenty of reasons to feel proud of the city they call home and effective rule of law is no doubt one of the main reasons for many if not all. That is why so many locals went on social media to cheer the guilty verdict by the District Court Tuesday on a range of criminal charges against nine of the leading figures in the 79-day illegal campaign of 'Occupy Central', which caused huge losses to the SAR.

The guilty verdict was widely considered long overdue but most people knew the day of reckoning was coming. Many publicly condemned the criminal acts by some 'Occupiers' in the early days of the illegal movement. This was in sharp contrast to the hypocrisy displayed by some Western governments and politicians in encouraging such wanton challenges to Hong Kong’s rule of law — using concern about individual rights and freedoms as an excuse for illegal behavior.

Today, few if any still remember how the Western pro-democracy camp celebrated the Umbrella Movement, but people cannot but compare the recent and often violent yellow-jacket protestors in some European cities to the aggressive protesters in Hong Kong more than four years ago. Many of the demonstrators in Europe were arrested and charged with offenses such as reckless endangerment, vandalism and even arson in the wake of heavy-handed responses by local riot police and even the military."

What is probably more concerning is that some uneducated people will fall for these false-equivalencies; Occupy 2014 was by an large an extremely peacely movement. There was minimal violence, most of which was originated by the Hong Kong police force. There is definitely a reason why the nine occupy leaders were only charged with the minor crime of 'public nuisance'; because that's the only credible charge they could muster. It only makes the evidence of this Beijing-pleasing verdict more plain, by applying CCP-styled rule-by-law. 

C.Y. 2.0...
"Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor says claims her administration exploited the judiciary in the Occupy movement trial are wrong.

She made the remarks after pan-democrats slammed the trial as political revenge and Gyde Jensen, who chairs a German Bundestag panel on human rights, said it was unacceptable that protesters were intimidated when exercising freedom of speech.

Lam said: 'I think those comments are totally unsubstantiated and unfounded, and they will damage Hong Kong's international reputation in terms of our rule of law.'

She also rebuked former governor Chris Patten, who said 'anachronistic common law charges' were used in a vengeful pursuit of political activities.

'It's meaningless for someone to say whether the law is updated or anachronistic because any law on our law books are applicable,' Lam argued.

Either she is truly not the sharpest tool in the shed, or she is convinced that she must hide Beijing's pulling the strings at all costs... At any rate, she certainly seems to be clueless about the rule-of-law...

'Today in the press'

Hong Kong Basic Law Article 5: 
"The socialist system and policies shall not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years."

"Basic Law Committee vice chairwoman Maria Tam Wai-chu says Hong Kong's role in the Greater Bay Area initiative will see the SAR keep its "one country, two systems" framework after 2047, when it is set to expire.

Tam also warned yesterday that if Hong Kong becomes a base for anti-communism, it will lose its special status and high degree of autonomy.


'But if Hong Kong becomes an anti-communist base, any cooperation will be difficult, and it will be difficult to retain the one country, two systems any longer.'

Tam said Hong Kong would be in the best position to keep the high degree of autonomy if it continues with its roles in helping mainland enterprises to go global, and introducing foreign investment to the mainland.

She also called on young people to visit the mainland every year to experience the improvements achieved in past years."

Carrie Lam is truly C.Y. 2.0...

"There is no basis for omitting white collar crimes from the proposed amendment to the fugitive laws, and such exclusions would not in any event have any bearing on fundamental problems arising from a different criminal justice system in the mainland, the Bar Association argued yesterday. 

'If the exclusions are motivated by concerns over the proposed changes to the extradition regime enabling rendition of persons to the rest of the People's Republic of China, these concerns should apply to all offenses and not just some,' the statement said.

The Bar Association also believes the protection that appears to be going into place with the exemptions is 'illusory' because business people can always be extradited with alternative offenses, adding: 'An allegation of infringing intellectual property protection laws (exempted) can also give rise to allegations of obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception (not exempted).'

The administration has claimed repeatedly that it was a 'loophole' to have no long-term extradition arrangement to the rest of the PRC, but the Bar Association slammed that as a misleading assertion because it had been a deliberate decision not to include the rest of PRC into areas allowing fugitive transfers 'particularly in light of the fundamentally different criminal justice system operating in the mainland and concerns over the mainland's track records on the protection of fundamental rights.'"

"The first legislative step to amend the fugitive law was passed by the Legislative Council in relative calm, with the pro-democracy camp left with few openings to filibuster.

The first and second readings of the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 came yesterday afternoon. Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu introduced the bill for the second reading.

Legislator Kwok Ka-ki of the Civic Party made a quorum call before Lee started, and it took more than 10 minutes for enough legislators to return to the chamber for the meeting."

"The safety of reporters would be under threat if the fugitive-law amendment is approved, a joint statement by journalist groups claims.
The amendment first frustrated the business sector and pan-democrats. Now journalist groups have voiced their fears.
Four groups - the Hong Kong Journalist Association and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, trade unions of several print media, six online media and the director of the School of Communication and Journalism of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Francis Lee Lap-fung - issued the statement.
They are concerned not only of threats to journalists' safety, but also the 'chilling effect' on the freedom of expression.
'Numerous journalists have been charged or harassed by mainland authorities under criminal offenses covered by the amendment,' the statement said.
It suggested several Hong Kong journalists working in the mainland were alleged to have committed crimes on the list of misdeeds permitting extradition, such as drug possession and bribery."


While The Standard's Cheng Huan April 1st piece does read an April fool's bad joke. I wanted to address the last 2 paragraphs which state:
"Demographic trends indicate that the population of France is shifting toward being predominantly Muslim, and there's nothing anybody can do to stop it.

Beijing's leadership must be truly thankful that because China has not followed the democratic path it does not face the social dislocations and democratic disorder that plague Europe."

First, because the second paragraph is patently false; China suffers severe social dislocations as if the sending of over a million Uighur's to re-education camps, in the best neo-Mao fashion.

And second, because Mr Huan completely misses the point and core strength of democracy; its ability to bend and adjust.This is something that dictatorships such a the CCP's cannot do. It does create short term social unrest but eventually, stability returns as citizen-driven and democratic-institutions-driven adjustments are implemented. Meanwhile, post-industrial revolution dictatorships have never survived a century.

'How quick we forget...'

Over 5 years ago, Hong Kong saw an end to Occupy Central/Umbrella movement. The years following these events have seen a marked slide in Hong Kong's political independence from Beijing, and reduction of freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of expression.

As the local 2-bit commies would have it, the Occupy Central/Umbrella movement was very violent and justified the severe restrictions to freedom of speech and assembly that resulted. 

First, maybe let's re-establish some basic facts since the same local commentators got these wrong and quoted "one hundred policemen were injured". The number is actually 65, and out of these, only 40 were sent to the hospital. This pales in comparison to the 220+ civilians that had to be rushed to the hospital for injuries during the same events.

"The storming and confrontations at different locations of unlawful assemblies in recent days have resulted in the injury of 65 police officers.  According to the records of the Fire Services Department (FSD), as at November 3, a total of 262 persons, including 40 police officers, were sent to hospital by FSD ambulances due to injury or not feeling well during the protest assemblies."

The idea is not to make it a numbers game; violence should be avoided at all costs. But if there's something that correctly characterize the Umbrella/Occupy Central movement, is the extreme attention to non-violence and respect of order taken by its leaders.

Contrast this to the Hong Kong police beating of activist Ken Tsang:

Maybe even worse than the crime of the police force itself, are the disgusting comments from Beijing aligned lawmakers:

"Legislator Priscilla Leung Mei-fun of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong said she respects the court’s decision but the officers might have been forced to do what they were accused of after being provoked and insulted by the protesters.

Ann Chiang Lai-wan from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) also echoed Leung’s view, saying the case was an isolated one and their crime was the result of having been provoked."

Not to mention the Beijing-supporting media and commentators that pitched in support of restricting freedoms further or supporting police and government-led repression. Details here:

Even to the extent that the CE's adviser happily spread fake-news about cop-beatings:

"The media-and-communications adviser to Hong Kong’s beleaguered leader, Leung Chun-ying, posted a photo to Facebook on Wednesday that showed a grimacing, blood-spattered “cop” said to have been wounded in a clash with pro-democracy protesters the previous night.

The photo was being circulated by supporters of the police, keen to show that the demonstrators weren’t as peaceful as they claimed to be.


HKTV, the network set to air Night Shift, confirmed on Facebook on Wednesday that the image was of one of its actors. It posted the zombie-cop photo next to a picture of the show’s actor without his living-dead makeup."

Did Hong Kong already forget the events of 1967 where pro-communist directly supported by Beijing actually exploded bombs and fostered true social unrest?

"By the time the rioting subsided at the end of the year, 51 people had been killed, of whom 15 died in bomb attacks, with 832 people sustaining injuries"

And remember that the DAB is, from its very foundation, a pro-Beijing, pro-communist party:

"Some of the members who participated in the 1967 riot have since regained a foothold in Hong Kong politics during the early 1990s. Tsang Tak-sing, a communist party supporter and riot participant, later became the founder of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. Along with his brother Tsang Yok-sing, they continued to acknowledge Marxism in Hong Kong

In 2001, Yeung Kwong, a pro-Communist party activist of the 1960s, was awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal under Tung Chee-hwa, a symbolic gesture that raised controversy as to whether the post-1997 Hong Kong government of the time was approving the riot.

In 2017, hundreds of protesters who took part in the 1967 riots were hailed as heroes in a memorial ceremony at Wo Hop Shek public cemetery to mark the 50th anniversary of the uprising. Former finance sector lawmaker Ng Leung-sing and the Federation of Trade Unions' Michael Luk Chung-hung, along with Chan Shi-yuen, head of 67 Synergy Group were some of the prominent attendees. They called for Beijing to vindicate of the protests, which they have continued to refer to as a 'patriotic act against British colonial tyranny'"

It should be clear to all that the root cause of violence and social unrest in Hong Kong, throughout its history is the ever tightening grip of the CCP, via the unelected CE, CCP supporting political parties such as the DAB, Beijing-controlled press, and clueless political commentators...

'One country, one hell'

"March 31, 2019

Carrie Lam
Chief Executive
Office of the Chief Executive
Hong Kong

Re: Proposed Changes to Hong Kong’s Extradition Laws

Dear Chief Executive,

We are writing to express concerns about the Hong Kong Security Bureau’s proposed changes to two Hong Kong laws concerning extradition, the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance (FOO) and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance. Amnesty International, Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, and Human Rights Watch are concerned that these changes would remove existing safeguards from the process of extradition, allowing people to be sent to jurisdictions, notably mainland China, where they are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment, and unfair trials.

Under existing legislation, Hong Kong authorities can only extradite people to jurisdictions with which the Hong Kong government has standing extradition agreements or to other jurisdictions on a case-by-case basis. Changes to these arrangements must be ordered by the Hong Kong chief executive and scrutinized by the Legislative Council (LegCo).

The existing legislation excludes mainland China from these arrangements, a deliberate decision taken before Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997, reflecting public and lawmakers’ concerns about China’s poor human rights record, and to build international confidence in the territory’s “One Country, Two Systems.”

But the proposed Security Bureau changes would expand the case-by-case extradition arrangement to mainland China, enabling the Hong Kong government to transfer criminal suspects to the mainland authorities. The changes would remove the LegCo from scrutinizing these individual executive requests, a crucial layer of governmental and public oversight.

The Security Bureau contends that the amendments contain adequate safeguards for human rights because, among other elements, the crime concerned must constitute an offense in both jurisdictions and cannot be “political in nature.”

In practice, the safeguards are unlikely to provide genuine protection. The Chinese government regularly brings criminal charges recognized as legitimate and non-political, such as tax offenses, to prosecute and imprison peaceful activists, human rights defenders, and those who oppose government policy.

Moreover, the ability of Hong Kong’s judiciary to withstand pressure from China in ruling on such cases is increasingly in question. Hong Kong courts are generally known for their independence and the enforcement of procedural protections.  However, these safeguards are unlikely to be adequate when dealing with extradition requests from the mainland, including because judgments of Hong Kong courts may be subject to Beijing’s “interpretations of the Basic Law.” In 2016, the Chinese government actively interfered in a highly political court case, ejecting two pro-independence advocates elected to the LegCo.

In recent years, the Hong Kong government has increasingly made use of the legal system to silence critical voices, bringing politically motivated prosecutions against peaceful protesters. The courts have convicted and sentenced a number of them. The extradition amendments, once they pass, can present a potent tool for the Hong Kong and Beijing governments to further intimidate critics.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which applies to Hong Kong, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Hong Kong is bound, as well as customary international law, prohibit the return of individuals to jurisdictions in which there is a real risk of torture and other ill-treatment, including detention in poor conditions for indefinite periods, or other serious human rights violations. We also note the obligation to mandatorily and generally refuse extradition requests where the person sought may face the death penalty, as reflected in present Hong Kong law and practice, and that any assurances as to its non-application would have to be reliable, effective, and open to judicial overview in Hong Kong.

China's justice system has a record of arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, serious violations of fair trial rights, and various systems of incommunicado detention without trial. These problems are exacerbated because the judiciary lacks independence from the government and Chinese Communist Party. As a result, we are gravely concerned that anyone extradited to China will be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment and other grave human rights violations.

We urge the Hong Kong Security Bureau to rescind its proposals to amend the legislation.

We look forward to your reply and would be pleased to discuss these matters with appropriate officials at your convenience.


Man-kei Tam
Amnesty International Hong Kong

Law Yuk Kai
Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor

Sophie Richardson
China Director
Human Rights Watch

CC: John Lee Ka-chiu, Secretary for Security"

'One country, one country'

"Amnesty International Hong Kong warns of severe deterioration for human rights in its annual review

The human rights review highlights how the Hong Kong government is increasingly using 'national security' as an excuse to deprive people in Hong Kong of their human rights. Individuals who advocate for Hong Kong’s independence or self-determination, by non-violent means, are cast as a threat to 'national security', and their peaceful activism is branded ‘illegal’, in breach of Hong Kong’s human rights law and the government’s obligations to uphold international human rights standards."

'More lies from the middle-kingdom'

Remember that less than 18 months ago, China was claiming that these camps did not even exist!

"China on Thursday hit back at criticism from the United States’ top diplomat who called its treatment of Muslims “shameful hypocrisy” after speaking with a former prisoner from a Chinese detention camp.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the comment after meeting with Mihrigul Tursun, a member of the Uighur ethnic group who has spoken publicly in the US about what she said was widespread torture in China’s prisons for the minority group.

Beijing claims the camps are “vocational training centres” that provide language classes and employment, steering locals away from extremism."

'Status report: pants still burning'

"A coalition of campaigners made the remarks two days after Hong Kong’s No 2 official Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said at the five-yearly Universal Periodic Review session in Geneva that the “one country, two systems” principle was successfully implemented.
When French representatives raised suggestions about guaranteeing freedom of expression, assembly and association in Hong Kong, the Chinese delegation said this was 'accepted and already implemented'.
When Canada recommended that people in Hong Kong should be able to join the government without distinction, the delegation said this was 'accepted and being implemented'."

'Liar liar, pants on fire!'

"Chen Zhimin, who held the senior security post from 2009 to 2017, said mainland authorities "have the names of every single one of these people," adding that they were wanted for serious crimes.
Chen, who is now a member of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said Hong Kong had returned to China for more than 20 years but had still not reached an extradition arrangement with the mainland. He urged the SAR to improve, saying many foreign countries and even Taiwan had already reached such agreements with the mainland."

Absolutely a lie!

'Old goat'

"Hong Kong plans to make it possible for the first time to extradite criminals to China in a move that critics worry could be misused by Beijing to detain people passing through the international business hub for political or other reasons.

The territory’s security bureau this week proposed to amend a law that has long prevented the transfer of fugitives from Hong Kong to either China, Macau or Taiwan, to instead allow extradition requests from the three jurisdictions to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The suggested changes would allow Hong Kong’s chief executive, who is appointed directly by Beijing, to issue arrest certificates. A final decision on the surrender of fugitives would be decided by a court as a safeguard for defendants’ legal and human rights."

"Taiwan’s top government agency handling cross-strait affairs has forcefully rejected the claim that it was responsible for Hong Kong’s latest attempt to update its extradition law.

Pro-Beijing heavyweight Maria Tam, who was attending the 'two sessions' meeting in Beijing, told reporters on Thursday that Taiwan had asked for the amendment, not China’s central government.

She added that, 'as far as she was concerned,' the HKSAR Basic Law Committee also did not discuss the extradition law update. Tam is the vice-chairperson of the committee, which is an advisory body under the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC).

Tam’s comments drew a strong rebuke from Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which called her words 'utter nonsense, a complete fabrication, [and] purposefully misleading.'

'There has been constant scepticism from all sides since the Hong Kong government proposed the amendment. The relevant authorities should listen to the advice and reflect deeply on why they lost the public’s trust,' the council wrote.

'Spouting nonsense and deflecting responsibility will only show their ignorance, and this will not help Hongkongers achieve fairness or justice.' "