Friday, January 27, 2017

Hong Kong, and China: rule-of-law, freedom & democracy tracking


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:
https://youtu.be/boPkMCJSYSs 

-------------------------------
2018-AUG-16
'Lack of scientific spirit in China'


A mind that is not free cannot truly innovate

“Liu Yadong, chief editor of Science and Technology Daily, said a lack of scientific spirit was often the underlying reason for some of the problems facing China, from weaknesses in fundamental innovation and research, to widespread counterfeiting and fraud, and even arrogance in society.
(...)
In his speech, Liu revisited the ups and downs of China’s modernisation in the past few centuries, and the devastation to intellectuals during the Cultural Revolution.
(…)
He described scientific spirit as a shared belief, values and norms not limited to scientists but also filtering into the general public, and embracing virtues such as a pursuit of truth, innovation and tolerance of failure.
(…)
‘Take [China’s] science and technology sector as an example: its level of original innovation remains low, and its fundamental research is weak,’ Liu said. ‘You can attribute these to a thousand reasons, but the most fundamental reason is the lack of scientific spirit.’
‘Accompanying this, there comes a host of ugly phenomena like corruption and fraud in academia, as well as arrogance and superficialness.’”



2018-AUG-15
'Freedom of speech'



Andy Chan, founding member of a Hong Kong political party proving the independence of Hong Kong from China made the following speech at The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong.
Have a read.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. If I may first thank the FCC for having me here today despite all the challenges you must’ve faced – personally, in these past few weeks, I myself and people around me have been subject to a level of physical surveillance I’ve never experienced before. So I really do appreciate that the FCC stood by their decision to host this talk.

The Hong Kong National Party – it all started in 2016, when my friends and I founded what was truly the first political party that had “Hong Kong independence” clearly stated as one of its central goals. Due to the nature of how the Chinese propaganda machine works, the National Party was instantly demonised as some sort of extremist group due to this single word: “independence”. In reality, what the National Party is chasing after is no different from what many Hong Kongers wish for: the dream of democracy, here, in our home, Hong Kong.

What is different is how much people wish to face the truth: the truth that a democracy is nothing if final, ultimate power does not rest with the people. In political terms, the National Party understand that, if Hong Kong were to become truly democratic, Hong Kong’s sovereignty must rest with the people of Hong Kong. And there is only one way to achieve this: independence.

Thus we saw it our duty to help form a “national consciousness” for Hong Kong, and to that end, the first big thing we did was to run for the LegCo election, in 2016. The government, as you all know, reacted with such over-reaction that I was disqualified before the voting even began! And all of this, of course, was done with “administrative procedures”, which allowed the government to cunningly deny me my constitutional rights via so-called “legal” means. After this, the National Party went on to strive for our goal by other ways: educational programmes for students, flyerings, rallies – all was done to arouse Hong Kong’s “national consciousness”, in defence against what is effectively our current colonial rule under the Chinese.

The Hong Kong National Party has faced political oppression numerous times after the LegCo disqualification. We tried to register as a company, and was rejected. We tried to set up a stall in the Lunar New Year Night Market, and was rejected as well. We even had the honour to receive the first ever “Letter Prohibiting Assembly” from the Police since 1997. And now, as you all know, the government is trying to shut us down completely, calling us an “illegal society”. Time and again, our government has shown that whatever “freedom” or “democracy” they claim to be upholding are but Communist mirages – lofty words that Peking only finds useful in deceiving you, the foreign press, and not actually allowing them to the people of Hong Kong. The situation is so dire that we dare say Hong Kong has never experienced such horrid colonialism until 1997. Peking is now our colonial masters, and the Hong Kong National Party has a real need to exist.

The nature of China is oppression. At its heart, the empire that existed in the 18th century still stands today, despite all its technological advances. China is not a modern nation-state, much less a civic society. China is a large empire, and for centuries she has always operated on the principle of centralised power. For this, all its dominions must be forced to assimilate, and to follow the party line, lest any differences challenge the central authority. All is well under this system if you were part of those who don’t need assimilating, but if you happen to be born into one of these national identities that are markedly different, then all is lost. Look at East Turkestan; look at Tibet. Nations forced to follow, or face the penalty of death. Even worse, you get sent to one of these re-education camps, where dying is better than living. Of course, these camps have not appeared here yet, but the will of China is the same: if you’re different, you’re wrong. The same now happens to Taiwan, and here, to Hong Kong.

Peking likes to say that the People’s Republic of China is a nation state, and that there is a national people called “Zhonghua Minzu”, or the “Chinese race”, a fabricated idea to serve the political needs of an empire. Within this umbrella, and with the ambiguity of the Chinese language with regards to nations and races, Peking would claim that everyone, from the Tibetans and Mongolians, to the Shanghainese, the Taiwanese, the Hong Kongese, and even to the Chinese diaspora in the US, the UK, Australia… you name it. All of that, Peking claims to be part of the ‘Zhonghua’ race, and therefore, by their logic, loyal subjects to whoever controls the seat of Peking. To the educated this would sound absurd, but it is the official party line from Peking. They would claim this is a form of nationalism, and that China is a nation state, when in reality all that Peking has is imperialism. All people around the world who has dealings with China should understand this: China is, by its nature as an empire, a threat to all free peoples in the world. Already have we seen Peking betraying the Seventeen Point Agreement with Tibet; already have we seen Peking betraying its promises when joining the WTO; and already have we seen Peking betraying the Sino-British Joint Declaration, leaving us Hong Kongers with less and less freedoms.

In the past 21 years, Hong Kong has progressed in only one direction: backwards. Not only have we failed to attain truly democratic elections, we are also marching ever closer to a dictatorship with Chinese characteristics. Hong Kong, being a financial centre, tasted China’s forced assimilation first via our economy. Chinese capital was allowed to flood Hong Kong, in particular industries that our daily lives depend on: think infrastructure, think catering, think the media.

The second step was the ideological and the cultural, and that, to all who dared to pay attention, is already underway. Our first Chief Executive, Tung Chee-Hwa, resigned after trying and failing to push the National Security Bill, based on the infamous Article 23. Hong Kong’s consensus back in 2003 was that China’s interpretation of what constitutes secession and subversion was simply wrong. China thinks that simply talking about subversion is already subversion, or even worse, it only takes a single official thinking you’re thinking about secession, then you’re a traitor, and should be arrested. Soon, with China’s improvements in AI and surveillance technology, the plot of Minority Report might turn to reality. The tragedy we are all now witnessing is that while Article 23 has not yet been implemented in law, its effects are already here. The Hong Kong National Party experienced this first-hand. Simply saying you are pro-independence is somehow the same as committing treason, according to some. And the sad thing is that, by now, many Hong Kongers have changed – we were still fighting back Article 23 in 2003, but in 2018, many are now afraid to speak up. There is, in other words, no longer freedom of speech in Hong Kong, but instead the freedom to think and say whatever Peking wants us to. Hong Kong is no longer that much different from China, and the international community have to acknowledge that.

Unhappy with just subverting Hong Kong using money and ideology, China is also sending its loyal subjects here – 150 of them, every day, via the One-way Permit scheme. Normally, immigration done right gives the host society immense benefits, but the way that the Chinese Hong Kong government handles it is nothing short of a political decision, designed to destroy all that we hold dear. Local communities were shattered, because of the rapid influx of an incompatible culture. Our medical resources were stretched to its limits, with our own mothers struggling to find a single bed to give birth in. The labour market was flooded with people who are happy to take wages far below the normal point. Our very living space is taken from us. Even our language, the words that shape our thoughts, are being demonised. Per China’s orders, Hong Kong’s future generations will now abandon Cantonese and switch entirely to Mandarin. There are those still in the education sector who oppose this, but the arm of Peking is ever unrelenting. It will not be a matter of if, but of when, when one day we wake up and ask ourselves, “Why are my children and grandchildren valuing obedience to the state above all else; where is democracy; where is freedom; where is tolerance; and where is the Hong Kong that we knew?” Today, Hong Kong faces “national cleansing” from China, and there are those among us who refuse to bow down, who refuse to become a forgotten footnote in history.

The matter of Hong Kong Independence is both a political and an ethical one. In the span of 170-ish years, since Hong Kong opened as a port in 1841, and until 1997, Hong Kong has developed its own unique culture, history, way of living, and religious beliefs. Shielded by the Brits, Hong Kong was spared the anti-intellectual destruction that Communist China imposed upon itself. There was no Cultural Revolution in Hong Kong, and the society we have here is built upon reason and morals. Just as there is no freedom of speech in China, and the society they have there is built upon fear and obedience. The difference between us in the South and them in the North is far beyond just geographical distance. It is a matter of cultural values, and of civilisation. To this day China is still essentially a closed, inward-looking, and authoritarian society, with many national peoples being forced to obey. By virtue of its historical, geographical, and cultural uniqueness, Hong Kong is truly a separate entity from the so-called “Chinese nation”. We are our own, and sadly, we are a nation that is quickly being annexed and destroyed by China. The cry for Hong Kong’s Independence is therefore a cry against colonial invasion. It is an ethical cry for liberation, and it is a political cry for our own continued existence. We were once colonised by the Brits, and now we are by the Chinese. Where is our right to determine our own future as a national people?

The matter of Hong Kong Independence is both a political and an ethical one. In the span of 170-ish years, since Hong Kong opened as a port in 1841, and until 1997, Hong Kong has developed its own unique culture, history, way of living, and religious beliefs. Shielded by the Brits, Hong Kong was spared the anti-intellectual destruction that Communist China imposed upon itself. There was no Cultural Revolution in Hong Kong, and the society we have here is built upon reason and morals. Just as there is no freedom of speech in China, and the society they have there is built upon fear and obedience. The difference between us in the South and them in the North is far beyond just geographical distance. It is a matter of cultural values, and of civilisation. To this day China is still essentially a closed, inward-looking, and authoritarian society, with many national peoples being forced to obey. By virtue of its historical, geographical, and cultural uniqueness, Hong Kong is truly a separate entity from the so-called “Chinese nation”. We are our own, and sadly, we are a nation that is quickly being annexed and destroyed by China. The cry for Hong Kong’s Independence is therefore a cry against colonial invasion. It is an ethical cry for liberation, and it is a political cry for our own continued existence. We were once colonised by the Brits, and now we are by the Chinese. Where is our right to determine our own future as a national people?

All that we’ve done, the Party and myself, are all protected within the International Human Rights Law. The legal clause that our government used, the Societies Ordinance, is a relic left behind since the British Colonial days. What better law than this! Our Chinese colonial masters are unironically happy to tell us all that, yes, they are colonising Hong Kong, and yes, Hong Kong’s freedoms are just for show.

If the idea of “One Country, Two Systems” were to really work, none of the above would’ve happened. That they did is conclusive proof that there is only “One Empire, and One System”. China has turned its back on the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and the UK, as a co-signatory, must act on this. This is Britain’s inescapable duty, as a nation of honour and democracy, to stand up against such atrocities. Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms will soon be all gone, and all will be too late by then.

The events thus far have also proven that the unique position of Hong Kong is now lost. Whatever Western values we had are now replaced by ideologies from Communist China. The Hong Kong government now serves not the interests of the Hong Kong people, nor those who have dealings with us, but only the interests alone of Peking. Countries and nations all around the world need to understand this, and act accordingly. The US, in particular, should review the conditions set out in the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act, and start sanctioning those Hong Kong government officials who trampled on our human rights. The incentives here extend far beyond the ethical.

Think about how much more clout the US would have on China if the current trade war extends to Hong Kong. Many of the Chinese already store their actual capital here. If the US truly wish to deal an economic blow to China, the US-Hong Kong Policy Act should not be overlooked.

The Hong Kong National Party hopes that the international community can, like the US, objectively review the imperialistic threat that is coming from China. You may not have tasted its sting yet, but those of us who are stuck next to China’s expansionist borders may soon be no more. Hong Kong now faces ethical and cultural challenges from the North – who knows when such challenges turn into the humanitarian kind. International aid must come, and come quickly. For time is running out, and I don’t say this as Convenor of the Hong Kong National Party, but as Andy Chan, a surviving Hong Konger.”

Some additional background information:
  • The vast majority of Hong Kong resident do not want independence (it has 11.4% of popular support as of 2017), and nowhere in Chan’s discourse is any mention of using or inciting the use of violent means to achieve independence. He is expressing his views, his ideas.
  • Furthermore, the Basic Law does NOT proscribe discussing independence, it merely states that Hong Kong is part of China.
  • In modern states, political parties advocating independence not only have the right to exist and express their views (in the U.S, Canada, Spain, but also have won elections! (in Quebec and in Spain)

You have read the speech. Maybe you find some of its content offensive. But should it be suppressed? Furthermore, should it be illegal for an organization or the press to give it a forum?
What next? The CCP made it clear that they equate country and party. The logical next step is therefore to forbid questioning the single-party system, communism, and its leader.

Ask yourself this simple question: would it make Hong Kong better if freedom of the press and of speech were abolished? I mean, absolutely better; does it make Hong-Konger better than they were in 1997?

Asking the question is to answer it; it has nothing to do with law, order, nor acceptable limitations to freedom-of-speech. This repression has to do with letting the CCP smoothly integrate Hong Kong into “communist China”. And whatever the PCC’s useful idiots such as Alex Lo, or Holden Chow may say, we very will know that accommodation is only going to yield more frequent and rapid assimilation into a system which is the anthithesis of what made Hong Kong great for the past 50 years.

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news.php?id=112153&sid=4

Addition:
“ ’This incident has reminded us we have to reflect and review Hong Kong’s inadequacies in protecting national security,’ Zhang said, a day after Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) leader Andy Chan Ho-tin gave a pro-independence speech at the city’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC).
(…)
But Zhang censured both Chan and the FCC in strong language, accusing the 27-year-old activist of committing a crime under Article 9 of the Crimes Ordinance, which covers sedition, and the club of assisting him in committing the offence.
‘The HKNP and people, including Chan, have plotted, organised and carried out activities with seditious intention – they want to break up the nation,’ Zhang said.
As the HKNP was not a registered society, Zhang argued, all its actions were illegal. And the FCC, he said, had “aided” Chan’s seditious intention, thus also breaking the law.”


We will remember what sinister individual Zhang Xiaoming is:

“…he stated to pro-democratic legislative council member Leung Yiu-chung that ‘the fact that you are allowed to stay alive already shows the country's inclusiveness’.

In September 2015, Zhang stirred controversy in Hong Kong after claiming that the Chief Executive of Hong Kong has a ‘special legal position which overrides administrative, legislative and judicial organs’ and that separation of powers is ‘not suitable for Hong Kong’. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying subsequently affirmed that his position is ‘transcendent’ of the branches of the state.”



2018-AUG-11
'Interesting reads'






2018-AUG-08
'Disgusting Beijing croony'

"A former Hong Kong leader has stepped up his attack on the city’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club, which insists it will invite the founder of a separatist party to give a talk despite a warning from Beijing, reminding the FCC its premises in Central are leased from the government 'at a token rent'."
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/2158287/former-hong-kong-leader-cy-leung-echoes-beijings-request



"Former Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying on Monday challenged the city’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) to give up its lease and bid for the premises in the open market, as he ramped up his attacks over its refusal to cancel a planned talk this month by a separatist party founder.
'If the FCC believes that they are not being subsidised by [the] government, perhaps they should give up the lease and bid for the premises in the open market. The result would be conclusive,' 
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/2158527/ex-leader-cy-leung-dares-foreign-correspondents-club-give

"Leung on Thursday cited Article 23 of the Basic Law – the national security law yet to be enacted by Hong Kong – once again, adding that freedom is not absolute in the city.
Under Article 23, Hong Kong should enact laws to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion, among other issues. Article 23 – which bounds the government and the public – has yet to be enacted following mass protests in 2003.
'Although these regulations have yet to be established with local legislation in Hong Kong, the regulations in Article 23 of the Basic Law are not vague and are necessary,' Leung said.
'To defend national security, nationals and residents have to bear some responsibilities – including some freedoms being restricted – this is a very common phenomenon even in Western countries, and it is not an exception for the FCC Hong Kong and Andy Chan,' he added."

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/08/09/ex-chief-exec-cy-leung-raised-issue-foreign-correspondents-club-lease-ex-board-member-says/


2018-AUG-04
'No freedom-of-the-press'

"The Hong Kong garrison of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is considering whether to relax rules to let soldiers stationed in the city wear their uniform in public, bringing them into line with personnel in mainland China, according to a source close to the garrison.
'There’s been no decision so far but many of the soldiers are hoping for such a change,' the source said, suggesting the move could boost the morale of troops wanting to show their commitment to the armed forces."

2018-JUL-17
'No freedom-of-the-press'

"China’s censors are scrambling to control the narrative about the trade war with the US by giving the media a list of does and don’ts when reporting on the topic, sources have said.
Four separate sources working for Chinese media, who were briefed on these internal instructions, told the South China Morning Post that they were told not to “over-report” the trade war with US and be extremely careful about linking the trade war to stock market falls, the depreciation of the yuan or economic weakness to avoid spreading panic.
“When you report a fall in the stock market index or a weakening in the yuan’s exchange rate, you can’t use ‘trade war’ in your headline,” one source with an official Chinese media outlet, who declined to be named, said."

2018-JUL-15
'Soft-powers'

A little bit off-topic as it is not related (directly anyway) to the subject of democracy, the following is nonetheless interesting to get a broader perspective of powers at play...

"In today's global information age, victory often depends not on
whose army wins, but on whose story wins.” This assertion from John
Arquilla – often echoed by Joseph Nye – clearly conveys the utility
of soft power and the importance of effectively communicating a
winning global narrative. While this sounds a simple enough principle
to follow, incorporating it into foreign policy practice is not so
straightforward. From the outset of The Soft Power 30 series, we have
sought to provide useful insights and practical guidance to overcome
the first challenge of using soft power: identifying and measuring
its sources. "





2018-JUL-12
'Innovation with Chinese characteristics'

"Former Apple employee was arrested at a California airport on Saturday for allegedly stealing secrets as he left to start job at Xiaopeng Motors
(...)
Zhang Xiaolang, a former Apple Inc employee, was alleged to have downloaded a blueprint related to a self-driving car to a personal laptop in the United States before trying to flee the country for China. Zhang intended to work for a Chinese electric car start-up and booked a last-minute flight to China after downloading the plan for a circuit board for the car, according to a criminal complaint filed in the federal court.
(...)

The criminal complaint said Zhang had been hired to develop software and hardware for Apple’s autonomous vehicle project.

In April, it said, he took paternity leave following the birth of a child and travelled with his family to China, according to the complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

When he returned, he told his supervisor he planned to resign, move back to China and work for Xiaopeng.


Zhang’s supervisor called Apple security officials, who discovered that Zhang had run extensive searches of secret databases and had entered Apple’s campus on April 28 while he was supposed to be on paternity leave, the complaint alleged.

While on campus, the complaint alleged, Zhang took circuit boards and a computer server from a self-driving car hardware lab, and his Apple colleagues showed him a chip. The complaint did not state whether the chip was intended for self-driving cars."

Actually, from a design point of view, it would seem that Xiaopeng took its cues from Tesla...




----------

"The EU brought the challenge to the WTO on Friday, accusing Beijing of unfairly requiring foreign firms to hand over their technology to Chinese companies to do business in China."
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2149173/china-regrets-eus-allegation-intellectual-property

----------

"Even if the whole word sees it, even if the similarities between the so-called Geely GE and Rolls Royce Phantom are shockingly obvious and even if the luxury car manufacturer is already thinking at legal action, Chinese automaker Geely continues its self-defending useless campaign by claiming – hold your breath! – that its new limo doesn’t copy the Phantom at all. "

https://www.autoevolution.com/news/geely-continues-nonsense-controversy-says-it-doesnt-copy-rolls-6111.html

Want a few more evidence of Chinese car manufacturing fine innovation?
https://sundarf1.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/chinese-copycat-cars/


----------

Maybe some brand theft?


Image by Caveman Chuck Coker

Adidos shoes, Bucksstars Coffee, Samsing mobile phones, are just a few of the excellent brands you can get in mainland China. IP protection is obviously extremely important for the Chinese government...
http://sparksheet.com/shanzhai-chinas-brand-copycats/

Movies too...


http://english.sina.com/ent/mo/2016-12-30/detail-ifxzczff3436310.shtml
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/china-stealing-our-movie-poster-ideas/330952/

----------

Further pondering on the topic
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/15/china-reputation-copycats-pelamis-intellectual-property
https://www.chinalawblog.com/2012/10/how-to-protect-your-ip-from-china.html
https://bigthink.com/think-tank/china-from-copycat-nation-to-space-innovation


2018-JUL-07
'Re-education camps? Where have we seen that before?'

"Rising star footballer is among more than a million Uyghurs sent to Chinese ‘re-education’ camps.
(...)
The Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (FIFPro), the worldwide professional football players’ union, issued a statement on June 13, 2018 calling for the release of Erfan Hezim, a 19-year-old Uyghur football player who has reportedly been detained in a “political re-education camp” in China’s western Xinjiang province since February 2018.


Hezim was detained soon after he returned home from a football trip to Spain and Dubai.
(...)
Despite his status as a rising star in local football, Hezim’s fame did not exempt him being sent to a re-education camp. According to local sources for Radio Free Asia, Hezim was detained for “visiting foreign countries”, though his trip was mainly for football training and matches.

Hezim is among the estimated one million Uyghurs in Xinjiang who have been sent to re-education camps for unlearning and correcting their religious and political views.


What happens at re-education camps in Xinjiang is not widely known, but testimonies from ex-internees reveal that the camps — which are operated at county, township and village levels — are secured with barbed wire, surveillance systems and armed police. Ex-internees said they were sent to the camps without trial and while there, were forced to convert their beliefs and pledge loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)."

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/07/07/rising-star-footballer-among-million-uyghurs-sent-chinese-re-education-camps/

---------------

"It is about Xi as the leader of the world’: Former detainees recount abuse in Chinese re-education centres.
(...)
Authorities in China’s far western Xinjiang province have made loyalty to President Xi Jinping a central part of an extensive political re-education campaign that requires detainees to swear allegiance to the Communist Party while forswearing a Muslim faith that they are told to repeat is 'stupid.'
(...)
'Xi Jinping is great! The Communist Party is great! I deserve punishment for not understanding that only President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party can help me,' was one of the refrains that a Uyghur woman who was in a centre last fall, was forced to regularly repeat. 
The woman, whose name is not being used by The Globe and Mail for her protection, was put through regular self-criticism sessions. Part of the content was cultural. 'My soul is infected with serious diseases,' she would repeat. 'There is no God. I don’t believe in God. I believe in the Communist Party.'"
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-former-detainees-recount-abuse-in-chinese-re-education-centres/

2018-JUN-25
'Cult of personality of the Chinese dictator'

"In China, universities seek to plant 'Xi Thought' in minds of students.

BEIJING (Reuters) - Armed with interactive online courses, generous funding and new dedicated research institutes, China’s universities are on the frontlines of an effort to promote the thinking of President Xi Jinping to China and the world. Since October, many universities across China have placed “Xi Thought” at the core of their curricula – the first time since the era of Mao Zedong that a Chinese leader has been accorded similar academic stature.


Mandatory ideology classes have been updated by the universities in response to instruction from the leadership that Xi’s ideas must enter the textbooks, classrooms and minds of students."

2018-APR-30
'Imperialism with Chinese characteristics'
"Academic 'discovery' of 1951 solid-line map is likely Beijing's latest attempt to legally justify its debunked Nine-Dash Line version.In what is likely a new bid to reinforce and even expand China’s sweeping territorial claims in the South China Sea, a group of Chinese scholars recently published a 'New Map of the People’s Republic of China'
The alleged political national map, reportedly first published in April 1951 but only 'discovered' through a recent national archival investigation, could give new clarity to the precise extent of China’s official claims in the disputed waters."


2018-APR-26
'RSF 2018 index'
"Unchanged at 176th in the Index, Xi Jinping’s China is getting closer and closer to a contemporary version of totalitarianism. During President Xi’s first term, censorship and surveillance reached unprecedented levels thanks to the massive use of new technology. Foreign reporters are finding it harder to work and ordinary citizens can now be jailed just for sharing content on a social network or during a private chat on a messaging service.

More than 50 professional and non-professional journalists are currently detained in China, many of them the victims of mistreatment and a lack of medical care that poses a threat to their lives. Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel peace laureate and recipient of RSF’s Press Freedom Prize, and the dissident blogger Yang Tongyan both died last year from cancers that were left untreated in detention.

Internationally, the Chinese government is trying to establish a “new world media order” under its influence, by exporting its oppressive methods, information censorship system and Internet surveillance tools. Its unabashed desire to crush all pockets of public resistance unfortunately has imitators in Asia."


2018-APR-25
'One party dictatorship'

The Hong Kong Basic Law states: 
Article 27 
Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of speech, of the press and of publication; freedom of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration; and the right and freedom to form and join trade unions, and to strike. 

Article 28 
The freedom of the person of Hong Kong residents shall be inviolable. 

No Hong Kong resident shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful arrest, detention or imprisonment. Arbitrary or unlawful search of the body of any resident or deprivation or restriction of the freedom of the person shall be prohibited. Torture of any resident or arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of the life of any resident shall be prohibited. 

Yet...

"The call to 'end one-party dictatorship' is regularly made by many pro-democracy figures at the annual Tiananmen massacre candlelight vigil in Hong Kong.
Lam said that it is difficult for her to predict the future and make promises. She said matters should be viewed using legal basis and factual evidence.
'I cannot give a solid promise or answer on the consequences for chanting the slogan. Every matter in Hong Kong should be dealt with in accordance with the law,' Lam said.
She said Wang had already said that “one-party dictatorship” does not exist in the Chinese constitution.
'Director Wang Zhimin is much more familiar with the constitution compared to me, so he has made his response yesterday,' she said. 'Is ‘one-party dictatorship’ correct? Director Wang said that there is no such statement in the constitution.'
Last month, Tam Yiu-chung, a newly-appointed member of China’s top legislative body, said that candidates may be barred from running for seats in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council for calling for an end to China’s 'one-party dictatorship.'"

"Hong Kong lawmakers will contribute to enhancing national security, says Liaison Office director Wang Zhimin.
(...)
Legco was also important in promoting patriotism in Hong Kong and pushing Hongkongers to bear the historic responsibility as Chinese.
(...)

Asked whether people calling for 'ending the one-party dictatorship' should be allowed to run in elections, Wang said the statement was simply false.

'One-party dictatorship is not a fact,' Wang said as he took out the constitution and declared: 'There are 143 articles in the constitution but none mention the one-party dictatorship.'

Although he did not say if candidates should be disqualified for making such calls, he said it would be unethical for them to do so.

'It's not politically ethical if you join the establishment and try to overthrow it.' "


In Hong Kong's not too distant future?

"Human rights defender Zhen Jianghua was formally arrested on 29 March 2018 on the charge of 'inciting subversion of state power'. Denied access to his lawyers, Zhen Jianghua continues to be at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment."






2018-APR-24
'Neo-Mao'

"The Chinese government said on Tuesday that it planned to overhaul supervision of the country’s debt-ridden financial sector, its environmental regulators and other essential government agencies in a broad move intended to further consolidate the Communist Party’s hold on official levers of power.
Premier Li Keqiang asked the National People’s Congress, the country’s legislature, to approve a plan that would combine China’s banking and insurance regulators in an effort to bolster their ability to monitor financial institutions. At the same time, both agencies would relinquish some of their broad policy responsibilities to China’s central bank, which would acquire an even greater role in preserving financial stability in what is now the world’s second-largest economy.
(...)
But more broadly, the proposals are part of a plan that President Xi Jinping laid out last month aimed at strengthening the top-down control of the Communist Party. The plan released on Monday focused on government reorganization, but Mr. Xi and other officials have stressed that any changes are intended to strengthen, rather than dilute, party control.
(...)
Liu He, President Xi’s right-hand man in overseeing the economy and financial system, outlined the party’s central role in the reorganization in a lengthy statement published on Tuesday morning in People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party. Mr. Liu, an economist, was promoted to the party’s Politburo last year.
'Strengthening the party’s overall leadership is the core issue,' he wrote, alluding to a famous Mao Zedong saying. 'In the party, government, military, and civil sciences, in the east, west, south, north and center, the party leads all.'"

Beijing on Wednesday unveiled a massive plan to further assert the Communist Party’s control over economic and foreign affairs, cultural policies, and the appointment and training of cadres.
(...)
The move was made public by state-run Xinhua a day after the largely ceremonial legislature concluded its annual meetings. It is part of a shake-up that will also see a cabinet restructure that was announced last week.
The party’s influence has grown under President Xi Jinping, in line with his slogan 'the party leads everything', reversing past practice of leaving policy implementation to the state.
(...)
'The purpose is to strengthen the party’s concentrated leadership in major affairs that concern the party and the state,' according to the statement.
(...)
On the ideology front, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television will be merged into the party’s propaganda unit, the Central Publicity Department, and its remit will be expanded to include the import and export of film and publications."


2018-APR-22
'Hong Kongers want rule-of-law to be applied'
https://www.fringebacker.com/en/projects/DP-Action/
Context, from Wikipedia: 
"In October 2014, it was reported that Leung Chun-yingChief Executive of Hong Kong, had signed an agreement in 2011 with UGL Limited, an Australian engineering firm, in relation to its takeover of DTZ Holdings, a UK-listed real estate services company in which Leung was the director of the company. In agreement, UGL undertook to pay Leung £4 million (HK$50 million) in two instalments in 2012 and 2013 respectively, subject to specific conditions. As these payments concurred with the term of office of Leung Chun-ying as Chief Executive between 2012 and 2017, it has aroused concerns of the public in respect of the nature of payment, potential conflict of interests, relevant systems of declaration of interests and taxation implications."
Now, provided that over 6200 people put their own money to continue the investigation into C.Y's potential conflict of interest, shouldn't Legco/ICAC take this as a strong message that the population desires more effective actions to be taken to get the information they need from C.Y to go to the bottom of the matter? The rule-of-law dictates that everyone is equal when facing the law. The ex-C.E is no exception to this rule...


2018-APR-13
'Hong Kong's slide off democratic institutions'


Now, go see Benny Tai's actual speech on YouTube: https://youtu.be/U2zHci0b0Z0
How's that an abuse? In no first world, democratic country, would that constitute anything but the most basic freedom-of-speech. The moral argument is risible; there's no incitation to promote violent means to independence in Tai's speech. Chow's logic which states that talking about independence automatically leads to violence, and therefore that Tai needs to be silenced and his job taking away is at, best, flawed. 
However, I think this reflects the idiotic drivel of someone who wants to make sure Bejing understands in which camp he stands when further tightening of Hong Kong freedoms occurs...


2018-APR-11
'China's dark path'
"They hoped that economic integration would encourage China to evolve into a market economy and that, as they grew wealthier, its people would come to yearn for democratic freedoms, rights and the rule of law.
It was a worthy vision, which this newspaper shared, and better than shutting China out. China has grown rich beyond anybody’s imagining. Under the leadership of Hu Jintao, you could still picture the bet paying off. When Mr Xi took power five years ago China was rife with speculation that he would move towards constitutional rule. Today the illusion has been shattered. In reality, Mr Xi has steered politics and economics towards repression, state control and confrontation.
Start with politics. Mr Xi has used his power to reassert the dominance of the Communist Party and of his own position within it. As part of a campaign against corruption, he has purged potential rivals. He has executed a sweeping reorganisation of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), partly to ensure its loyalty to the party, and to him personally. He has imprisoned free-thinking lawyers and stamped out criticism of the party and the government in the media and online. Though people’s personal lives remain relatively free, he is creating a surveillance state to monitor discontent and deviance.
China used to profess no interest in how other countries run themselves, so long as it was left alone. Increasingly, however, it holds its authoritarian system up as a rival to liberal democracy. At the party’s 19th congress last autumn, Mr Xi offered “a new option for other countries” that would involve “Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind.” Mr Xi later said that China would not export its model, but you sense that America now has not just an economic rival, but an ideological one, too.
China and the West will have to learn to live with their differences. Putting up with misbehaviour today in the hope that engagement will make China better tomorrow does not make sense. The longer the West grudgingly accommodates China’s abuses, the more dangerous it will be to challenge them later. In every sphere, therefore, policy needs to be harder edged, even as the West cleaves to the values it claims are universal.
(...)
To counter China’s sharp power, Western societies should seek to shed light on links between independent foundations, even student groups, and the Chinese state. To counter China’s misuse of economic power, the West should scrutinise investments by state-owned companies and, with sensitive technologies, by Chinese companies of any kind. It should bolster institutions that defend the order it is trying to preserve."


2018-MAR-13
'China's dark path'
"China unveiled a “revolutionary” government restructuring plan that consolidates Communist Party authority, giving President Xi Jinping more direct control over the levers of money and power."

2018-MAR-06
'History tells us how stable dictatorships are'
"When asked about the developments during a Commercial Radio programme on Monday, Ip said: 'In the eyes of the Western system, of course this is going backwards, but China has its reasons under its own political tradition and system – policies are more stable with a centralisation of power.'
'The developments of democracy in the Western world over these past few years included a sudden referendum causing Brexit, the US voting for Trump through one-person-one-vote, the climate accord signed by Obama being torn apart – many things just turned upside suddenly. China feels this is not good, it prefers stability over all,' Ip added."
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/03/05/axing-presidential-term-limits-reasonable-chinas-political-tradition-system-says-hong-kong-lawmaker/

2018-MAR-05
'Let's make that clear, what they want is communist Hong Kong'
"Local delegate Shie Tak-chung suggested at the CPPCC meeting that the central government should urge the Hong Kong government to undergo decolonisation of these names at an appropriate time.

Shie also said that – following the 1997 Handover – Hongkongers were all Chinese nationals, and that loving the country was a duty whether it’s “One Country, Two Systems”, or “One Country, One System.”

Shie added that he believed Hong Kong should be concerned about patriotic education among children, and a sense of patriotism should be developed from a young age."
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/03/05/decolonise-hong-kong-street-names-suggests-member-beijings-top-advisory-body/


2018-FEB-15
'As a matter-of-fact, corruption is rampant...'

"Sun is the most senior serving politician to be snared in Xi’s signature anti-corruption campaign, a crackdown on deep-rooted graft that has also purged the president’s political rivals and instilled fear and loyalty in the ranks.

'Sun’s case is first and foremost a political one,' Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan said.

'Corruption itself is commonplace within China’s [bureaucratic] system, [but Sun] had political ambitions and so-called conspiracies.'

The party’s top anti-corruption agency chastised Sun, Zhou and Ling for their 'inflated political ambitions' and 'conspiracies', and said their downfalls had eliminated a 'major lurking political peril'.
http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2133154/china-issues-formal-charges-against-former-communist#comments

"Xi Jinping’s anti-graft drive has caught so many officials that Beijing’s elite prison is running out of cells
Overcrowding has prompted Qincheng prison – where former high-ranking officials are jailed – to pull the plug on Lunar New Year visits, source says"
http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2133251/xi-jinpings-anti-graft-drive-has-caught-so-many#comments
Hong Kong is at position 15th of the list of least corrupt countries (2 positions above the U.S.A, while China sits at 79
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_Perceptions_Index#2016


2018-FEB-02
Re-education camps are back...

"One recent news report put the number of Uyghurs confined at 120,000 in "overcrowded and squalid" conditions in just one prefecture in southern Xinjiang. Radio Free Asia, a US Congress-funded station known for its extensive Uyghur reporting, attributed the figure to an anonymous security official in Kashgar"
https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/detentions-01222018171657.html
https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/02/asia/china-xinjiang-detention-camps-intl/index.html

2018-FEB-02
The rich are fleeing China, going mostly to democracies




https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2018/01/daily-chart-21

"A DECADE has passed since Larry Diamond, a political scientist at Stanford University, put forward the idea of a global “democratic recession”. The tenth edition of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index suggests that this unwelcome trend remains firmly in place. The index, which comprises 60 indicators across five broad categories—electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, democratic political culture and civil liberties—concludes that less than 5% of the world’s population currently lives in a “full democracy”. Nearly a third live under authoritarian rule, with a large share of those in China. Overall, 89 of the 167 countries assessed in 2017 received lower scores than they had the year before."


Hong Kong falls 3 spots, hits 5 years low.Years of C.Y. Leung, unsurprisingly... The way it is started, unlikely Carrie Lam is going to even attempts to reverse the trend...

2018-JAN-31
The rich are fleeing China, going mostly to democracies

"New World Wealth says it focuses only on HNWIs who have truly moved -- that is, those who stay in their new country for more than half the year. China and India continue to dominate countries that the rich are moving out of, but once the standard of living improves several wealthy people will probably return, according to the report."
Why would they go back to a dictatorship where the government can arbitrarily decide that they are now criminals based on a whim?

Net outflow of HNWI (2016, selected data):
China: 10,000 / 1,100,000 (-0.9%)
India: 7,000 / 218,600 (-3.2%) - India has a problem!

U.K.: 4000 / 568,300 (-0.7%) - Brexiting the U.K.?

Net inflow of HNWI (2016, selected data):
Australia: 10,000 / 254,700 (+4%)
U.S.A.: 9,000 / 4,800,000 (+0.2%)
Canada: 5,000 / 356,900 (+1.4%)


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-wealthy/wealthy-chinese-rise-to-1-6-million-in-past-decade-up-nearly-9-times-survey-idUSKBN19B059

http://www.businessinsider.com/high-net-worth-people-moving-to-australia-2018-1
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-30/eu-is-said-to-refuse-to-budge-on-post-brexit-financial-services

https://www.worldwealthreport.com

2018-JAN-30
No freedom of speech
Chinese authorities have ordered a major social media platform to curb “harmful content” more effectively as they intensify oversight of online expression — even taking aim at rap music, crude cartoons, dirty jokes and celebrity gossip.
The campaign is intended not just to stamp out dissent but to ensure that all media “serves the direction of socialism”.
Sina Weibo has failed to comply, Beijing’s Cyberspace Administration said Saturday on its official WeChat social media account, berating the site for letting users post “content of wrong public opinion orientation, obscenity, low taste and ethnic discrimination”.
The company “has violated the country’s laws and regulations, led online public opinions to wrong direction and left a very bad influence,” it said.
In another case announced Friday, China’s securities watchdog said it had punished a blogger on WeChat with a 200,000 yuan (US$31,000) fine for posting market-moving “misinformation” about meetings between corporations and regulators.
China has some of the world’s tightest controls over web content, protected by what is called “The Great Firewall”. Restrictions on free speech have increased since President Xi Jinping assumed power in 2012."
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/01/29/china-tightens-screws-social-media-taking-aim-rap-crude-cartoons-dirty-jokes-celebrity-gossip/

No due legal procedure
"Interesting" comment from one of the communist party's mouthpiece; basically, they are not denying the facts but stating that no Miranda rights, no right to be told what you are accused of, no transparency, no respect for the accused's rights is defended as being the right of the Chinese system.


2018-JAN-17
Increasingly controling
“The Communist Party leadership in Beijing exercised ever-greater influence in Hong Kong as it attempted to stamp out growing public support for local self-determination. Four pro-democracy lawmakers were expelled from the legislature on the grounds that their oaths of office were ‘insincere,’ making it easier for pro-government forces to pass major legislation and rules changes,”
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/01/17/ever-greater-influence-beijing-hong-kong-tumbles-intl-freedom-index-third-year-running/

2018-JAN-13
Increasingly controling
"The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has demanded an “immediate and public” apology from Delta Air Lines for listing Tibet and Taiwan as countries on its website."
http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/china-delta-air-lines-apology-tibet-taiwan-countries-listing-civil-aviation-administration-a8155141.html
"China has shut down the websites of Marriot International for a week, after the firm listed Tibet and others as separate countries.
The hotel group has apologised for the error and said it did not support separatist movements in China.

Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau were listed as individual nations in an online survey sent to customers."
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-42658070

The fact is that this is standard practice all around the world and has always been, proving that the crackdown is recent and evidence of increased of unjustified pressure on companies doing business in China

















2018-JAN-11
No freedom of religion
"A church in northern China was demolished this week, the second in less than a month, sparking fears of a wider campaign against Christians as authorities prepare to enforce new laws on religion.
(...)
China guarantees freedom of religion on paper, but in practice authorities heavily regulate many aspects of religious life. Churches must be officially sanctioned and pastors must adhere to a host of rules imposed by the government.
(...)
But authorities have taken a harder line since 2013 against towering crosses and large cathedrals. Officials launched a sweeping crackdown on churches in Zhejiang province that accelerated in 2015, and more than 1,200 crosses have been removed, according to activists.


In an annual report on freedom of religion, the US state department found that 'the government physically abused, detained, arrested, tortured, sentenced to prison, or harassed adherents of both registered and unregistered religious groups for activities related to their religious beliefs and practices'."
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/11/china-church-demolition-sparks-fears-of-campaign-against-christians

2018-JAN-08
2018-JAN-06
Sad but true...
"The free internet access promised in Shanghai has not materialised, and by 2023 the likelihood is that some websites here will be blocked. That will have important implications for global newsrooms in Hong Kong like the BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC and CNN. Singapore is waiting for their business.

As the Basic Law fades into history, we could see an imposition of taxes, capital and customs controls to “protect Hong Kong” dollar and fit in with China. The anti-subversion law, Article 23, will most likely be enacted before 2023, further restricting the free flow of ideas regarded as healthy for a World City economy.

Do those of us who love living with Hong Kong’s iconic freedoms fight, take flight or accept? Probably a little of each. I have seen Hong Kong change over the last five decades through economic evolution. The tightening tail of the Chinese dragon now makes that evolution political. Our privileged economic freedoms will be restricted. We will have to learn how to live with the new rules – while hoping the dragon reforms faster."
http://www.scmp.com/business/article/2126768/hong-kong-being-squeezed-china

2018-JAN-02
Guilty, until proven... guilty!
"March 11, 2014. Of the 1.16 million people put on trial last year, Chinese courts returned a guilty verdict for all but 825 of them. You did the math right: That’s a 99.93 percent conviction rate.

Though sometimes, Zhou Qiang, head of the Supreme People’s Court, admitted in a rare report delivered to the National People’s Congress this week, things did get a little out of hand. 'The rulings in some cases were not fair… which harmed the interests of the litigants and undermined the credibility of the law,' he said"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/03/11/china-scored-99-9-percent-conviction-rate-last-year/?utm_term=.37a839c68449

2017-DEC-27
Back to the dark ages of communism
"Chinese authorities have banned members of the Chinese Communist Party from celebrating Christmas, calling the religious day 'Western spiritual opium' and 'China’s day of shame.'

'As Christmas nears, leaders and members of all ranks must promote traditional Chinese culture and build a spiritual home for the Chinese people,' said a notice issued last week by the Commission for Discipline Inspection of Hengyang city in the Hunan province, screenshots of which were provided to US-backed media outlet RFA."
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/12/23/western-spiritual-opium-china-bans-communist-party-members-celebrating-christmas/

"China’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), is considering criminalizing anyone deemed to have smeared the “reputation and honor” of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s canon of heroes and martyrs, official media reported on Friday.

“Departments including public security, culture, press and cyberspace have a responsibility to protect the reputation and honor of heroes and martyrs in their supervision,” state news agency Xinhua quoted the text of a new draft law as saying.

The text suggests that officials are particularly concerned with online criticism, and perhaps satire, targeting the country’s revolutionary heroes."

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/chinas-parliament-considers-draft-law-protecting-honor-of-communist-heroes-12222017113902.html

2017-DEC-10
Red Hong Kong
"Wang Zhenmin, the legal chief for the China Liaison Office, has said that Hong Kong is part of 'red China.'

At an event celebrating National Constitution Day on Monday – the first commemoration of the day in Hong Kong – Wang, an official for Beijing’s office in Hong Kong, said: 'Since July 1, 1997, Hong Kong’s political colour undoubtedly became red, meaning it has become part of red China.'

'So there is no question of whether Hong Kong is ‘becoming red’ because Hong Kong has already been red since 1997, when it came under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party,' he said.
(...)

He also sought to counter those who accept that Hong Kong has been returned to the motherland but reject the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. The Communist Party and China cannot be separated as the country was built by the party, he said. He added that the fates of Hong Kong, the motherland and the Communist Party were closely intertwined."

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/12/05/liaison-office-legal-chief-wang-zhenmin-hong-kong-part-red-china/

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/12/10/liaison-office-legal-chiefs-party-piece-takes-veil-off-communist-rule-hong-kong/

2017-DEC-18
2nd most number of jailed journalists


"According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a record 262 journalists are being held in prisons around the world. Nearly three-quarters of them are being held on anti-state charges while at least 21 have been charged with 'false news'. "
https://www.statista.com/chart/3310/china-incarcerates-more-journalists-than-anywhere-else/


2017-OCT-31
Hong Kong Watch is launched

"British human rights activist Benedict Rogers is to launch a new advocacy organisation focused on Hong Kong with support from renowned UK political figures.
London-based Hong Kong Watch will monitor human rights, freedoms and rule of law in Hong Kong.
The group has the support of patrons from across the political spectrum, including former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC, former Labour Shadow Foreign Minister Catherine West MP, former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Paddy Ashdown, independent cross-bencher Lord David Alton, and former prosecutor of Slobodan Milosevic, barrister Sir Geoffrey Nice QC."

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/10/31/renowned-uk-political-figures-launch-watchdog-focused-hong-kongs-freedoms/
https://www.hongkongwatch.org/


2017-OCT-13

Consequence of research under dictatorship



"Fraud Scandals Sap China’s Dream of Becoming a Science Superpower
BEIJING — Having conquered world markets and challenged American political and military leadership, China has set its sights on becoming a global powerhouse in a different field: scientific research. It now has more laboratory scientists than any other country, outspends the entire European Union on research and development, and produces more scientific articles than any other nation except the United States.
But in its rush to dominance, China has stood out in another, less boastful way. Since 2012, the country has retracted more scientific papers because of faked peer reviews than all other countries and territories put together, according to Retraction Watch, a blog that tracks and seeks to publicize retractions of research papers."
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/13/world/asia/china-science-fraud-scandals.html

2017-AUG-23
Cynical seems to be the only way

Philip Bowring's cynical look at Hong Kong circa August 2017. I am copying it all here without permission. Hope that's fine.
Will take it down if I'm being asked.

"Philip Bowring says social order and political stability have been ensured for the city, with student activists jailed, the opposition decimated, business as usual for vested interests, and resolve demonstrated to higher powers

Hurrah! Hong Kong is one step further towards matching Singapore’s standard of judicial independence. The punishment should not be designed to fit the crime but to teach lessons, and enable the teacher to demonstrate resolve to the headmaster.

Hence, a wise appeals court agreed this week with the government. It replaced soft community service with substantial jail terms for 13 activists and three student leaders involved in separate 2014 protests. The sophistication and cost of the judicial process should also ensure that four elected politicians ousted earlier from the legislature are bankrupted by their failure to pay government legal costs. Serves them right.

There can be no greater threat to social order and political stability than for spoiled youths to stir up opposition to progress and profit, joining with ignorant New Territories villagers who stand in way of the future, as though their crumbling old houses should be favoured over a Great Leap Forward for the Pearl River Delta region.
These counter-revolutionaries would sooner sacrifice the exclusive acres of the Hong Kong Golf Club or build homes on the beautiful New Territories scrapyards and container parks, the land banks on which the future wealth of our famous companies depend. Be thankful that our ministers knew whose interests they represent.

True to the Marxist theory and Leninist spirit of our national leaders, the march of history is towards ever more concentrated ownership of capital, ever rising profits which limit the middle and lower classes wasting their wages on comforts. The party is combining with the forces of monopoly capital. This is surely the “end of history” as predicted by our sages. The achievement is a tribute to the genius of the Chinese people and shows why their superior system is rewriting history to ensure that all neighbouring territories were always its vassals.

The tribute sought from the neighbours is, however, a trifling sum compared with what most of the businesses and people of Hong Kong pay to sustain and enhance the traditional local balance of wealth – as enshrined in the Basic Law. The genius of this document is many-sided. Equality of the sexes and equality before the law are listed as goals. But, naturally, some people are far more equal than others. Thus, for example, the local aborigines, unlike their oppressed brethren in Australia and Taiwan, have special land ownership rights.

These sacred sites for worship of ancestors and prayer for wealth date back for as long as the aborigines care to remember – it was 1972 when government officials recognised the utility of such rights in buying the support of patriotic aborigines for colonial projects. These temples are also only open to males, as is appropriate in a China which cleverly melds Confucius with the ever-changing theories of Communist Party leaders. Here there is no fuss about equal rights, gay rights or other impediments to social order.

The notion of legal equality would also have prevented the emergence of the many companies, great and small, built on acquisition of agricultural land, putting it to more profitable use pending eventual development. The wisdom of the government is shown in not enforcing petty laws which are inconvenient for corporate owners, its own departments’ grand development plans, and civil servants’ hopes for early-retirement employment in the private sector.

The people’s government knows that ever higher land prices are also beneficial. These enable it to record fiscal surpluses that are the envy of the world, while also financing global cost-per-kilometre records for building bridges and tunnels. Additionally, they ensure that civil servants’ generous pensions are underwritten by the public whose own pension fund is guaranteed to keep improvident provider institutions from collapsing under the weight of management bonuses.

Naturally, little Hong Kong cannot absorb all the profits generated by the great companies that own its land and utilities. So, instead of frittering it away on the hare-brained schemes of would-be entrepreneurs in IT, AI, etc, they are safeguarding the people’s future with such forward-looking investments as waterworks in Britain and coal-fired power stations in Australia. Meanwhile, the grand families can still have their fun on the local stock market, playing weighted-dice games of snakes and ladders with local punters, alternately buying and selling bits of the empires they themselves control.

Social stability is further enhanced by the lack of possibility of upsetting the status quo. Executive-led government means exactly that: the executive leads the judiciary. The executive also ensures that legislative troublemakers are unwelcome, as in any well-managed club, and must be blackballed. The other members can then get on with ensuring that the key economic and commercial interests, such as taxi ownership and agriculture, are protected from welfarism and other anti-Confucian concepts.

The system also provides for some of these honourables to keep foreign rights of abode while invoking the spirit of patriotism and love of “one country”. A monastery would be proud of their daily unison singing of the “Belt and Road” mantra.


The Lord be praised that we live in Hong Kong 2017 and have a leader who commands the respect of the judiciary."


2017-JUL-15
Liu Xiaobo

As the Wumaos and other CCP apologists would have you believe, Liu Xiaobo didn't deserve our respect because he supported the various U.S. wars and made some statement about China requiring 300 years of colonization to get its affairs sorted out.

My reaction is "So what if he had opinions about the war that I don't agree with and, to a certain extent, that I find despicable?". Because it is not the point at all. The point is that Xiaobo was jailed for 11 years because he (non-violently) proposed changes to the way his country is run.
Did he break the law? Of course! Because the law was written by the Chinese communist party to protect itself and against its citizen. Laws that do not have their roots in an open system of government are, by definition, autocratic and the argument of breaking the law is circular and irrelevant.

What people should, and are remembering, is Xiaobo's fight for a democratic, multi-party Chinese government which follows the principles of the rule-of-law, and respects basic freedoms.

A few elements for further pondering:


"China’s censors raced Friday to scrub social media networks of candles, RIP and other tributes to Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo as they seek to silence discussion about the prominent dissident’s death.
(...)
A search for news of his death on Chinese search engine Baidu turned up no results and China’s Twitter-like Weibo blocked the use of his name and initials “LXB”.
Even the most obscure homages to Liu on Weibo were removed.
One user who posted “RIP” was advised it had been deleted “because it violated relevant laws and regulations” — even though the post did not mention the activist by name.
RIP is now among the search terms blocked on Chinese social media networks."




2017-JUL-12
Liu Xiaobo

"Liu Xiaobo (Chinese: 刘晓波; pinyin: Liú Xiǎobō; born 28 December 1955)[1] is a Chinese literary critic, writer, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who called for political reforms and the end of communist single-party rule.[2] He was incarcerated as a political prisoner in Jinzhou, Liaoning.[3][4][5] On 26 June 2017, he was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.[6]
Liu served as the President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, from 2003 to 2007. He was also the president of Minzhu Zhongguo (Democratic China) magazine since the mid-1990s. On 8 December 2008, Liu was detained due to his participation with the Charter 08 manifesto. He was formally arrested on 23 June 2009 on suspicion of "inciting subversion of state power".[7][8] He was tried on the same charges on 23 December 2009,[9] and sentenced to eleven years' imprisonment and two years' deprivation of political rights on 25 December 2009.[10]
During his fourth prison term, Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."[11][12][13][14] He is the first Chinese citizen to be awarded a Nobel Prize of any kind while residing in China.[15] Liu is the third person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while in prison or detention, after Germany's Carl von Ossietzky (1935) and Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi (1991).[16] Liu is also the second person (the first being Ossietzky) to be denied the right to have a representative collect the Nobel prize for him."


"Charter 08 is a manifesto initially signed by over 350 Chinese intellectuals and human rights activists.[1] It was published on 10 December 2008, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopting name and style from the anti-Soviet Charter 77 issued by dissidents in Czechoslovakia.[2] Since its release, more than 10,000 people inside and outside China have signed the charter.[3][4][5]
One of the authors of Charter '08, Liu Xiaobo, was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize."

2017-JUN-27
Human Trafficking Offender


""The U.S. State Department has issued highly public criticism of China in its latest annual report on the global state of human trafficking.
China is among the worst offenders of human trafficking, according to the Trafficking In Persons report. It's now lumped in with 'Tier 3' offenders such as Syria, Iran, Russia and North Korea — the worst designation.
Tier 3 is used to describe countries that are making no significant effort to comply with international standards. The last time China was ranked part of this group was in 2013, and since then it had moved up a half-notch.
'China was downgraded to Tier 3 status in this year's report in part because it has not taken serious steps to end its own complicity in trafficking, including forced labors from North Korea that are located in China,'"
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/27/534547998/china-back-on-state-department-list-of-worst-human-trafficking-offenders
2017-JUN-24
Terrible week in Hong Kong for democratic institutions

Well, first, in mainland China, more of the same with more repression of freedom of expression:
"China’s media oversight body announced Thursday that it has ordered three prominent Internet companies to terminate their video and audio streaming services.
The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said in a statement that the sites — including the massively popular Sina Weibo microblogging platform, iFeng.com and ACFUN — did not possess the permits required for providing their audio-visual streams.
The sites featured 'many politically-related programs that do not conform with state rules and social commentary programs that propagate negative remarks and opinions,' the statement said.
It added that authorities have been ordered to shut down the offending audio-visual services 'so as to create a cleaner cyberspace'."
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/06/23/china-orders-halt-video-streaming-major-websites-weibo-ifeng-acfun/
Yeah, so, for sure, the CCP has full intentions to respect Hong Kong's institutions past-2047...


"'It would not be appropriate for us to go into the mainland or challenge what happens on the mainland,' said Carrie Lam
(...)

Lam told CNN that the bookseller case "has to be dealt with in accordance with the mainland's system."
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/22/asia/hong-kong-carrie-lam-gui-booksellers/index.html
Remember that despite the mainland's authority forced confessions, the booksellers were abducted in Hong Kong.
Carrie Lam makes her position clear that her administration will kowtow to Bejing

"Police officers have been instructed to crack down on sensitive slogans and images in order to avoid “embarrassing” the country’s leaders during President Xi Jinping’s visit next week, according to sources cited by Ming Pao"

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/06/23/hk20-hong-kong-police-crack-sensitive-slogans-images-avoid-embarrassing-xi-jinping-visit-report/

"Hong Kong’s journalism watchdog has penned an open letter to the government, expressing concern that the personal details of reporters covering official events at the 20th anniversary of the city’s transfer of sovereignty may be shared with the police.

Consenting to sharing details with law enforcement agencies is a new requirement from the Information Services Department (ISD), said the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA)"




2017-JUN-20
The view of LocalStudioHK


2017-MAY-15
C.Y., the C.E (corrupt executive)

"A document on a select committee investigation into Australian firm UGL’s HK$50 million payment to Leung was seen by HKFP. It was submitted by Pro-Beijing DAB party lawmaker Holden Chow Ho-ding to the Legislative Council’s secretariat.

The document contains at least 34 edits made on April 21 and 22 by a user named “CEO-CE,” which stands for the Chief Executive Office. The committee discovered the document’s edit history at a closed door meeting on Monday."

2017-MAY-05
Economic and social freedom trends

I was reading the drivel of a commentator of Hong Kong politics who was stating that since Hong Kong was consistently named the number 1 freest region in the world, why be worried about China?
While it is true that think-thanks such as the FraserInstitute have rated Hong Kong has the freest economy in the world for quite a while now, it is not rating items such as 'freedom of speech', or 'freedom of the press'. So, let's see where Hong Kong and China have scored over the years on economic, but also wider measures of freedom.
One thing for sure is that China is always at the bottom of the pack, in all of these indices. Why would anybody think that getting a more integrated Hong Kong into China politics be good for Hong Kong's freedom is beyond belief.

Fraser Institutes economic freedom index
Hong Kong (#1 in 2014): 8.34/10 in 1970, 9.11/10 in 1995. Constant progression until  after the 1997 handover to China, at which point, went up and down but never exceeded pre-handover.
China (#113 in 2014): 3.64/10 in 1980 to around 6/10 in 2000 as a result of Deng Xiaoping's reforms and opening up of the economy. Not much variation since.
https://www.fraserinstitute.org/economic-freedom/map?year=2014&page=map

Cato Institutes Human Freedom index
Hong Kong (#1 in 2014): At 9.06/10, Hong Kong is #1 in Cato's Human Freedom index. However, that's because the economic freedom component of the index is much higher than its closest competitors. However, Hong Kong falls to the 20th place when it comes to Personal freedoms.
China (#141 in 2014): China's ranking is propped up by its 114th position in Economic Freedom, while it is at position 148 out of 159 countries on the Personal Freedom scale. And China's score actually went down between 2008 (5.07) and 2014 (4.81).
https://www.cato.org/human-freedom-index

Freedom House's Freedom index
Hong Kong: At 61%, Hong Kong is ranked 'Partly free'.
China: At 15%, China is considered 'Not free'. China was also considered 'Not Free' in 1998.

https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2017

Reporters Without Borders Freedom of the Press Index
Hong Kong went down 8 spots between 2014 and 2016 in Reporter Without Borders' World Press Freedom Index (61st to 69th position). China went from 175th, to 176th.https://rsf.org/en/ranking/2016
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/25/south-china-morning-post-china-influence-hong-kong-newspaper-confession
http://hongwrong.com/blog-mirror-of-paul-mooneys-scmp-whistle-blower-article/

Social Progress Index
Hong Kong is not listed as an individual area but China lists about halfway down the list, just after North-Korea!
http://www.socialprogressimperative.org/global-index/

Corruption Perception Index
With a score of 77 (mostly unchanged in the past 5 years), Hong Kong is listed at position 15th least corrupt.  China is 79th on the 2016 corruption index
http://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016
World Justice Project's Rule-of-Law Index
With a score of 0.77, Hong Kong is listed at position 16th of strongest adherence to the rule-of-law principles. At 0.48, China is in the bottom 1/3
http://data.worldjusticeproject.org/
2017-MAY-05
Propaganda

2017-MAY-04
Will the Hong Kong model survive

"The US Congressional-executive Commission on China heard from four witnesses at a hearing on Hong Kong’s autonomy on Thursday.

Former colonial Hong Kong governor Chris Patten, democracy icon and barrister Martin Lee, activist and Demosisto Secretary-General Joshua Wong, bookseller Lam Wing-kee and writer Ellen Bork gave testimony"


2017-APR-28
Corruption runs deep

"Chinese human rights lawyer Li Heping has been handed a three-year suspended prison sentence for subversion of state power, a Tianjin court has announced.
The trial was conducted on Tuesday in secret, and received no media coverage prior to Friday’s sentencing.
(...)
The ruling added that Li had collaborated with illegal religious figures, professional petitioners and minority lawyers in order to subvert state power."


2017-APR-10
Corruption runs deep



2017-APR-9
Dictatorships supporting each other

“How North Korea makes its money: Coal, forced labor and hacking"
China is North Korea's economic bedrock, accounting for more than 80% of its smaller neighbor's foreign trade
(...)
"Its biggest source of foreign currency is believed to come from the millions of tons of coal it sells to China every year. They accounted for about a third of official exports in 2015
(...)
North Korea also exports other commodities, and basic goods such as iron ore, seafood and clothing, to China
(...)
Even assuming China gets tough on trade, North Korea is thought to have racked up hefty rainy day funds from booming coal sales to China, particularly during the spike in global commodity prices in the previous decade.
Harvard's Park says he believes Pyongyang has kept very large sums in China that the regime can use to buy what it wants for its weapons programs.
By keeping the money in China, North Korea can more easily dodge sanctions aimed at cutting it out of the global financial system.
Restricting Pyongyang's access to that cash 'boils down to the political will of the Chinese authorities to use domestic law to track down these funds, Park said"

Freedom of the press

It is regrettable that the Davos forum is providing a platform to a dictator in such a laudatory manner when human rights are being suppressed more in China now than they have for the past two decades,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk

How can these comments be regarded as sincere when freedom of the press, information and expression are missing from any dialogue with China? How can China be regarded as a development model when its censors permit no public debate about its environmental problems, and when the Chinese education system, the state media and Internet companies erase events such as the Tiananmen Square massacre from Chinese history, thereby keeping most of the public in ignorance?


2017-APR-1
Little Mao

"Communist Party chief Xi Jinping could see his name enshrined in the party’s theoretical pantheon this autumn, sources say, with an eponymous ideological 'banner term' likely to be written into the party’s constitution at its national congress.
Such a move would place Xi on a par with late leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, and analysts said that would speak volumes about his consolidation of power."

2017-MAR-31
Dangerous slide

"Over 200 scholars from local and overseas universities have signed a joint statement criticising the prosecution of Hong Kong activists for their leadership role in the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests.
'We are alarmed and outraged,' the statement read. 'We strongly oppose the Hong Kong government’s decision to charge these scholars and activists for their non-violent fight to realize Hong Kong people’s right to universal suffrage.'”

"Two activists who voiced support on social media for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Occupy protests in 2014 have been sentenced to jail terms by a court in Guangdong, south China, on Friday.
Su was found guilty of 'incitement to subvert state power' by the Foshan Intermediate Court and sentenced to three years imprisonment. She was also stripped of her political rights for three years."
"Amnesty International researcher Patrick Poon told HKFP: 'Su Changlan and Chen Qitang shouldn’t have been detained in the first place. They were just exercising their freedom of expression. The definition of ‘inciting subversion of state power’ is extremely vague. It’s just difficult to imagine how writing articles online and posting messages in chat groups can incite people to subvert a state power which has been ruling China for over 60 years.'"




2017-MAR-28
2-bit dictatorship tactics


"An undercover reporter from television network i-Cable has filmed supporters of Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam appearing to receive HK$600 after attending Sunday’s election day event.
Video footage showed a man paying two supporters and the reporter a sum of money, after they reportedly attended a rally in support of Lam outside Wan Chai’s Convention and Exhibition Centre."

2017-APR-08
No freedom of speech



"US satirical news show China Uncensored says that the Apple TV app store has blocked users from accessing it not only in mainland China, but also in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

'I totally understand why we’re blocked in mainland China. We’re clearly disrupting the Communist Party’s harmonious propaganda,' said host Chris Chappell in a Tuesday press release"



2017-MAR-19
Great firewall of shame


"Chinese scientists have periodically spoken out against the national web filtering system, often termed “the Great Firewall,” which blocks and censors web traffic from overseas websites. It damages research, they say.
But their voices have been dismissed — and deleted — again and again.
The latest criticism came from Luo Fuhe, vice-chair of the national advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)."


2017-MAR-09
Propaganda

For a on mainland China resident, this is just hilarious. What is sad is that it is the kind of information mainland Chinese have to deal with all the time...

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2017-03/09/c_136115481_3.htm


2017-MAR-07
Corruption

Hong Kong is in the top20 perceived as least corrupt

China is within the half of countries perceived as most corrupt
http://www.transparency.org/cpi2016
Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse

https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_in_asia_pacific_what_20000_people_told_us

2017-MAR-04
No Freedom of the Speech
"Authorities in Beijing have conducted a widespread crackdown on dissent across the capital ahead of the annual meetings of China’s parliament and advisory body this weekend"
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/03/04/authorities-crack-down-on-petitioners-in-beijing-ahead-of-top-political-meetings/
2017-MAR-03
No Freedom of the Press
"A crew of BBC reporters in China was attacked by a mob and later forced to sign a police confession for attempting an “illegal interview”, the British broadcaster said Friday.
The journalists were trying to reach a woman in Xinhua county in southern Hunan province, who claims her father was killed during a land dispute, when a group of men confronted them on Sunday, in an incident later condemned by China’s foreign correspondents’ association"


2017-FEB-16
You will be assimilated



"The pro-Beijing Sing Pao Daily has claimed that its staff are being targeted after the Chinese-language paper ran numerous stories critical of China’s no. 3 official Zhang Dejiang, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and the China Liaison Office, Beijing’s organ in the city.

It said threats against its staff have recently intensified and its employees sought police assistance four times within a week. The latest report filed to police was made in the early hours of Sunday, after the apartment door of a Sing Pao’s senior editor was smeared with red paint."


2017-FEB-16
Do Beijing's bidding, get rewarded with cushy job



"Outgoing Chief Executive Leung Chun- ying is reported likely to be appointed a vice chairman of China's highest political advisory body within the year.

If Leung is appointed, Hong Kong could have two vice chairmen in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

First chief executive Tung Chee-hwa is one of 21 CPPCC vice chairpersons and is the only vice chairman representing Hong Kong.

The central government could nominate Leung as a CPPCC delegate as early as March, news portal HK01 reported.

Beijing is determined to promote Leung this year, the report added."



2017-FEB-04
No Freedom of the Press


Hong Kong went down 8 spots between 2014 and 2016 in Reporter Without Borders' World Press Freedom Index (61st to 69th position). China went from 175th, to 176th.

https://rsf.org/en/ranking/2016


2016-FEB-01
One country, Two systems transgressions
"Xiao, who is usually looked after by a group of female bodyguards, was led away from an apartment at the hotel by Chinese security agents, the Financial Times reported, citing a person familiar with the investigation.
(...)
It is against Hong Kong’s constitution for mainland agents to operate in the territory"


2017-JAN-27
Concentration of Power


"President now has 12 posts that give him control and oversight over most areas of government, the economy and the military"

2017-JAN-27
No rule-of-law, no freedom of speech


"It has been a year since Dahlin became one of the first foreign victims of President Xi Jinping’s war on dissent.

On 3 January 2016 Chinese security agents encircled the activist’s Beijing home and spirited him and his Chinese girlfriend, Pan Jinling, off to a covert interrogation centre he now calls 'The Residence'.

(...)

The political situation, which some call the most dire since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, has deteriorated so fast under the current leadership that one scholar claims Xi has built “the perfect dictatorship” – an ever-more repressive system that nevertheless avoids major international censure."





2017-JAN-05

Fakes

"The newspaper estimated that around 50 family-run factories had been making fake condiments and seasonings for as long as a decade, producing up to 100 million yuan ($14 million) of them every year. Materials were often stored in the open next to rubbish dumps, it reported"
http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/18/news/china-fake-food-seasoning-factories/index.html


2017-JAN-05

Media Control



"Apple has confirmed to The New York Times that it recently removed the paper’s app from the Chinese version of the App Store. The removal was made at the request of the Chinese government, which began blocking the Times’ website in 2012 after the paper published a series of articles on the “billions in hidden riches” amassed by the family of the then-head of state, Wen Jiabao"

2017-JAN-02
Corruption and Power struggles

"Chinese President Xi Jinping has accused five disgraced Communist Party heavyweights of ­involvement in 'political conspiracies', signaling power struggles – and not just corruption – led to their downfalls.
In a keynote speech to party leaders in October, Xi said Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, Guo Boxiong, Xu Caihou and Ling Jihua “all engaged in political conspiracy activities”, according a copy of the address published by Xinhua on Sunday."

2016-DEC-20
The Bootlickers

“We are not denying the importance of democracy, but we are definitely wrong if we consider competitive elections to be a main – or the only – component of democracy,” he said on Monday. (...) If competitions become politicized – coupled with a lack of common beliefs and national consciousness in society – competitive elections will very likely turn into conflicts among tribes, races, religions and ethnic groups, or between the rich and the poor. They will eventually lead to clashes among various camps and even separation of the country.
(...)
The Chinese government has become more open and transparent, while being subjected to a stricter system of checks and balances”

These are the comments of Tung Chee Hwa made during his "China’s successful governance model". They are obvious and easily demonstrable falsehoods.
Tung Chee Hwa was the first Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong from the transfer of sovereignty in 1997. He resigned in 2005. Unsurprisingly, he unsuccessfully tried to push Article 23 of the basic law, an anti-sedition clause meant to control and limit what Hong Kong people can say and do.
2016-DEC-12
Hong Kong longing for Democracy


"Pro-democracy camp takes record quarter of seats on Election Committee that will choose Hong Kong’s leader"




2016-DEC-12
Control

Google Signs Deal With Cuba to Speed Services

"Alphabet Inc.’s Google completed a deal with Cuba to place computer servers on the island to speed Google services there, a pact that officials hurried to complete before President Barack Obama leaves office next month.
Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt signed an agreement in Havana on Monday with Cuba’s state telecommunications company, La Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba SA, concluding months of talks
(...)
Google, which has long had an obsession with the speed of its internet services, operates servers around the globe to accelerate speeds for local users, including in Greenland, Somalia, Yemen and the Gaza Strip, said Doug Madory, an internet-infrastructure analyst at Dynamic Network Services Inc. The shortlist of countries without Google servers includes China, Iran, Syria and North Korea, among others, Mr. Madory said"

2016-NOV-10

Backlash to dictatorship


"After four years of ruthlessly cementing his authority, Xi Jinping has established himself as one of the most powerful men in modern Chinese politics. The irony is that the president's pursuit of power has created a backlash that could threaten to undermine his entire regime.
Particularly worrying for Xi, this backlash is coming not only from activists in Hong Kong, but even from the mainland, where disgruntled bureaucrats are staging a silent rebellion against their supreme leader"


2016-OCT-17
One country, Two systems transgressions


https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/10/17/the-last-missing-bookseller-one-year-on-the-anniversary-of-gui-minhais-abduction-demands-action/


2016-NOV-24

No human-rights protection


"Since the previous Universal Periodic Review (UPR), human rights conditions and safeguards in China have slightly improved in some limited areas. However, the overall human rights situation has worsened over the past three years.
Out of the total number of 252 UPR recommendations, there were 236 that made actionable and measurable suggestions relevant to promoting human rights. Our assessment shows that of these actionable recommendations, the Chinese government did “not implement” 190, “partially implemented” 43, and only “implemented” 3."

“'We documented a very serious deterioration in China’s human rights record in these past three years. This essentially confirms the Chinese government is just using the UPR process as a window dressing while it slides backwards on human rights,' Frances Eve, a researcher at NCHRD, told HKFP
(...)
The report’s findings contradict claims by the Chinese government that it has “accepted” 81% of the the UPR recommendations, Eve said. “Accepting recommendations and not following through on implementation displays a lack of cooperation with the UN. This is especially disappointing, as China is a member of the Human Rights Council and members are expected to uphold the highest standard of human rights.”
The propaganda machine of the CCP bragging about its human rights record:
"It said that in recent years, especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), progress has been made in modernizing the system and capacity of state governance. The country has effectively protected the people's rights and freedoms in an extensive array of fields in accordance with the law, while its people duly fulfill their obligations"

2013-MAY-14

If you had any doubts about how evil the CCP is, and what is more or less guaranteed to happen in Hong Kong post 2047 unless the 'One Country, Two Systems" get permanently enshrined with stronger protection of the Hong Kong system,  have a read at the content linked-to below. Here are some excerpts:

"Western Constitutional Democracy has distinct political properties and aims. Among these are the separation of powers, the multi-party system, general elections, independent judiciaries, nationalized armies, and other characteristics. These are the capitalist class’ concepts of a nation, political model, and system design"

"Advocates of civil society want to squeeze the Party out of leadership of the masses at the local level, even setting the Party against the masses, to the point that their advocacy is becoming a serious form of political opposition"

"Some people, under the pretext of espousing “freedom of the press,” promote the West’s idea of journalism and undermine our country’s principle that the media should be infused with the spirit of the Party"

"We must uphold strict and clear discipline, maintaining a high-level unity with the Party Central Committee under the leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping in thought, political stance, and action. We must not permit the dissemination of opinions that oppose the Party’s theory or political line, the publication of views contrary to decisions that represent the central leadership’s views, or the spread of political rumors that defame the image of the Party or the nation"

"The [principle of the Party’s control of media] stems from our political system and the nature of our media. We must maintain the correct political direction. We must firmly hold fast to the principle of the media’s Party spirit and social responsibility, and that in political matters it must be of one heart and mind with the Party. We must persist in correct guidance of public opinion, insisting that the correct political orientation suffuse every domain and process in political engagement, form, substance, and technology. We must give high priority to building both the leadership and rank and file in the sphere of media work. We need to strengthen education on the Marxist perspective of media to ensure that the media leadership is always firmly controlled by someone who maintains an identical ideology with the Party’s Central Committee, under General Secretary Xi Jinping’s leadership"

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/world/asia/chinese-leaders-warn-of-dangerous-western-values.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Document_Number_Nine
http://www.chinafile.com/document-9-chinafile-translation

2016-AUG-10
The Chief Autocrat


"President Xi Jinping will probably seek to extend his term to more than 10 years, analysts say, the first Communist Party chief to do so since Deng Xiaoping.

The ruling party's leaders have reportedly gathered at their secretive annual Beidaihe retreat, where discussions are expected to focus on the composition of its next Politburo Standing Committee"


2016-AUG-02
The Bootlickers

Hong Kong government force candidates to sign a form pledging allegiance to the Basic Law
http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1997682/declaration-form-legco-election-both-unnecessary-and-illegal
https://johnib.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/216459/


2016-APR-21

Only getting worse



"...not since the 1970s when Mao still reigned and the Cultural Revolution still raged has the Chinese leadership been so possessed by Maoist nostalgia and Leninist-style leadership."



"At the center of this retrograde trend is Xi’s enormously ambitious initiative to purge the Chinese Communist Party of what he calls “tigers and flies,” namely corrupt officials and businessmen both high and low. Since it began in 2012, the campaign has already netted more than 160 “tigers” whose rank is above or equivalent to that of the deputy provincial or deputy ministerial level, and more than 1,400 “flies,” all lower-level officials. But it has also morphed from an anticorruption drive into a broader neo-Maoist-style mass purge aimed at political rivals and others with differing ideological or political views."



"Media organizations dealing with news and information have been hit particularly hard. Pressured to conform to old Maoist models requiring them to serve as megaphones for the Party, editors and reporters have found themselves increasingly constrained by Central Propaganda Department diktats. Told what they can and cannot cover, they find that the limited freedom they had to report on events has been drastically curtailed."



"But what has been perhaps most unexpected about this trend is the way that Beijing has begun to extend its claim to control people and organizations beyond its borders. Despite its stubborn defense of the sanctity of sovereignty, its agents have begun reaching overseas to manipulate the foreign dialogue by setting up hundreds of Confucius Institutes, newspapers, magazines, and even TV networks that answer to the Central Propaganda Department and the CCP.

The Chinese government is also denying visas to “unfriendly” (buyouhao) foreign journalists and scholars; blocking foreign websites with which it disagrees; demanding that public figures like the Dalai Lama, Hong Kong activists, or Chinese dissidents be refused foreign platforms; threatening the advertising bases of overseas media outlets that challenge its positions; and now even abducting foreign nationals abroad and “renditioning” them back to China where it forces them into making televised confessions."







2016-JAN-30
Only getting worse


"The main reason for the spate of confessional television in China is, in fact, political: it is a conscious policy of the regime of Xi Jinping, China’s ruler for the past three years. In an illuminating essay last March, David Bandurski of the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong pointed out that what he called “China’s confessional politics of dominance” has its roots in the Communist Party’s own history, and in the Soviet influences that helped shape it before it took power. Confession and self-criticism have been part of its ruling strategy since its revolutionary leaders lived in caves in Yan’an and plotted against their neighbouring cavemen.
Virtually everybody in China—even Deng Xiaoping and, almost certainly during Mao’s rule, Mr Xi himself—has written at least one piece of selfcriticism. At the other end of the scale, even Banyan has done it, when he was a student and later reporter in China, with a few eloquent selfflagellations— now (he hopes) gathering dust in some forgotten archive.
Imagine a boot stamping on a human face–for ever In writing self-criticism, the secret is to ponder not truth, justice or cultural norms, but what your reader wants. As Mr Bandurski put it: “As in the past, today’s culture of confession is not about accountability, clean government or a rulesbased system. It is about dominance and
submission.” Mr Xi’s revival of this culture is not accidental. It is a reminder that his party’s tolerance for dissent is lower now than at any time since the early 1990s. One symptom of this is its insistence that China’s people—and foreigners working in the country—must accept that, even if they cannot love him, Big Brother is right."


2016
No Rule of Law

"Effective rule of law reduces corruption, combats poverty and disease, and protects people from injustices large and small. It is the foundation for communities of peace, opportunity, and equity – underpinning development, accountable government, and respect for fundamental rights"

http://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/media/wjp_rule_of_law_index_2016.pdf

While Hong Kong is still a shining example of rule of law in Asia (only 4 Asian entries in the top 30), China is at the bottom of the ranks, in terrible company. So, there are ample reasons to be concern about the "one country, two systems" scheme ending in 2047.

2016

Mainland Chinese don't give to charity, don't help others as much

2012-OCT-25

Corruption

"BEIJING — The mother of China’s prime minister was a schoolteacher in northern China. His father was ordered to tend pigs in one of Mao’s political campaigns. And during childhood, “my family was extremely poor,” the prime minister, Wen Jiabao, said in a speech last year.

But now 90, the prime minister’s mother, Yang Zhiyun, not only left poverty behind, she became outright rich, at least on paper, according to corporate and regulatory records. Just one investment in her name, in a large Chinese financial services company, had a value of $120 million five years ago, the records show.

The details of how Ms. Yang, a widow, accumulated such wealth are not known, or even if she was aware of the holdings in her name. But it happened after her son was elevated to China’s ruling elite, first in 1998 as vice prime minister and then five years later as prime minister.


Many relatives of Wen Jiabao, including his son, daughter, younger brother and brother-in-law, have become extraordinarily wealthy during his leadership, an investigation by The New York Times shows. A review of corporate and regulatory records indicates that the prime minister’s relatives — some of whom, including his wife, have a knack for aggressive deal making — have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion."