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: 


Loh has a remarkable curriculum of promoting freedom. Unfortunately, it seems that she has just given-up hope. Or, at least, she now takes the position that Hong Kong should “weather the storm”. This unfortunately feels very much like WW2 France’s appeasement...

"Description: British Hong Kong had a good story in the run-up to 1997. Its people worked hard and had an indomitable spirit. China had its own story about Hong Kong: after reunification, the city would prosper as never before due to China’s wise and pragmatic “one country, two systems” policy. Hong Kong people and the world bought those stories. But now it is clear that the British version of the Hong Kong story no longer holds while Hong Kong people are not so sure about themselves and their future seems less bright. The city and its people are stuck—they have no compelling narrative that joins the past and the future. This book is based on our thoughts of what a new Hong Kong story might be: a story about “us” and “you”, the people who care about Hong Kong, not an impersonal “he/she/it” story—a story, moreover, to be worked out between Hong Kong and mainland China and no one else."

The comments from a reader here are quite accurate and revealing.

"This book lacks intellectual tightness and acceptance of practical realities as well as (in consequence) moral rigour.
Three examples:
1. the authors treat China and the CCP as different, when in fact (as author Christine Loh knows very well, given her excellent analyses of the CCP and its role in HK)there is no to little light between them; furthermore, since President Xi came to power, the primacy of the Party, and within the Party of the Core leadership, and within the core leadership of the President, means that loyalty 'to China' becomes inextricably bound up with loyalty to one man and to his policies. The unavoidable moral implications are simply ignored.
2. The authors conflate HK and its citizens individually. What is undoubtedly true from an HKSAR perspective - that it is indivisibly part of China, and shares an inescapable common destiny with it, that will benefit from high mutual trust - is converted into the suggestion that we must all line up and swallow out principles, be we the CE, a leading academic, or a private citizen. It may be that reads too much into the call to unity, but where does the borderline lie between public and private? Are we allowed to have private disagreements with President Xi's view of what is good for China? At what point in the public-private divide (porous as it is) might any borderline lie? The authors do not get to grips with this difficult question (difficult on the basis of their postulates).
3. When they stray into analysis by example draw from the world outside China, they stray also from fair analysis. Their treatment of the Schenck case, decided in 1919 by the US Supreme Court, but referring to acts that took place in 1917, is used to suggest that the kinds of problems faced by China today have parallels with those that had in the past limited freedom of speech under the First Amendment in the USA. What is not recognised is that the US was actually at war in 1917, and the the lead judgment of Oliver Wendell-Holmes recognised that when free speech directly and immediately affected the ability of the nation to make war (in this case the action complained of was encouraging people to refuse to sign up for the army), then breach of the law forbidding actions that directly impacted the war-making effort (the espionage Act was the law concerned) could not be excused on First Amendment grounds. This is really too intellectually dishonest to be acceptable. One situation is obstructing the running of an actual war in wartime, the other is limiting freedom of speech when no immediate threat of any sort s objectively observable. The two situations are far from commensurate.
I'd add that, having re-reviewed Schenck, it is even more obviously a poor example to use in connection with free speech in the context of HK/China.
Not onlywas America at war at the time, but the documents that were treated as in breach of the Espionage Act were aimed at citizens who had already been accepted for the draft, i.e. it was an act directly aimed at the USA's then current war effort, and thus no more protected as free speech, said Mr Justice Holmes, than shouting 'Fire' in a crowded movie theatre.
How debate on the possibility of HK independence remotely compares is beyond me.
But Loh and Cullen obviously think differently.
Not impressive morally, nor in terms of scholarship.
And on top, the false comparison demeans the otherwise admissible argument that China must retain the right to proscribe certain behaviour, legally, and that it is in principle in HK's interest to show understanding and support for China (as a country, for sure).
The point is not the principle, the point is where, in the real world, is the line to be drawn, and by whom.
It is of course the sovereign right of China to declare whatever it likes is illegal, but there must be a limit to what citizens, academics, and even businessmen are obliged to accept in the name of 'loyalty'."

'How things change... in less than 2 years'

"Kurt Tong said city’s unique governing formula working well and distanced himself from recent comments by US congressional commission on China"

June 6th, 2017

"Tong had been criticized for his speech on Wednesday in which he said Beijing "appears to have been intimately involved in the Hong Kong government's decision-making" and it will affect the city's autonomy and its role as an international business center.

The Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong raised representations with the US consulate general in Hong Kong on Friday over Tong's speech and China expressed 'strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition' to his remarks.

Brave Chan Yung, a National People's Congress Hong Kong deputy, demanded Tong apologize to all Chinese nationals.

But Tong said he would not apologize, and urged people to read his whole speech on the consulate's website. He added: 'I think they probably haven't read the speech. I'm not going to apologize for saying Hong Kong is a great place to do business or Hong Kong is a wonderful city.

It's my job to represent the United States and explain and provide feedback and help stimulate open conversation, transparent conservation about the situation in Hong Kong, so that everyone can be involved in the conversation and think about the best way forward for the city.'

He said the United States has 'a big presence' and 'a big stake' in Hong Kong and that it hopes the city would be 'a very successful place.'

Tong added: 'We want one country, two systems to be a very successful model as it has been in the past'.

Tong said in his speech that he had seen several 'unfortunate firsts' in Hong Kong last year, including the banning of the Hong Kong National Party, the rejection of British journalist Victor Mallet from reentering the city, and the disqualification of a large number of election candidates for their political views.

'I would not be doing my job as a diplomat if I were not honest enough to share a note of caution about the future,' he said in his speech, adding those events have 'raised cautionary flags for US observers.'"

March 5th, 2019

'Theft is not innovation'

"A key part of the tension between the United States and China revolves around American allegations of widespread Chinese cyber intrusion and cybertheft.
In March 2018, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued a Section 301 report accusing China of using cybertheft and cyber intrusions into the commercial networks of US companies to steal trade secrets that serve its strategic economic objectives.
This developed on the long-standing complaints of successive US administrations, as well as other US allies; one year earlier, China had implemented its controversial cybersecurity law, which demands security checks of technology products supplied to the Chinese government, and requires foreign companies to store their data within China.
The concern intensified in late 2018 when China expanded its cybersecurity regulation by authorising police to physically inspect businesses and copy information that might “endanger China’s national security”.
In November, the USTR issued an updated report stating that not only had China failed to stop cybertheft since the issuance of their initial report, but they had actually increased the frequency and sophistication of such acts.
In addition, US officials claimed that China violated a 2015 cybertheft accord signed by then-US President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping.
In December 2018, the US Department of Justice charged Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong, who worked for the Chinese company Huaying Haitai Science and Technology Development, with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
Zhu and Zhang are accused of being members of a computer hacking group known as Advanced Persistent Threat 10 (APT10) or Stone Panda, which allegedly collaborated with the Chinese Ministry of State Security’s Tianjin State Security Bureau.
The indictment said Zhu and Zhang targeted intellectual property and confidential business and technology information in at least 12 countries, with more than 45 technology companies and government agencies in the US alleged to be among their victims.
So far, it appears China has done very little to stop cyber intrusion and cybertheft.
Recent reports show that Chinese cyber intrusion has risen back to historically high levels and taken on a more sophisticated manner.
The New York Times reported on February 18 that Chinese hackers have recently launched 'aggressive attacks' against US business and government agencies, attempting to steal 'trade and military secrets' from Boeing, GE Aviation and others.
Nick Marro, an analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit said a deal on cyber intrusion and cybertheft between China and US is, at best, “uncertain”.
'In theory, Xi and Obama came to an agreement on this issue in 2015, although it's clear that the US feels China hasn't lived up to this commitment. The crucial part of any deal will be enforcement, but this will be tricky because China doesn't have a great track record, historically,' Marro said."

'Well, wadda ya know!?'

I don't know what event gave Chugani this epiphany, but it surely good to see that he can see past the Alex Lo-type 2 bit commie cheerleading crowd at SCMP...

"Face it, Hong Kong: with our worsening quality of life and declining freedoms, Singapore is Asia’s world city
An international survey showed Hong Kong sliding 12 places to an embarrassing 41 as a liveable city for Asian expats, our worst ranking in a decade. We call ourselves Asia’s world city but Asians have given us the thumbs down as a liveable city. That’s a paradox that should shame us.

It was 20 years ago that former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa branded Hong Kong as Asia’s world city in his annual policy speech, putting it on a par with New York and London.
Tung claimed the crown based on promises to make Hong Kong great. The ones that stood out when I reread them were commitments to maintaining the rule of law, freedom of expression and association, the free flow of information and openness and diversity, as well as the commitment to enhancing quality of life.

I believe the rule of law is still intact even though the Heritage Foundation, which consistently ranks us as the world’s freest economy, warned in its latest report that Beijing is now meddling in our judicial independence. But freedom of expression and association? The free flow of information? Surely, they now ring hollow.
Hongkongers no longer have the freedom to peacefully support independence or self-determination. A prison cell awaits those who do, as it soon will for those who mock the national anthem.

People cannot associate with the localist Hong Kong National Party [5], which the government has banned. The media exercises the free flow of information with great caution nowadays, fearing repercussions if it talks to independence advocates.
Openness died when the Foreign Correspondents’ Club came under relentless attack by the government and Beijing for hosting a lunch speech by the convenor of the National Party.
I have said before I flatly reject Hong Kong independence [6]. But I see no real harm in a tiny group of delusional people with no public support peacefully advocating the merits – there aren’t any – of it.

Enhancing the quality of life? Ask any Hongkonger and most will tell you it sucks. In the 20 years since Tung’s promise, ordinary Hongkongers have been priced out of the homes market. Those who can afford it must pay big bucks for flats barely the size of a parking space.


The liveability survey partly blamed last year’s Typhoon Mangkhut for our dismal ranking, not because it struck but for the appalling way we handled its aftermath. Five months after the typhoon, the waterfront park near where I live is still being repaired.
We were once a city with good governance that motivated people to achieve the Hong Kong dream. That city has long passed its prime.

Singapore [14] has been ranked first for 17 years running as the most liveable city. It beats us in most other surveys and comes a close second in the Heritage survey. Yet we still call ourselves Asia’s world city. What a joke. That title rightfully belongs to Singapore. It’s a hard truth we must admit.

Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong journalist and TV show host"

'50 cents army'

"How the Chinese Government Fabricates Social Media Posts for Strategic Distraction, not Engaged Argument.
Gary Kingy Jennifer Panz Margaret E. Roberts

April 9, 2017

The Chinese government has long been suspected of hiring as many as 2,000,000 people to surreptitiously insert huge numbers of pseudonymous and other deceptive writings into the stream of real social media posts, as if they were the genuine opinions of ordinary people. Many academics, and most journalists and activists, claim that these so-called “50c party” posts vociferously argue for the government’s side in political and policy debates. As we show, this is also true of the vast majority of posts openly accused on social media of being 50c. Yet, almost no systematic empirical evidence exists for this claim, or, more importantly, for the Chinese regime’s strategic objective in pursuing this activity. In the first large scale empirical analysis of this operation, we show how to identify the secretive authors of these posts, the posts written by them, and their content. We estimate that the government fabricates and posts about 448 million social media comments a year. In contrast to prior claims, we show that the Chinese regime’s strategy is to avoid arguing with skeptics of the party and the government, and to not even discuss controversial issues. We
show that the goal of this massive secretive operation is instead to distract the public and change the subject, as most of the these posts involve cheerleading for China, the revolutionary history of the Communist Party, or other symbols of the regime. We discuss how these results fit with what is known about the Chinese censorship program, and suggest how they may change our broader theoretical understanding of “common knowledge” and information control in authoritarian regimes."

'See no evil...'

"One of the facial recognition databases that the Chinese government is using to track the Uyghur Muslim population in the Xinjiang region has been left open on the internet for months, a Dutch security researcher told ZDNet.

The database belongs to a Chinese company named SenseNets, which according to its website provides video-based crowd analysis and facial recognition technology.

Yesterday, Victor Gevers, a well-known security researcher that made a name for himself in the past few years by finding leaky MongoDB databases did what he does best and found one of SenseNets' MongoDB databases that had been left exposed online without authentication.

Gevers told ZDNet that the database contained information on 2,565724 users, along with a stream of GPS coordinates that came in at a rapid pace.

The user data wasn't just benign usernames, but highly detailed and highly sensitive information that someone would usually find on an ID card, Gevers said. The researcher saw user profiles with information such as names, ID card numbers, ID card issue date, ID card expiration date, sex, nationality, home addresses, dates of birth, photos, and employer."

'Taiwan must remain free'

"A group of US scholars has called on President Donald Trump to be ready to deter aggression by mainland China against Taiwan, maintain a strong military presence in the Western Pacific and help the self-ruled island develop a strategy in tackling expansionist Beijing. 
In a 53-page report released by the Task Force on US-China Policy – a group of China 17 specialists formed by the Asia Society – Washington was reminded of the long-standing American policy of insisting on a peaceful resolution to the question of Taiwan’s future and the extent of the self-governing island’s dependence upon US military power."
The report, 'Course Correction: Toward an Effective and Sustainable China Policy', addressed the gulf in military forces between Beijing and Taipei and said it was necessary for Washington to “assist Taiwan in developing asymmetric capabilities to hold off the massively superior mainland military until the United States can bring forces to bear”.

"Two years into the Trump administration, the United States and the People’s Republic of China find their bilateral relationship at a dangerous crossroads. As more stresses and strains beset their relationship, both sides are casting about for redefinitions of their national interest and new policy directions for attaining them.

On February 12, 2019, the Task Force on U.S.-China Policy issued its new report Course Correction: Toward an Effective and Sustainable China Policy. This report marks the second set of findings issued by a group comprised of China specialists from around the United States convened by Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and the University of California San Diego’s 21st Century China Center.

This year’s Task Force memorandum builds on its 2017 report to identify the fundamental interests of the United States in its relationship with China. These include a fair market-based global economic system, a peaceful and stable Asia-Pacific region, a liberal rules-based political and economic order, and a stable and productive relationship with China. This memorandum focuses on five different issue areas:

  • economics and trade 
  • regional security 
  • global governance 
  • human rights
  • China’s influence-seeking and interference abroad   

To further these interests the Task Force proposes a strategy of 'smart competition.' 'Smart competition' involves building on American strengths to compete effectively with China while maintaining as much cooperation as possible in areas of common interest; building international coalitions to press China to follow international laws and norms; negotiating resolutions of key disputes wherever feasible; and preserving and updating those international institutions that have enhanced the welfare and security of both countries and the rest of the world for so many decades."

"Beijing has engendered serious doubts about its peaceful intentions with assertive efforts to consolidate its long-held, vaguely defined, and expansive claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea in ways that have harmed the legitimate interests of neighboring countries and flouted international law. At the same time, it also has begun developing asymmetric military threats to the decades-long strategic stability created by U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific, under which China, too, thrived. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) also stepped up its worldwide efforts to claim what it calls 'discourse power,' by using sometimes covert and intrusive methods to induce ethnic 'overseas Chinese' as well as other foreign groups abroad to adopt, or at least accept, pro-CCP positions. Beijing’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy and its pressure tactics to narrow Taiwan’s international space have further marred its international image.
At the same time, China’s increasingly unfair business practices have generated growing international criticism, especially from the very businesspeople who have traditionally been most enthusiastic in their support of engagement with China. One of their most serious concerns is the way Beijing has ramped up its massive state drive to dominate the technologies of the future, both at home and abroad. This has included not just legitimate forms of Chinese innovation and investment, but also the acquisition of foreign technology through illegitimate means such as cyber theft, intellectual property violation, and forced technology transfer. As market reforms stalled or were reversed and the Chinese state’s role
in the economy has grown, it has become increasingly clear that China is no longer converging with global norms of fair market competition but is in fact steadily diverging from them.
Xi Jinping’s revival of personalistic autocratic rule, including the scrapping of presidential term limits and his refusal to adhere to precedent for the peaceful turnover of political power for top leadership positions, makes China a less predictable and trustworthy partner and accentuates the political and values system gap that makes finding common ground more difficult. The Chinese Communist Party has tightened its control over information and society. It enforces ideological orthodoxy, demands political loyalty, and screens out foreign ideas, particularly in education and the media. Moreover, by arresting rights lawyers, incarcerating and indoctrinating Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region, and repressing independent Christian congregations throughout the country, the regime has attracted increased international opprobrium as a human rights violator and set itself more explicitly in opposition to liberal values.
Across multiple domains, Xi Jinping is enacting policies that put China’s impressive development success story at risk by diminishing its once self-professed hopes for a “peaceful rise” in a stable international environment."

"Can China really take over Taiwan?"

"Chinese military official: ‘We should be ready to take over Taiwan’"

"China must be ready for 'crisis' with US over Taiwan – Beijing press"

"Is the US Ready to Stand Up for Taiwan Against China?"

'False equivalency..'

Truly excellent comment in the SCMP; luckily, there's some common sense in these dark ages...

"I’m sick of the incessant 'whataboutery' in these pages. For example: China may steal technology, sure, but what about the US? Yes, China may unfairly subsidise its exports, but what about Europe? China may improperly hinder imports, but what about Japan? I refer to columns by David Dodwell and Robert Delaney.

Then there’s the thrust of Alex Lo’s column, “Sabrina Meng Wanzhou case exposes the worst of East and West” (January 22): yes, China may jail random expat Canadians, but what about the US? The latter, according to Lo, is wielding the so-called rule of law to arrest Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou.

I encourage Lo to do a thought experiment: where would he prefer to be jailed, China or the US? Would he rather criticise Chinese President Xi Jinping on Beijing’s Wangfujing or harangue US President Donald Trump on New York’s Broadway? He could try it to find out just how “so-called” the US legal system is. China jails people arbitrarily; a “what about the US” argument doesn’t work here. There’s no equivalence in the law nor in the treatment of dissent.

Neither is there any equivalence between the arrest of Ms Meng and the jailing of unfortunate Canadians. Let’s not forget the charges against Meng have been made public, that she has been read her rights and that she is out on bail, consulting her lawyers on a defence. Meanwhile, the hapless Canadians were not even allowed lawyers, let alone to prepare a defence. Another Canadian earlier given a long jail term is now on death row – what about that?

A final bit of whataboutery: the US is run by lawyers; China is run by engineers, and it shows. What about both countries getting a bit more in balance – more lawyers in China and more engineers in the US? Isn’t that something we could all get behind? In the meantime, enough of the tu quoque.

Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay"

'Hong Kong exceptionalism...'

“Scholar Perry Link has compared China’s system of repression to a cocktail reception with an anaconda in the chandelier. The snake doesn’t have to do much, it’s enough that everyone knows it’s there. 'Its message is ‘you yourself decide,’ after which, more often than not, everyone makes his or her large and small adjustments – all quite ‘naturally’.'
The British left a hard-working and competent administrative service. Unfortunately they didn’t train our civil servants to take charge. So we don’t have a cadre of true leaders, people who understand what’s needed to preserve Hong Kong’s unique way of life while still nurturing trust in Beijing. The danger is that in the desire to please Beijing – and we do need a strong relationship with China – our leaders forget that we are special. There is only one Hong Kong. Shenzhen prospered in these 40 years of reform because it is next to Hong Kong. Who remembers that three other Special Economic Zones were set up at the same time (Zhuhai, Shantou and Xiamen)? We don’t prosper by becoming just another city in China. Foshan has about the same population as Hong Kong. Don’t we have ambitions to be more internationally significant?
Hong Kong is important to China’s continued success. It is where currency can move freely, where the free flow of information has allowed Asia’s most global financial market to take off. Free flow of information and legal protections are key to that. That means even obnoxious opinions need to be tolerated.

Shanghai had grand ambitions to be an international financial centre by 2020. We don’t hear much about that ambition any more. It turns out that Hong Kong’s soft institutions, such as rule of law, administrative competence, civil liberties and a free-ish press, aren’t something that can be turned on like a light switch. Ironically, it’s to Hong Kong’s short-term benefit that China is lagging behind, even going backwards, on many institutional reforms. Hong Kong people need to remember that our freedoms are what makes this city special. The lines are narrowing, but if we’re cowed into compliance by the snake in the chandelier, it’s game over."

'Advances through theft...'

China’s military is making great strides in catching up with the U.S’ military might, mostly because it is stealing technology from the West.

Expectedly, the China Daily, a propaganda publication of the CCP, is only boasting the great achievement of the Chinese military.

'Bit by bit, the institutions fall...'
“The Secretary for Justice also defended the judiciary in her speech, characterising some of the attacks as ‘malicious.’
‘Unfortunately, we have seen totally baseless, arbitrary and even malicious attacks on some of our judges simply because the outcome of particular cases was not to the liking of those making the attacks,’ Cheng said.
‘Such acts and utterances are not to be tolerated and where evidence and circumstances justify, legal action will be taken,’ she added.”

Where did Carrie Lam dig up Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng? Taking legal action for people making comments on Hong Kong’s judges? In which banana republic does she think she operates? Unless these comments are provably libellous, there is no justification to restrict freedom-of-speech. Freedom-of-speech is not about being “constructive” or not having ‘baseless opinions’; it is about the ability to express your opinions freely with the unique constraint that you cannot defame an individual’s character without supporting evidence, or credibly threaten that person (an insult is not a threat). The court itself or a specific judgment is not a person…

“One fundamental aspect of the constitutional order of Hong Kong that is sometimes overlooked is that it is premised on both the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).”
Herein lies the problem; the Hong Kong law, until recently, was based on the British common-law, the rule-of-law. There is no rule-of-law in China, which makes the concept of justice impossible in Hong Kong if an attempt is made at reconciliation of the two ‘systems’. That is, until China modernize its legal framework to align with those of the Western world, the only ones which have track records of delivering justice to their citizenship.

'It's not about the U.S being worried... the world is'
“A Swedish defence agency has warned that the country is facing a growing security challenge from China, saying one of its satellite stations could be serving the Chinese military.
Claims about the station in Kiruna, northern Sweden – which was built by China in 2016 – add to controversy over increasing Chinese influence in the country, partly fuelled by rising global scrutiny of such projects involving China.
The Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), under the Ministry of Defence, on Sunday told broadcaster SVT that the nominally civilian cooperation with China could ultimately be controlled by the military.
FOI researchers alleged that China could be using the station – which relays images of the artic regions – to complement military intelligence or provide additional military satellite surveillance should Chinese military satellites be disabled in a time of war.
‘Organisationally, the Chinese space programme is to a very, very large extent militarised,’ he said.
The station plays a role in China’s Gaofen satellite project – a network of observation satellites that provide China with global surveillance capabilities.
Rydqvist said if the information collected played a military role, Swedish authorities should be concerned.”

'Know your enemy'
“Swedish activist Peter Dahlin has filed a complaint with the British telecommunications regulator against Chinese state media China Central Television (CCTV) for allegedly contravening the broadcasting code and violating the Human Rights Act.
Dahlin said in his complaint that the production and airing of his televised ‘confession’ violates a significant part of the privacy and fairness provisions of the broadcasting code, since no consent was given. He added that all statements made during his appearance were done so under duress and were pre-written for him: ‘I was given a paper with prepared questions and answers, and told to memorise,’ he said.

‘I, like many victims who have later spoken out, was never told or informed, that this was to be a public TV recording, but that it was for internal use only.’
The complaint also said that CCTV knowingly produced ‘lies and [the] intentional distortion of facts…’ with the help of the Ministry of State Security in China.

Chinese authorities routinely use televised ‘confessions’ that are reportedly extracted under duress. The practice has drawn widespread criticism from organisations, including Safeguard Defenders, who say that it amounts to a gross human rights violation.”

'Know your enemy'
“How China’s Spies Became Key Players in the Trade War
China’s main intelligence agency, the shadowy Ministry of State Security, has found itself thrust into the global spotlight as political and trade tensions between the U.S. and China flare. Two of its alleged assets have been publicly named in a sweeping U.S. indictment involving hacking on a global scale. After a top executive of Huawei Technologies Co. was arrested in Canada on a U.S. extradition request, it was MSS agents who abruptly detained two Canadians in China, sparking a diplomatic feud. (Huawei itself has long been suspected of building telecommunications equipment that could give Chinese intelligence a back door to spy on U.S. networks, a charge it denies.) The ministry’s reach continues to grow as President Xi Jinping strengthens security laws, while limits on its power remain vague.”

'Daily doofus comment'
“Whichever side you stand on the question of China’s unification with Taiwan, it’s hard to disagree with President Xi Jinping’s assessment that it cannot be postponed indefinitely for future generations.”

And why would that be?

“Instead of fighting for an illusory independence which will end badly for all sides involved, Taiwanese should take this opportunity offered by Xi to think creatively towards a solution, one that will free the island from global isolation while returning to China’s fold. It will be difficult but not impossible. Under the general principle of “one China”, it’s clear Beijing is ready and willing to respect and preserve Taiwan’s existing freedoms. Not only that, but all sorts of economic and business advantages will likely be on offer to boost the island’s economy.”

This is just provably false as it has been shown in Hong Kong.

“Last but not least, Chinese unification is a matter entirely up to the Chinese people themselves.”

More precisely, to the Taiwanese people. Mainlanders should have no say.

'Happily sliding down the slippery slope'
“Pro-democracy campaigners could be barred from a rallying venue for protesters outside the Hong Kong government’s headquarters after pro-independence activists were able to address the gathering during a recent demonstration there, authorities warned on Wednesday.

Responding to a Post inquiry, the Administration Wing, which manages the forecourt widely known as ‘Civic Square’, said it had written to the Civil Human Rights Front, organiser of the New Year’s Day march, over its ‘failure to stop separatists’.

The government earlier expressed ‘extreme regret that the front did not appeal to participants not to conduct any activity that contravenes the laws in force [in Hong Kong], including the Basic Law’.”

'Building artificial Thousand&Seven-Hundred Acre Wood'

“The concept has clear benefits for China’s government, which controls Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” doctrine. Lam envisions Lantau, the city’s biggest outlying island, becoming the third core business district and an ‘aerotropolis,’ given its proximity to the international airport and the recently opened Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge serving as a key link to the Greater Bay Area. That’s part of a plan by Chinese President Xi Jinping to transform the region into a trillion-dollar economy rivaling Silicon Valley.

‘It may be going in the right direction for China, but that’s not going in the right direction for Hong Kong,’ Steve Tsang, director of SOAS China Institute at the University of London, said of the plan. ‘Simply getting Hong Kong into an integral part of a wider PRC development project diminishes Hong Kong in terms of its special character and special contributions to China, and does not enhance it.’
A steady inflow of Mainland migrants is increasing the demand, and the islands are the “most efficient and fastest way” to accommodate them, said Sonny Lo, a politics professor at the University of Hong Kong. Nearly one-fifth of public housing applications in the first quarter of 2018 came from new arrivals from the Mainland, and this remains a contentious topic in local politics.

The government argues that one possible solution mentioned for development, so-called brownfield sites—barren farmland, open-air parking lots and cargo terminals in the northern part of Hong Kong that can be converted for residential use—are insufficient to relieve the land shortage in the long term.”


“In a speech at the grandiose Great Hall of the People, Xi vowed to press ahead with economic reforms but made clear that Beijing will not deviate from its one-party system or take orders from any other country.
‘There’s a very stark contrast with the spirit of Deng leadership 40 years ago. If there’s one thing which is missing, it’s emancipating the mind,’ Hong Kong Baptist University political science professor Jean-Pierre Cabestan told AFP.

‘Now they’re just constraining the mind of the people and party members… it’s like China is moving in another direction from reform.’

‘Xi’s speech paid lip service to the idea of reform but without any concrete plans, it hints at divisions within the leadership on how to deal with the trade war and other political situations’, Cabestan added.

Second reform?

The trade war could be a chance for China to enact more changes, said Beijing-based political analyst Wu Qiang, who described the current system as ‘state capitalism under a one-party dictatorship, or party-run capitalism’.

‘If the Communist Party is smart enough, it may transform it into the starting point of a second reform and opening up and change the role of the party and the state’, Wu said.”

“Despite being officially atheist and having a long and antagonistic relationship with religion, the ruling Communist Party is presiding over a boom of Christianity in China.
There are an estimated 72 million to 92 million Christians in the country -- the second-largest faith group after Chinese Buddhists, according to US-based NGO Freedom House.
Some experts claim that China could even become the world's largest Christian country in less than two decades.
Yet on December 9, authorities reportedly detained more than 100 Protestant worshipers from the Early Rain Covenant Church in the city of Chengdu.
The church's pastor, Wang Yi, was arrested on allegations of "inciting subversion of state power," according to US-based Christian advocacy group ChinaAid. Neither China's National Religious Affairs Administration nor local authorities in Chengdu responded to CNN's requests for comment on the case.
The arrests cap a year-long crackdown on religion in China. Dozens of predominantly Protestant Christian churches ruled to have been built or run illegally have been torn down across the country throughout 2018.
Elsewhere, in the western region of Xinjiang, a growing campaign of repression against the predominantly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group has provoked international condemnation.
Analysts and civil rights advocates say Beijing is intensifying its campaign against worshipers seen as an ideological threat to the party's monopoly on power.”

'Canadians kidnapped'

“A second Canadian has been detained in China on accusations of harming national security, as tension continues between the two countries.
Mr Spavor runs an organisation called the Paektu Cultural Exchange, which organises business, cultural and tourism trips to North Korea.
He is a regular visitor to North Korea and regularly comments in the media on Korean issues.
He is particularly well known for helping to arrange the visit by former NBA star Dennis Rodman to North Korea in 2013. Rodman is a personal friend of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig currently works for a think-tank, the International Crisis Group (ICG), which has said it is concerned for his health and safety.
He was arrested on 10 December.
Mr Lu said the ICG had not been registered as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in China and therefore it was unlawful for its staff to work there.”

“Kovrig is a former Canadian diplomat on leave to work for International Crisis Group doing research and analysis on China, North Korea and northeast Asia generally.”

In both cases, it is quite clear that China is using these individuals as sacrificial lambs as there are no real threat to Chinese security. If anything, this is just additional evidence that China has gone past just being an authoritarian regime and has clearly entered the dictatorship zone.

Contrast this with the U.S, which has accused Huawei to be bypassing its Iran sanctions since 2016. While one may disagree as to whether the U.S is right to have these sanctions in the first place, their implementation have been quite standard and compliant with the rule-of-law. Best evidence for this is Trump’s attempt to pervert this process by stating that he could intervene for the release of Wanzhou which got the cold shoulder from the U.S’ own justice department:
“However, Mr Trump's own officials frowned on the idea, with US Assistant Attorney General John Demers remarking: "What we do at the justice department is law enforcement. We don't do trade."

'The single good thing Trump is doing…'

“President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports are having the desired effect of driving production out of China — but not to America.

Less than a month after the Trump administration hit $200 billion worth of Chinese imports with a 10 percent tariff, Hong Kong-based furniture maker Manwah Holdings broke ground on an expansion of a facility outside Ho Chi Minh City.”

While this might be true, it is also not the point; Trump is not looking to keep these tariffs forever but rather, to force China into major concessions.
I believe this trade war to be the only positive thing Trump has done to date.
Actually, the strategy is not his actually but Steve Bannon’s. It is enunciated there: ; the tax cut on businesses is to finance the trade war with China. It will obviously hurt the U.S because all party lose money in a trade war, but the end-game is the U.S' position in the world's economy.

China’s economy is being badly hurt from these tariffs; the CCP won’t admit as much of course, however, there are signs that are clearly readable:
  • China ostentatious  claim to further open its economy
  • CCP announcing that it will flood markets with cash
  • Casual discussions with Chinese businessman who can’t export to the U.S, their greatest market, anymore
  • these are but a few of the tens of examples...
And it could actually work. What is unsaid however is the pain it will inflict to the world’s two largest economies. It will accelerate the run to the next recession (12 to 18 months away at this point). Bannon hypothesis is that boosting demand via tax cuts will fuel enough short-term economic growth inertia to plough through that recession without hurting too much.

I actually find myself in support of that strategy because it seems that Jinping’s neo-Maoism is going to be even worse than the U.R.S.S at its worst. 
Mind you, the U.S is not a great world police. However, it is quite clear that China would be way worse.

'Rudolph the little brown noser…'

“Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor felt as if she had "bathed in a spring breeze" after a meeting with President Xi Jinping. She offered this insight yesterday at a seminar when reviewing the contributions of Hong Kong in reforms and the opening of China. To "bathe in a spring breeze" is a Chinese idiom that refers to how people can feel enlightened by wise teachers.”

I’m not quite sure what Carrie Lam is hoping for by sucking-up to the Chinese dictator but one thing is for sure, there’s no doubt anymore where her priorities are.
I thought that C.Y. was the worst C.E. Hong Kong ever had but it seems that Lam is giving him a good challenge.

'One step closer to dictatorship'

“Shen Chunyao tells forum that constitution is fundamental, highest law of country and its authority extends to Hong Kong”
That is completely opposite to the spirit of the Sino-British declaration. Not until 2047 anyway.

“Any acts that jeopardise national sovereignty and security, and challenge the authority of the central government and the Basic Law, will be deemed to have touched the bottom line, and will absolutely not be tolerated.”

It started with 'advocating independence' being the red line, then supporting the ‘idea of independence’, to now anything that challenges the authority of the central government.
We are getting very close to the dictatorial red-line, if anything was to be implemented along these lines…

'Reality hits China' & Hong Komg

"China’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms and its interference in the city’s independent judiciary are threatening to diminish Hong Kong’s appeal for international investment and trade. In his open letter to United States’ President Donald Trump the Hong Kong National Party’s convener, Andy Chan urged Trump to “suspend the differential treatments between Hong Kong and China.” He went on to write, “With the loss of autonomy and protection to fundamental rights, there is no longer any basis for the United States to give Hong Kong those treatments under the Policy Act.
In 2017, 44.9 percent of all overseas-funded projects approved in mainland China were tied to Hong Kong interests, while cumulative capital inflow from Hong Kong was over $1 trillion – more than half of China’s total. Hong Kong is still the largest offshore renminbi market, allowing Chinese banks to strengthen their international market position, and it continues to play a vital role for China in acquiring technological and management expertise.
Money flows through Hong Kong because the territory provides a stable and reliable investment climate created by independent judges and fair, transparent courts that uphold the rule of law. The 1997 Sino-British Joint Declaration guarantees Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and ensures certain rights and freedoms, including civil and political rights that do not exist in China. The territory can also protect foreign companies and their investments under the Basic Law. This is exactly what gave Hong Kong the advantage of being a separate customs area under the U.S. Hong Kong Policy Act. China has an interest in maintaining the status quo of “one country, two systems” and safeguarding the rights and freedoms guaranteed to the territory because it will limit the negative impact of the trade war through the survival of the Policy Act.

But the Chinese government has recently showed its willingness to sacrifice Hong Kong’s unique status for increasing ideological control of the territory. In 2014, Beijing released a white paper that outlines the Chinese authorities’ vision of a Hong Kong that is part of China. The white paper effectively proposed an end to judicial independence, calling lawyers “administrators” and requiring them to be “patriotic” — that is, to uphold China’s interests. That sparked protests by lawyers. In September this year, the government banned the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party of Andy Chan in the name of national security (Chan retaliated by writing the open letter to Trump). And last month, the Hong Kong government rejected the visa renewal application of the Financial Times’ Asia editor, Victor Mallet, without explanation. These moves are slowly eroding civil liberties and threatening the rule of law that was guaranteed to the territory at the handover. But the international community, most importantly the United States, has started to take notice."

'Topsy turvy'

“Provoked by an absurdly trivial dispute, I have decided to stop writing for the South China Morning Post (SCMP) after years as a contributor. In my heart, though I know that this decision should have been taken for more fundamental reasons back in February.
It was then that the Post became a willing participant in a grotesque propaganda ploy to discredit the detained bookseller Gui Minhai, who was kidnapped and held because of his activities selling books in Hong Kong that embarrassed the Chinese leadership.
The Post was not alone in participating in this charade as, alongside the predictable ragbag of Communist Party media, Hong Kong’s Chinese language Oriental Daily also volunteered to take part. Had either of the non-party newspapers laid out the circumstances in which this confession (actually Gui’s third) was taking place it could still, just about be argued that they were participating in a valid journalistic enterprise. The Post was clearly exercised about this as the online edition’s headline was changed after initial publication.”

From the HKFP’s bio:
“Stephen Vines is a Hong Kong-based journalist, writer and broadcaster and runs companies in the food sector. He was the founding editor of 'Eastern Express' and founding publisher of 'Spike'. In London he was an editor at The Observer and in Asia has worked for international publications including, the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, BBC, Asia Times and The Independent. Vines is the author of several books, including: Hong Kong: China’s New Colony, The Years of Living Dangerously - Asia from Crisis to the New Millennium and Market Panic and most recently, Food Gurus. He hosts a weekly television current affairs programme: The Pulse.”

The Hong Kong Free Press has also tallied a list of incidents of censorship that occurred since 2014:

'Pattern of denial'

When Beijing is called-out by the international community on its disastrous human rights record and poor rule-of-law record, the typical reaction is to deny, attack character instead of proposing counter-facts, and, most often, just blatantly lie. Seems that the Hong Kong government is prepared to align with that strategy nowadays, fustigating the U.S. for a report on Hong Kong. Carrie Lam again fails to show any kind of meaningful leadership in trying to disprove what is essentially an informed report meant for the U.S. to adjust its foreign poilicy.

"The Hong Kong government has expressed regret over 'biased conclusions and unfounded accusations' after a body advising the United States Congress said Beijing’s 'encroachment' on the city’s political system could diminish its standing as a global business hub and affect the export of American technology to the city."

The full report can be read here:
And the section about Hong Kong:

"Beijing’s statements and legislative actions continue to run counter to China’s promise to uphold Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy.” At the 13th National People’s Congress in March 2018, China’s legislative body passed an amendment to its constitution waiving presidential term limits, allowing Chinese President and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping to serve beyond two five-year terms. Given the steady erosion of Hong  Kong’s autonomy under President Xi’s leadership, the move has alarmed the territory’s prodemocracy legislators, civil society groups, and legal community.
• In a troubling case of Beijing’s direct involvement in U.S.-Hong  Kong affairs that went against Beijing’s commitments under the “one country, two systems” policy, the Hong  Kong government rejected a U.S. fugitive surrender request at Beijing’s insistence for the first time since the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom. Beijing also denied a U.S. Navy ship a routine port call in Hong Kong for the first time
in two years.
• In 2018, challenges to freedom of speech and assembly in Hong Kong continue to increase as Beijing and the Hong Kong government closed down the political space for prodemocracy activists to express discontent. For the first time, the Hong Kong government banned a political party (the Hong Kong National Party, which advocates for Hong Kong’s independence from China), raising concerns that it may lead to the passage of national security legislation that would allow the government to further silence prodemocracy organizations and supporters. The Hong Kong government also denied a visa renewal to the vice president of the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club without explanation; observers believe the denial was in retaliation for the club’s August 2018 event hosting the head of the Hong Kong National Party. Self-censorship has become increasingly prevalent in Hong  Kong among journalists and media organizations due to mainland China’s rising presence in the territory.
• China’s central government took additional steps toward undermining Hong  Kong’s legal autonomy. For example, Beijing facilitated a controversial rail terminal project that for the first time institutes mainland law in a small portion of the territory. Beijing also passed a National Anthem Law that makes disrespecting China’s national anthem a criminal offense, and compelled Hong Kong to pass similar legislation. Beijing and the Hong  Kong government’s harsh criticism and attempted silencing of a prominent Hong Kong academic for expressing
his views on potential futures for the territory marked an expanded effort to prevent the open discussion of ideas. The response also raised fears among prodemocracy advocates and academics that freedom of speech is increasingly at risk.
• Hong Kong continues on the path of greater economic integration with the Mainland. The Hong Kong government has sought to position Hong Kong as a regional hub for China’s Belt and Road Initiative and a key node of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area integration project, Beijing’s plan to establish a globally competitive advanced manufacturing, finance, and technology center."

'2018 mid-term U.S. elections'

The retaking of the U.S house of representative should bring back some sanity to American politics. I was initially concerned that this would put a stop to the only good fight Trump is fighting, the trade war with China. My position is that while the trade deficit should be of zero concern to anybody, China is, by-and-large, still stealing intellectual property to drive its technological agenda, a territorial bully, and a dictatorship. While China reaped the benefits of globalisation’s “low-hanging fruits” as David Webb wrote, they are peaking and Jinping is actively destroying any hope for sustainable growth and social reforms. Donald Trump’s work is going to hurt both economies and it may be a re-playing of Reagan’s arm-race with the U.S.S.R that accelerated its demise (although, for Russia, the end result is disappointing). It will however hurt the U.S' economy where the cold war didn't (military spending are expansionary).

“The Democrats have retaken the US House of Representatives, dealing a major blow to President Donald Trump's domestic agenda, but if anxious politicians in Beijing think that means a reprieve from the White House, they should think again.

China is one of the few policy areas where there is some bipartisan consensus. The Democrats broadly agree that the US should take tougher action against the rising power across a range of fronts, from the military, to trade, intelligence and diplomacy.
Desperate for a solution to the trade war that is weighing on China's economy, there is a view in China that a Democrat-led House might mean a softer stance against Beijing.
Nick Marro, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said that view was misguided because the Democrats have historically been more pro-labor unions and less in favor of unconstrained free trade than their opponents. ‘It's unlikely that they'll push for greater trade engagement with China,’ he said.
Even if the House wanted to, the power to slap tariffs on China is essentially vested in the executive -- that's President Trump. If he needs support from Congress on China policy in the future, the Democrats have shown few signs they'll stand in his way.
Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong's Center for China Studies and well-connected political analyst, said Xi has faced rare criticism from inside the ruling Communist Party for his handling of the US crisis.
‘He has been widely criticized, not by name of course, but subtly, for failing to handle Trump's multi-pronged challenge. He's very much on the defensive,’ Lam said.”

'Freedom of expression with Chinese characteristics'

“The author of a novel critical of President Xi Jinping’s slogan touting the Chinese Dream said he has been barred from speaking at the main venue of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival
Jason Ng, the president of PEN Hong Kong, the local chapter of a global writers’ association that advocates for freedom of expression, said the “cancellation appears to be at the very least an act of self-censorship, which would add to a growing list of incidents of suppression of free expression in Hong Kong.”


Fascinating speech from David Webb. It is, almost word-for-word, what I also believe about China’s current social and economic evolution.

Some abstracts:
“The simple fact is that there is no large economy on Earth that has reached high levels of personal income while maintaining the constraints on freedoms that China currently imposes.

In the first 25 years after reforms began in 1979, the Chinese Government picked all the low-hanging economic fruit. Workers can now choose where they work. Factories can choose what to make – there are no more production quotas. Farmers can choose what crops to grow and sell them at market prices. Private property rights are now largely respected. The Chinese stock markets reopened in 1990 after 41 years of closure. But despite all the rhetoric about “deepening reforms” and “letting market forces play a greater role”, the reality is that reforms stalled over 10 years ago, and most of the economic growth you see since then is unsustainable credit-fuelled infrastructure and property investment.
Put simply, the leadership appears to believe that, having raised the economy since 1979 from abject centrally-planned poverty by relaxing basic controls, it can stop there and centrally-plan the rest of the journey to prosperity, raising GDP per capita from where they are today, about one quarter of OECD levels, without giving up any more controls.
Hong Kong’s future is inextricably tied to China’s. There are plenty of reasons to be pessimistic. Political candidates are now filtered by civil servants for their views before being allowed to run for office, in case those views might actually get them elected. Even if they were elected, a cabal of tycoons via functional constituencies controls so many seats in the Legislative Council and on the Chief Executive’s election committee that the Government can’t function without their consent, and naturally protects their interests ahead of the public interest.

A seller of certain books not available in the mainland was abducted. A foreign journalist in Hong Kong lost his employment visa without breaking any law. Soon it will be illegal to turn your back on the national anthem, unless our courts decide that this is protected as freedom of expression under the Basic Law, and until the NPC Standing Committee overrides our courts with an interpretation. The Central People’s Government does not understand that respect is a state of mind that can only be earned, not commanded.

Elsewhere in our country, Muslims in Xinjiang are being rounded up and re-educated in concentration camps about the wisdom of the Party. And soon, the Chinese surveillance state, which co-opts the new economy giants to monitor behaviour, will give a social credit score to each citizen, perhaps denying potential troublemakers an exit permit to travel, a university place, or a job. Since 1989, the state has never forgotten that it’s the smart people who lead uprisings, and it’s the smart people who go to university – and that’s why you are all seen as a potential threat. Occupy Central just reinforced that perspective.”

Read it all, it is a great piece and the truth that every Hong Konger should strive to understand.

'2nd world'

To place things in context, here are some GDP figures of Chinese cities and various territories:

GDP per capita
GDP per capita
Macau (2018)
Hong Kong (2018)
Shenzhen (2017)
Taiwan (2017)
Beijing (2017)
Shanghai (2017)
Mainland China (2017)

Source: Wikipedia

'Death by suffocation'

"The border between Hong Kong and mainland China operates much like an international one and mainlanders are not free to enter the city at will. But up to 150 mainland Chinese are allowed to settle in Hong Kong every day under the one-way permit scheme, a programme set up in 1980 that lets mainlanders apply to reunite with relatives in the territory. Since Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, around 1m mainland Chinese have immigrated to Hong Kong in this way, accounting for 90% of the city’s population growth in recent years. One source of the influx is marriages between mainlanders and locals, which account for a third of all marriages registered in the territory, up from just 7% in 1996.
Only 21% of newcomers aged 15 and over on the family-reunification scheme have been educated beyond secondary school, compared with 32% for the population as a whole. Barely half of adult one-way permit holders are in work.
Many mainlanders quickly become disillusioned with their new life in Hong Kong. Earlier this year Hong Kong’s home-affairs department conducted a survey of more than 6,000 one-way permit holders who have lived in the territory for less than a year. It found that nearly 60% had “difficulties adapting to life in Hong Kong” and a quarter had enlisted the government’s help in finding a job. This is despite the fact that two-thirds of one-way permit holders come from Guangdong, the Chinese province that is most similar to Hong Kong culturally and linguistically.
Hong Kong’s government also tries to stop politics intruding on the issue. Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, has repeatedly rejected the idea that she might try to negotiate a reduction in the daily quota of one-way permits with the authorities on the mainland. Instead, with a degree of prejudice similar to those she is denouncing, she has described locals who consider mainlanders a blight on the territory as 'brainwashed'." 

The numbers of holders of One Way Permits entering Hong Kong from 2007 to 2016 and their breakdown by age group and gender are as follows:

'Focus on Hong Kong's CCP apparatchik'
Rita Fan

Typical of all the pro-Beijing ilk, Fan’s condescending comment on her unpopularity:I didn’t work for popularity … I worked for the Hong Kong people,”. Yet, since the Hong Kong people are the ones she is unpopular with, she's implying that Hong Kongers don’t know what’s good for them.

“She had the ear of Hong Kong’s British governors and then rose through the ranks post-handover, wrapping up a stint next month as the city’s sole member on the powerful National People’s Congress Standing Committee, China’s top legislative body.”

“’People like me have failed to realise the importance of giving a real picture of China to our young people, because in our schools, some of our teachers who are inclined towards the pan-democrats or anti-communism have been influencing our youngsters to dislike China,’ she said.”

“By-election candidate Lee Cheuk-yan has breached the country's constitution by chanting ‘end one party rule’ but there is no Hong Kong law to tackle that, says former National People's Congress standing committee member Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai.

She would not rule out that in future, all election candidates will be required to follow the national constitution.”

“Fan also supported the government's decision not to spell out the reasons for rejecting the work visa extension of Victor Mallet, the first vice president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club.
If Mallet should get an explanation because he is a media veteran, it would mean preferential treatment for the industry, she said.”


Mainland Chinese people are less happy than their Taiwanese and Hong Konger counterparts. Why would a Taiwanese or Hong Konger in their right mind want to integrate into a system that will make them unhappy?

Please note the top 20 most happy countries. Some quick analysis: but for one exception, all democratic with democratic institutions, all first-world, all capitalist (yes, the nordic nations are very much capitalist. Social-democracy is a political system)...

In the latest report, Taiwan is at position 26 (up 7 points from the prior year's report), Hong Kong at 76 (down 5 points). China is at position 86 (down 7 points). 

'A few opinion pieces worth a read'

One country, one system...
"Hong Kong officials are taking a tough line on perceived national security threats - even deploying an elite police unit for political monitoring and surveillance in a sharp escalation in rhetoric and action.

It recently banned the separatist Hong Kong National Party and barred activists from standing in elections.

The Education Bureau sent all secondary schools letters last month, telling them they must prohibit 'the penetration' of the party or risk prosecution.

'Should students have erroneous and extreme thoughts,' it said, 'principals and teachers should correct them with facts.' Teachers described it as a 'gagging order.'"

China's Great Leap Backward under Jinping
"In the last 40 years, China has racked up a long list of remarkable accomplishments. Between 1978 and 2013, the Chinese economy grew by an average rate of 10 percent a year, producing a tenfold increase in average adult income. All that growth helped some 800 million people lift themselves out of poverty; along the way, China also reduced its infant mortality rate by 85 percent and raised life expectancy by 11 years.

What made these achievements all the more striking is that the Chinese government accomplished them while remaining politically repressive—something that historical precedent and political theory suggest is very, very difficult. No wonder, then, that the China scholar Orville Schell describes this record as 'one of the most startling miracles of economic development in world history.' "
"The miraculous quality of China’s achievements makes what is happening in the country today especially tragic—and alarming. Under the guise of fighting corruption, President Xi Jinping is methodically dismantling virtually every one of the reforms that made China’s spectacular growth possible over the last four decades. In the place of a flawed but highly successful system, he is erecting a colossal cult of personality focused on him alone, concentrating more power in his hands than has any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.

In the short term, Xi’s efforts may make China seem less corrupt and more stable. But by destroying many of the mechanisms that made the Chinese miracle possible, Xi risks reversing those gains and turning China into just another police state (think a gigantic, more open version of North Korea): inefficient, ineffective, brittle, and bellicose. And that should worry not just China’s 1.4 billion citizens but the rest of us as well."

China admits to locking up Uyghurs, but defends Xinjiang crackdown
"In the most vocal defense yet of the mass internment of the mostly Muslim Uyghur minority group, Shohrat Zakir, a high-ranking Xinjiang government official, told state media the Chinese government was fighting 'terrorism and extremism' in its own way, and in accordance with United Nations resolutions.
'Today's Xinjiang is not only beautiful but also safe and stable. No matter where they are or at what time of the day, people are no longer afraid of going out, shopping, dining and traveling,' he told state-run news agency Xinhua, Tuesday.
'There is still a long way to go for southern Xinjiang to eradicate the environment and soil of terrorism and religious extremism.' "
"Xinjiang quietly legalized 'vocational skill education training centers' on October 10, which the law said would be used to 'carry out anti-extremist ideological education.'
That move came less than two months after a Chinese government spokesman completely denied the existence of re-education camps during a UN hearing on human rights.
Speaking to Xinhua Tuesday, Shohrat Zakir didn't deny the existence of the camps, instead saying former detainees had been transformed for the better by their time inside.
'Many trainees have said that they were previously affected by extremist thought and had never participated in such kinds of art and sports activities, and now they have realized that life can be so colorful,' he said.
The Xinjiang official added that while 'trainees' had acted according to religion or family before their internment, they "now realized that they are firstly citizens of the nation." 

'Go West... rich man'

"In 2017 more than 46% of Chinese with fortunes between 10m and 200m yuan ($1.3m-26.3m) were thinking of emigrating, according to a survey by Hurun, the research company in Shanghai. In a joint survey with Visas Consulting Group, a Canadian firm, more than three-quarters of respondents mentioned their children’s education as a reason. Nearly one in six pointed to the political environment in China, and almost one in five said they were hoping to protect their assets.

The rise of the ethnoburb

The insecurity of wealthy Chinese, and their craving for Western education for their children, is evident in the rapid growth of whole communities of them in the suburbs of big Australian, American and Canadian cities. Hurstville in Sydney, Box Hill in Melbourne and Richmond in San Francisco, as well as Richmond in Vancouver, are places for which 20 years ago Wei Li, an academic now at Arizona State University, coined the word “ethnoburb”: prosperous city districts where recent migrants from China form a large share of the population.

Such places also point to a contradiction in the story of China’s own development. Despite more opportunities at home, growing numbers of those who can afford it seem to want to leave. Even China’s state-owned media admit this. “The passion shown by China’s super-rich for settling down abroad and obtaining overseas passports has reached a record high,” said China Daily, an official English-language newspaper, in 2014."


Interesting arguments made by Dykes. It is a stark contrast with the CCP/dictatorship apologists in the press, the whole of the DAB, and Carrrie Lam, who can only indulge in what-about-ism, deny to provide an explanation, and other diversions when the evidences clearly point to a progressive deterioration of the rule-of-law, freedom-of-the-press, and freedom-of-speech in Hong Kong. It is unlikely that they will change their ways; the history is clear that single-party dictatorship have never ever accepted a challenge, and its supporters (even indirect supporters) are beyond redemption as they fail to learn from the past. History itself will have to be their judge.

“Hong Kong bureaucrats should not decide whether candidates can run in election – that’s a job for lawyers, says Bar Association chairman Philip Dykes
City’s top silk suggests taking job away from returning officers would remove suspicion of political interference.
The head of Hong Kong’s representative body of barristers has called for judges or senior lawyers, rather than lower-ranking bureaucrats, to be given the authority to vet election candidates.”
“Speaking in a personal capacity, Dykes said the returning officer in question was almost relying on “divination” when he rejected ousted lawmaker Lau Siu-lai’s candidacy last week, on the grounds that she had not given up her stance in favour of self-determination for Hong Kong – a controversial but ambiguous concept amid the crackdown on independence advocacy.”
“ ‘What’s disturbing about this case is, we understand if candidates are independence advocates, but self-determination? They are not quite the same thing,’ Dykes said.
‘Self-determination may fall within the context of the [legal] system and ‘one country, two systems’. We have yet to hear the concept explained fully, but it’s not necessarily incompatible with the sovereign state.’”
“The returning officer appointed by Electoral Affairs Commission said Lau had not “taken any step to disassociate herself” from her earlier political stance.”
“Citing a High Court ruling in February, that candidates should be give a reasonable opportunity to respond before disqualification, Dykes said Lau’s political stance was not a black and white case.

‘What do you mean by disassociate [from the belief]? Do you put an advertisement in the newspaper – ‘I no longer associate myself with what I said in the past’? Going to radio, seeking interviews? That’s why [returning officers] should be able to speak to the candidate to see if you’ve got a point.’

To prevent mistakes in future, Dykes suggested, the electoral authority should instead appoint a judge or a senior lawyer to rule on a candidate’s eligibility.

According to Dykes, this would dispel perceptions of political intervention from the executive branch, as the judges or lawyers could appoint their own legal research and assessment teams.

Lau yesterday indicated her intention to appeal after the November by-election.

After the US State Department expressed concern over the incident, the European Union and Britain on Monday called for the right to stand for election to be respected.”
“Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen told lawmakers that the court ruling had only stated the “general principle” when it came to giving candidates a chance to defend themselves.

It was up to returning officers to judge if they had enough information to make a decision, or if they needed to ask applicants more questions, Nip said.

He also reiterated the government’s tough stance on entry requirements for elections.

‘Anyone advocating self-determination, Hong Kong independence, or think Hong Kong independence is an option… will not meet the requirements for running to become a lawmaker,’ Nip said.”

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 October, 2018, 12:42pm

“Bar Association chairman Philip Dykes points to Britain and Australia as countries where those turned down for a visa are given written explanation for decision”
“Hong Kong’s leader was wrong when she said the government was following international practice in refusing to say why British journalist Victor Mallet was denied a work visa – the city’s top lawyer said on Monday.”
“Bar Association chairman Philip Dykes pointed to immigration authorities in Britain and Australia, which both issue written explanations when a visa or entry to the country is denied, as evidence of why Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was mistaken.

The senior counsel said the requirement under British and Australian law to explain any decision ensured these were made on a “non-arbitrary basis”, so visitors knew why they had been turned away.

‘You can’t operate an immigration system ad hoc. Today chief immigration officer Wong made a decision, tomorrow chief officer Chan made a decision, that’s completely different,’ Dykes said, speaking in a personal capacity. “You’ve got to have policies and rules, and have to make them known to achieve consistency and fairness.”

The British consulate in Hong Kong also said on its official Facebook page on Monday that individuals would be notified of the reasons for a visa refusal, so they could prepare an appeal.

Without naming the pro-Beijing newspapers that drew comparisons between the British government actions in the past, and the decision not to renew the visa for Mallet, the Financial Times’ Asia news editor, the consulate said: ‘Such comparisons are wrong.’ “

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2018, 8:02am

Some of the apologists:

'Corrupt to the bone'

Hong Kong at position 13, China at 77. Yeah, integration is not going to impact Hong Kong's international imagine at all... not one bit...

'Freedom-of-speech with Chinese characteristics'

“Hong Kong journalists presented the city government Monday with a petition -- signed by more than 7,000 people -- demanding an explanation for its decision to deny a visa renewal for a Financial Times editor.

“Victor Mallet, Asia editor for the Financial Times, was refused the visa without explanation from Hong Kong immigration officials, according to the FT. Mallet is the first vice-president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, and was the acting president in August when the organization drew fire from Beijing and Hong Kong officials for hosting a talk by the leader of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party.

The Alliance of Hong Kong Media petition posted on the FCC’s website called on the former British colony to provide a full explanation for its decision, a request echoed by the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The U.S. Consulate General called the visa denial ‘deeply troubling’ and inconsistent with the free-speech principles of Hong Kong’s Basic Law.

‘Refusing a visa in this case, to a bona fide journalist working for one of the world’s leading newspapers, sets a terrible precedent for Hong Kong’s reputation as a place where the rule of law applies and where freedom of speech is protected by law,’ the petition said. ‘In the absence of any reasonable explanation, we call on the authorities to rescind their decision.’

Mallet, who had been traveling outside Hong Kong, was granted a seven-day tourist visa on his return to the city Sunday evening. British nationals typically can enter Hong Kong for up to six months without a visa.

‘Immigration officials did not provide an explanation for the shortened visitor visa and we continue to seek clarification from the authorities about the rejection of his work visa renewal,’ the FT said in a statement.”

“For more than two decades, citizens and residents in the former British colony of Hong Kong have enjoyed a wide range of freedoms and legal protections unthinkable in any other part of the People’s Republic of China. These protections, guaranteed by the territory’s tradition of judicial independence, are the bedrock of the city’s extraordinary success as a regional entrepôt. It is precisely because of these legal safeguards that many international companies, including most global media organisations, have chosen to base their regional headquarters in Hong Kong.

Last week, the Hong Kong authorities rejected the visa renewal application of Victor Mallet, the Financial Times’ Asia news editor responsible for coverage throughout the region. No reason was given for this decision, the first time a foreign journalist has been effectively expelled from Hong Kong since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.”

“Let there now be no shadow of doubt. Any pretence that Hong Kong has not changed fundamentally, and that the city’s core values, way of life and institutions remain intact and functioning can now be dropped.


To hear the likes of Priscilla Leung and Starry Lee, and the lesser subsets of humanity that find sanctuary in the DAB, speaking of the man last week I was reminded of the kind of Hongkongers who talk dismissively of the world’s problems over the mahjong table, and for whom all problems would be solved with a good crack of the cane. All their betters, men and women with whom they would not dare share table talk are all stupid and unpatriotic.


The decision to refuse to renew the visa of such a respected FT editor marks a clear line that prior to enacting article 23 security legislation, earmarked for 2020, Beijing will not tolerate. Hong Kong is but a small part of a much wider programme to batter the Chinese people into a sense of social cohesion through the acceptance of a single nationalist-party ideology. It is becoming ever more acceptable wisdom that the 2014 Umbrella Movement protests did not represent an awakening, as much as Hong Kong’s last gasp for survival – the streets filled not in celebration of hope for a better future, but as one final hurrah for a truly uniquely Chinese community.”

'I spy with my little eye!'

“In 2015, Inc. began quietly evaluating a startup called Elemental Technologies, a potential acquisition to help with a major expansion of its streaming video service, known today as Amazon Prime Video.
To help with due diligence, AWS, which was overseeing the prospective acquisition, hired a third-party company to scrutinize Elemental’s security, according to one person familiar with the process.
Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design. Amazon reported the discovery to U.S. authorities, sending a shudder through the intelligence community. Elemental’s servers could be found in Department of Defense data centers, the CIA’s drone operations, and the onboard networks of Navy warships. And Elemental was just one of hundreds of Supermicro customers.
During the ensuing top-secret probe, which remains open more than three years later, investigators determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines. Multiple people familiar with the matter say investigators found that the chips had been inserted at factories run by manufacturing subcontractors in China.
But that’s just what U.S. investigators found: The chips had been inserted during the manufacturing process, two officials say, by operatives from a unit of the People’s Liberation Army. In Supermicro, China’s spies appear to have found a perfect conduit for what U.S. officials now describe as the most significant supply chain attack known to have been carried out against American companies.
One government official says China’s goal was long-term access to high-value corporate secrets and sensitive government networks.
As the agents monitored interactions among Chinese officials, motherboard manufacturers, and middlemen, they glimpsed how the seeding process worked. In some cases, plant managers were approached by people who claimed to represent Supermicro or who held positions suggesting a connection to the government. The middlemen would request changes to the motherboards’ original designs, initially offering bribes in conjunction with their unusual requests. If that didn’t work, they threatened factory managers with inspections that could shut down their plants. Once arrangements were in place, the middlemen would organize delivery of the chips to the factories.

The investigators concluded that this intricate scheme was the work of a People’s Liberation Army unit specializing in hardware attacks, according to two people briefed on its activities. The existence of this group has never been revealed before, but one official says, “We’ve been tracking these guys for longer than we’d like to admit.” The unit is believed to focus on high-priority targets, including advanced commercial technology and the computers of rival militaries. In past attacks, it targeted the designs for high-performance computer chips and computing systems of large U.S. internet providers.”


'All hail Winnie-the-Pooh!'

I didn’t bother writing an opinion piece to SCMP as this article from Alex Lo is such a low standard of investigative quality that it warrants no reply. However, I want to highlight it here for posterity, as an example of how supposedly reasonable people come to support dictatorships and the suppression of freedom.

When your child ask you how you could let it happen, learn from history…

“Promoting a new book, No Third Person: Rewriting the Hong Kong Story, she said in a Post interview: “Hong Kong must release itself from the unspoken aspect of the old British Hong Kong story, tied to a sense that it should have become a liberal democracy along Western lines by now”.

Loh and co-author Richard Cullen pointed to a different source of legitimacy besides the ballot box: performance.

Oh dear! If our government had been delivering “prosperity and stability”, we could all tolerate a bit of corruption and incompetence. But that’s the problem, it hasn’t delivered. In many areas, it has either failed or at least failed to improve.”

The prosperity of Hong Hong is derived from its colonial-era institutions; rule-of-law, separation of powers, free-markets, minimum state intervention.

2017: GDP per capita, Purchasing-power-parity

Singapore: $93,905

Hong Kong: $61,540

U.S.A.: $59,531

China: $16,806

Based on the trend from 1990, China will never reach the level of per-capita prosperity that Hong Kong has. China is not an example of 1st world prosperity.

“Take the slogan: ‘Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong.’ What we end up with is a cooperative and at times obsequious Hong Kong government that has done more to delegitimise Chinese rule.

A good deal of local antagonism towards the mainland and the central government has less to do with alleged Chinese interference than official incompetence in Hong Kong. They stem from misplaced anger and frustration. ”

Hong Kongers are not dumb; they know full well that housing and welfare issues are 100% due to local governments’ incompetence. The right question would be to ask why Hong Kong gets incompetent leaders. The answer is accountability. More on this later…

“All things considered, it would have been better if Beijing had followed the Brits and just sent over professional “governors” to run Hong Kong. Despite superficial “decolonisation”, our top officials, mostly career civil servants, are still relying on long-standing policies set by the Brits, only making them worse.

Just a few examples: land grants to privileged groups such as private clubs and hospitals; the exclusive reserve of land sales revenue for infrastructure development; taxes and subsidies that favour those with assets over those without; the detrimental small-house policy in the New Territories; deteriorating public education, health care and social welfare.”

It would seem that Lo has it all backward; Hong Kong has just been granted the titled of most efficient health-care system in the world ( Something that has everything to do with its colonial heritage. That is in-spite of terrible post 1997 management. Contrast this with China’s terrible system… why would anyone would think that Hong Kongers would gain from getting managed by Beijing. The very idea is beyond idiotic.

Same can be said for education and social welfare. It’s plain to see that the CCP’s management of China is average at best and completely disastrous at the local level: unreliable food and drugs, shabby building construction quality control,  terrible service, extreme pollution, the list goes on…

“Hong Kong “leaders” wouldn’t even commit to the most obvious “pork barrel” politics, which is to spend generously with our reserves of trillions of dollars.
They sit idly on them and claim fiscal virtue!
The way out does not lie in Western-style democracy or independence. Realistically, it’s to speed up the 50-year grace period of high autonomy to integrate fully with the rest of China.
Let’s cancel the borders.”

Right assessment, wrong prescription. Quite the contrary; pre-1997, the government was accountable to the population or risk insurrection, which did happen in the 1960s and did yield major social changes. Post 1997, the executive branch became only accountable to Beijing, with the results we are getting of inaction in incompetence. A better way would be to have the executive accountable to the people…

I wonder how that is achieved so successfully in liberal democracies?!?

"There is no good outcome for Hong Kong. It either means a national security law under Article 23 of the Basic Law and an inevitably damaging political battle leading to it. Or, as is already happening, the government will stretch the meanings of national security, public safety and public order under existing laws such as their provisions under Section 8 of the Societies Ordinance, to crack down on anti-China activities."

'to crack down on anti-China activities’. Lo's choice of words is very revealing of his alignment with the CCP's principle that there's no difference between China and the CCP. In reality, there is no meaningful anti-China activities anywhere, but in Beijing's and its stooges’ minds. Even Chan wouldn't have an issue with a liberal, multi-party, unified China with functioning democratic institutions (rule-of-law, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etc). But he and probably the a majority of Hong Kongers, are is definitely anti-CCP.



"Localist group Demosisto should be banned in the same way as the separatist Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) for advocating self-determination, according to a member of the Basic Law Committee, which advises the Chinese government on the city’s mini-constitution."

This was hardly surprising. If self-determination is made illegal, next will be the very concept of 2-systems.

In contrast, in a civilized country:
"There are many differences between Quebec and Hong Kong. But there is one point from which lessons can be derived. In Canada, individuals, parties and provincial governments have been allowed to advocate and promote independence, and Quebec even held two referenda on independence.
Politicians, government officials, journalists, scholars, students… everybody has been allowed to discuss these issues freely in any part of Canada, even in a partisan manner.
Most children brought up in Quebec after the 1960s have never sung or heard the Canadian national anthem in schools. They have rarely been encouraged to celebrate the Maple Leaf flag or any aspect of Canadian identity or history. Yet Quebec nationalism as a political force is now at its lowest in decades.
Beijing has done just the opposite of Canada, and the result is expectedly divergent from Quebec’s.
Canada has not conceded to all of Quebec’s demands. But the state’s willingness to respect Quebec’s right to self-determination – including its right to hold referenda on independence – and to negotiate with Quebec’s authorities in a generally fair, transparent and democratic manner, has enabled it to contain Quebec nationalism in an effective, constructive and civilised way.
Similar observations could be made on Scotland, where the 2014 referendum on independence from the UK resulted in a victory (55.3 per cent to 44.7 per cent) for the status quo.
The best way to deal with a dissatisfied and insecure population is to accommodate it and to give it a sense of security.
If Beijing is serious about stabilising Hong Kong and earning the respect of its population, it needs to start acting like a responsible and respectable government. Love and respect cannot be earned by force. Coercive measures like patriotic education and the National Anthem Law are only bound to backfire and feed antagonism." 


'We have seen this before...'

“Hong Kong’s unity with the rest of China is part of a larger national unity that embraces the whole of the country. This is a core value of the nation, which dictates both domestic and foreign policy. It may not be the core value of America or the West, but it is ours. It’s part of the Chinese cultural DNA, evolved and learned from both ancient and modern Chinese history of national disasters.

I believe the thinking behind this statement to be at the very core of why mainland Chinese have, throughout history, always lived as serfs and accepted that condition. History has shown this cultural belief of unity and order at any cost to ultimately lead to dictatorship and social destruction. China avoided it in-extremis in the 1980s by adopting a Western mentality towards free enterprise and markets. It has gone a long way and has taken hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty. Bringing China from a second-world nation to a first world nation will require a whole new level of freedom, as it was enjoyed in Hong Kong until now.
Let's see if China can embrace this new challenge or succumb to the perils of repeating its history...


'We have seen this before...'

"In their submission to the committee, the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC) said they estimated at least one million Uyghurs were being held in political indoctrination camps as of July 2018.
'Detentions are extra-legal, with no legal representation allowed throughout the process of arrest and incarceration,' the submission said, adding there were 'widespread' reports of torture."

“He said China had clamped down on such crimes in accordance with the law and did not seek ‘de-Islamisation’ of the region, but added: ‘Those deceived by religious extremism ... shall be assisted by resettlement and education.’

He said China had imprisoned people for grave crimes, while minor criminals were assigned to vocational training and not subject to arbitrary detention or ill-treatment, without giving numbers.


Dolkun Isa, president of the exiled World Uighur Congress who attended the session, voiced disappointment.

‘They even denied there are re-education camps. This is not a couple of hundred people - it is more than 1 million to 3 million in detention. But the Chinese government just closes its eyes,’ he told Reuters”

'Big brother is teaching your kids'

"BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s education ministry has launched a 'comprehensive' inspection of school textbooks to remove unapproved alterations or foreign content, state media reported late on Wednesday, amid a push to combat Western influence in China’s schools.
The sweep by China’s education ministry, running until Oct 15, will 'correct and dispose of' illegal foreign or self-written courses used instead of state-approved materials in China’s nine-year compulsory education period, the official Xinhua news agency said.
'Recently, it has been discovered that some companies that write and publish textbooks have without permission altered the content of certain textbooks, and certain schools are using their own textbooks in the place of national textbooks,' the ministry’s teaching materials bureau told Xinhua.
From the 2019 Spring term onwards, the ministry will continue to make follow up checks and random inspections and any serious cases of schools still found to be using unapproved content can be held accountable by law, Xinhua said.
Attempts by the Chinese Communist Party to make love of the motherland and its own history and ideology a core part of the country’s education system have increasingly come up against a flourishing private school sector and an interest in alternative or foreign education among middle class families.
In response, the Chinese government has ramped up oversight of schooling with new regulations guiding textbook content and private schooling.
Xi has called for greater 'ideological guidance' in Chinese universities and has launched efforts to re-vamp mandatory ideology classes that teach about Marxism, Mao Zedong Tought and Xi’s own signature ideology."



Hong Kong bans independence party. Carrie Lam has direct responsibility. Her status of Beijing-puppet needs no further evidence...

'Big brother is watching you'

That any government would have mechanism to check on suspicious citizen does not worry me in itself. It is done all over the world. But, in democracies, it is highly regulated so as to prevent abuse.
China makes abuse the rule...

"China is building a digital dictatorship to exert control over its 1.4 billion citizens. For some, “social credit” will bring privileges — for others, punishment.
The Communist Party calls it “social credit” and says it will be fully operational by 2020.
Within years, an official Party outline claims, it will 'allow the trustworthy to roam freely under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step'.
Social credit is like a personal scorecard for each of China’s 1.4 billion citizens.
In one pilot program already in place, each citizen has been assigned a score out of 800. In other programs it’s 900.
Those, like Dandan, with top 'citizen scores' get VIP treatment at hotels and airports, cheap loans and a fast track to the best universities and jobs.
Those at the bottom can be locked out of society and banned from travel, or barred from getting credit or government jobs.
But social credit will be affected by more than just internet browsing and shopping decisions.
Who your friends and family are will affect your score. If your best friend or your dad says something negative about the government, you’ll lose points too.
Who you date and ultimately partner with will also affect social credit."

"China's internet regulator has vowed to make the views of the ruling Communist Party the “strongest voice in cyberspace”, as part of efforts to strengthen its tightening grip on the net in the world’s most populous country."

'Free speech... in the U.S.A'

"Yau Wai-ching is a pro-independence activist and a former member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council.
China has eroded and nearly destroyed democracy in Hong Kong since taking control of the city from Britain in 1997.
Beijing has cunningly manipulated a well-developed political and constitutional framework to undo, step by step, Hong Kong’s autonomy. Concepts such as civil liberties and the separation of powers, which people held dear under the relatively enlightened rule of the British, are being abandoned. Fairness and justice, the heart of democracy, are withering.
The only way out for Hong Kong is to split from Beijing and form a new democratic state."

'Ignorance is strength'

"China has launched a platform, which includes a mobile app, that lets the public report 'online rumors' and even uses artificial intelligence to identify reports that are false, as Beijing cracks down on what it views as socially destabilizing content.
Via those channels, Piyao will broadcast 'real' news, sourcing reports from state-owned media, party-controlled local newspapers, and various government agencies.
'Rumors violate individual rights; rumors create social panic; rumors cause fluctuations in the stock markets; rumors impact normal business operations; rumors blatantly attack revolutionary martyrs,' Piyao said in a promotional video of the launch on its website.
Hosted by the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission in affiliation with the Xinhua news agency, Piyao has integrated over 40 local rumor-refuting platforms and uses artificial intelligence to identify rumors.
The platform operates under the guidance of 27 government departments, including the Central Party School and powerful planning body the National Development and Reform Commission."

Let be reminded that Xinhua is a PCC controlled propaganda machine. We can expect references to Winnie the Pooh, the Chinese re-education (torture) camps, and other oppression to be replaced by text about the greatness of "belts & roads"...

When you put technology in the hands of a dictatorship, you get something pretty close to Orwell's 1984...

'Sign of things to come'

Drivel from C.Y. Leung, the worst C.E. Hong Kong ever had. We knew he had nothing but contempt for the concept of rule-of-law, declaring when he was C.E. that he was "transcending" the other branches of power. Something that was echoed by a few more of the CCP puppets such as Rita Fan and Elsie Leung.
He now openly seeks a legal framework that would put people in jail for political opinions...

"Beijing was persuaded on Hong Kong’s own ability to tackle people like Andy Chan Ho-tin, to the point that it allowed Hong Kong to enact its own laws under Article 23 'to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government ...', instead of applying such national laws to Hong Kong.
It was a bargain that Beijing has been waiting, for 21 years now, for Hong Kong to deliver on. And now Beijing is being told that we have no legal means to restrain or admonish Chan, or the FCC, for that matter."

"Chan is not a one-off. Nor is he alone. The independence movement has been around for some time. Even without the 'oxygen' from government officials, several books have been published. One university student union repeatedly advocated Hong Kong independence in its journal. Two elected Legislative Council candidates proclaimed that 'Hong Kong is not China'. Some eateries have been displaying banners with the same slogan. I could go on and quote from opinion polls on Hong Kong independence."

There's no logic to C.Y' reasoning; it is clear to all that Beijing wants Article 23 to be identical to mainland laws which are used there to imprison opponents to the single-party rule of the Chinese dictatorship. Furthermore, C.Y. uses examples which are revealing of his desire for the same legal framework as China. He has issues with books? Banners? Speech? Free-speech is a Hong Kong core value which has made it great. Just saying or writing something does not make it happen. C.Y's strings are showing...

"Can we wish people like Andy Chan away? Experience so far shows that we cannot. What we should do is not just say to Beijing that by ignoring them they will come to nothing. The assurance that Beijing needs now from Hong Kong is our determination and ability to tackle them, legally and politically.
People in the streets on the mainland expect the same, too. We all know what the alternative will be if we are seen to be sitting on our hands."

This has to be the clearest admission to what C.Y. wants an Article 23 implementation to be used for: suppress freedom of speech, opinion, and, fatally, freedom-of-the-press. To me, it is also the clearest indication that if Carrie Lam really cared about Hong Kong remaining a bastion of freedom to the South of the world's largest dictatorship, she would right away work on drafting an Article 23 proposal which removes all potential for it to be misused. For example, as I suggested before, requiring that any act of sedition only be punishable if it directly is violent, or incites violence. Maybe Beijing wouldn't be happy about it, but let them have the odious responsibility to show the world through their actions how dangerous a political regime the CCP is.

'CCP is the source of all corruptions'

That the CCP is corrupt to the core is uncontroversial. However, Jingping’s anti-corruption war has nothing to do with the matter, and everything to do with disposing of his political foes, and showing that the party is “acting” to eliminate corruption. As a result, a lot of innocents are being sentenced to long prison terms.

“Sun, 71, the former top political adviser in Henan province in central China who was jailed for corruption in 2010
Sun, who strongly maintains his innocence, desires freedom and a retrial. Given a de facto life sentence for taking bribes
His case sheds light on the normally secretive world of corruption prosecutions at the highest reaches of the country’s administration, prosecutions that are part of a massive campaign meant to legitimise the party’s rule. It also exposes the deep flaws in the justice system, which have been widely criticised from the outside but rarely so clearly acknowledged from within.

Officials from the country’s top prosecutors office urged Sun to hire a lawyer in 2014, after submitting documents in which he contested all of the charges and applied for retrial, Sun said in letters seen by the South China Morning Post.
Sun was among 12 officials above deputy ministerial level found guilty of corruption eight years ago. That number climbed to 40 convictions last year, when the trials of a vast number of disgraced officials in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s far-reaching anti-corruption campaign ended.
The campaign, which has swept up more than 1.5 million officials across the country, was seen as highly effective in boosting the party’s legitimacy within China as it cracked down on the pervasive culture of corruption. Yet the drive has had problems of legitimacy, as a number of investigations were widely seen as tools to punish political opponents and the legal system used to authorise a flawed process.

Despite Beijing’s claim to “rule the country by law”, scholars inside and outside China have long questioned the fairness of the nation’s legal system, as courts generally are given little authority and almost everyone who is charged is found guilty
Gao Yuanchi, a colleague of Sun and a former official in Sun’s home province of Henan, said during his own trial that he admitted having bribed Sun only after being forced to do so, according to the verdict.

Gao, a former assistant to the mayor of Luoyang, where Sun was the city’s party chief, was found guilty of taking bribes before the court nullified the charges, citing lack of evidence and suspicion of a forced confession. Yet only four days later he testified in the trial of Sun, who was given a suspended death sentence.
In a written statement, Sun said that he confessed to taking bribes only after he and his family were threatened, and that he expected his relatives to be spared.

‘Investigations show I do not have the money, not in my house, not transferred to other accounts, not hidden anywhere,’ he said in his final statement at the trial.

‘Then I was accused of a malicious and uncooperative attitude for not telling them whereabouts of the money. I don’t know whether to cry or laugh about that.’

Sun’s hopes that family members would not be targeted after his confession were not realised.

Five relatives – his wife, daughter, son, son-in-law and niece – were jailed on corruption charges in similar cases, although some witnesses retracted their testimony after the trials.

The reason for Sun’s fall remains unclear. But Sun’s family and lawyers believe he had upset a retired member of the Politburo Standing Committee by turning down a 2004 bid for a state-owned mine that was offered by the former leader’s relative.

Sun’s case is not unusual. The same patterns can be seen in a collection of 27 corruption convictions, all of which the country’s supreme prosecutors office ordered lower-level branches to review in 2016. The office’s mouthpiece newspaper said all could be below judicial standard.

According to Chinese law, the court is not required to review the legality of the process under the party’s anti-corruption watchdog, and in corruption cases, the courts only deal with material confirmed by prosecutors – who, in turn, always confirm what is given to them by the anti-corruption force.”

“One of China’s most high-profile politicians, Sun Zhengcai, once seen as a likely candidate to be China’s next leader, was sentenced to life in prison for taking nearly $27 million in bribes.
Favored by Communist Party elders, Sun was seen as a rising star before he became snared in Chinese president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, which kicked off after Xi took power in 2012. It has punished more than 1.5 million corrupt officials over the past five years, and helped Xi exert tighter control over the party. But Sun’s investigation was seen as part of a more far-reaching goal—his fall just months before a key leadership meeting was seen as one of the strongest signals yet in support of rumors that Xi was planning on ruling beyond the conventional 10 years.
Sun’s case echoes the downfall of his predecessor Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing party boss from 2007-2012, who was also once a power rival of Xi. In 2013, Bo was charged with corruption and sentenced to life in prison, making the leadership of this particular city something of a poisoned chalice.”

'Another day, another rant from the useful-idiot…'

“If some US politicians such as Florida Senator Marco Rubio are to be believed, the institutes are there to spread Chinese communist propaganda, subvert academic freedom and free speech on American campuses, silence China critics and recruit spies.
Similar allegations have been made by Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former head of the Asia-Pacific division of the Canadian Security Intelligence Services. But such people never offer a smoking gun, and rarely, if ever, provide facts or evidence to support their claims.” writes Alex Lo

After a modicum of research, Lo could have found evidence of trying to subvert free speech:
“According to a detailed account posted on the EACS website, conference materials were seized and several pages removed from the conference program – including an advertisement for the Taiwan-based Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, a conference cosponsor -- after the chief executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters, Xu Lin, objected to the contents.”

As for being a propaganda device, the Confucius’ institute’s mission is quite clear, when described by the PCC itself:
“Li Changchun, a party boss, described the Confucius Institutes as ‘an important part of China's overseas propaganda set-up’.”

'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.’”

'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.

“ ’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.”
"Separatist leader Andy Chan cannot be charged under current Hong Kong law, city lawyers say"

'Interesting reads'

'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'."

"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,'

"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."

'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."

'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."


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. "

'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."


"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. "

Want a few more evidence of Chinese car manufacturing fine innovation?


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...

Movies too...


Further pondering on the topic

'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)."


"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.'"

'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."

'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."

'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."

'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. 


"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."


"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."

'Hong Kongers want rule-of-law to be applied'
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...

'Hong Kong's slide off democratic institutions'

Now, go see Benny Tai's actual speech on YouTube:
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...

'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."

'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."

'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."

'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."

'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'.

"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"
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

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"

The rich are fleeing China, going mostly to democracies

"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...

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%)

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."

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.

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,”

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."
"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."

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

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'."

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."

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"

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."

"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."

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."

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'. "

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."


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."

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."

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."

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."

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,'"
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, 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'."
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."
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"

"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)"

The view of LocalStudioHK

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."

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.

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).

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.

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.

Social Progress Index
Hong Kong is not listed as an individual area but China lists about halfway down the list, just after North-Korea!

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
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

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"

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."

Corruption runs deep

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?

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."

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.'"

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."

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"

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)."


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...


Hong Kong is in the top20 perceived as least corrupt

China is within the half of countries perceived as most corrupt
Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse

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"
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"

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."

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."

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.

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"

Concentration of Power

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

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."



"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"


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"

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."

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.
Hong Kong longing for Democracy

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


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"


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"

One country, Two systems transgressions


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"


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"

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"

The Bootlickers

Hong Kong government force candidates to sign a form pledging allegiance to the Basic Law


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."

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."

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"

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.


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



"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."