Saturday, October 31, 2020
Still living a nightmare more than one year on, but seeing that justice can prevail at times along the way
Thursday, October 29, 2020
According to Joshua Rosenzweig, the head of Amnesty International's China Team, "a peaceful student activist has been charged and detained solely because the authorities disagree with his views".
Consider it another way. Mr Chung is 19 years old. What views were you expressing when you were 19? What opinions were others expressing? Should you have been threatened with life imprisonment for them?
In just a matter of months, the pro-Beijing camp in Hong Kong has made use of the new national security law to erode the harbour city's once vaunted freedom of speech. It is nothing short of a disaster for the vast majority of residents who voted for the pro-democracy block in the most recent local elections.
As a document, the proposed law was frightening, but now people are seeing the reality: state security agents grabbing teenage activists from cafes and taking them away perhaps for the rest of their lives. On the ground in Hong Kong, the shocking reality of the new legal regime is becoming clear.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
The Wuhan coronavirus and other perceived Mainland Chinese threats to Hong Kong's health and wellbeing
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Man Lim-chung's Keep Rolling is a worthy -- and very watchable -- documentary tribute to Ann Hui (Film review)
Friday, October 23, 2020
A Lamma Island hike that served up reminders of there still being so much to love about Hong Kong (Photo-essay)
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Wuhan coronavirus-inflicted economic woes on top of political ones for Cathay Pacific and those who it's making jobless
Sunday, October 18, 2020
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
T1 weather yesterday
I woke up this morning to find that the Hong Kong Observatory had raised Typhoon Warning Signal Number 8 after Typhoon Nangka was deemed to have come close enough to Hong Kong to necessitate such as the suspension of classes at all day schools and trading at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The strange thing though is that I didn't notice any rain falling until the afternoon and the winds in my neck of the woods were so mild that my window curtains hardly moved for much of the day (despite my having left various windows in my apartment open)!
Unlike when Severe Typhoon Mangkhut visited Hong Kong back in September 2018, it really didn't seem like Typhoon Nangka posed much danger to humans or even trees. And there was much derision when reports came in that as of 11am, only six trees had been felled by it and that number had risen to just eight by 2pm, and people took to posting videos and photos on social media at various points in the day showing the (minimal) physical impact of this T8-rated typhoon.
Something else that people found hard to take entirely seriously was the news that about 100 members of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) have had to be quarantined after a clarinet player tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus; and this particularly since there now has come a possibility -- however slight -- that the super unpopular Carrie Lam may need to go into quarantine, if not be infected! I think the schadenfreude with regards to the HKPO stems from the misgivings many have had of concerts featuring wind instruments being allowed to take place in the midst of a pandemic. Also, there's something rather ridiculous about a quarantine camp now being mainly filled with orchestra musicians and hotel staff (the latter as a result of the Royal Garden Hotel cluster).
As for the laughter at Carrie Lam's expense: this is the extremely highly paid Hong Kong Chief Executive who delayed her already previously postponed policy address because Xi Jinping has scheduled a visit to, and major speech in, Shenzhen for that same day. Adding insult to injury is that she -- who has been labelled a puppet as a result of this latest action-- will of course go to Shenzhen to be in Xi Jinping's presence but absolutely does not intend to raise the matter of the 12 Hong Kongers currently being held in that Mainland Chinese city with him. Also, ahead of her Shenzhen visit, she's stated that she wouldn't mind if Shenzhen's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) were to exceed Hong Kong's!
At the same time though, I still sometimes wonder whether Leung Chun Ying still might be hated more than Carrie Lam. Even though he's stepped down from being Chief Executive, he still can't stop getting into mischief and stirring things up. Witness his latest effort from earlier today: what amounts to the doxxing of 18 teachers prosecuted for pro-democracy protest-related "offences".
Still, it often is hard to see beyond the terrible things being done and proposed by the current Hong Kong administration. Take, as an example, its recently revealed move to amend the laws to allow Hong Kongers living in Mainland China to vote in Hong Kong elections. Expectedly, pro-Beijingers back the idea while pro-democrats are against it. Less expected has been the Electoral Affairs Commission having voiced its concern about this proposal; a sure sign that there's something really untoward about it. (Of course, regular Hong Kongers don't need to be told this. We just absolutely know.)
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Still more arrests in Hong Kong, and attempts to crush the people's spirit and destroy the city's soul :(
the Wuhan coronavirus, oppression and dissent (the last by alumni
Today marks the seventh Sunday since 12 Hong Kongers attempting to seek political asylum in Taiwan were apprehended by the Mainland Chinese coast guard, with what we now know was the help of the Hong Kong authorities, when they attempted to flee Hong Kong on a speedboat. (The government has yet to officially confirm this, and probably never will; but there's ample evidence for this being the case. Also, here's a reminder that, on the 50th day since their arrest, the loved ones of the detainees -- and the lawyers they hired -- have yet to be able to see them or get actual evidence that they are still alive and in one piece.)
Yesterday, nine of their friends were arrested by the Hong Kong police for their role in assisting them in their attempted bid for freedom. Put another way: their alleged crimes involved doing such as funding and providing the speedboat, and providing accomodation for the 12 prior to their journey back on August 23rd.
The newly arrested nine consist of four men and five women aged between 27 and 72 years. They include Christina Tang (previously an aide to former pan-democratic lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung), a lawyer’s assistant, an administrative clerk, a salesperson and a chef. Like the 12 arrested for illegally crossing the Hong Kong-Mainland Chinese border on their ill-fated attempt to get to Taiwan, all of them had previously been arrested for participating in anti-extradition bill protests.
Are they criminals? The Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese authorities say yes. I think though that most Hong Kongers will see them as victims, martyrs, even heroes and heroines. And the more that the authorities do to try to punish people like this, the further they get to winning the hearts and minds of the populace. Hence my often suspecting that they no longer seek to do this; and, instead, "just" are intent on crushing Hong Konger spirits and destroying the city's soul.
And even while Hong Kongers have showed remarkable fight and admirable resilience, I do find myself worrying far more than I like about how long this can be kept up. Sadly, certain institutions appear to have fallen; notably the city's oldest and top rated university.
In recent years, there have been signs that the University of Hong Kong (HKU) was losing its way -- including when human rights lawyer Johannes Chan's nominated for pro-vice chancellor was rejected back in September 2015. More recently, Occupy Central co-organizer Benny Chan was sacked by the university, despite being a tenured professor, less than one month after China's security law for Hong Kong came into effect.
Then, earlier this week, in a move suspected to be politically motivated, the university's Mainland China-born vice chancellor, Zhang Xiang, decided not to renew the contract of Japanese American public health expert, Keiji Fukuda. To ram home the sense of how wrong this decision is, one day later came the news that the obviously highly respected Professor Fukuda had won this year's HKU Faculty Knowledge Exchange Award!