Thursday, December 31, 2020
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
China’s notoriously opaque justice system has a conviction rate of about 99%, and often sees defendants denied full legal assistance. The last-minute trials of the Hong Kong 12 and Zhang came amid a flurry of activity by Chinese authorities, who have a history of using the holiday period, when many western governments and NGOs are on Christmas break, to run trials and make arrests.
In December alone, authorities have arrested a Bloomberg journalist, Haze Fan, on unspecified national security allegations; human rights activist, Ou Biaofen, after he publicised the case of an activist sent to a psychiatric facility; and documentary journalist Du Bin. Ou and Du were both arrested for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”.
Authorities also reportedly delayed the trial of Australian writer Yang Henjun, charged with espionage and allegedly tortured during his two years in detention. On Sunday a court refused to hear an appeal against the four-year sentence for human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng, who publicly called for constitutional reforms including multi-candidate elections.
Sunday, December 27, 2020
Seasonal musings about the actions of a government that is not for the people as well as by and of it
Friday, December 25, 2020
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Now it is 2020. In this year of so much death, so many grim landmarks, the curtain has fallen with startling rapidity. I mourn for the extinguishing of an exuberantly free society that, over three decades, taught me so much: about resilience, pragmatism, humor, adaptability and optimism...
Hong Kong as an entity distinct from mainland China was the product of an act of international piracy yet became for a while perhaps the place in China that was most stable and orderly, and where people were the most free. Denied real democracy under the British and then under Beijing, it is the most democratically minded of societies. Flowers grow in compost; the darkness shows up the light...
Hong Kong will never go back to what it was, that much seems clear. Its fate will be dissolved into a larger destiny, as was always likely and perhaps inevitable. My poor adopted city. Designed for obsolescence but wanting more life, it did burn so very brightly.
Monday, December 21, 2020
In handling China’s foreign relations especially, Xi has been nothing but incompetent. Domestically too, he has virtually shunned all reform, other than bolstering his grip and that of the CCP. This points to a leader who has no idea how to move the country forward.
It’s not that China’s power is not growing under Xi’s leadership, but rather that its power is growing significantly more slowly because of his leadership failures. That slowdown has in effect thrown the West a lifeline of sorts, giving it the time needed to get its act together and offer an alternative to China’s nightmarish vision of a world order.