Those pesky 'foreign forces'
Updated: Mar 5
It's clear that things are not as prosperous and stable in Hong Kong (HK) as they ought to be, but the diagnoses of what is wrong with the place vary widely. Perhaps it has more than one single problem, and people like those in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) view things in a much too simplistic way? Perhaps there is some truth in their claims that the SAR has become a base for forces trying to subvert CCP rule, and there is clearly disagreement about the city's future.
It's so easy to blame others, when in reality, if there is any blame to apportion at all, the fault for the trouble in HK lies at your own doorstep. Try telling this to the uneducated, narassistic, conservative communist CCP's one and only Emperor Xi Jinping!
In Hong Kong (HK) we routinely witness the familiar finger pointing and flying accusations, generally accompanied with either a lack of sound evidence, or with a rash of assumptions, and lashings of absurdity and anti-'foreign' sentiment.
#one Fickle foreign judges
Writing for Hong Kong Free Press, Dennis Kwok stated that "foreign judges are undoubtedly critical to building HK’s international legal reputation and developing the law. Not only do foreign judges bring with them fresh insights and perspectives to our courts, having an international judiciary also demonstrates diversity and inclusion in our legal system, safeguarding and strengthening the rule of law." (HKFP, 10 April 2017)
Against hard left nationalists in the city, Kwok says that "...the infiltration of Western influence and manipulation has become a recurrent theme in their rhetoric, used to stir up anti-colonial sentiments in HK, especially in the older generation who experienced HK as a British colony."
The truth is they don't want those "fresh insights" from foreigners....the rich elites especially just want to control everything, and to dispense justice whenever and however they themselves see fit, and importantly, to do so without any oversight from others thank you very much!
As much as anyone still thinks and believes the judiciary in HK still retains its vital independence, CCP is doing its level best to reign any loose ends in, and tie up the SAR so tightly that many of us are having to gasp for the air we breathe. Chinese State newspapers have railed for months against “yellow judges” seen as lenient toward protesters. (The color yellow is a symbol of the protest movement.) Party officials have called for an overhaul of the courts to rein in judges’ autonomy. The city’s leadership has also exerted more influence over the selection of judges. (The New York Times, 30 November 2020)
Australian judge steps down from Hong Kong court over new national security law
ABC reporter Stephen Dziedzic quoted Spigelman as saying he stepped down for reasons “related to the content of the national security laws”.]
#two Busybody foreign journalists
China Accuses Foreign Journalists of Meddling in Hong Kong, (Bloomberg, 24 September 2020)
That bunch of journalists who have their own private club in HK (The Foreign Correspondents' Club - FCC) have forever been barking on about press freedom. Then they go and invite the upstart leader of a 'misguided' political party to deliver a speech about HK independence during a lunchtime talk event!
Hong Kong Government Slams Foreign Press Club Over Pro-Independence Leader's Speech (RFA, 14 August 2018)
The Hong Kong National Party (HKNP, 香港民族黨) was eventually shut down as a threat to national security. While its leader, Andy Chan, and the FCC faced much criticism, the organiser of the speaking event, Victor Mallet was later denied the renewal of his employment visa, meaning he could no longer be based in the city working for The Financial Times.
Please also read our blog about what happened to the Indonesian journalist who was shot in the eye by Police while covering the 2019 protests in the city.
Visas ‘weaponised’: Gov’t denies Hong Kong Free Press editor a work visa, without explanation, after 6-month wait, (HKFP, 27 August 2020)
WTPOHK note that the HK government recently made amendments to immigration rules making it harder for asylum seekers or those who have suffered torture elsewhere to use the city as a base to register their refugee status. They are so unfriendly to those foreigners! They won't even be allowed to board a flight to come here.
#three Meddling foreign activists / NGO's
There's a great list of groups and observers that have expressed their opinions of the state of human rights in China and HK. Lucky for CCP their reports and letters take a long time to have any effect - they are only words!
Kenneth Roth, executive CEO of international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) was denied entry into Hong Kong on Jan. 12, 2020. Mr. Roth has since turned his denied entry into HK into even bigger news - he proved his point on human rights!!
U.S.-based rights activist and veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen democracy movement Feng Congde was refused entry in June 2019.
Benedict Rogers, who subsequently founded the U.K.-based group Hong Kong Watch, was refused entry in October 2017.
2017 CCP started clamping down on NGO's and individuals that they could 'use': for CCP this includes taking foreigners 'hostage' whenever they can and using them as leverage in future diplomatic 'negotiations'. CCP thinks nothing of using trumped up charges to hold a foreign national and extract what they want from a foreign government: just ask the Canadians about the two Michaels!
CCP's latest response to this barrage of condemnation is to shift the goal post so, at least for now, they can pretend they're still winning the game : in an address to the United Nations Human Rights Council the Chinese Foreign Minister attempted to redefine the two words "human rights" and justified the CCP position that it was wrong for outsiders to pass judgement on any nation's exercise of human rights.
#four Shifty foreign bankers/wankers
“China is to stock fraud, as Silicon Valley is to technology.”
Carson Block, founder of Muddy Waters Capital
HK remains enormously important as a financing centre for China. It's a conduit for money and a way CCP can tap into western networks.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is directly involved in everything that mainland Chinese companies are doing and CCP members personally benefit in corrupt ways. A prime example is anything to do with equities and debt for mainland Chinese companies.
Critical thinking must be applied judiciously in CCP related financial instruments. Mainland Chinese companies do not have the same ethos nor operate in the same business or regulatory environment as those of say a US company trading on Wall Street.
The danger for HK is being dragged too far into CCP's rule BY law and corruption, to the point where it's own markets become so tainted that they lose their value.
Instead of the democratic West reeling in China - using greed, the CCP is reeling in a corrupted West. CCP is a virus! The ONLY way out is truth!
HK only has one brand - 'Hong Kong Bank' also known as 'Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corpration' or HSBC. And the point to remember here is that this bank, one of the largest in the world, has its headquarters not in HK nor Shanghai but in London, UK! Why? because a bank has to operate according to the rule OF law which today China and HK does NOT have!
All bankers in HK are up to their eyeballs in all sorts of deals - which is why HSBC was able to grow so large so quickly.
#five Goody-two-shoes foreign teachers
Foreign teachers, especially native language English teachers, are in high demand in HK by all schools including HK local schools funded by the Public Purse.
The problem is that language is culture, thinking, attitudes, literature, etc....it is everything that embodies each one of us as a human being! Those foreign teachers are bound to be preaching western ideas to our little ones, right? The kids don't need to know about stuff like liberty, freedom and democracy - they don't even need to think! We all know that kids only come to school to eat their lunch anyway!
The CCP, HK government, schools, other subject teachers, parents and sometimes even the students just want to learn the language without really fully appreciating what is all the stuff behind the language.
For example: British English language tends to be more prose and long winded, whilst American English tends to be shorter, more bullets and idioms. To really get into the language requires depth which brings deep understanding of vocabulary, of language change, of values and of culture.
A teacher's life in a repressive regime is not a happy one. Few teachers will be able to remain working in HK under a completely unhinged, unaccountable EDB!
One group of international schools operating in HK says its curriculum won't be changed to accommodate any of the guidelines recommended by the Education Bureau to meet requirements of the recently imposed National Security Law. Stubborn, and really pesky they are!
#six Non-believer missionary types (not ascribed to CCP)
After WWII in 1945, the end of the Chinese Civil War between PRC and RoC in 1949 and especially during and after the Cultural Revolution 1966 - 1976 so many mainland Chinese refugees came to HK that they accounted for roughly 2/3rds of HK's population by the end of the 1970's.
The Cultural Revolution was especially tough on foreign nationals living in China, especially Christian missionaries.
It was during this period that the influx of Christian missionaries was also able to help refugees and HK people in areas such as education, health care, hospitals, orphanages, etc. For example, the Catholic Caritas schools have educated many children in HK including Carrie Lam and other current senior HK government officials (never mind, there are always a few bad apples in a basket of apples - but unfortunately now HK suffers from a lot of baskets full of rotten apples!).
Roll on 2020, and we know that CCP is involved in power-brokering with various church officials. CCP is a cult with its own brand of religious fervour, so those in HK better watch out!
Vatican and China extend ‘experimental’ agreement on appointment of bishops, (RNS, 22 October 2020)
The Vatican’s Choice: Jimmy Lai or Xi Jinping?, (CWR, 3 June 2020)
China Is Already Breaking Its Vatican Deal, (FP, 17 September 2020)
Nuns arrested as Beijing turns up heat on Church in Hong Kong, (WTPOHK, 31 Dec 2020)
#seven Pompous English lawyers
The 'Hong Kong Bar Association' is the professional body of Hong Kong Barristers : and yes it is safe to say, based upon their colonial heritage attire and demeanor some could justifiably be called 'pompous English lawyers' : although the best examples of Pompous English lawyers are undoubtedly the new breed just off the boat (so to speak)! Lawyers who have lived in HK for some time have an entirely different approach to the goings on of their profession : for the Barristers it is often more theatre and stage than it is purely evidence based rule OF law. The Solicitors of the 'Law Society of Hong Kong' have got their heads down simply mining as much gold as quickly as they can.
The current President of the HK Bar Association is Paul Harris taking over his perch from Philip Dykes: the President is ably supported by staff and members alike. Mr. Harris has distinguished himself for having not yet gotten into position when the starters gun suddenly went off with the CCP churping up 'Bar Association facing abyss under Paul Harris.' With the elderly HK Statesman Martin Lee having been charged and potentially facing a forced vacation at the HK government's expense, along with numerous other democrats, it is likely CCP has no need to worry about what these lawyers say : that is until common law jurisdictions decide that HK is a basket case and it is time to pull back their judges!
#eight Apoplectic diplomats
The important backdrop to note here is that the CCP has never wanted democracy for HK! In the 1970's CCP's first act upon gaining its UN seat (from RoC) was to skupper HK people's right to independence upon de-colonization.
Perhaps the one British Governor who most touched the lives of the people of Hong Kong has been Chris Patten : if for nothing more than the epic word wars going on with CCP's 'face' and undoubtedly the effect that HK people had upon Chris Patten (including his favourite HK style egg tarts adding more girth to his waistline)! To this day Lord Patten remains an ardent supporter of HK because it was he, more than any other, that was able to provide more democracy to HK people.
Arguably US Consul-General to HK Kurt Tong had a difficult transition from being appointed by Democrat US President Barack Obama to then working for Republican US President Donald Trump : and the speed and intensity of the enourmous changes then going on in HK. At the time when something needed to be said by the US prior to leaving office Mr Tong was unfortunately clearly not allowed to speak his mind.
#nine Ex-pat punk kids
These days an 'expat punk kid' is a relatively rare species to be spotted anywhere in HK - likely soon there will be a database started for all known sightings!
Wonderfully, yours truly spotted a very rare breed the other day; a bare foot teenager with a dog off the leash strutting along in TST!
The breed of 'ex-pat punk kids' will do their own thing, their own way - no matter what it is. The only conformity is that there is none.
They are an entirely different creature from the 'local punk kids' who are generally more conservative, hang around in larger groups and wear brand name matching clothes. Generally they smell better than the ex-pat punk kids, and tend to spit less. Having said this, 'local punk kids' are really good at protesting once they get pissed off enough!
#ten Upstart domestic helpers
Unlike HKs expatriate bankers, lawyers and teachers, who can apply for permanent residency after seven years work in the SAR, maids aren't eligible to apply for the right of abode, no matter how long they have worked in the city (BBC, 20 February 2012). They are treated as second class - and definitely NOT citizens.
Domester workers in HK are dependent on an abusive system. During the 2019 protests, many of which took place on weekends when many maids generally have a day off, and the current covid-19 pandemic, the plight of domestic workers in HK has only gotten worse.
According to Aljazeera, groups like the network of Indonesian Migrant Workers (IWMU) stage their own rallies and protests in support of migrant workers' rights, including the right to a living wage and suitable living conditions. (21 October, 2019)
Forced labour common among Hong Kong's domestic helpers, study finds, (The Guardian, 14 March 2016)
Ask anyone in HK and they will tell you that the situation for the city's domestic helpers has not improved, unless they are lucky enough to enjoy the especially generous patronage of their employer.
#eleven Opportunistic meddling managers
The 'sandwich fillings' are the foreign professional managers that are employed by the local Chinese private owners of (sometimes sizable) family businesses to do their bidding and take the pushback from Chinese employees below. They are the well paid but unfortunate souls who get squeezed all day everyday from both above and below : and often in Chinese dialects that they may not fully understand.
In days gone perhaps by there were perhaps far more opportunities for profiteering from corruption and insider trading and other questionable practices.
HK undoubtedly upped its game of professionalism until the 1997 handover to China when CCP took over. Now it is fair to say that its all about the Chinese families having the best connections to CCP's Emperor: i.e. there is little difference between HK and China business as it is all becoming increasingly corrupt as Western democracies pushback - e.g. Huawei and their dealings with HSBC in trade to Iran amongst others.
#twelve Experts and professionals
HK has always been, since the early days of British colonial rule, until 1 July 2020 national security law, a shelter with British RULE OF LAW for foreign and locals alike trying to get as close as possible to China without getting badly burnt by the thieving Mandarins or Communist cadres!
Partners of the big accounting and consulting firms are employed by HK firms, and increasingly mainland Chinese firms with offices in HK, to help them with their corporate and financial service needs. HK is almost entirely a service economy.
The issues of data privacy, freedom of data access, press freedoms, etc. are critical for this class of creative movers and shakers to live and work in HK : now HK has changed, many have already moved to Singapore.
The higher end professionals have since June 2019 protests been uncomfortable and in some instances unwilling (e.g. ad agencies) to deal with HK government as an oppressive communist regime : its not always all about getting paid - its also about doing the 'right' things, which is something that CCP and many mainland Chinese 'businesspeople' may not fully appreciate.
#thirteen Provocative UN human rights rapporteurs
China Accuses Top UN Human Rights Official of Violating UN Charter After Hong Kong Law Remarks, (Sputnik International, 20 June 2020)
Although it's part of the work of the UN to stick its nose into other people's business - CCP has little tolerance for it. Since HK is a signatory to a raft of UN conventions, it's only natural that from time to time the city is survey and rated for its compliance. Thus, there have been a series of criticial statements from UN rapporteurs all demanding action and explanations from authorities who by and large do their best to ignore the repeated probing and criticism.
Hong Kong security law: UN experts voice deep concerns, (BBC, 4 September 2020)
UN experts call for decisive measures to protect fundamental freedoms in China, (OHCHR, 26 June 2020)
Mandates of the UN special rapporteurs 19 February 2020 on arrests of HK medics during protests, (WTPOHK)
Even before February 2021 we have seen the spark of CCP's campaign to maintain cover for its appaling human rights record, with its now familiar attempts to change the narrative in its favour:
‘Riot fighters’ – China steps up criticism of Hong Kong protests, (Aljazeera, 12 September 2019)
China labels human rights criticism 'groundless', (The Hill, 24 February 2021)
CCP please answer the following UN letters sent to you:
#fourteen Others who question our [CCP's] authority
Global awareness that the governance in HK, and the role of CCP here and in China are both problematic has grown immensely in recent years.
Hong Kong situation: China faces global criticism over national security law, (Wion, 1 July 2020)
Getting no takers last time, Hong Kong's government again seeks PR agency to repair broken image, (Marketing-interactive.com, 4 May 2020)
Who will be left in HK once all these pesky foreigner people are removed, imprisoned, deported, visa denied, unfriended, silenced etc? And what will become of this fair city??
There are some who say it has been CCP's intention all along to take the city; that they want what it represents for themselves, but they don't want the local people. The majority of the locals are revolting (really they are nice people) and the CCP thinks they can run the place without all the foreigners who contribute in their own special way to make the place what it has become.
In November 2020 CCP unveiled a plan to resolutely “prevent and curb” external forces from meddling with HK and Macau affairs, seeking to strengthen a sense of national identity and patriotism in the two cities over the next five years. It's certainly clear that whatever CCP envisions for HK, consultations with HK people and greater democracy and autonomy seem out of the question.
The CCP has never officially fielded candidates or stood for election in HK and there are clear historical reasons for that. Under the British, the Communist Party was illegal, and banned from registering as a political organization. After the handover in 1997, the Communist Party in HK has remained underground. They exert their own external influence on the city through pro-Beijing “pro-establishment” political parties, who have been behind many unpopular decisions including an attempt to introduce a new pro-Communist education law that got teenage activist Joshua Wong all worked up, and also a new election system for chief executive that went down like a lead balloon in the SAR. Opposition to these laws sparked some of the biggest street protests in HK history, including the Umbrella Movement.
Bao Pu, a publisher and political commentator, says Hong Kong’s underground Communist Party is a “legacy” of the creation of the party in the 1920s. “They treated Hong Kong as an overseas base, and not being close to the central core [in Beijing] meant they were not required to report to the center unless they saw something they thought the Party should know, which they did through private channels.”
Keeping the Party underground makes their work in Hong Kong easier. “The Chinese Communist Party does not want to be registered in Hong Kong and come under local laws,” says Ching Cheong, a Hong Kong journalist who was detained in China a decade ago on espionage charges. “In China, it is above the law. If they registered in Hong Kong, they would have to file [tax] returns, file their membership list, and their financial transactions.” (Quartz, 1 September 2016)
In 2021, the difficulties for CCP are much reduced for the party, since, as they keep insisting and reminding everyone, HK is a part of China. Thanks to their allies, cadres and puppets in the city, the party has some of its own laws and governing bodies established here, and as we all know they would never for an instant consider their own behaviour as "meddling" - it's not their way!
Jeremiah B. & Pepe
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