Did Reuters Get Lost in Translation Over Official Quote?

12 September 2014 | Hong Wrong

Reuters apparently scored quite a scoop yesterday when it quoted an official offering up what amounts to a death threat against a local pro-democracy figure…

According to the article, two anonymous sources confirmed that Zhang Xiaoming, the head of Hong Kong’s China Liaison Office, made the comment to pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung when asked whether a democrat could ever become Chief Executive.

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Showdown in Hong Kong

Zoher Abdoolcarim | 11 September 2014 | Time

Beijing must realize that the territory’s openness is what gives it real value to China

To China’s leaders, what’s different about Hong Kong is what makes it dangerous. Some local activists have called for the end to Communist Party rule of the mainland, making them, from Beijing’s standpoint, subversives. Beijing’s harder and more intimidating line toward Hong Kong reflects its harder and more intimidating line at home and toward much of the rest of the world. If powers like the U.S. and Russia are reluctant to challenge China, goes the thinking in Beijing, who is tiny Hong Kong to do so?

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A Chinese Author Takes On China

Steven Thompson | 10 September 2014 | Asia Sentinel

How much did Joe Chung anger the Hong Kong and Beijing establishment, and what were the results?

Chung was one of the most controversial authors on the popular but now-defunct House News, a Hong Kong-based news website and content aggregator founded by former radio personality Tony Tsoi and others to cover covers politics, business, lifestyle, media, and local news.

Tsoi abruptly killed the site on July 26 despite a readership of 300,000 unique visitors a day. He has been incommunicado since.  However, in a notation on the website, he said he and his family were under pressure and that he was particularly fearful of what he called the White Terror.

Some observers credit Chung’s aggressiveness as one of the factors in the closure. Among other articles, his allegations of academic plagiarism of Xi Jinping’s PhD were believed to have caused House News to be shut down for several days due to hacking allegedly carried out by Chinese hackers.

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The struggle for Hong Kong

6 Sept 2014 | The Economist

The territory’s citizens must not give up demanding full democracy—for their sake and for China’s

CHINESE officials have called it a “leap forward” for democracy in Hong Kong. Yet their announcement on August 31st of plans to allow, for the first time, every Hong Kong citizen to vote for the territory’s leader has met only anger and indifference. Joy was conspicuously absent. This is not because Hong Kong’s citizens care little for the right to vote, but because China has made it abundantly clear that the next election for Hong Kong’s chief executive, due in 2017, will be rigged. The only candidates allowed to stand will be those approved by the Communist Party in Beijing, half a continent away.

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China’s betrayal of Hong Kong

 2 Sept 2014 | Chicago Tribune

It’s enough to make you think you can’t trust a repressive authoritarian regime to honor its word. For years, the Chinese government had assured the people of Hong Kong that by 2017 they would be allowed to elect the city’s leader. On Sunday, though, it might as well have said, “It depends on the meaning of the word ‘elect.'”

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Occupy Central’s Greatest Weapon – The Law!

2 Sept 2014 | Rich Scotford | China Op-eds

Beijing wants a subjugated Hong Kong like Macau is today. High on money, low on morals and locked-down on any real freedoms. That’s the model they desire for Hong Kong. However, the political awakening that is happening in Hong Kong now rejects this model for the city. The students are now the foot soldiers in an opening front to protect the Rule OF Law in Hong Kong. The students know they can go onto the street and break the law in a small way to prove that the law is still just.

The CPC can not play this kind of game in Hong Kong yet without becoming the biggest loser. Currently the laws of Hong Kong are steadfast and are guarded by a robust and dynamic internationally recognised legal system. If things get bad, Beijing can throw out all the laws of Hong Kong  and declare a state of emergency and impose marital law on the city – but if they do this, they lose. They lose an international city and the Hong Kong stock markets will crash and China will be an international pariah once more. Enormous proportions of the CPC’s wealth will be lost in a HK crash. Most Hong Kongers on the streets at the time will not care if the HK Stock Exchange collapses, Why? Because they have no interest there. That ship sailed for them years ago. Most Hong Kongers can barely afford housing or schooling, let alone stocks. Even Hong Kong’s once influential middle class have been pushed out of this market and struggle to survive in a city dominated by CPC corrupt money,  The CPC will be the biggest loser in any lock down of the city. They will effectively be killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

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No Matter What Beijing Says, Hong Kong Is Ready for Full Democracy

Emily Rauhala | 2 Sept 2014 | Time

A sophisticated, vibrant metropolis of over 7 million people deserves the right to nominate candidates for its top job

The fact is, the people of Hong Kong are absolutely able to chart their own political course. They are witty and well educated, voracious consumers of media and extremely vocal on issues that concern them, from education to conservation to national-security legislation. Hong Kong is not a child, in other words. It is stuck with a priggish parent with no idea how to cope.

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Beijing’s ‘knock-on-the-door’ warning to Hong Kong’s democracy movement

Patrick Brown | 29 August 2014 | CBC News

According to Nicolas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch, “The rule of law in Hong Kong has eroded faster in the past few months than it had over the whole period from 1997 to 2014.” And there are probably two main reasons for this.

Consolidating his power after almost two years in office, President Xi Jinping has spoken of the need for a firmer hand with Hong Kong, partly out of concern that allowing greater democracy there might lead to demands for the same in other parts of China.

The regime has also been caught off-guard by the strength of the campaign for democracy known as Occupy Central with Love and Peace, which participated in a huge march on July 1, the anniversary of the handover.

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To Save the Rich, China Ruins Hong Kong

Nisid Hajari | 29 August 2014 | Bloomberg

The cost of defending the plutocrats is high. A Chinese government white paper released in June appeared to raise doubts about the continued independence of Hong Kong’s judiciary and the city’s commitment to the rule of law, which have been pillars of its success. Raids this week on high-profile opposition supporter Jimmy Lai were hardly more reassuring. While democracy activists may not be able to shut down the central business district, as they’ve threatened, even low-level protests will draw weeks of unwanted international attention. Moderate Hong Kong parliamentarians say they won’t support Beijing’s proposals; as a result, they may fall short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the local legislature.

Sooner or later, Chinese leaders are going to have to get more comfortable with the idea of autonomy in outlying regions. In Xinjiang, which has been battered by a series of vicious terrorist attacks, the suppression of moderate voices has only enhanced the appeal of extremist groups. Hong Kong should have been an ideal test case for greater openness — a stable, ethnically Chinese enclave that is, yes, more interested in making money than in making trouble. So far Beijing is failing.

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United Front absorbs ICAC, and other stupidity

29 Aug 2014 | Big Lychee

In the past, Hong Kong has usually had moderate politicians, reasonable media voices and neutral bureaucrats and business people with the wisdom and good humour to maintain some basic cohesion. Even after the Article 23 uproar, or Donald Tsang’s anti-democrat tantrums, some sort of civility returned. This time feels different. In its attempts to assert control, Beijing has polarized the city, and it looks permanent. If they’re going to use law enforcement agencies for political persecution stunts, what’s the point of being moderate and constructive?

Maybe Beijing will realize its tactics are overkill and counterproductive. Otherwise, the city is going to end up more alienated, more disgruntled, and less governable than ever.

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Civil Disobedience 101 Hong Kong Style

Rich Scotford | 26 Aug 2014 | China Op-eds

It looks increasingly likely that some form of civil disobedience campaign will take place in Hong Kong in the near future. Political reform is now turning into a high-stakes game pitting the desires of significant proportions of the Hong Kong public, who wish for a credible democracy, against the might and coercive strength of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which is used to getting its own way, eventually.

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In political activism, good things come in small packages

Jason Y Ng | 20 August 2014 | South China Morning Post

They used to live in the same residential complex, attend the same school and ride the same bus every morning. They both grew up in devout Christian families and were taught to take an interest in society.

But 17-year-old Joshua Wong Chi-fung and 20-year-old Ma Wan-ki – better known as Ma Jai – can’t be more different from each other. Joshua is a household name and his spectacled face has appeared on every magazine cover. He is self-assured, media savvy and can slice you up with his words. Ma Jai? Not so much. He gets tongue-tied behind the microphone and fidgety in front of the camera. He is a foot soldier who gets up at the crack of dawn to set up street booths and spends all day handing out flyers for someone else’s election campaign.

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The time is now: Hong Kong’s Occupy Central

Kong Tsung-Gan | 19 August 2014 | Open Democracy

In any freedom struggle, much of the struggle is between not only the oppressed and their oppressor but between the oppressed themselves, some of whom side with the oppressor, and within each of the oppressed, who in struggling against their oppressor also struggle against the voices within themselves that tell them to unconditionally obey authority or that there must be something wrong with them if they have such a grievance against ‘the way things are’, or that even if there is something wrong, it is utterly futile to fight it.  The fault lines are many.  Such is the case in the Hong Kong freedom struggle.  This is the result of Hong Kong’s history as a colony and an immigrant society.

In the entirety of its modern history, from the start of British colonial rule in 1842 up to today (when Hong Kong finds itself under the new colonial rule of the Chinese Communist Party), Hong Kong has always been a colony and never a democracy.  Like the rest of China, it has no democratic tradition.  Much of the current freedom struggle involves building the democratic culture Hong Kong has never had from the ground up.  Creating culture and changing culture is by no means an overnight process.  It takes time.  The question is, does Hong Kong have the time it takes?

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Hong Kong’s Future Will Be In The Hands Of Activists Or Politicians?

David Eldon | 19 August 2014 | Forbes

In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.  (Charles Darwin)

The Hong Kong system of “government” is far from ideal, but the amount of noise it is currently generating locally is out of proportion to Hong Kong’s self-perceived importance on the world stage.

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An ‘end in sight’ scenario while the struggle continues

19 August 2014 | Big Lychee

It is unlikely that many people went through the Hong Kong government’s report on the public consultation exercise on 2016-17 political reforms. If my own 0.03-
second perusal of the documents is anything to go by, it largely comprised identical statements from hundreds of United Front groups like the Federation of Hong Kong Shenzhen Associations. A South China Morning Post study (which they wisely dumped on academics) confirms that it’s a mass of ‘orchestrated bloc submissions favouring a conservative stance’.

Only the naïve would expect it any other way. Most Hong Kong government consultation exercises are designed in some way to reach the bureaucrats’ preferred conclusion. Those on political reform have to conform to the wishes of the sovereign power, and have a long record, dating back to the 1980s, of ‘finding’ that the population is far less enthusiastic about democracy than public opinion polls indicate.

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Notes from the Street

Evan Fowler | 19 August 2014 | Asia Sentinel

The Anti-Occupy Central Demonstration and its Contradictions

Two days ago a group calling itself the Alliance for Peace and Democracy staged a march in Hong Kong against Occupy Central with Love and Peace, which has threatened to occupy the streets of Central as an act of civil disobedience if the Hong Kong government does not propose to Beijing a model of democratic reform that meets “international standards” and is representative of the views of the Hong Kong people as decided by a referendum.

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Abandon Occupy Central!

Suzanne Pepper | 18 August 2014 | China Elections Blog

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then Hong Kong’s democracy movement should be basking in the glow …  except that Robert Chow’s anti-Occupy Central campaign is using imitation to mock and bait not emulate.  A distinguished-looking white-haired gentleman in his 60s, Chow seems an unlikely candidate for such an exercise.  On occasion when crowds gather and awkward questions are shouted out he wears the expression of an accidental hero who finds himself holding a tiger by the tail and can’t quite decide whether to hang on for dear life or let go and hope for the best.

But now that virtually the entire pro-government establishment has rallied to his cause … including Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, most of his principal government officials, the police, the main pro-Beijing political party, the main (pro-Beijing) labor federation, the Liberal Party, New People’s Party, mainland-owned companies, chambers of commerce, and all the pro-Beijing united front associations …   Chow has no choice but to see it through to the end.  Consequently, on August 17 he also found himself in unfamiliar territory, leading a three-kilometer march along pan-democrats’ main protest route from Victoria Park to Hong Kong’s downtown central business district.

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Anti-Occupy march as much a product of political dysfunction as pro-democracy protests

Larry Au | 18 August 2014 | SCMP

Larry Au says understanding the contradictory motivation behind the increasing use of street protests in Hong Kong – whether pro-government or pro-democracy – will help to break the vicious cycle of escalation.

If the government is truly concerned about the continued viability of our political institutions, it must ensure an equitable outcome that makes protests – whether pro-democracy or pro-government – no longer necessary. Imagine that: a government that listens to and reflects the will of the people.

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