Hong Kong’s Forbidden Apple

From The Wall Street Journal:

The Chinese Communist Party has already crushed freedom in Hong Kong. Now it’s beating a dead horse.

As directors of Next Digital, we saw three years ago the jackboot effect of the security laws Beijing has imposed on Hong Kong. The company published Apple Daily, a lively independent newspaper founded in 1995 by businessman Jimmy Lai. With no judicial process, Hong Kong’s security secretary froze the company’s bank accounts, forcing the paper to close. Mr. Lai was already in jail and is now on trial on national-security charges.

Now the Communist Party is going after Apple Daily’s readers. On June 24, 2021, the paper’s last day of publication, people lined up for hours to show their support by buying a copy. More than a million were sold in a city of fewer than eight million. Under the latest national-security law, which took effect last month, possession of “seditious publications” is a crime. A Hong Kong resident could go to prison for having a keepsake copy of Apple Daily at home.

Think we’re exaggerating? On March 10 the Global Times, a Communist Party propaganda organ, published what it billed as “a rebuttal to Western media hype targeting the law.” The “rebuttal” described Mr. Lai as a “modern-day traitor” and Apple Daily as “the secessionist tabloid, depicted by Western politicians and media as the so-called defender of freedom of speech.”

During what passed for a debate over the bill in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, lawmaker Peter Koon asked an official to clarify the provision. Apple Daily “is certainly seditious,” Mr. Koon allowed. “But what if some people intend to keep a record of such a bad newspaper and had two copies at home? Would that be counted as possessing seditious publications?”

Security Secretary Chris Tang said that it would depend. The Global Times “rebuttal” quotes him: “For example, ‘I’ve placed it [seditious item] there for a long time, I didn’t know it was still there, the purpose wasn’t to incite, I didn’t know about its existence,’ that could constitute a reasonable excuse.” Feel better? The law also authorizes the police to use “reasonable force” to remove or destroy seditious publications.

. . . .

But more nonmedia companies are likely to find the risks of doing business in Hong Kong too great. The new law expands on the old one by incorporating China’s criminalizing of “state secrets.” That can include not only journalism but also the kind of information-gathering routinely done in a global financial center by industry and company analysts, investors, consultants, lawyers and accountants.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal

PG says this is a sobering story likely to spur sales of outbound airline tickets from Hong Kong. Such activity will move a great many intelligent and talented people out of Hong Kong for long-term stays outside of China.

Perhaps Chinese leaders believe the nation has a surplus of such individuals within its 1.4 billion population, but PG thinks they’re mistaken.

2 thoughts on “Hong Kong’s Forbidden Apple”

  1. PG is correct.
    There are many things the CCP thinks are so that aren’t.
    Starting with that number, 1.4 billion–best guess it peaked at 1B.


    That database includes data from all regions and all ages, from infants to retirees.
    That number correlates to a university of Chicago study that used energy use as a proxy for size of an economy, accurate for all OCD countries but not China. By that standard, the Chinese economy came in 40% smaller than claimed.
    It also correlates to more recent reports from inside China that their census have for decades overcounted population by hundreds of millions. Mostly women.

    Finally, the fastest growing group of univiteds AMLO’s human traffickers are dumping at the border is…chinese. The smartest, who can read the winds of change, are cashing out. From Hong Kong to Macao to Shanghai and beyond.

    The news coming out of China aren’t good…and those are cooked to minimize the damage.
    The people in charge are not the brightest light on the xmas tree, which makes them doubly dangerous, to everybody, including themselves.

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