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 Post Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 2:01 am 
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Now it's even worse.

Remember how a couple of years ago, China abducted a bunch of bookstore owners from Hong Kong for selling salacious tomes of gossip about Xi Jinping? They mysteriously disappeared and China attempted to keep up the fiction that they all voluntarily went to China to turn themselves in for unrelated crimes until one of them slipped away from his captors while on "parole" and blew the whole thing wide open. Illegally kidnapping people was very bad PR for China so now they are forcing our government to pass a law so that they can extradite people legally. No need for this cloak and dagger stuff, our police force are now to fork over anyone they ask for with a smile.

This actually freaked out the business community a whole bunch, so the government wrote in several exemptions for financial crimes so that our assorted white-collar tax evaders, money launderers, fraudsters, bribers and cheats can rest assured that they won't be targeted. The hammer will fall squarely on pesky people who mail subversive literature or whose criticism goes too viral online. You know, crimes of thought.

So the crony capitalists are not especially enthusiastic about this state of affairs, but they'll do as they're told and pass the bill. The democrats are trying to filibuster this thing as long as they can through procedural tactics. They have succeeded in creating a good amount of chaos but they will lose eventually.

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 Post Posted: Thu May 23, 2019 11:34 pm 
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And now Hong Kong has its first two political refugees. Two localist activists who fled prosecution have been granted political asylum in Germany.

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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:07 am 
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We are screwed. We are all so screwed.

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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:43 am 
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Stay safe.

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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:00 pm 
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All I can say is that what I've seen out of HK has been inspiring. Know that you're all in my thoughts and that this white guy living on the east coast of the US is rooting really hard for you.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:44 am 
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I'm just gonna go on a bit of a rant and I don't want to bite your heads off because I know you all mean well but could you please stop asking me to stay safe? I understand that you are all concerned about my safety. I really do. But I'm basically Rincewind. I only attend the boring type of marching-slowly-and-politely types of rallies. The ones with grannies and small children and guys in wheelchairs. I'm excellent at staying away from pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets and police truncheons. I'm not worried about those things and am in awe of those who do brave those risks for the rest of us.

None of that makes me any less screwed. I can no more avoid the consequences of oppressive legislation than you can avoid the consequences of global warming, Brexit, or whatever bananas corrupt xenophobic thing Trump does next.

That said, today we are marginally less screwed. It is comforting to know that there are still political consequences to provoking a million people into the streets. I'm sure that the screws will be turned on the ringleaders soon enough, but for now we have some relief.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:43 pm 
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I find myself suspecting that getting caught trying to let Beijing steal any assets in HK was a bridge too far. After all, now you're talking money.

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 Post Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:27 am 
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I've still not managed to figure out what you mean by that. Could you be a little less cryptic? Who is getting caught? By whom?

The protest movement continues, but has spread out into smaller, less predictable acts of defiance. Mothers marched against police brutality. "Lennon Walls" are popping up all over town, with people blanketing public spaces in protest post-its and signs. People have been air-dropping messages explaining the anti-extradition protests in simplified Chinese onto the phones of unsuspecting Mainland Chinese tourists. But I think the authorities are going to try to wait it out because they sure as hell aren't backing down. They've politically thrown Chief Executive Carrie Lam under the bus, but they're not going to give genuine concessions.

They've been trying to milk the "Vandals! Hooligans! Lawbreakers! Oh the horror!" angle as much as they can but I've been reading that they've had less success turning public opinion against the protesters than they did five years ago.

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 Post Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:34 am 
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Obviously I've never read the decree in the original, but I've heard that it includes a clause which lets Beijing attach assets or accounts in HK pretty much at will; would clearly wouldn't have been something that folks overseas should have heard about until it was too late.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:23 am 
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You mean this?

Yeah, it had the local tycoons spooked. Apparently they were all summoned to the Chinese Liaison Office and told to quit whining, so they've been quietly offshoring their money instead. Beijing is perfectly willing to screw its lackeys; the reward for loyalty is nothing, except the vague promise of not getting screwed worse, as long as it's convenient.

There have also been some orchestrated leaks suggesting that the entire fiasco was all Carrie Lam's idea, and that she wanted to resign, but Beijing forced her to stay on to clean up her own mess. She wasn't acting on orders from above, no sirreeeee. Don't blame the Leninist dictatorship, blame the stupid woman.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:46 am 
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For the seventh week in a row, we have had large peaceful protests followed at night by violent clashes between hardcore protesters and the cops. The government has been sleepwalking through the entire thing while the real power holders up in Shenzhen have been frantically trying to figure out what to do.

Well. It seems they have figured it out. Two days ago, the police arrested someone with a cache of high explosives and a bunch of Hong Kong Independence banners. How very convenient that we have such an obvious and stupid wannabe terrorist. I wonder if he has "terrorist" tattooed on his forehead.

They have also wheeled out the literal thugs. A gang of stick-wielding masked men all wearing white t-shirts descended on a suburban subway station and beat up protesters returning home from a rally, as well as any random civilians who happened to be in the vicinity. Old people, pregnant women, children, all beaten to a bloody pulp. 45 hospitalized. Not a single person has been arrested for this, meanwhile the authorities have been hyperventilating over the fact that the protesters defaced a flag on a government building.

This is an exact repeat of 5 years ago, only worse.

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 Post Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:16 am 
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In terms of the actual level of disruption, I'm sure Paris has seen worse during its many strikes. Our rioters are becoming increasingly destructive - at first they selectively graffitied symbols of their political ire, but have now turned to building trash fires and smashing equipment in the metro stations (because the metro company bowed to political pressure and began closing stops ahead of protests). Still, any Western city that's had a riot has seen worse. There's no looting or burning of cars.

But the mood is increasingly grim. The frontline protesters believe that they are in an existential fight for their lives and for the future of Hong Kong. They are taking a line out of the Hunger Games, chanting "If we burn, you burn with us". The apolitical and the rich think they're just foolish. But these people are willing to be tear gassed, beaten, shot with rubber bullets, fired from their jobs, expelled from their schools, arrested, jailed. Possibly even killed. Every new instance of brutality - this weekend, as the protesters led them on a wild goose chase through the metro system, they raided a train carriage and beat the passengers indiscriminately - provokes new outrage. Over 900 people have been arrested. Beijing keeps ratcheting up the pressure trying to scare people into being quiet. But they will not stop.

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 Post Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:09 pm 
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Kea wrote:
this weekend, as the protesters led them on a wild goose chase through the metro system, they raided a train carriage and beat the passengers indiscriminately


That doesn't seem like the kind of thing that works in pacifying a population.

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 Post Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:52 am 
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Indeed it does the opposite. For the last two nights, the police station outside the metro stop where the beating occurred has been surrounded by angry crowds. The cops responded by lobbing tear gas, firing rubber bullets, and pepper spraying journalists.

But Xi Jinping would rather chew his own arm off than offer a single concession, so the beatings will continue until morale improves. And it is Xi Jinping calling all the shots here - the nominally autonomous local government has been revealed to be a useless, shambling zombie-puppet.

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 Post Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:32 am 
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The problem is, in this case, "chewing off his own arm" might very well mean "giving live ammunition to the riot squads".

In the short term, that can lead to a really bad place.

I very much doubt that your political situation will get better, until after it gets quite a lot worse. Especially if the police are trying random beatings.

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