The Singaporization of Hong Kong’s Judiciary

The Singaporization of Hong Kong’s JudiciaryHow independent of its government is the judicial system of Hong Kong? The question has been brought into stark relief by two decisions last week by its Court of Appeal handing out serious jail terms to young activists and student leaders who had earlier been sentenced to (and served) community service for those roles in…

China’s Moneybag Friends at Harvard University

China’s Moneybag Friends at Harvard UniversityThe level and sources of funding from China-linked tycoons and institutions for Harvard University is opaque and prodigious, and calls into question just how the dons at the US’s most prestigious educational institution handle the influence and remain unfettered academically and intellectually. Harvard is not unique in being a soft but influential voice on China…

China to Take Charge of Kowloon Immigration Facility

China to Take Charge of Kowloon Immigration FacilityThe Hong Kong government is railroading through a plan to give up legal rights to a piece of its own territory in favor of Beijing. A chunk of the high-speed rail terminus being constructed in the middle of Kowloon, where immigration and customs formalities will be performed, is to come under the formal jurisdiction of…

Good for Alibaba? SCMP Quashes Column on Xi-linked Tycoon

Good for Alibaba? SCMP Quashes Column on Xi-linked TycoonThe steady erosion of the journalistic independence of the South China Morning Post, once the region’s most influential English-language daily, was demonstrated last week when the paper’s editors pulled an article linking an investor in Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel Group to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s chief of staff. The article, by long-time Money Matters columnist…

Forbes Magazine Dumps an Article on an Influential HK Tycoon

Forbes Magazine Dumps an Article on an Influential HK TycoonThe continuing tightening of the noose around democratic practices in Hong Kong now appears to be playing itself out in the New York-based Asia Society, the prestigious nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding between Asians and the United States, and its billionaire Hong Kong chairman. There have long been worries about Chan’s influence.…

A New Bank of Crooks and Criminals

A New Bank of Crooks and CriminalsThe Cyprus-based FBME bank, permanently blocked in April by a US court from access to the US banking system and thus basically shut down, has among its depositors arguably the biggest collection of financial outlaws the world has seen in decades. It is as if every illicit international operation on the globe from the Russian…

An Ageing, Worried Hong Kong Marks 20 Years Out of UK’s Clutches

An Ageing, Worried Hong Kong Marks 20 Years Out of UK’s ClutchesTwenty years on from the end of British colonial rule of Hong Kong, it would be hard to argue that the territory’s relative position in the world has improved. Indeed, the optimism felt at the time of the handover that the city could be beacon of freedom, prosperity and democracy in the region and the…

The Unaffordable City

The Unaffordable CityThousands of stunning skyscrapers, a glittering sea view of Victoria Harbor and enticing night life in Lan Kwai Fong are not the whole of Hong Kong. Behind the glamorous facade of this first-world city there exists third-world living quality with which almost 200,000 people contend daily. The 26-year-old Cartal Tsoi, for instance, lives with his…

Sleeping With the Fishes (or the Lawn) in Hong Kong

Sleeping With the Fishes (or the Lawn) in Hong KongA man in black burns offerings in the Garden of Remembrance in Cape Collinson, at the easternmost point of Hong Kong Island. Ashes float in the misty rain. On the edge of Hong Kong’s busy downtown, the garden, surrounded by stately walls and abuzz with insects, is always peaceful and serene. There are several walls…

Coming Soon: One Country, One System

Coming Soon: One Country, One SystemDespite strong official backing by Beijing, Hong Kong’s future Chief Executive, Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor, promised to heal the divisions in society. Yet in the runup to her installation on July 1, it appears increasingly that the healing of divisions is going to be accomplished by silencing one half of that divide. Actions and words in…
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