The Beginning of the End of Hong Kong?

Posted by Ed 2 mths ago

Almost 200 politicians and legislators from 23 countries issued a joint statement criticizing China’s plans to impose a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong, and warned that it could spark more protests in the city, Radio and Television Hong Kong reported.

Signatories included Hong Kong’s last colonial governor, Chris Patten, and former British foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind, as well as five U.S. senators, and lawmakers from Europe, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Canada and Australia, according to the report.

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Ed 2 mths ago
A coalition of 191 parliamentarians and policymakers from 23 countries have issued a statement condemning Beijing’s “unilateral introduction of national security legislation in Hong Kong,’ and calling for sympathetic governments to unite against this ‘flagrant breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”
The initiative was led by the former governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten, and the former UK Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind. The list of signatories included ex-prime ministers, foreign secretaries, defence ministers, as well as legal and human rights experts and diplomats.

Lord Patten of Barnes said: “The statement shows growing and widespread international outrage at the decision by the Chinese government to unilaterally impose national security legislation in Hong Kong.

The breadth of support, which spans all political parties and four continents, reflects both the severity of the situation and ongoing unified international support for the principle of one-country, two-systems.”

Ex-British foreign secretary and patron for NGO Hong Kong Watch, Sir Malcolm Rifkind said: “This is the most serious threat to the people of Hong Kong that there has been from the Chinese Government since 1997.  The people of Hong Kong need, and deserve, our support.”

Read More 

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Ed 2 mths ago 
What is going on in Carrie Lam’s mind? 
As Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam declares her unswerving support to implement the draconian China national security law unilaterally imposed on Hong Kong, one has to wonder what goes on in her mind as she looks at herself in the mirror.

What happened to this person who was born, grew up and was educated in and benefited from the open civil society of Hong Kong, attended elite local secondary school and university majoring in sociology, and is a serious practising Catholic inculcated with all the Christian values and beliefs?
She was trained at taxpayers’ expense in Cambridge where she met her husband who has a British passport, and she had her two sons educated at Cambridge – also holding British passports. How can she be co-opted to an extent that is totally contrary to her personal experience and the values espoused in the environment and company around her?
How ironic in that she willingly participates in a regime to enforce the stripping of the values and principles that Hongkongers value. Values that are also enshrined in the spirit of Great Britain, that her husband and two sons must subscribe to as citizens of that country.
Let me answer on behalf of Lam.   
She is no different than the NBA (and loads of other businesses, individuals and governments) in that she benefits from not rocking the boat.   
And she understands that rocking the boat has no upside for her.  Like politicians the world over, she'd be tossed out of office if she didn't follow the party line. 

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Ed 2 mths ago
What to expect now US deems Hong Kong no longer autonomous

“One being the state department making the assessment that Hong Kong no longer enjoys autonomy,” he told reporters, referring to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement earlier in the day.


“And then, [the second action will be] the determination by the White House as to how we’re going to respond,” he said.

A revocation of Hong Kong’s special trading status with the US will put an end to the preferential economic and trade treatment the city has enjoyed and which has, at least partly, contributed to making it the financial and business hub in the region.
Hong Kong has been an oasis of rule of law in a sea of corruption.   
That is why major corporations maintain there HQs in Hong Kong instead of Shenzhen, or Shanghai, or Jakarta.   
Hong Kong is where agreements are signed because corporations understand that the judiciary is fair.
Strip away rule of law and Hong Kong is another polluted, congested - expensive - city in China.  With constant simmering and sometimes explosive civil unrest.
Boring Singapore surely is beginning to look more appealing by the day. 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Donald Trump says US to end Hong Kong trade privileges after seeing it is no longer autonomous from China
The US government will begin eliminating special policy exemptions it grants Hong Kong, following its determination earlier this week that the city is “no longer autonomous” from mainland China, President Donald Trump announced on Friday.
The move will affect “the full range of agreements” the US has with Hong Kong, Trump said in the Rose Garden at the White House, including its extradition treaty with the city and economic privileges enshrined in US law that differentiate it from mainland China.
“We will take action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China,” said Trump, indicating that the State Department’s travel advisory for the city would be updated “to reflect the increased danger of surveillance and punishment by the Chinese state security apparatus”. 
The US would also take steps to sanction Chinese and Hong Kong officials “directly or indirectly involved in eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy”, he said, echoing the language of legislation enacted in November that requires a punitive response from the executive branch in such circumstances. 

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Ed 2 mths ago
US may open doors to Hongkongers in response to national security law
Asked about welcoming people from city to ‘come here and bring their entrepreneurial creativity’, Secretary of State Pompeo says Washington is ‘considering it’.
UK could offer 'path to citizenship' for Hong Kong's British passport holders
The UK could offer British National (Overseas) passport holders in Hong Kong a path to citizenship if China does not suspend plans for a security law in the territory, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says.

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Ed 2 mths ago 
US to sell its HK4 Billion Hong Kong property portfolio as US-China tensions rise
The U.S. government is selling its property in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Hong Kong, a State Department representative said in an email.

The decision comes as protests continue to rock Hong Kong and tensions rise between the U.S. and China over new Beijing-backed national security legislation in the city.

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Ed 2 mths ago
Hong Kong Downward Spiral Imminent?
Hong Kong’s independence is what makes it attractive and why it is a wellspring of fearless go-getters. Rob that, and Hong Kong is no more.
Concerns of it becoming just another Chinese city such as Shenzhen or Shanghai have been aired privately or publicly since protests began nearly a year ago, as in this Skift story, What If Hong Kong Falls?, in August 2019. However, the US is the first to openly say it’s not a “what if” but has happened.

Hong Kong has become a “political football,” said Marco Förster, senior associate at Dezan Shira, a pan-Asia firm that guides foreign companies on establishing and growing their business in the region.
“What is to be feared is, this will contribute further to Hong Kong’s trip along the downward spiral and there will be an exodus of business,” said Förster. “If firms see that China’s heavier presence in the city is interfering with fair arbitration, they will look for alternatives, especially when there are fitting ones in the region such as Singapore.
Many business leaders who were still hesitant about the idea of relocating their Asia-Pacific headquarters might now finally make the move.” 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Brain Drain

‘Never seen that before’: Some Hong Kong residents hit the panic button as security law revives rush for the emigration gates
Immigration consultants have fielded hundreds of new calls since China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) unveiled the controversial plan on May 21, bypassing the local legislature
 Some are accelerating their decision to buy property overseas, while others are cutting their asking price for local properties.
“We’re seeing a four to fivefold increase in cases,” said Hu, founder and principal consultant of John Hu Migration Consulting. “Now they see the urgency. They ask the question, which type of visa has the shortest processing time?” 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Boris Johnson vows overhaul of visa system to accommodate Hongkongers under national security law
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised Hongkongers “one of the biggest changes in our visa system in British history” if Beijing pushes through the national security law, he wrote in an op-ed published in the South China Morning Post and The Times of London on Wednesday.
In his first direct message to the former British colony amid the recent political furore, Johnson acknowledged that “many people in Hong Kong fear their way of life … is under threat” since the National People’s Congress proposed the law last month.
“If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead we will honour our obligations and provide an alternative,” Johnson said.
“Britain would … have no choice but to uphold our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong.”
Under the new British government plan – which will be put in place when Beijing formally enacts the law – every one of the 3 million Hongkongers who qualify for a British National (Overseas) passport and their dependents could relocate to the United Kingdom to stay and work or study for extendable periods of 12 months, creating a path to citizenship. 

A stripped car comes to mind.... 

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Ed 2 mths ago 
Boris Johnson - For Hongkongers fearing for their way of life, Britain will provide an alternative 

Hong Kong succeeds because its people are free. They can pursue their dreams and scale as many heights as their talents allow. They can debate and share new ideas, expressing themselves as they wish. And they live under the rule of law, administered by independent courts.


With their abilities thus released, Hong Kong’s people have shown they can achieve almost anything. They have prospered hand in hand with China’s economic renaissance; today their home is one of the richest cities in the world and hundreds of mainland companies have chosen to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

 So China has a greater interest than anyone else in preserving Hong Kong’s success. Since the handover in 1997, the key has been the precious concept of “one country, two systems”, enshrined in Hong Kong’s Basic Law and underpinned by the Joint Declaration signed by Britain and China.

This guarantees Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy” with only limited exceptions such as foreign affairs, defence or in a state of emergency. The declaration adds: “The current social and economic systems in Hong Kong will remain unchanged, and so will the life style” including essential “rights and freedoms”.

Yet last month, the National People’s Congress in Beijing decided to
impose a national security law on Hong Kong
, which would curtail its freedoms and dramatically erode its autonomy.
If China proceeds, this would be in direct conflict with its obligations under the Joint Declaration, a legally binding treaty registered with the United Nations.

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Ed 2 mths ago
Senators Push ‘Unprecedented’ Sanctions on China Over Hong Kong

A Senate Republican who’s sponsoring legislation to penalize banks that work with Chinese officials moving to crack down on dissent in Hong Kong said his bill would bring “unprecedented” action to the issue.

Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said his bill “penalizes the banks that choose to finance the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and put marginal profits ahead of basic human rights.”

Toomey said the measure would be “be an unprecedented action toward the Chinese Communist officials and it is intended to create obstacles to that aggression -- obstacles that the leadership in Beijing has not encountered before.”

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Ed 2 mths ago
Lawmakers in Eight Countries Form New Alliance to Counter China

A group of senior lawmakers from eight democracies including the U.S. have launched a new cross-parliamentary alliance to help counter what they say is the threat China’s growing influence poses to global trade, security and human rights.

The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, which launched Friday, comes as the U.S. struggles to muster a cohesive alliance to take on China’s growing economic and diplomatic clout and as it leads foreign governments in condemning Beijing’s move to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong that threatens the city’s autonomy.


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Ed 56 days ago
Aviva Investors 'uneasy' over HSBC, StanChart backing for Hong Kong security law
LONDON (Reuters) - Aviva Investors, a leading shareholder in both HSBC (HSBA.L) and Standard Chartered (STAN.L), said on Tuesday it was “uneasy” about the companies’ decision to back a new security law in Hong Kong.
Aviva Investors’ Chief Investment Officer, Equities, David Cumming said both had done so without knowing the details of the law or how it will operate in practice. 

“If companies make political statements, they must accept the corporate responsibilities that follow,” Cumming said.

“Consequently, we expect both companies to confirm that they will also speak out publicly if there are any future abuses of democratic freedoms connected to this law.”

Aviva Investors is a top-20 investor in both HSBC and Standard Chartered, data from Refinitiv shows.

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Ed 55 days ago
Dreaming of Singapore 
Executives at many American multinationals in Hong Kong are starting to dream of large, inexpensive apartments....  teargas and smog-free air..... stability... good schools...  rule of law.... 
And this is before the US government makes good on its threats to strip Hong Kong of its trading and financial privileges which would effectively force major financial institutions to relocate their head offices. 
Hong Kong (CNN Business)American executives in Hong Kong are nervous about the city's future as a center for global business. For the minority already considering a Plan B, though, Singapore might be the only realistic option.

More than 50 respondents to a recent survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Hong Kong said they were considering moving capital, assets or business operations to "other locations" after Beijing approved plans for a national security law for Hong Kong. The law will be drafted over the next two months and its implementation will bypass the city's legislature.
The law bans sedition, secession and subversion against Beijing and allows Chinese state security to operate in Hong Kong, but it's not yet clear exactly what it would mean for business: Even the city's top officials have offered few details on how it would work.
But its existence has drawn ire from Western countries like the United States, which has threatened to end a special economic and trading relationship with Hong Kong. Beijing's encroaching authority in the semi-autonomous city has also sparked fears about whether more restrictive measures could be introduced that would affect Hong Kong's tax structure and open regulatory environment for foreign companies.
While only 180 AmCham members took the survey — about 15% of the organization's membership — the responses suggest that alternatives to Hong Kong are on the table for dozens of companies. AmCham said its respondents listed several relocation options, including Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Bangkok and Taipei.

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Ed 52 days ago
China in brace position as Five Eyes form united front
China is bracing for a stronger pushback from the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, as its members unite to tackle an increasingly assertive Beijing together, observers said.
Georgina Downer, principal of geopolitical and strategic advisory firm Tenjin Consulting, said there were clear signs of concerted action by the five members.
“We are definitely seeing growing cooperation between Five Eyes nations on their response to China, evidenced by their swift issuing of a joint statement on Hong Kong and announcement of a Five Eyes economic dialogue to coordinate the production of strategic goods,” Downer said.
“The swiftness of the change in policy in the UK over 5G and agreement among Five Eyes nations to establish a D10 of democratic and like-minded countries to cooperate on 5G technology is another good example of how China’s aggressive diplomacy has quickly aligned Five Eyes nations’ strategic thinking about Chinese investments in critical infrastructure.”
She added that there was now a “concerted and much more open effort among Five Eyes to focus on economic cooperation around countries with shared values and strategic thinking”. 
“The Five Eyes is thinking if they were to respond individually to China they are going to get robbed. So to have any traction with Beijing they will have to coordinate their response, because what China is doing is being coercive, playing one off against another,” Blaxland said. 

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Ed 50 days ago
EU plans dialogue with the US to deal with China’s ‘growing assertiveness’
EU foreign policy chief’s suggestion comes just days ahead of Monday’s EU-China summit, amid an ensuing lack of commitment by Beijing on widening market access
His proposal was a surprise to some, as his recent blog post seemed to suggest that the EU would not form a transatlantic alliance with the US on China
Here's what really happened.   
The men who pull the strings in the US heard about Josep Borrell's comments regarding China the other day and they emailed him this: 
Pompeo then followed with a phone call threatening to rip Borrell's entrails from his body and feed them to the pigs if he doesn't retract.
Borrell, quickly took out his cloth and offered to change course and shine Pompeo's shoes.

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Ed 50 days ago
The Expat Exodus Gains Momentum...
Robert Chipman, chief executive for Hong Kong with the global relocation service Asian Tigers Group, said he saw a spike in interest early this year as people made decisions to leave after eight months of political unrest and the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.

Chipman is concerned that further protests may not only push more foreigners to the exits, but also persuade some who are weighing a move to Hong Kong to avoid the city -- putting its future as an expat enclave at risk.

“If people feel Hong Kong is not a safe place, and there’s civil unrest, even the whisper about that will keep people out,” Chipman said. “On the civil unrest, I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel there. There’s deep-seated emotions.”
A survey conducted June 1 and June 2 by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong found 38% of about 180 members who participated were personally considering leaving in light of the new national security law. And about 30% said the law is causing their companies to look at moving assets including capital and business operations to other locations.
Joel, a former trader who until recently was based in Hong Kong and who declined to provide his full name, began making plans to leave the city in November after a taxi in which his wife and children were riding was flanked by protesters and police nearby were firing tear gas. The experience shook the family and he hunted for an alternative, settling on Singapore.
“In a calm world, it’s good to be in an exciting place like Hong Kong,” he said. “In a turbulent world, you want to be in a stable place like Singapore.”
Other issues such as the high cost of living in Hong Kong are also a factor. Hong Kong retained its crown as the most expensive city in the world for expats, according to the latest survey from global consultancy Mercer. Rival Singapore fell two spots to fifth.

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Ed 43 days ago
EU presses China over trade, warns on Hong Kong law 
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union told China on Monday to make good on a promise to open up its economy and warned of “very negative consequences” if Beijing goes ahead with a new security law on Hong Kong that the West says will curtail basic rights.

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Ed 41 days ago
Huawei loses out to Nokia, Ericsson in building Singapore’s main 5G networks
Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei lost out to Nokia and Ericsson in building Singapore’s main 5G networks.

Local telcos were given the final approval on Wednesday by the country’s regulator, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), to start building the two nationwide networks. They were provisionally selected in April and had to complete the regulatory process.
The UK pulled the plug on Huawei recently... and now Singapore has gone with the competition...  there might be a pattern emerging here....

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Ed 40 days ago
An Ominous Development?
The US government is selling its portfolio of HK properties worth over 40 billion HKD.    Most of the properties were purchased while Hong Kong was a British Colony.
Now why would the US government be selling now?   

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Ed 36 days ago
U.S. announces end of Hong Kong's special status
The United States has revoked Hong Kong's special trading status, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced in a statement Monday.

"With the Chinese Communist Party’s imposition of new security measures on Hong Kong, the risk that sensitive U.S. technology will be diverted to the People’s Liberation Army or Ministry of State Security has increased, all while undermining the territory’s autonomy.

Those are risks the U.S. refuses to accept and have resulted in the revocation of Hong Kong’s special status."
As a result, the Commerce Department said that "regulations affording preferential treatment to Hong Kong over China, including the availability of export license exceptions, are suspended."
Ross also said that "further actions to eliminate differential treatment are also being evaluated" and urged Beijing to "immediately reverse course and fulfill the promises it has made to the people of Hong Kong and the world."
Did I mention that the American government is unloading its entire HK property portfolio... 

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Ed 36 days ago
National security law: US ends exports of defence equipment and restricts dual-use tech to Hong Kong
The United States will stop exporting defence equipment to Hong Kong because of Beijing’s pending implementation of a national security law, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday.
As China moves forward with the national security law, which is expected to pass this week, “we can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China”, Pompeo said in a statement.
“The Chinese Communist Party’s decision to eviscerate Hong Kong’s freedoms has forced the Trump administration to re-evaluate its policies toward the territory,” Pompeo said. The US “is forced to take this action to protect US national security”.
Previously, Hong Kong had enjoyed special privileges that allowed it to import American defence equipment that Beijing did not have. It was also able to import dual-use technologies without the licences required when the same items were sold to mainland China.
“We cannot risk these items falling into the hands of the People’s Liberation Army, whose primary purpose is to uphold the dictatorship of the [Chinese Communist Party] by any means necessary,” he said. 
This not giving me that 'Monaco of Asia' feeling.... 
Let's revisit the Hong Kong thesis.  
What makes Hong Kong (and Singapore....) different from Shenzhen?   Or Shanghai?  Or Manila?  Or Jakarta?  
Rule of Law :   the restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws. 
It's not the the nightlife, the international feel, the shopping or the entrepreneurial spirit.  NONE of those would exist in their present form without Rule of Law.
And Hong Kong's special trade status is also a product of Rule of Law.   To reiterate, Hong Kong has been an OASIS of stability in an ocean of corruption.  
Strip away Rule of Law and the rest will follow (and head to Singapore?) 

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Ed 35 days ago
Australia Takes Aim at China
Australia’s anti-foreign interference laws are being tested for the first time, two years after their passage amid warnings of “unprecedented” espionage, amid a probe that has seen authorities raid the homes and offices of a China-friendly state MP and his former staffer.
Searches by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) last week on properties connected to New South Wales Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane and his former staffer John Zhang have focused scrutiny on Canberra’s sweeping counter-intelligence legislation introduced in 2018 amid fears of interference by Beijing.

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Ed 32 days ago
The Doctrine of Mutual Destruction
In the original telling of David versus Goliath, the smaller David unexpectedly defeats his giant foe with several well-aimed pebble shots to the head. But let’s imagine a different kind of showdown: one in which the underdog, aware of the impossible odds, grips on to the opponent as they wrestle to the death, eventually tumbling off a cliff and crashing down in mutual destruction.

That’s laam caau (攬炒, pronounced “lahm tsow”), the strategy that a sizable fraction of Hong Kong protesters think is the only way they stand a fighting chance against their formidable authoritarian foe, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 
The phrase, which literally translates to “embrace and fry” in Cantonese, is borrowed from poker to mean making your opponent suffer as much as you do.
Some call it a scorched earth, or an “if we burn, you burn with us” philosophy. At its core, it’s the belief that the existing political framework is so rigged that operating under the current rules of engagement, as dictated by China, will only lead to defeat.
“We have already wasted decades bargaining for our promised freedoms,” said Finn. “Once you realize that there is no way back and the veneer of freedom in the past has peeled off, then taking action is the only real answer.”
Claudia Mo, a pro-democracy lawmaker, is another moderate who said she is increasingly “tilting towards” laam caau—and China’s continued efforts to dismiss all protesters as violent extremists will only draw more Hong Kongers in the same direction, she added. 

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Ed 32 days ago
Canada Suspends Its Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong, Eyes Immigration Boost
Canada is suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in the wake of new Chinese national security legislation and could boost immigration from the former British colony, top officials said on Friday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would continue to stand up for Hong Kong, which is home to 300,000 Canadians.

Canada will not permit the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong, he told reporters.

"We are also suspending the Canada-Hong Kong extradition treaty ... we are also looking at additional measures, including around immigration," he said. He did not give details.

Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne condemned the "secretive" way the legislation had been enacted and said Canada had been forced to reassess existing arrangements.

"This is a significant step back in terms of freedom and liberty ... we had been hoping Beijing would listen to the international community and reverse course," he said by phone.

German and British leaders also expressed concerns about the new law.

"(There's) a deep reflection in many capitals around the world as to how best to deal with China and its assertiveness," Champagne said.
Read More  
The G7/Five Eyes have stated that their strategy was to form a united front so that they could not be singled out for punishment.   And they are forming a united front as nation after nation goes on the offensive.    

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Ed 32 days ago
Playing hardball with China works – the west is right to move to a ‘constrainment’ strategy
Global attitudes towards the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are hardening. In 2019, the European Union declared the PRC a “systemic rival” amid rising trade tensions.

In May 2020, the White House published a paper that described the US’s competitive approach to the PRC based on “principled realism”. One of the report’s key passages stated that the US government will: “Respond in kind to Beijing’s transactional approach with timely incentives and costs, or credible threats thereof.”

And on June 5, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) was formed. Lawmakers from 11 countries, including the US, UK, Australia, Japan and Canada are now working “towards reform on how democratic countries approach China”. They seek to safeguard the rules-based international order, uphold human rights, promote trade fairness, strengthen security and protect national integrity.

All of these developments suggest that western China policy is rapidly changing. What remains unclear, however, is what exact form it will take.
We are beginning to see what form constrainment is taking (see my previous posts). 

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Ed 32 days ago
Beijing faces a perfect storm as the world turns against its narrative amid rising nationalism, leaving it no room for compromise
In the face of growing global criticism, Beijing may be painting itself into a corner with its narratives, which are fuelling an increasingly angry nativism in China, forcing it to take the dangerous path of doubling down on confrontations
China is heading into a perfect storm on the world stage. While the Communist Party habit is to double down when confronted, others are showing a willingness to match, and top, anything China does. The Covid-19 crisis has provided the perfect cover with China already painted by some as the instigator, something its conspiratorial rhetoric has only exacerbated.
Beijing is out of supporters in Washington. Sinophiles are appalled at the negative human rights news. The harassment of journalists based in Beijing has hardened the foreign press corps against the party. The think tank community is concerned about the continued detention of the two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

And the business community has realised the limits of the economic opportunities in China. Even fewer will want to champion Beijing, as the narrative of China as an adversary takes off in the public imagination.

The wind is picking up....

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Ed 32 days ago
National security law: China won’t be ‘threatened’ but is braced for US financial sanctions, Beijing official says
An editorial on Friday by the Global Times, the tabloid affiliated with the official People’s Daily, warned that China will “play to the end” regardless of any US financial sanctions.
“The US is just threatening to use sanctions that will also hurt itself,” read the editorial. “If the US abuses its hegemony to impose sanctions on a large economy like China, it will also be the death knell for its financial hegemony.
“China’s economic achievements came from the hard work of Chinese people and the advantage of Hong Kong for being a window for China won’t be changed … the future of Hong Kong will ultimately be determined by China, not the United States.”
Actually, the Global Times has it wrong.  The sanctions are not being imposed by the Americans, they are being imposed by multiple powerful countries including the Americans.  
For instance, Huawei has been thrown out of the US and UK markets.  Other non-China tech companies will be more than happy to provide the gear to those countries.  So there is no loss incurred by the UK or US but there is a major loss for a Chinese corporation.
Likewise with India in my earlier post, they have cut the cord across multiple industries banning Chinese companies access to their market.   They are easily replaced.  No loss for India but billions in losses for Chinese companies.
How does one retaliate when you have so many enemies?   If you refuse to buy grain from Australia because they have slighted you, then in theory you could go to Canada, but then Canada is also making offensive comments and taking offensive actions.   
Perhaps you go to the Russians.  But then might not the G7 nations have a word with Putin letting him know that if he does the wrong thing, he'll be in their gun sights next?   
The G7 and Five Eyes have not only advertised their strategy, they are making good on it.  So China can expect more of the same going forward.    
Needless to say, when a nation is cornered like this, it is a very dangerous situation.   

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Ed 31 days ago
Driving India into US arms is a risk China is willing to take
The incident has provoked fury and hostility across Indian public opinion, with the burning of effigies of President Xi Jinping, the smashing of Chinese-made TV sets by emotional owners and widespread calls to boycott Chinese goods and even Chinese restaurants. Seen from New Delhi, India-China relations are at their lowest ebb in living memory.
India normally has no desire whatsoever to provoke its northern neighbour, which humiliated New Delhi in a brutal border war in 1962 that left China in possession of 23,200 square kilometres of Indian territory. At the same time, Beijing regularly reminds India that it still claims a further 92,000 square kilometres, mainly in the north-eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
The Indian approach has been to relegate the problem to the back burner and keep things quiet on the border, enabling trade relations (now worth close to US$100 billion) to flourish.
Then why did the tragedy occur?
You can waste your time and read more
Or you can read my brief explanation:
The G7 and Five Eyes have advertised their intention to confront China and are actively doing so with economic, trade and political sanctions.     
The CCP is accusing the West of meddling in Hong Kong and without a doubt that is correct. 
Pro democracy leaders have held multiple public meetings with US officials since the 2014 protests so who knows what's been going on behind closed doors. 
Now out of nowhere we've got the dead soldiers on the India - China border. 
What has likely happened is the intelligence agencies of the Western powers (lead by the CIA of course), have asked the Indian government to instigate a skirmish with Chinese forces at the border.    
This is a pretext for announcing Indian sanctions on Chinese companies costing them many billions of dollars.
All part of the West's stated agenda of punishing China. 

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Ed 31 days ago
Like I was saying....
India set to pose growing challenge to China at sea
New Delhi is developing its strategic partnership with the US, Australia and Japan as part of efforts to counter China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean
Some observers say its relationship with Washington has already developed in a quasi-alliance
India is likely to pose an increased challenge to China at sea following their recent confrontation on land, analysts said.
Last week, the Indian Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force held a joint exercise in the Indian Ocean, as part of the nascent “Quad” that also involves the United States and Australia.
India has already held regular bilateral exercises with the other three armed forces and has said it might invite Australia to join the “Malabar” war games it holds with Japan and the US.

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Ed 30 days ago
Huawei could feel chill wind in Europe if UK decides to block China giant from UK networks
British media reported that the National Cyber Security Centre of GCHQ has decided that US sanctions against Huawei have had a ‘severe’ impact
Britain’s reported plan to phase out Huawei Technologies from its mobile networks from this year raises fresh questions about the Chinese telecom giant’s business prospects in Europe, with Germany set to decide on its rules for 5G network roll-outs after the summer break.
Despite building a reputation for supplying low cost, high quality equipment that has helped it take a lead in new 5G network technology, Huawei is facing a raft of US trade restrictions that many European analysts say could pose a threat to its ability to use only trustworthy components.

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Ed 30 days ago
France: Another Door Slammed on Huawei
The head of the French cybersecurity agency ANSSI says there would not be a total ban on using equipment from Chinese technology giant Huawei in the roll-out of France's 5G telecommunications network, but that it was urging French firms to avoid using the company.

"What I can say is that there won't be a total ban," Guillaume Poupard told Les Echos newspaper in an interview. "[But] for operators that are not currently using Huawei, we are [encouraging] them not to go for it."
Stay tuned for more retaliatory threats... 

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Ed 29 days ago
China Arrests Top Xi Critic, Plans Crackdown on Political Foes
Beijing police arrested an outspoken critic of Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday morning as his administration took steps to crack down on potential threats to the Communist Party stemming from the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Xu Zhangrun, a law professor at Tsinghua University, was taken away by police from his house at a Beijing suburb, according to his friend, Geng Xiaonan, who said she got the information from his domestic helper, his wife and students.
She said she believed Xu’s arrest was linked to a book he published in New York last month, a collection of ten political essays with scathing criticisms of Xi and the Communist Party’s rule.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said he had no information about the arrest when asked during a regular briefing on Monday in Beijing.
As expected, factions within the CCP are emerging that are likely not pleased that the West is punishing China and Chinese corporations.   They are seen as a threat to the Xi regime. 
The purge has begun.  

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Ed 29 days ago
Another day another mall protest (watch live on that link).    13 months on and the nightmare continues....

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Ed 29 days ago
The Vice Tightens
Hong Kong police will be authorised to conduct searches at private properties without a warrant, restrict suspects’ movements, freeze their assets, intercept communications and require internet service providers to remove information, as the city’s leader handed more powers to the force for implementing the new national security law.
As of this morning I am still able to access Youtube and watch cat dancing videos.. so all is not lost (yet!) 

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Ed 29 days ago
Security law: Hong Kong police arrest 8 at ‘blank placard’ silent protest
Dozens of protesters gathered at around 6pm in silence whilst holding blank placards.
The stunt came after the government said that the popular slogan “Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times” was illegal.  Watch the Silent Protest
Hong Kong police dispersed a peaceful “blank placard” protest at a Kwun Tong mall on Monday evening, making eight arrests.

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Ed 29 days ago
Hong Kong national security law: top US diplomat criticises legislation on programme by city’s public broadcaster
He warned that the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy by Beijing would undermine the city’s success as an international business hub.
“Hong Kong, to be successful, has to maintain what sets it apart from mainland China and that includes [its] openness, transparency, protection of intellectual property, free expression and all of these attributes that have been the cornerstones of the success of this city,” Smith said.
“You cannot divorce these fundamental freedoms from Hong Kong’s success as an economic hub. In other words, you can’t have one country and two economic and financial systems. Fundamental political and social freedoms are very closely linked to economic success.”

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Ed 29 days ago
Re-Branding Hong Kong! 
I for one am excited to see how Hong Kong's new 5th tier PR firm (selected after 8  others refused to bid on the USD6.2M campaign) will re-brand this fiasco and attract tourists and businesses to the city.
Perhaps they could reuse this moronic slogan (how many millions did that cost?) and let the world know that now they don't just get a lungful of vicious smog when they step off the plane, if they are lucky they can sample tear gas and pepper spray while they shop on Nathan Road.   
Running with the Water Cannons! 
For the truly adventurous, Hong Kong has its own version of 'Running with the Bulls'   Instead of running with bulls tourists have the opportunity to run from a riot police water cannon as it  fires high pressure blue water laced with pepper spray.   
Been there done that and let me tell you this gets the adrenaline popping!
And if they visit one of our many malls, there will be endless opportunities to capture action shots of riot police clashing people who gather there on a regular basis to chant slogans.  
Global Adrenaline Failed and Failing City Tour 
Perhaps the HKTA can team up with Kabul and Damascus to promote a 3-city global adrenaline tour of these failed and failing cities when this Covid thing ends.  (my idea - I want a 10% royalty on all package sales)
I Got Tear Gassed in Hong Kong T-Shirts (coming soon)
AsiaXPAT will get a piece of the bonanza as we are designing limited edition T-shirts emblazoned with riot scenes and 'I Got Tear Gassed in Hong Kong'   These will be on sale across Hong Kong from August 1.  

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Ed 29 days ago
Lush Closes it's Flagship Shop in Hong Kong
British company posted an operating loss of US$4.99 million for 2018-2019, and founder Mark Constantine has warned of a further decline because of the pandemic
Companies do not need more than three stores to serve ‘just locals’, analyst says
Lush joins a list of companies reducing their footprint in the city, having been stung by the coronavirus outbreak and Hong Kong’s anti-government protests before that. Gap said last week it was closing five of its eight stores in the city, while lingerie maker Victoria’s Secret shut its flagship store last month, seven years before its lease was to run out.
Earlier in June, Greek jeweller Folli Follie shut all of its shops, while Munich-based luxury brand MCM said it was closing three stores, including a flagship store in Central, out of a total of five by the end of April. 
“In Hong Kong, the playbook has changed,” said Helen Mak, senior director and head of retail services at consultancy Knight Frank. “You might need 10 stores to host 60 million tourists a year, but now the fact is that you only have seven million locals to serve, and no more than three stores will do. Every retail brand, with no exception, will shut its stores.” 
Ed Will Rescue Hong Kong! 
I do declare Lush is acting in haste.   
The HKTA has been in touch after reading my earlier post and they have offered me USD25 million to act as a consultant to assist the 5th tier PR firm with salvaging the international reputation of Hong Kong. 
Recall how Al Zeman 'fixed' Ocean Park?   I will go that one better and use my business acumen, marketing genius, and magic skills to both end the Covid Crisis and then attract millions upon millions of tourists to HK.
You watch, Lush will be begging to get that prime space back and willing to pay double the rent. 

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Ed 29 days ago
TikTok May Lose Up To $6 Billion As Result Of India Ban; Users Urged To Delete App
TikTok has been under fire before. But make no mistake, this time it’s different—this time it’s worse. That has nothing to do with TikTok and everything to do with China, of course. If you want to build a strong technology brand in Western democracies, this is not a great time to be linked to Beijing. For TikTok, the result is the same, though: Headline calls urging users to delete the app immediately.   More 
The United States is 'looking at' banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps, Pompeo says
"With respect to Chinese apps on people's cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too, Laura," he said. "I don't want to get out in front of the President [Donald Trump], but it's something we're looking at."
Washington's top diplomat added that people should only download the app "if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party."
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request from CNN Business for comment.

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Ed 28 days ago
Microsoft and Zoom suspend data requests from Hong Kong gov’t over national security law concerns

Microsoft and Zoom on Tuesday joined other major internet firms that have stopped considering requests by Hong Kong's government for information on users in the wake of China's imposition of a sweeping new security law.

Microsoft and Zoom said they are pausing consideration of data requests by officials or police in Hong Kong, a precaution also taken by Facebook, Google and Twitter.

"As we would with any new legislation, we are reviewing the new law to understand its implications," Microsoft said in response to an AFP inquiry.


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Ed 28 days ago
Big Tech’s China Face-Off Risks Sparking Exodus From Hong Kong
Facebook Inc., Google and Twitter Inc. -- all of which are blocked in the mainland -- are now headed toward a showdown with China that could end up making Hong Kong feel more like Beijing.

Hours after Hong Kong announced sweeping new powers to police the internet on Monday night, those companies plus the likes of Microsoft Corp. and Zoom Video Communications Inc. all suspended requests for data from the Hong Kong government.
ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok, which has Chinese owners, announced it would pull its viral video app from the territory’s mobile stores in the coming days even as President Donald Trump threatened to ban it in the U.S.

Their dilemma is stark: Bend to the law and infuriate Western nations increasingly at odds with China over political freedoms, or simply refuse and depart like Google did in China a decade ago over some of the very same issues.
Much like that seismic event shook the mainland in 2010, Big Tech’s reaction now could have a much wider impact on Hong Kong’s future as a financial hub -- potentially sparking an exodus of professionals and businesses.

“Google is pretty important to people here, and if that’s cut off then it’s really extremely serious,” said Richard Harris, a former director at Citi Private Bank who now runs Port Shelter Investment Management in Hong Kong. “In Hong Kong we don’t know where the boundaries are, and that’s threatening to a lot of business people.”
It would seem that if Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, Youtube, Twitter etc...  refuse to comply, then they will not be permitted to operate in Hong Kong (just as none of them currently operate in the PRC).  
Imagine trying to hire a Millenial (or anyone) in Hong Kong if that happens! 

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Ed 27 days ago
Social media giants’ reluctance to hand over user data to Hong Kong police in national security cases could prompt the government to block their sites in a worst-case scenario or see them relocate, analysts warned, as the firms presented, for now, a united front against such requests.
Even firms without offices or servers in Hong Kong that refuse to cooperate with police risk getting their representatives in trouble should they visit the city, according to barrister Anson Wong Yu-tat. 

Asked about the social media giants’ declaration they would not assist police for the time being, Zhao Lijian, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, stressed on Tuesday that the fundamental interests of Hongkongers would be better protected thanks to the security law.


“When the time comes, the horse will run more joyfully, the stock market will be more dynamic, and the dance will be better. We are full of confidence in the future of Hong Kong. Regarding the specific questions you mentioned, I think time will bring us the final answer,” he said from Beijing.


But Hong Kong IT-sector lawmaker Charles Mok said he believed representatives of overseas internet firms would start weighing whether it was even safe to enter Hong Kong.

“They will be worried and start asking themselves if they will be arrested, even if they are just in transit through Hong Kong,” he said.


Firms that have offices in the city may assess whether it is safe to keep a presence here, he said, now that “there is a knife hanging over their heads”.

These sites have already lost the massive China market because they refuse to abide by mainland laws.   Hong Kong is a flea on the elephants back and the revenue they generate from the city is miniscule.   I am thinking they'll not comply and they will be blocked.

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Ed 27 days ago
What could the tech companies be forced to do under the new law?

The Hong Kong government can now compel companies to take down online posts or accounts, and to share private user data.

If, for example, a company refuses to remove a social media post, police are able to seize and confiscate the Hong Kong-based servers that store the messages.

If the posts are stored on overseas servers, the police can ask internet service providers (ISPs), which control the internet connections between Hong Kong and the rest of the world, to block access to offending websites.
As Hong Kong businesses, ISPs will find it harder than foreign tech companies to reject requests, said Paul Haswell, a Hong Kong-based partner at law firm Pinsent Masons.
Mr Haswell predicted that while big tech companies will probably move servers out of Hong Kong, in the end their websites are likely to be blocked.
“Hong Kong authorities can now move up every link in the chain of how information goes from a server to your phone or laptop,” he said.

Under the new law, investigations into national security crimes can be deemed state secrets and any trials may be heard in closed court. Tech companies may be forbidden from disclosing what the police ask them for.
ISPs could be asked to provide information on who is using or downloading VPNs and cut their service if they continue to do so. 
To further clarify, Ms Chan posts a comment on her Facebook page that runs afoul of the security law.    The government approaches Facebook in Hong Kong and orders them to divulge the IP address and any other information they have on Ms Chan. 
Facebook refuses the request and as per the security law, has committed a criminal offence.  Facebook management in Hong Kong, and in head office, including Mr Zuckerberg, would also be complicit.    Their Hong Kong-based executives would be arrested and tried under the security law.
Mr Zuckerberg would be well advised to avoid any future excursions to Hong Kong as there would a a 'welcoming' committee waiting for him as he passed through airport immigration.
As pointed out, this is already what these tech giants face on the mainland and they have opted out of that market.   Pulling out of the Hong Kong market is a nothing burger for them in terms of revenue generation.  
On the positive side, I can slash my SEO budget to nothing! 

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Ed 27 days ago
Is Business About to Get Harder in Hong Kong?
Uncertainty about the implications a new law could undermine the city’s hard-won status as an international legal center.
Hong Kong lawyers are customarily called upon to render “non contravention” legal opinions, which confirm that a client’s transaction does not breach any of the city’s laws.
But the new security law, a piece of mainland Chinese legislation transplanted into Hong Kong, is so vaguely defined that no lawyer could opine upon it with any confidence. And mainland officials have already warned that the law could be expanded.
Effectively, to apply Hong Kong laws to their transactions, companies would have to “opt in” to the security law and accept the accompanying legal uncertainty. Many are likely to bristle at that prospect. English and New York laws will be a more attractive alternative.
None of this is good news for Hong Kong’s lawyers, who will find their global relevance diminished. Questions will also inevitably be asked about the foreign judges who sit on Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal, all of whom are leading jurists in their home jurisdictions.

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Ed 26 days ago
Global Banks Risk Breaching China Law by Complying With U.S.
Global banks risk being caught between Beijing-backed penalties and sanctions being debated in the U.S. as Hong Kong’s autonomy becomes a volatile point of friction between the two superpowers.

The vast scope of the new security law imposed on the city has taken businesses by surprise, but perhaps no part is more worrying for global lenders than Article 29. It forbids sanctions, blockades or hostile activities against the financial hub and China at a time when the U.S. is inching closer to enacting rules that would require banks to comply with sanctions against Chinese officials and entities.
Running afoul of the legislations put companies at risk of fines or losing their license to do business.
Banks including Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are walking a tightrope between the two world powers given their operations in Hong Kong and ambitious plans for China this year. HSBC Holdings Plc is especially under fire after it voiced support for China’s security law, under intense pressure because of its dominant role in Hong Kong.
Spokespeople at the banks all declined to comment on Article 29 and the sanctions.
Bankers and their lawyers from Hong Kong to Washington are poring over the legislation to reconcile how they can dodge major consequences, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to named discussing internal deliberations.
“This is part of a broader trend of potential conflicts of law between the U.S. sanction measures and potential Chinese countermeasures,” Soliman said. “It puts companies who view the U.S. and China as important to their long term business in a very difficult position.”

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Ed 26 days ago
HK Banks Conducting "Emergency Audits" Of Clients For Exposure To US Sanctions
The FT reports that US and European banks in Hong Kong are conducting emergency audits of their clients to identify Chinese and Hong Kong officials and corporates that could face US sanctions over a new national security law.

According to the report, at least two large international banks in Hong Kong were studying which of their clients and partners might be exposed to sanctions under the Autonomy act and with which they might have to terminate their business relationships.

A person at one of the banks said that cutting off the clients could hit revenues from Chinese banks and the country’s state-owned enterprises, but that could not be helped. “If they are sanctioned [we] can’t touch them,” the FT source said.
The act could force financial institutions to choose between doing business with the US or China, lawyers said. Hong Kong’s national security law makes it illegal to comply with US sanctions against Hong Kong and China. 

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Ed 26 days ago
Security law: Netflix will not ‘proactively’ remove Joshua Wong documentary – source
US video streaming platform Netflix will not “proactively” take down a documentary on Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, HKFP has learned, amid censorship fears under the newly-enforced national security law.

A source close to the matter told HKFP on Friday that the company is still gauging the implications and risks of the Beijing-imposed legislation criminalising secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in Hong Kong.

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Ed 23 days ago
Majority of U.S. firms in Hong Kong concerned about security law: Amcham
HONG KONG (Reuters) - A majority of U.S. companies in Hong Kong surveyed by the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) are concerned about the sweeping new national security law in the global financial hub, with a third looking to move assets or business longer-term.
The Amcham survey, published on Monday and to which 183 or 15% of its members responded on July 6-9, showed 36.6% of respondents were “somewhat” concerned and 51% were “extremely concerned” about the legislation.
About 49% said the law would have a negative impact on their business, while some 13% said it would have a positive impact. Some 30% considered moving capital, assets or business out of Hong Kong in the medium-to-long term, while 5% said they consider doing so in the short-term.
More than half of the respondents said they felt less safe about living and working in Hong Kong.
Also about half said they personally considered leaving the city. 

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Ed 23 days ago
Foreign companies are vacating Hong Kong offices at a blistering pace

Multinational companies vacated 61 percent of the 577,000 square feet of office space that was vacated in the second quarter, according to Bloomberg. That’s compared to a 47 percent share of surrenders in the first quarter.
Total surrenders jumped 55 percent from the first quarter to the second quarter. Total availability — vacant space combined with space that will become available within 12 months — hit a 15-year high of 10.7 percent at the end of June.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Keith Hemshall said “there’s no particular area or one type of industry,” that’s vacating more than any other and attributed the surrenders to cost-cutting and layoffs.
Hong Kong’s overall real estate market has been on a downward spiral for over a year amid sustained protests against the Chinese government’s gradual erosion of Hong Kong’s financial and political quasi-independence. The coronavirus pandemic has only worsened the situation.
The Chinese government recently announced that it could freeze assets and seize real estate if its security minister has “reasonable grounds” to suspect the property is related to a national security threat, according to Bloomberg.

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Ed 22 days ago
Beijing’s claims in South China Sea ‘unlawful’, says US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
The Trump administration upped the ante with China on Monday by issuing a direct challenge to Beijing’s South China Sea claims.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the US rejects all Chinese claims beyond the 12-nautical mile territorial area around the Spratly Islands, citing in particular Beijing’s claims to the waters surrounding Vanguard Bank off of Vietnam, Luconia Shoals of Malaysia, the area within Brunei’s exclusive economic zone and Natuna Besar of Indonesia.
“We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them,” Pompeo said. “The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire.”

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Ed 22 days ago
The UK Set to Ban Huawei
The U.K. is poised to ban Huawei Technologies Co. from its next generation mobile networks under a two-step plan to protect critical systems from security threats, a person familiar with the matter said.

Under the blueprint, British phone companies will not be able to add any new Huawei components to their 5G networks by the end of the year. After that, all existing equipment made by the Shenzhen-based company would need to be removed from 5G infrastructure by 2027, the person said, speaking anonymously to discuss sensitive plans.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his senior ministers and top security chiefs are due to be presented with the proposal at a meeting of the National Security Council on Tuesday. A decision is expected to be announced later in the House of Commons.

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Ed 22 days ago
China Accuses Hong Kong Vote Organizers of Seeking ‘Revolution’

China accused organizers of an unofficial primary in Hong Kong of violating the city’s new national security law, signaling that authorities may use the measure to prosecute or disqualify opposition figures ahead of upcoming legislative elections.

China’s top agency in Hong Kong denounced the event drawing more than 600,000 voters as “illegal” in a statement released late Monday, accusing organizers of receiving support of “foreign forces.”
The Liaison Office specifically condemned organizer Benny Tai, saying his goal was “to seize the power of governance in Hong Kong and stage the Hong Kong version of a ‘color revolution.’”

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Ed 21 days ago
UK Bans Huawei 
The UK's mobile providers are being banned from buying new Huawei 5G equipment after 31 December, and they must also remove all the Chinese firm's 5G kit from their networks by 2027.
Next Up - Canada?
Canada is facing renewed pressure to ban Huawei from its 5G networks, after Britain’s decision to block the Chinese tech firm on Tuesday risked marooning Ottawa from its intelligence allies.
The decision makes Canada the last of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence consortium – also made up of the United States, Australia and New Zealand – to have blocked Huawei on security grounds from at least part of their high-speed 5G internet infrastructure.
Charles Burton, a former counsellor at the Canadian embassy in Beijing and a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, said “it now becomes very difficult for the Canadian government to agree to the installation of Huawei 5G”.
(The US has also blocked Huawei) 

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Ed 21 days ago
Trump Ends Hong Kong’s Special Status With U.S. to Punish China

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed into law a bill to impose sanctions on Chinese officials, businesses and banks that help China restrict Hong Kong’s autonomy, a move that is likely to worsen already-strained diplomatic ties and prompt retaliation from Beijing.

"This law gives my administration powerful new tools to hold responsible the individuals and the entities involved in extinguishing Hong Kong's freedom," Trump said in a press conference.


A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said China “deplores and rejects” the sanctions bill in a news conference prior to its passage, and warned that attempts to thwart the new security law would be “doomed to fail.”


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Ed 21 days ago
New York Times to move a third of Hong Kong staff to Seoul, citing security law and visa trouble
The New York Times is to move a third of its Hong Kong staff to the South Korean capital, citing the controversial new security law and trouble securing work visas.

“China’s sweeping new national security law in Hong Kong has created a lot of uncertainty about what the new rules will mean to our operation and our journalism,” management of The Times told staff in a memo on Tuesday.

“We feel it is prudent to make contingency plans and begin to diversify our editing staff around the region…Any disruption to the operation has the potential to undermine our journalism, which is now more important than ever.”

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Ed 20 days ago
US-China decoupling is already happening
Economic decoupling between the United States and China is “not only possible, but is happening”, according to John Bolton, the former national security adviser-turned staunch critic of US President Donald Trump.
Referring to decoupling, Bolton, a long-time China hawk who has criticised Trump for going too easy on Beijing, said that people will not “wake up tomorrow and find that it's occurred”. Businesses are already looking at incrementally moving their supply chains out of China because they are fed up with the sort of “state espionage that would boggle the mind of a US or European” company, Bolton said.
Bolton’s claims are anecdotally true, with large companies such as Apple, Samsung and Nintendo shifting production out of the mainland to enjoy lower-cost manufacturing primarily in Vietnam, but also to avoid trade war tariffs applied by US customs authorities.
A survey of 200 multinational companies released last week, meanwhile, found that 95 per cent of US buyers plan to shift their supplier base away from China. Experts, however, have subsequently warned that such a move is difficult to achieve in the short term.
At the end of the day, the United States and other western powers played a major role in creating modern China.  In response to rising labour costs and public outcry over factory pollution, trade barriers were reduced or eliminated, and companies were able to tap into low cost labour in China.
The speed of the transition to manufacturing superpower was astonishing:
'What the US giveth, the US can taketh away' - and very quickly.   
It would be a simple matter of bestowing privileges on other low cost countries (e.g. Vietnam, India, etc...) and anointing them the next 'China' and it's off to the races.     
A factory is little more than a massive structure filled with machinery (made in Germany and Japan) so it is relatively easy to relocate production lines.  Training workers is not rocket science, and the companies develop and own the IP.
'Trump said Hong Kong would now be treated the same as mainland China without special privileges and would be prohibited from importing sensitive technologies from the US. The change also means Hong Kong will now face the tariffs the Trump administration has imposed on mainland Chinese exports.
Hundreds of billions of USD worth of exports are transhipped through Hong Kong annually to take advantage of the tariff-free special privileges that Hong Kong has enjoyed.   Details 
'The US giveth those special privileges, and now the US has taketh away' 

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Ed 19 days ago
Apple iPhone Assembler Joins Wave of Tech Investment in India
Apple Inc. assembly partner Pegatron Corp. is making preparations for its first plant in India, adding to a large influx of foreign tech investments in the country this year.
In June, the Indian government set out a $6.6 billion plan to woo the world’s top smartphone manufacturers, offering financial incentives and ready-to-use manufacturing clusters.
Pegatron is now setting up a local subsidiary and joining fellow Taiwanese electronics assemblers Foxconn Technology Group and Wistron Corp., who have already been making some iPhone handsets in southern India.
India offers a vast pool of skilled labor as well as a domestic market of a billion mobile connections. Only about half of those are smartphones, however, leaving untapped potential that is attractive to growth-hungry global brands like Apple, Samsung Electronics Co., Xiaomi Corp. and Oppo.
For assemblers like Pegatron, exports would also be an enticing opportunity, especially at a time of worsening trade relations between Washington and Beijing making it imperative to have a diverse geographic base. 
'The US giveth.... and the US can moveth away...' 

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Ed 16 days ago
The UK is expected to follow other G7 countries in ending its extradition agreement with Hong Kong.  The foreign secretary has indicated that the UK will also introduce other measures to punish China over the introduction of the HK security law and the treatment of Uighurs.

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Ed 16 days ago
Preparing for the worst, banks in Hong Kong reviewing client lists
One of the bill’s co-sponsors said targets could range from Communist Party officials to individual police units that crackdown on protesters in the city. 
“Smaller banks that have a lot of existing clients with stronger ties with Chinese government officials or Communist Party members, if that had not been an area they looked at previously, especially non-Western smaller-sized banks, I can sense there is some sense of urgency on their part to do something quickly,” she said. 
Several lenders, including Barclays and Deutsche Bank, paid tens of billions of dollars combined in settlements related to FCPA over hiring of individuals tied to government officials in China in recent years.
The law firm Mayer Brown said in a July 4 client note that the law could “significantly” affect financial institutions and other businesses which have ties to at-risk individuals in Hong Kong and the mainland.
“This is because the imposition of an asset-blocking order would expose all assets in which such a person has interests to an immediate asset freeze, and could severely constrain options for divestment or exit from existing financial relationships,” Mayer Brown partners Duncan Abate and Tamer Soliman wrote in the report.
Legal experts have warned “all is on the table” when it comes to possible punitive actions against the city.

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Ed 16 days ago
Japan Taketh Away 
Japan’s government will start paying its companies to move factories out of China and back home or to Southeast Asia, part of a new program to secure supply chains and reduce dependence on manufacturing in China.
Fifty-seven companies including privately-held facemask-maker Iris Ohyama Inc. and Sharp Corp. will receive a total of 57.4 billion yen ($536 million) in subsidies from the government, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Friday.
Another 30 firms will receive money to move manufacturing to Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and other Southeast Asian nations, according to a separate announcement, which didn’t provide details on the amount of compensation.

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Ed 16 days ago
This is the best explanation I have seen of what is at stake for our city:

The Hong Kong Fallout

Beijing’s looming emasculation of Hong Kong’s legal and economic system is the headline misjudgment of the year, maybe of the decade. It is an egregious human rights offense, which will unite the West against China. In the U.S. it has even brought Republicans and Democrats together, in unanimity against the Chinese takeover. Public opinion is hardening.

Majorities in major Western countries now see China as a “malign force in the world.” (Only 3% of Britons, 4% of Germans and 5% of the French and Americans identified China as a force for good. Xi’s personal ratings have gone to 71% “No Confidence” – 21 points more to the negative in recent months.)

The Real Damage is Financial

The political costs for China are alarming. It is likely that Xi doesn’t care much about Western public opinion. He should.

But it is the financial consequences of the Hong Kong move that are the most damaging – to China – now, and over the long term.

Start with the fact that today Hong Kong is the world’s Number 3 global financial center (after New York and London). This status in itself is an asset of incalculable value, which no city in the European Union can claim. Financial pre-eminence takes centuries to achieve. It is based on network-effects like market depth and liquidity.

People want to trade where the most other people trade, and the best prices obtain. People want to trade with people they know, and through institutions they can trust. And almost everything in finance rests on long-accumulated habits of trust, confidence in the fairness of the system, the security of contracts, and the predictable behavior of one’s counterparties.
Trust cannot simply be mandated by public officials as part of the five-year plan. Xi’s strategic blunder will kill this trust, and impair this priceless Hong Kong asset, swiftly and irreparably.

The loss of free information flow will drive investors out. Hong Kong is the center for the hedge fund industry in Asia, with more assets under management than Singapore, Japan and Australia combined.

Many of these firms are now planning to decamp to Tokyo or Singapore.
“We rely on objective information, objective reporting,” one fund manager said, adding that if Hong Kong’s free press were to be cowed by the new law, “propaganda comes into play in investment decisions…”

As another fund manager put it, “Hong Kong as we know it is dead… The hedge fund community will move on…”

Read More


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Ed 15 days ago
The UK government will suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong "immediately and indefinitely"
Announcing the move, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK "wants a positive relationship" with China.

But he said the "imposition" of the new national security law in Hong Kong by Beijing was a "serious violation" of the country's international obligations.

Labour said it would support changes to the law, calling it a "step in the right direction".

Under the 50-year Basic Law agreement, China enshrined civil liberties - including the right to protest, freedom of speech and the independence of the judiciary - in Hong Kong's Basic Law, an approach which came to be known as "one country, two systems".

Mr Raab told MPs: "There remains considerable uncertainty about the way in which the new national security law will be enforced.

"I would just say this: the UK is watching and the whole world is watching."

On the positive side, North Korea, Iran, Somalia, Cambodia, Djibouti, Venezuela, Zimbabwe,Iraq, Guinea-Bissau, Myanmar, Congo, Lesotho and a number of other countries have pledged their support for the new HK security law.

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Ed 15 days ago

Global Banks Shifting to Taiwan

Taiwan’s top financial regulator said global banks are looking to expand on the island after China’s passage of a controversial security law in Hong Kong prompted some firms to rethink their Asian strategies.

Some U.S. securities firms are considering an expansion in Taiwan while other international banks plan to start new operations, said Huang Tien-mu, chairperson of Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission. He didn’t name any of the companies that have expressed interest in Taiwan.

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Ed 15 days ago
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Ed 13 days ago
China Consulate Fight Shows Trump’s Hardliners Are in Charge 
Donald Trump spent the first three years of his presidency balancing the demands of hardliners who wanted a crackdown on China against his own desire to pursue a trade deal and cultivate a stronger relationship with Xi Jinping.
The battle has now been opened on a range of fronts: China’s tightening grip over Hong Kong, its treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang, its infiltration of technology and the theft of intellectual property.
In nearly every policy realm, the U.S. is pushing back harder. It’s banning Chinese academics and expelling Chinese journalists and warning that the U.S. needs to cut its dependence on Chinese goods. 
According to one person familiar with internal discussions, Pompeo and his advisers have come to conclude that a capitalist, democratic U.S. and a Communist, unelected leadership in China are fundamentally at odds and cannot coexist.

“America is engaging in a response to Chinese Communist Party and aggression in a way that America has not done for the past 20 years,” Pompeo said on June 19.

“We responded to their military, use of military force, by moving back. We responded to their use of diplomatic coercion via retreating. Donald Trump is not going to permit that, and we made that clear.”

With the Oval Office offering little restraint, Pompeo’s team has orchestrated an unprecedented roll-out of attacks on Beijing, calling on every senior official in the executive branch to join the fray.

 That has included speeches by National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, FBI director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Bill Barr, who lambasted Hollywood and companies such as Apple Inc. for succumbing to China’s will.
Pompeo has even given more latitude to his spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, to call out China in unusually harsh terms, as she did last year in referring to the country’s “thuggish regime.”

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Ed 11 days ago
Gas Canisters + Fire = Bomb
Firefighters and paramedics were called to Lok Sin Tong Leung Chik Wai Memorial School at Cheung Hong Estate in Tsing Yi shortly before 1am when police received a report of fire from its security guard.

“The guard said he heard what appeared to be the noise of an explosion and then saw flames outside the school’s main entrance,” a police spokesman said.

Firefighters later doused the flames and no evacuation was needed.

Police said no one was injured in the incident, but a part of the school’s wall and a flower bed were blackened in the blaze.

Officers seized an empty glass bottle and several gas canisters at the scene. Police suspect the bottle was used to carry flammable solutions.

Read More

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Ed 2 days ago
Trump administration pushing to rip global supply chains from China: officials
The Trump administration is “turbocharging” an initiative to remove global industrial supply chains from China as it weighs new tariffs to punish Beijing for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, according to officials familiar with U.S. planning.
“We’ve been working on (reducing the reliance of our supply chains in China) over the last few years but we are now turbo-charging that initiative,” Keith Krach, undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment at the State Department told Reuters.
“There is a whole of government push on this,” said one. Agencies are probing which manufacturing should be deemed “essential” and how to produce these goods outside of China.
The U.S. Commerce Department, State and other agencies are looking for ways to push companies to move both sourcing and manufacturing out of China.
Tax incentives and potential re-shoring subsidies are among measures being considered to spur changes, the current and former officials told Reuters.
An Apple Inc. vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China which may result in $5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, The Times of India reported, citing people familiar it didn’t identify.

The establishment of the facility will create about 55,000 jobs over a year or so, according to the newspaper, which did not name the Apple vendor. It will also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported.

Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion rupees ($1.5 billion) of investments to set up mobile phone manufacturing units in India.
Foxconn Technology Group, Wistron Corp. and Pegatron Corp., all iPhone assemblers, are among companies picked to make smartphones under a production-linked incentive plan, Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister for electronics and information technology, said on Saturday.
Seems the American threats are not empty.... 

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Ed 20 hrs ago
 If TicTok is Sold Trump Says US Gov't Will Take a Big Cut
“I did say that if you buy it, whatever the price is that goes to whoever owns it, because I guess it’s China essentially … I said a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen,” Trump said.

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