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Although the article quoted below is an opinion piece, I just wanted to say: the author gets it.  100%.  It's too bad that all the universities in HK are sucking up to the big pooh up north and falling in line like the mindless sycophants that are more characteristic of public servants in an authoritarian state than the last bastions of free thought that the institutions they run ought to be.

 

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If Hong Kong universities want to keep politics off campus, maybe the purge should start at the top?

"Public displays of affection for Big Brother are unnecessary, and incompatible with the autonomy which universities legitimately claim," writes Tim Hamlett.
Tim-1-Copy-96x96.pngby TIM HAMLETT09:59, 13 JUNE 2021
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As they sink slowly down the international rankings our local universities seem to have increasing problems with their student unions. This is suspicious.

 

I had better declare a sort of interest here. Many years ago when I was the head of a department in a local university it became known that I planned to appoint a particular person as a teacher. One of my colleagues came into my office looking very worried. “Did you realise,” he asked, “that she used to be a student union president.”

 

CUHK Chinese university of hong kong protest march nov 19 2020 20201119 File Photo: RL/Studio Incendo.

 

“Yes, I know she was a student union president,” I replied, “and so was I.” Which sorted out that objection easily enough.

 
So it is not surprising, perhaps, that I think universities ought to have student unions, should try – I realise this will not always be easy – to be on good terms with them, and should recognise that students have the right to a collective voice in decisions that affect them.

 

Clearly this is no longer the universal view among local university administrators. In February, the Chinese University withdrew administrative support and the right to borrow venues from its student union, claiming that the union had made false allegations about the university and used the campus for political propaganda.

 

Baptist University Hong Kong Baptist University. Photo: GovHK.

 

In May, The University of Hong Kong stopped collecting subscriptions for its student union, with a similar complaint. This week, Lingnan University barred its student union from mass emailing students and threatened further action because a circular on the system had mentioned “Wuhan pneumonia” in the Chinese version of a circular about Covid-19. 

 

All three universities complained that their student unions had become “more” or “highly” politicised in recent years. This could be considered rather unsurprising. What did they expect?

 

I realise there are some local peculiarities here. Unlike the general run of UK student unions, where candidates for office run as individuals, student union elections in Hong Kong usually feature teams who seek election as a group. This means that in times of political excitement they are likely to have a coherent view and feel they have a “mandate” to push it on behalf of their fellow students.

 

Also, most UK university student unions have a building of their own which contains a bar (indispensable) and such other rooms – dancehalls, debating chambers, offices etc – as they have space and inclination for.

 

CUHKSU Student union press conference File Photo: Inmediahk.net via CC2.0,

 

This means that the election of student leaders is not a purely political matter. The ability to run a boozer efficiently is also important.

 

Even if this function is performed elsewhere the union is responsible for distributing funds to student societies and sporting groups. Any sign that this important function is being sacrificed to politics results in the sort of “mass meetings” which agitators commonly dominate suddenly being overwhelmed by an influx of irate sportspeople. So there are limits.

 

Still, there are some universal features here. Students are adults. They are entitled to political opinions. They are also entitled to a role in the running of those aspects of the university which cannot plausibly be described as requiring the attention of a PhD. 

 

Like other groups in the university community, students may obstinately cling to views which seem to academics or administrators to be stupid, naïve or dysfunctional. Mature members of the university should accept the obligation to try to resolve the resulting conflicts in a way which preserves the sense of a community of scholars in which differences of opinion are allowed and respected.

 

And it is no good complaining that the unions are more political. They are more political because students are more political. And students are more political because they realise they have been deceived. 

 

protest student human chain Hong Kong students stage a human chain protest on September 26, 2019. Photo: Studio Incendo.

 

We old cynics may always have suspected that “one country two systems”, “a high degree of autonomy”, “gradual progress towards universal suffrage” and “50 years of no change” were mere baubles intended to distract us while one set of colonial shackles was exchanged for another one. Young people grew up with these promises.

 

If university leaders want to keep politics off their campuses they should start by looking in the mirror. You cannot claim to be a sanctuary from politics while purging your staff. And why was it necessary for university heads, or most of them, to express an opinion on the merits of the national security law?

 

None of them are lawyers. Their opinions on the matter are no more knowledgable or interesting than those of the manager of a bank or a brothel.

 

Public displays of affection for Big Brother are unnecessary, and incompatible with the autonomy which universities legitimately claim.  

 

 

https://hongkongfp.com/2021/06/13/if-hong-kong-universities-want-to-keep-politics-off-campus-maybe-the-purge-should-start-at-the-top/

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From a philosophical and political perspective, let's change the dial and focus on the physical and tangible for a bit.  If this reactor ends up with a Chernobyl-style accident, you could kiss not only HK and Macau goodbye, but also the most populous province in China as well.

 

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‘Imminent radiological threat’: French firm seeks to resolve issue at Chinese nuclear plant near Hong Kong

"Our team is working with relevant experts to assess the situation and propose solutions to address any potential issue," Framatome said in a statement.
4ZvQTfXv_400x400-96x96.jpgby AFP12:59, 14 JUNE 2021
Print

by Helen Roxburgh

 

A French nuclear firm said Monday it was working to resolve a “performance issue” at a plant it part-owns in China’s southern Guangdong province following a US media report of a potential leak there.

 

CNN reported earlier that the US government is assessing a report of a leak at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant after the French company, Framatome, warned of an “imminent radiological threat”.

 

Taishan nuclear plant A containment building at Taishan nuclear power plant. Photo: FactWire.

 

Framatome — a subsidiary of French energy giant EDF — said in a statement to AFP that it is “supporting resolution of a performance issue” at the plant.

 

“According to the data available, the plant is operating within the safety parameters,” the company said.

 

EDF later said that there was an “increase in the concentration of certain noble gases in the primary circuit of reactor no. 1” at Taishan, referring to a part of the reactor’s cooling system.

 

Noble gases are elements like argon, helium and neon which have low chemical reactivity.

 

Their presence in the system “is a known phenomenon, studied and provided for in the reactor operating procedures,” EDF said.

 

The firm added that it had requested an extraordinary meeting of the power plant’s board “for management to present all the data and the necessary decisions”.

 

Citing a letter from Framatome to the US energy department, CNN said the warning included an accusation that the Chinese safety authority was raising the acceptable limits for radiation outside the facility in order to avoid having to shut it down.

 

But a US official told the broadcaster that “the Biden administration believes the facility is not yet at ‘crisis level'”.

 

The operator of the power station, state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group, said in a statement on Sunday evening that “the environmental indicators of Taishan Nuclear Power Plant and its surroundings are normal”.

 

Taishan nuclear plant Photo: FactWire.

 

It did not reference any leak or incident at the power station, which it said meets “the requirements of nuclear safety regulations and power plant technical specifications.”

 

AFP did not get an immediate response to a request for comment from either the Chinese foreign ministry or the Chinese nuclear power group.

 

EPR reactors

 

Powered up in 2018, the Taishan plant was the first worldwide to operate a next-generation EPR nuclear reactor, a pressurised water design that has been subject to years of delays in similar European projects in Britain, France and Finland.

 

There are now two EPR power units at the plant in the city of Taishan, which sits close to the coastline of southern Guangdong — China’s most populous province.

 

EPR reactors have been touted as promising advances in safety and efficiency over conventional reactors while producing less waste.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault visited the Taishan plant in 2013, on a trip where the French leader shopped his country’s nuclear expertise to the massive China market.

 

Nuclear plants supplied less than five percent of China’s annual electricity needs in 2019, according to the National Energy Administration, but this share is expected to grow as Beijing attempts to become carbon neutral by 2060.

 

taishan nuclear Photo: FactWire.

 

China has 47 nuclear plants with a total generation capacity of 48.75 million kilowatts — the world’s third highest after the United States and France — and has invested billions of dollars to develop its nuclear energy sector.

 

Last month Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping hailed close ties between their countries as they launched work on Russian-built nuclear power plants in China.

 

And in December state media reported that China had successfully powered up its “artificial sun” nuclear fusion reactor for the first time — the HL-2M Tokamak reactor — which uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma and can reach temperatures of over 150 million degrees Celsius.

 

It is China’s largest and most advanced nuclear fusion experimental research device, and scientists hope that the device can potentially unlock a powerful clean energy source. 

 

https://hongkongfp.com/2021/06/14/imminent-radiological-threat-french-firm-seeks-to-resolve-issue-at-chinese-nuclear-plant-opposite-hong-kong/

 

CBC decided to run with Associated Press' version:

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Chinese nuclear plant 'performance issue' reported by its French joint operator

French utility that helps operate the plant reports 'known phenomenon' of buildup of rare gases

The Associated Press · Posted: Jun 14, 2021 10:01 AM ET | Last Updated: 2 hours ago
 
china-nuclear.JPG
Workers stand in front of a nuclear reactor at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, seen under construction in Taishan, Guangdong province on Oct. 17, 2013. (Bobby Yip/Reuters)

 

The French joint operator of a Chinese nuclear plant near Hong Kong says the plant is dealing with a "performance issue" but is currently operating within safety limits, following a report of a potential radioactive leak.

 

The Taishan Nuclear Power Plant is jointly owned by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group and French multinational electric utility Électricité de France, the main owner of Framatome, which helps operate the plant.

 

"Framatome is supporting resolution of a performance issue with the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province, China," Framatome said in a short statement Monday.

 

"According to the data available, the plant is operating within the safety parameters. Our team is working with relevant experts to assess the situation and propose solutions to address any potential issue."

 

Radiation levels in Hong Kong, 135 kilometres from the Taishan plant, were normal on Monday, according to the Hong Kong Observatory, which monitors radiation around the city.

French company contacts U.S. government

CNN reported Monday that Framatome had written to the U.S. Department of Energy warning of an "imminent radiological threat" and accusing Chinese authorities of raising acceptable limits for radiation outside the plant to avoid having to shut it down. CNN said U.S. officials believed the current situation at the plant did not present a severe safety threat.

 

Électricité de France said in a statement Monday that it had been informed of the increase in concentration of "certain rare gases" in the primary circuit of reactor No. 1 at the Taishan plant.

 

"The presence of certain rare gases in the primary circuit is a known phenomenon, studied and foreseen by the operating procedures of the reactors," the statement says.

 

The utility said it is providing its expertise and has requested that the joint venture company that runs the plant hold a meeting of its board of directors so that management "presents all the data and the necessary decisions."

 

Chinese authorities in Beijing and Guangdong did not immediately respond to attempts to seek comment on Monday, a public holiday.

 

The plant issued a statement on Sunday saying, "At present, continuous monitoring of environmental data shows that the environmental indicators of Taishan Nuclear Power Plant and its surroundings are normal."

 

It did not refer to any problems, and said "all operating indicators of the two units have met the requirements of nuclear safety regulations and power plant technical specifications."

 

The United Nation's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, told The Associated Press that it was aware of the media reports and was in contact with its counterpart in China.

 

"At this stage, the agency has no indication that a radiological incident occurred," the Vienna-based IAEA said in a written response to questions.

 

The agency said it would share more information when it became available.

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/taishan-nuclear-report-gases-1.6064712

 

So as an authoritarian state, how do you prevent a nuclear power plant from being shut down due to buildup of gases?  Just change the acceptable operating parameters and radiation levels.  :picard:

 

And the Biden administration's spokesperson isn't helping either - sure, the reactor's situation might not be "crisis level" or present a severe safety threat right now, but these reactors operate at high temperatures and pressures, and it only takes minutes (if not seconds) for a situation to go from normal to super-critical.  :picard:

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On 6/13/2021 at 8:56 AM, 6of1_halfdozenofother said:

No, just the ccp and their supporters deserve screwing.

Yup.  Common folk are (pretty much) the same everywhere.  

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On 6/15/2021 at 2:32 AM, 6of1_halfdozenofother said:

From a philosophical and political perspective, let's change the dial and focus on the physical and tangible for a bit.  If this reactor ends up with a Chernobyl-style accident, you could kiss not only HK and Macau goodbye, but also the most populous province in China as well.

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

https://hongkongfp.com/2021/06/14/imminent-radiological-threat-french-firm-seeks-to-resolve-issue-at-chinese-nuclear-plant-opposite-hong-kong/

 

CBC decided to run with Associated Press' version:

  Reveal hidden contents

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/taishan-nuclear-report-gases-1.6064712

 

So as an authoritarian state, how do you prevent a nuclear power plant from being shut down due to buildup of gases?  Just change the acceptable operating parameters and radiation levels.  :picard:

 

And the Biden administration's spokesperson isn't helping either - sure, the reactor's situation might not be "crisis level" or present a severe safety threat right now, but these reactors operate at high temperatures and pressures, and it only takes minutes (if not seconds) for a situation to go from normal to super-critical.  :picard:

China isn't the only government to lie about incidents like this.

 

https://www.ecowatch.com/36-years-of-three-mile-islands-lethal-lies-and-still-counting-1882023488.html

 

 

When will people get it into their heads 

 

ALL GOVERNMENTS LIE 

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The last translated editorial piece on the Apple Daily's English News site:

 

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Editorial: Don’t wet the bed right before dawn | Apple Daily Hong Kong

5 hours ago
Editorial Don t wet the bed right before dawn Apple Daily Hong Kong
 
By Li Ping
 

“Wetting the bed right before dawn” has become the adage in vogue on the Chinese Internet. This is a commentary of Chinese philosopher Feng Youlan’s wife towards her husband on forgoing his virtue in his old age. The reason why it was stirred up again was thanks to renowned historical geographer Ge Jianxiong, whose remarks that “history is to maintain the legitimacy of contemporary politics and regime” triggered the debate among scholars on whether one should “conduct academic research while kneeling”. Throughout the history of mankind, there is no lack of scholars and reputable people who wet the bed right before dawn, and of course, there are also a lot who uphold their conscience. Hong Kong is no exception.

Public opinion mocks scholar for sucking up to the authorities

Ge Jianxiong is the former Director of the Institute of Historical Geography of Fudan University in Shanghai, Director of the Fudan University Library, and also a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. He is known as “Howitzer Ge” for being one who does not mince words. In a recent clip being circulated, he emphasized in a seminar at the beginning of the year that “the history of any country, party, and group is to strengthen its own political legitimacy and not to be questioned, or even denied.” Xi Jinping has repeatedly lambasted historical nihilism, for “history is to maintain the political legitimacy of the CCP”. Ge even added that “our history is to safeguard the political legitimacy of the CCP.” These remarks have been hyped up as the CCP approaches its centenary, and many have mocked him for sucking up to the authorities, including ironic reference of “wetting the bed right before dawn”.

 
 

Feng Youlan, who was ridiculed by his wife, was in fact highly regarded in the philosophy department in Chinese academia. In China’s academic world of philosophy, it is said that there have been one and a half philosophers in China in the past century, one is Feng Youlan, the other half is Hu Shi. Towards the end of the Cultural Revolution, Feng Youlan joined the writing team of the Gang of Four and published the 25-poem “Songs of History” (《詠史》) in “Guang Ming Daily” (《光明日報》), among which the two lines “Zetian dared to be the empress, the only heroine in Chinese history” were said to be licking the boots of Jiang Qing. As history goes, the Gang of Four collapsed soon after. The illustrative description of Feng epitomized the embarrassment in which Feng found himself, and was widely circulated at the time.

 

Compared to Feng Youlan and Ge Jianxiong’s forfeiture of their virtues, Wang Zhongmin, a highly regarded “national treasure” master of Dunhuang studies and ancient philology, had upheld his integrity till death without succumbing to lies, and therefore was naturally revered. Wang Zhongmin was a dean at Peking University’s library science department. During the Cultural Revolution, he was locked in a bullpen, where he expressed his dissatisfaction on rough toilet paper, for which he was beaten up by the opposition faction. In April 1975, he refused to endorse the “Compendium of Historical Review” used as a struggle tool by Peking University and Tsinghua University, and insisted that it was a forgery. As a result, he was put through struggle sessions. No, he did not wake up to a wet bed, but instead, he was willing to die for his beliefs. He died hanging himself in the corridor of the Summer Palace.

To endure the interrogation of conscience, and not be a mockery in history

In the face of power, be it among intellectuals or dignitaries in society, there will inevitably be a split, and many choices to be made. This situation did not occur in China during the Cultural Revolution alone. During the Nazi regime in Germany, the famous philosophers Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger chose vastly different paths as well. The former never yielded nor cooperated, and always carried in his pocket cyanide-capsules, and was known as the “conscience in dark times”; the latter led 960 professors to swear support and allegiance to Hitler and the Nazi regime, and was regarded as “an episode of soul-selling that has humiliated the glorious history of German academia.”

 

In comparing the difference between Jaspers and Heidegger, netizen “9 PM” (Jiu Dian) pointed out that: “the reason why Germany has fallen into the abyss gradually was not because nobody discovered the evil of the Nazis, but because everyone opted for an ignoble existence in the presence of the Nazi’s evil. Then, one step at a time, they’ve evolved into a point of ‘inhumanity.’”

 

Jaspers is dead on the target when he said, “But each one of us is guilty insofar as he remained inactive.”

 

Whether it was the Cultural Revolution in China, or Nazi Germany, there were dark times in the history of human civilization. Yet, dawn is bound to come after darkness, and humans will return to civilization. Therefore, whether one is an intellectual, a media professional, a politician, or a tycoon, to find yourself in such a time, one must endure the interrogation of wisdom and conscience. Please do not wet the bed right before dawn and be the laughing stock of history.

 

This article is translated from Chinese by Apple Daily.

 

 

https://en.appledaily.com/editorial-don-t-wet-the-bed-right-before-dawn-apple-daily-hong-kong/TEC7K56X7JBOXF2BYODOYA6H3A

 

Not mentioned in western media with any degree of pronminence is the situation that Apple Daily - the last free-speaking print media company in HK - is facing under the pressure of frozen assets due to the moronic security law.  Because of the frozen assets, the company is no longer likely able to make payroll.  Many staff were allowed to depart with immediate effect without having to pay back the company in lieu of working notice required (as HK labour laws would normally compel).  This has had a ripple effect on operations on the company, with their 9:30 web broadcast of the news the first to be cut, followed by their financial news website, and now their English news website.  By all estimations, most operations will not have critical mass necessary to continue beyond Wednesday, and if the request by the company to thaw the nmsl-inspired freezing of their assets is declined (which is the most likely outcome, since the HK governmetn's goal is to silence dissent by any means possible), then the result of their board meeting scheduled for Friday will likely be to terminate all operations by end of day Friday with Saturday's distribution of their printed material being the last tangible item to be created and distributed by the company.

 

If ever there was a demonstration of the murdering of free-speaking print media, this would be it.  Once their voices have been silenced, the only sounds in the HK print media landscape left will be the sounds of pro-government/ccp-backed papers playing the ccp's meat flute.

 

June 23rd edit - good thing I quoted the article.  All of Apple Daily's digital assets have been taken offline.  There was mention in some reddit chatter a few days ago that people were trying to download/save articles and other materials into the public domain, but not sure how successful they were given the abrupt decision to take all their materials offline a few days earlier than the planned Friday shutdown.  All the best to the former staff of Apple Daily, who toiled honourably to bring muted voices to the forefront and held truth to power. Farewell Apple Daily, I hardly knew ye.

Edited by 6of1_halfdozenofother
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There's an article on the HK Free Press website today for which a paragraph jumped out at me.  There have been other articles on other web media sites that had similar reporting of similar situations for many of the arrested pro-democracy activists currently held in custody as well as those granted bail.  I couldn't understand why the wording of those articles containing paragraphs like this bothered me so much - it wasn't until today that I figured out why:

 

Quote

In extending bail to Chow, Toh said she had sufficient grounds to believe that the activist would not continue to commit acts endangering national security if bail was granted.

https://hongkongfp.com/2021/06/22/hong-kong-court-grants-bail-to-activist-owen-chow-pending-national-security-trial/

 

The problem with this arises from the criminal law principle of "presumption of innocence" based on the HK Bill of Rights.  The specific words that bother me are "would not continue to commit" being a condition of granting (or denying) bail.

 

Those very words have already presumed guilt before the case is even tried in court to determine whether or not the accused are proven guilty, because you can't "continue" if you haven't been determined to have even "started".

 

This subtle judicial presumption of guilt before trial demonstrates to me that the national moronic security law has killed the rights of the HK people as mandated by law that long pre-dated the nmsl.

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People wonder how Hitler managed to takeover whole countries without much resistance. Stalin starved millions of Ukrainians while the west made excuses. Mao no dif. HK will go by the wayside with hardly a whisper.

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On 6/22/2021 at 1:31 AM, 6of1_halfdozenofother said:

There's an article on the HK Free Press website today for which a paragraph jumped out at me.  There have been other articles on other web media sites that had similar reporting of similar situations for many of the arrested pro-democracy activists currently held in custody as well as those granted bail.  I couldn't understand why the wording of those articles containing paragraphs like this bothered me so much - it wasn't until today that I figured out why:

 

https://hongkongfp.com/2021/06/22/hong-kong-court-grants-bail-to-activist-owen-chow-pending-national-security-trial/

 

The problem with this arises from the criminal law principle of "presumption of innocence" based on the HK Bill of Rights.  The specific words that bother me are "would not continue to commit" being a condition of granting (or denying) bail.

 

Those very words have already presumed guilt before the case is even tried in court to determine whether or not the accused are proven guilty, because you can't "continue" if you haven't been determined to have even "started".

 

This subtle judicial presumption of guilt before trial demonstrates to me that the national moronic security law has killed the rights of the HK people as mandated by law that long pre-dated the nmsl.

@6of1_halfdozenofother your content here is appreciated. 

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Political actions like these make me a firm believer that regardless of the outcome of the extradition case in Canada that led to our two Michaels being arbitrarily detained, or even the subsequent trial for fraud (if it does proceed) in the states where hsbc is likely to be brought in as a prosecution witness, that the US Government should still place sanctions upon hsbc and all its subsidiaries, and convince its allies to do likewise.

 

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Banks accused of Beijing-backed ‘asset grab’ as Hongkongers in UK denied access to pension savings

Thousands of Hong Kong people applied for a new BN(O) visa after Britain infuriated Beijing earlier this year by offering sanctuary amid a crackdown on freedoms in the city. Now those seeking refuge - and a new life - in the UK say they are being denied access to their MPF pension savings built up over many years.
 
chrome_2019-09-08_12-39-05-96x96.jpgby LAURA MANNERING09:30, 4 JULY 2021
Print

When Tom and Mary decided to leave Hong Kong for Britain, they hoped to buy a home using their hard-earned savings. But they have been unable to retrieve the HKD500,000 they spent decades building up in HSBC pension funds, and accuse the finance giant of playing politics with their money. 

 

A growing number of Hongkongers with British National (Overseas) passports who fled to the UK in fear of Beijing’s ongoing crackdown say their requests to withdraw nest eggs from pension funds provided by some of the world’s biggest multinational banks and insurers have been rejected. 

 

HSBC HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong. Photo: GovHK.

 

China is furious with the UK for introducing a new visa for BN(O) holders and those who have taken up Britain’s lifeline believe they are now being punished as their pensions are held hostage. It is not the first time that financial institutions have been accused of complying with Beijing’s oppression of Hong Kong after banks including HSBC froze assets of some of the city’s pro-democracy figures. 

 

Britain issued BN(O) status to around three million Hong Kong residents before it handed the city back to China in 1997. Originally, holders were entitled to visit the UK for six months without the right to live or work there. In response to the implementation of Beijing’s national security law in Hong Kong last June – which has led to the arrest and jailing of prominent democracy activists – London announced a visa scheme for BN(O) holders and their dependants, enabling them to live and work in the UK and putting them on a path to citizenship. 

 

Beijing was incensed by the move, which it said encroached on Chinese sovereignty. Ahead of the launch of the visa scheme in January, Chinese authorities and the Hong Kong government announced they would no longer recognise BN(O) passports as valid travel or identification documents. 

 

National security law A poster promoting Beijing’s National Security Law in Hong Kong. Photo: GovHK.

 

That was seen as largely symbolic as few Hongkongers rely solely on BN(O) passports for travel or identification. But it has directly affected their access to pensions accrued in the city’s Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) system – an industry worth more than HK$1 trillion, comprising privately managed compulsory pension schemes into which most Hong Kong employers and employees must pay by law.

 

Banks and insurers as ‘gatekeepers’ 

 

Permanent departure from Hong Kong is a valid reason for claiming a pension before the age of 65 according to regulations from the MPF Authority (MPFA), a statutory body that oversees and regulates the MPF system. The standard requirements for applicants are a declaration that they do not intend to return to Hong Kong, plus proof satisfactory to their MPF provider that they have the right to reside outside the city.

 

However, the MPFA declared in March that since the Hong Kong government no longer recognised BN(O) passports, MPF clients “cannot rely” upon them or the associated visa as evidence to support applications for early withdrawal of their pensions. 

 

It called on the private companies or “trustees” providing MPF schemes — which include HSBC, Manulife, Sun Life and AIA — to act as “gatekeeper by reviewing all evidence provided by applicants, and the totality of facts and information” when processing early withdrawal requests based on permanent departure from Hong Kong. 

 

Hong Kong International Airport People queuing to check in for a flight to London at Hong Kong International Airport. File photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

 

“In this regard, the MPFA will continue to follow up with MPF trustees,” the statement said. 

 

BN(O) holders say that in the wake of the MPFA’s announcement, the banks and insurance companies that host their MPF schemes have rejected documentation that clearly proves they have the right to reside outside Hong Kong, including BN(O) visas, letters from UK immigration and biometric residence permits, as well as other proof of residency in Britain such as rental contracts. 

 

Tom and Mary, who are in their 40s, emigrated to Britain earlier this year because they feared the impact the repressive environment in Hong Kong would have on their child. They successfully acquired BN(O) visas and have submitted extensive documentation to HSBC showing they have the right to reside in the UK. 

 

Yet, in correspondence seen by HKFP, HSBC has repeatedly told them that their applications have been unsuccessful because they have failed to prove they are entitled to live outside Hong Kong.

 

The couple added that the HSBC MPF agent they were dealing with told them in a phone call that their applications may be accepted once they had secured full UK passports, which will take at least six years, but even then, a payout could not be guaranteed.

 

uk britain united kingdom england london London landmark Big Ben. File photo: GovUK.

 

“I feel that HSBC should put customers first, especially when we’ve been using the service for more than 20 years. They shouldn’t be a puppet – they should have their own company policy. After all, the MPFA statement is just a guideline,” Tom told HKFP. 

 

Mary said that being able to access the money would make a “huge difference” to her family. “We are very much in need of our MPF savings as it would enable us to buy a house. Since we don’t have jobs in the UK yet, that would save us a lot of worry,” she told HKFP.

 

Tom added that he and Mary wanted to take legal action over HSBC’s failure to pay out, but they felt it was “hard to fight against a big financial institution and the government”. 

 

‘Utterly unacceptable’ 

 

More than 34,000 Hongkongers applied for the new BN(O) visa in the first two months after its launch in January. Groups supporting new arrivals say they are increasingly being contacted by émigrés struggling to access their MPF savings as they try to start a new life.  

 

“A number of BNOs have raised the fact that they have been unable to access their MPFs when seeking to leave on the BN(O) visa, and it is a matter of real concern,” said Johnny Patterson, policy director of UK-based NGO Hong Kong Watch, a registered charity which researches and monitors threats to the city’s basic freedoms.

 

BNO passport A protester holds up British passports during a demonstration in Hong Kong. File photo: Jimmy Lam/United Social Press.

 

“If it’s true that people are being barred from accessing their pensions when choosing to move, then that would be utterly unacceptable. It sounds like this is essentially an asset grab designed as a disincentive to stop people leaving and to bolster the coffers of the Hong Kong pension pot,” Patterson added. 

 

A new briefing from Hong Kong Watch about Britain’s BN(O) policy says that denial of access to MPF savings has added to the financial concerns of those planning to move and could mean that many will not be able to leave Hong Kong. 

 

Hong Kong-based governance activist David Webb said he believed the MPFA’s move to undermine BN(O) passports and visas was politically motivated. He also pointed out that the new rule conflated the government’s lack of recognition of the documents for travel and identification with their use as evidence of the right of abode. 

 

“There is clearly a difference between a passport as a proof of identity and travel document on the one hand, and a visa as a right of residency on the other,” he told HKFP. 

 

“The PRC and Hong Kong governments have withdrawn recognition of the BN(O) passport as a proof of identity and travel document, but it is a matter of fact, not recognition, that the BN(O) visa provides right of residency in the UK, something that any UK immigration lawyer would be able to confirm,” Webb said.

 

David Webb. Hong Kong-based governance activist David Webb.

 

However, he added that MPF providers were unlikely to break with the MPFA’s guidance until a scheme member successfully challenged a company’s decision in court.

 

HKFP asked three major MPF providers whether they had come under political pressure to deny BN(O) pension claims, as well as requesting them to detail their policy towards BN(O) holders, to explain whether they believed it was fair, and to outline how those clients could access their money. However, none gave a direct response. 

 

HSBC said that it follows MPFA requirements: “In the case of permanent departure, scheme members are required to provide evidence of the right of abode outside of Hong Kong,” the bank said in an emailed statement, without explaining why applicants with evidence of the right to reside in the UK were being rejected. 

 

Hong Kong International Airport Hongkongers bid farewell to friends and family at the city’s airport this week. File photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

 

Manulife said in a statement that it had been “following industry practices and regulatory requirements” for early withdrawal applicants and that it would follow the latest guidelines from the MPFA. AIA also said it would process early withdrawal applications “in accordance with the relevant regulation”

 

The MPFA did not answer questions about the fairness of its new regulation and whether it was politically motivated, referring HKFP back to its March announcement. It added that MPF providers must notify the MPFA of permanent departure claims, stating that this was necessary to check an application had not been made previously by the same person. 

 

Savings lost forever?

 

One recent émigré to the UK, who gave his name as Paul, said that Asia-Pacific insurance giant AIA had rejected his application to withdraw the HK$600,000 that he had spent 20 years saving into their MPF scheme even before the new MPFA rule was announced. 

 

Hong Kong International Airport People queuing to check in for a flight to London at Hong Kong International Airport. File photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

 

In his late 40s, Paul moved to Britain at the end of last year with his wife and two children. He was given Leave Outside the Rules (LOTR) by the UK authorities, allowing him to live and work in Britain as a BN(O) holder until he was able to apply for the new visa in January. He submitted his LOTR and a rental contract to AIA as evidence that he had the right to reside outside Hong Kong, but the company rejected his permanent departure claim. 

 

In a letter seen by HKFP, the insurer said that he had failed to provide documents that gave him “permission to reside permanently for an indefinite period in a place outside Hong Kong”, even though proof of indefinite right of abode is not a requirement for permanent departure applicants. 

 

Paul has since successfully gained a BN(O) visa but believes there is no point trying to make a new claim because he has heard about so many failed cases. 

 

AIA AIA’s offices in Hong Kong. Photo: AIA.

 

“I think the MPFA has been pressured by the government to make things difficult for people who flee to other countries. Companies like AIA and HSBC are just following the guidelines because they want to protect themselves — but at the end of the day that money belongs to scheme members,” he told HKFP.

 

“Having that money would have made a big difference to life here. It would have allowed some time to find work, but now our cashflow is not good and it’s very stressful,” he added.

 

Paul also fears that Hong Kong authorities and MPF providers will continue to move the goalposts to prevent BN(O) holders from withdrawing their pensions, even with full UK passports or when they reach 65, as China tightens its grip on the city.

 

“I don’t believe I will see that money again,” he said. 

 

Tom, Mary and Paul are pseudonyms requested by the interviewees.

 

 

https://hongkongfp.com/2021/07/04/banks-accused-of-beijing-backed-asset-grab-as-hongkongers-in-uk-denied-access-to-pension-savings/

 

A lot of these people have been customers of hsbc for perhaps their whole life, and they are rewarded for their loyalty by having their savings withheld (actually, stolen is perhaps the more appropriate term) due to the political diktat of the ccp and its puppet government in HK - all because the bank wants what they think is the big juicy piece of pork at the end of the ccp's outstretched chopsticks, and they can't be bothered to care about the customers who had given them their unconditional loyalty for decades, and perhaps had even helped them through some of the roughest economic times after the war in Asia.

Edited by 6of1_halfdozenofother
keep forgetting to include url to article
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  • 3 weeks later...

China National Security Law - authorities swoop in, arrest, 5 Hong Kong ... speech pathologists (not a typo)

Thu 22 Jul 2021 03:17:47 GMT

 

Yes, five Hong Kong speech pathologists were arrested by national security officers in a series of raids across the city just after daybreak.

South China Morning Post report that the five, leaders of the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists are accused of conspiring to incite hatred against the government, instigate others to violence.
 
 
Another HK media, The Standard adds:
  • Sources said those arrested are from the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapist, and the offending materials involve children's books.

 

**************************************

 

Would be funny if it weren't so sad.

 

 

Edited by nuckin_futz
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And on the day after the 2nd anniversary of the Yuen Long Station indiscriminate attack on commuters (with a large helping of police cowardice or police collusion, pick your poison), we have sentencing of the very small subset of those who participated in the indiscriminate attacks:

 

Spoiler
Quote

‘They had lost their minds’: Hong Kong court jails 7 men for 3.5 to 7 years over 2019 Yuen Long mob attacks

The charges the seven faced included rioting, wounding with intent and conspiracy to wound with intent.
 
Kelly-2-Copy-96x96.jpgby KELLY HO11:40, 22 JULY 2021
Print

Seven men have been sentenced to between three-and-a-half to seven years behind bars, after they were convicted of rioting and wounding during the Yuen Long mob attacks that left 45 people injured in July 2019.

Yuen Long attack sentence A supporter of the defendants holds a placard that reads: “Defend home and country, how is this a crime?” outside the District Court in Wan Chai on July 22, 2021. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

District Court Judge Eddie Yip on Thursday meted out prison terms to the defendants who were among over 100 rod-wielding men that stormed Yuen Long MTR station and attacked protesters, commuters, journalists and former legislator Lam Cheuk-ting on July 21, 2019.

The charges the seven faced included rioting, wounding with intent and conspiracy to wound with intent.

 
  • Wong Ying-kit received three years and six months in prison.
  • Lam Koon-leung received four years and eight months in prison.
  • Lam Kai-ming received four years and eight months in prison.
  • Tang Wai-sum received seven years in prison.
  • Ng Wai-nam received four years in prison.
  • Tang Ying-bun received three years and nine months in prison.
  • Choi Lap-ki received six years in prison.

All but Lam Koon-leung and Lam Kai-ming pleaded not guilty to their charges.

In handing down the sentences, Judge Eddie Yip said the use of violence in the metro station was “pre-mediated.” He said the commuters who were trapped inside the MTR carriage were put under a “false imprisonment,” adding that the assailants imposed “extrajudicial punishment” on the victims.

Yuen Long July 21, 2021 police Police dogs deployed on July 21, 2021. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

“D3 (Lam Koon-leung) and D4 (Lam Kai-ming) took turns to rush into the train compartments, waving the rods or throwing objects to attack the passengers therein indiscriminately, just as they had lost their minds,” Yip said.

 

Tang Wai-sum, who was handed the heaviest penalty among the group, was said to have played a “directing role.” He witnessed how other white-shirted people “persistently attacked” victims, even after some fell onto the ground.
 

Supporters gather at courthouse

 

Hong Kong marked the second anniversary of the incident on Wednesday, which saw a heavy police presence – with many officers wearing body armour and at least two police dogs deployed – around Yuen Long station. Only a handful of people showed up to remember the attacks.

 

Before the sentencing, several groups in support of the defendants chanted slogans and held placards outside the courthouse in Wan Chai. They backed the convicts and said they were only “defending their homes and country” and “Yuen Long people.” Some also put blame on ex-legislator Lam of the Democratic Party for allegedly stirring up conflicts on the day.

 

“Without Lam Cheuk-ting, Yuen Long would be peaceful,” some supporters chanted.

 

The incident was initially described as a “shocking” incident by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, while then-chief secretary Matthew Cheung called the perpetrators as “thugs.”

Yuen Long attack sentence Supporters of the Yuen Long attacks defendants outside the District Court on July 22, 2021.

But the official account changed over a year, as the police force – which faced accusations of colluding with the assailants and responding slowly – characterised the event as a “gang fight” between white-shirted men and others dressed in black.

 

Former lawmaker Lam, who was beaten up by white-clad attackers, was later arrested and charged for rioting in connection with the incident.

 

More to follow.

 

https://hongkongfp.com/2021/07/22/breaking-hong-kong-court-jails-7-men-for-3-5-to-7-years-over-2019-yuen-long-mob-attacks/

 

There was also a heavy police presence (and where were they 2 years ago?) at and around Yuen Long Station on the day of the anniversary.  I won't quote the article, because it's meant to be a pictorial article, so I'll just provide the URL:
https://hongkongfp.com/2021/07/22/in-pictures-heavy-police-presence-in-yuen-long-as-hong-kong-marks-two-years-since-mob-attacks/

 

It was reassuring to see people protest silently in their own way, memorializing the horrible event despite the police's attempt to stifle all dissent.

 

And, to refresh peoples' minds of what happened, here's an article from HKFP on the night that was.  Again, because it's a pictorial article, I'll just provide the URL:
https://hongkongfp.com/2019/07/22/just-chaos-bloodshed-hong-kong-district-hundreds-masked-men-assault-protesters-journalists-residents/

 

Of the 100+ attackers, all but 7 have escaped justice, it seems.  Or, perhaps the HK government has perverted the course of justice by providing safe harbour to them and refusing to prosecute them.  I'm leaning more towards the latter, given what has transpired in HK these last few years.

 

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9 hours ago, nuckin_futz said:

China National Security Law - authorities swoop in, arrest, 5 Hong Kong ... speech pathologists (not a typo)

Thu 22 Jul 2021 03:17:47 GMT

 

Yes, five Hong Kong speech pathologists were arrested by national security officers in a series of raids across the city just after daybreak.

South China Morning Post report that the five, leaders of the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists are accused of conspiring to incite hatred against the government, instigate others to violence.
 
 
Another HK media, The Standard adds:
  • Sources said those arrested are from the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapist, and the offending materials involve children's books.

 

**************************************

 

Would be funny if it weren't so sad.

 

 

Chinese government is very scary.  They will push a country to using nukes.  Just friggin’ nuts.  

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13 hours ago, nuckin_futz said:

China National Security Law - authorities swoop in, arrest, 5 Hong Kong ... speech pathologists (not a typo)

Thu 22 Jul 2021 03:17:47 GMT

 

Yes, five Hong Kong speech pathologists were arrested by national security officers in a series of raids across the city just after daybreak.

South China Morning Post report that the five, leaders of the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists are accused of conspiring to incite hatred against the government, instigate others to violence.
 
 
Another HK media, The Standard adds:
  • Sources said those arrested are from the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapist, and the offending materials involve children's books.

 

**************************************

 

Would be funny if it weren't so sad.

 

 

The article's title is actually misleading - on two fronts.  Mind you, this is SCMP we're talking about here, which is infused with ccp cash.

 

1. the nsl for China is a different set of considerations from the nsl they imposed on HK (yes, they're wiki links, I know - but it's the quickest way to demonstrate their differences); and

 

2. the 5 weren't arrested on either of the nsl's offenses, but rather via the Crimes Ordinance, aka. the criminal laws of HK, which are a different stream of judicial consciousness.

 

The only thing "nsl" about this is that the nsl division of the authorities did the arrests.

 

Further background on the arrests:

Quote

National security police arrest 5 Hong Kong trade union members for conspiracy to publish ‘seditious’ children’s books

The union had published a series of children's story books called "Sheep Village Guardian" to help parents and teachers teach five to eight year old children about "events in Hong Kong in 2019."
 
Rhoda-2-Copy-96x96.jpgby RHODA KWAN14:19, 22 JULY 2021
Print

Police from Hong Kong’s national security department have arrested five members of a trade union. The five, detained early on Thursday morning, are being held on suspicion of “conspiring to publish seditious publications” under section 10 of the Crimes Ordinance. 

 

The two men and three women, aged 25 to 28, are being held for further investigation, the force told HKFP.

 

National security law Photo: GovHK.

 

The five are members of The General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists, according to local media reports.

 
The department has also frozen around HK$160,000 of the union’s assets.

 

“They are suspected of conspiring to publish, distribute, display or replicate seditious publications between mid-last year and this year, with the intention to cause hatred, incite the use of violence and to not abide by the law among members of the public, especially in children, towards the SAR government and Hong Kong judiciary.” its statement read.

 

Sheep village story book

 

The union had published a series of children’s story books called “Sheep Village Guardian” to help parents and teachers teach five to eight year old children about “events in Hong Kong in 2019.” During that time, the city saw city-wide pro-democracy protests and unrest against a bill that would have allowed people to be extradited to China.

 

One story describes how a village of sheep resisted an invasion by wolves.

The police warned members of the public against publishing “seditious” material and to “not glorify violence.” It added that the operation was ongoing and did not rule out further arrests.

 

Hong Kong judiciary Court of Final Appeal Court of Final Appeal. File photo: GovHK.

 

People found guilty of violating section 10 of the Crimes Ordinance are liable to a fine of HK$5,000 and up to two years in prison.

https://hongkongfp.com/2021/07/22/national-security-police-arrest-5-hong-kong-trade-union-members-for-conspiracy-to-publish-seditious-material/

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7 hours ago, Alflives said:

Chinese government is very scary.  They will push a country to using nukes.  Just friggin’ nuts.  

A poor mans version of the USSR. 

 

They are even using similar tactics as the USSR like indebting countries or trying to cause political instability. 

 

The world will be a lot safer once the CCP are out of power; in the mean time we are screwed....

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