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children covered in garbage

Yesterday I participated in the 蓝海生态艺术巡游 (Make Our Seas Come BLUE) parade, which was organized by CULTaMAP‘s indomitable Tracy Lee. We marched from Statue Square to the Hong Kong Maritime Museum via Victoria Harbor. The march culminated a cross-border Hong Kong-Shenzhen pedagogical collaboration to draw attention to garbage in the oceans, children’s ability to speak to issues that will shape their future possibilities, and the responsibilities of their adults to facilitate uncomfortable conversations in safe environments. Continue reading

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one tradition, two villages

The entrance to Changling Village (长岭村) is located on the southern side of Luosha Road at the foot of Wutong Mountain. Before the construction of the Binhai Expressway (1999) and the opening of the East Coast Highway (2008) made traveling across Shenzhen commonplace, Changling marked the practical eastern edge of the early Special Zone. Today, however, Changling is conveniently located on the J1 bus route which connects Seaworld at the southern tip of the Nantou Peninsula to Dameisha on the eastern edge of the Dapeng Peninsula. The entire trip takes 90 minutes without traffic, but usually takes over two hours. Indeed, the J1 route traverses the entire Shenzhen-Hong Kong border, and its constituent roads—Houhai Road, Binhai Expressway, Binhe Road, Luosha Road, and Huishen Coastal Express—literally name the waterways and migrations that once shaped the area: Backwaters, Oceanside, Riverside, Luohu to Shatoujiao, Huizhou to Shenzhen. Continue reading

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luohu trivia

Stumbled across a bit of Luohu trivia that suggests that cross border licentiousness has been promoted on both sides of the border as a means of generating profit. According to the Industrial History of Hong Kong Group,

The opening of the “Shum Chun Casino” in 1931, provided one of the only new areas of passenger growth [for the Kowloon-Canton Railway]. By 1934 passengers visiting the casino were a major portion of the cross border revenue until its closure on 1st September 1936. The impact of the casino’s closure was such that there was a shortfall in the last four months of the year at round 30% of the net operating revenue.

 

Communist banks in liberal Hong Kong

Damian Tobin of SOAS has a new article at the JCA website. “Continuity and Pragmatism: How Chinese State-Owned Banks adapted to Hong Kong’s Free Market (1949–1978)” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2015.1123283), examines the puzzle of how China’s post-1978 economic reforms saw its enterprises quickly adapted to the new capitalist business environment. Continue reading

shen kong: the different faces of state capitalism

A recent article from the Epoch Times asserts that Shenzhen has surpassed Hong Kong in competitiveness because of the way Beijing has intervened in the economies of the two cities. Indeed, the establishment of the Qianhai Free Trade Zone speaks to the continued transfer of international economic functions from Hong Kong to Shenzhen through the deployment of “special” policies. This is, in fact, a solution to the one country-two systems policy that–for years–many foreign commentators ignored, when it was thought would Shenzhen become more like Hong Kong? Well, it has. And inquiring minds want to know: cui bono?

From the Epoch Times article: For the first time in a decade, Hong Kong no longer tops the list of competitive cities in China, and its due to the stifling hand of the Chinese regime, commentators note.

According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ recently released Blue Book on Urban Competitiveness—a survey of 294 China cities, Taiwan included—Hong Kong now ranks number two, falling behind its neighbor just across the border in mainland China, the metropolis Shenzhen.

The survey report claims Shenzhen topped Hong Kong, a bustling international financial hub and former British colony, because the mainland city better backed innovation—in 2014, Shenzhen government spent 4.05 percent of its gross domestic production supporting its innovation and technology sector compared to Hong Kong’s 0.73 percent.

The report also said Hong Kong’s standing was affected by last year’s student-led Occupy protests. From the end of September to mid December, hundreds of thousands of Hongkongers held three areas of the city to protest a restrictive Beijing diktat on political reform in Hong Kong (more).

Hong Kong and Mainland China to Partly Open Markets for Investment Funds

How will you celebrate the 18th Anniversary of the Handover / Return of Hong Kong to Chinese Sovereignty? This July 1, 2015, China will launch the “mutual fund recognition framework” which will allow international assets managers to sell their Hong Kong registered fund products to Mainland investors. How’s that for a celebratory mouthful of globalization?

Peace and Freedom

By Josh Noble in Hong Kong
Financial Times (FT)

CHINA, FUYANG : Chinese stock investors gather at a securities firm in Fuyang, in China's Anhui province on January 7, 2015. China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.67 percent, or 22.50 points, to 3,373.95 -- the highest finish since August 2009 -- on turnover of 436.4 billion yuan (71.2 billion USD). CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO©AFP

Beijing has taken a further step in opening up its financial markets with the launch of a fund recognition scheme giving global asset managers greater access to Chinese investors.

The long-awaited mutual fund recognition framework, announced on Friday evening, will allow international asset managers to sell their Hong Kong-registered fund products directly to Chinese investors for the first time. To be eligible, funds must have a track record of more than one year and assets under management of at least Rmb200m ($32m).

The programme will launch on July 1, according to a joint statement from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission and the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

Ashley Alder, head of the SFC, said the agreement was a “major breakthrough” in terms of mutual market access between China and Hong Kong.

Fund recognition is the latest step in opening China’s…

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just what aren’t we seeing?

Currently circulating on WeChat news that apparently on May 20, 2015 China blocked Chinese Wikipedia, begging question du jour: just what triggered the block? (This is a serious question, if you know, please share). To date, 16 of the top 30 English language websites have been blocked.  Continue reading