join us in hong kong

Tomorrow evening I’ll be talking about Shen Kong at HKU’s Shun Hing College. Please join us. The talk is free, but we ask that folks register at  http://www.shunhingcollege.hku.hk/event/the-hong-kong-shenzhen-connection-lessons-challenges-and-outlook/.

 

cui bono at the border?

Joshua Bolchover and Peter Hasdell edited Border Ecologies, a wonderful foray along the Shen-Kong suture.  Contributing to the volume was pleasurable not only for the useful and considered editorial feedback, but also because I had a chance to work with Viola WAN Yan, a thoughtful and diligent young scholar. Please read our chapter, Shen Kong: Cui_Bono?

changling village: spring festival traditions

Tonight, I was one of roughly 2,000 people who welcomed spring in Changling Village (长岭村) by eating pencai together. Like a wedding banquet, a pencai banquet constitutes society table by table. The hosts were the 40-odd families who belong to the village, and their guests came from the Hong Kong side of the family, affines from neighboring villages, friends, street office officials, and representatives from the developer who aims to transform Changling into high end real estate on the Shenzhen River.  Continue reading

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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深港通: it’s not a bus pass

Three days ago, Premier Li Keqiang announced that 2015 was the year in which the yuan could be freely traded within an experimental area in Shenzhen. This Two Meetings (两会) announcement followed his January trip to Shenzhen, when he stated that the Central Government (中央) required three things from Shenzhen:

1) to continue to cultivate the fields of experimentation (继续种好国家改革开放的试验田);

2) to lay the road of creative development (打造创新发展的道路);

3) to become a model of a city that can accommodate development (成为包容发展的示范城市). Continue reading

shen kong: flies, ants, termites, and locusts

In January 2014, anti-Mainland sentiment in Hong Kong resulted in protests calling for the “locusts” of Mainland smugglers to leave the territory and for border controls to be tightened against them. The expression “locusts” appeared again in a 2015 description of Mainland students studying at Hong Kong universities and “stealing jobs” from locals. A week ago, there was another burst of anger against “locusts”, this time against the small time parallel traders (“water guests or 水客“) who purchase goods in Hong Kong for resale in Shenzhen and other Mainland areas. In turn, pro-Mainland blogs have argued that “local termites harm Hong Kong more than locusts do (本土白蚁比蝗虫更损香港)”. Continue reading

shen kong: hoodlum governments

The price of a night of sanctioned thuggery: image

This post from the anti-Occupy Central Blue Ribbon Organization offers HK$ 200 to meet up in Mong Kok and Causeway Bay and HK$ 300 to meet up in Admiralty. Also on offer are HK$ 500 bonus to dismantle supply stations and HK$ 1,000 to create chaos, which presumably means “incite students to violence so police can justify retaliation”. To receive payment, there must be documented proof. Those interested in the job can call Mr. Li at the listed number.

The scale of the October 2 attacks indicate that the thuggery was not only organized, but also condoned by the Hong Kong police. Indeed, tweets, Facebook posts and next day news reports agree that Hong Kong police watched while thugs attacked students. In response, the students held their positions even as leaders urged the to leave the site and keep safe.

The government’s decision to partner up with thugs rather than meet with students to discuss their concerns reveals how unrepresentative the administration is, demonstrating an ugly lack of good faith. More generally, the decision also reveals the foundational violence of states–in choosing not to protect students from thugs, the police reminded everyone that they have the authority to both oppose and sanction violence against unarmed citizens.

In Shenzhen, the ongoing news blackout about Hong Kong protests does more than create an ignorant populace (愚民政府). The Shenzhen news blackout serves the same purpose as Hong Kong police complicity with thugs. The blackout reminds the public (who in fact know about the protests and in general support the students) that the government has unequal access to weapons (informational, economic and military).

In Shenzhen it doesn’t matter what we know to be true because the official account has been set through the blackout–nothing is happening. After all, not just the specter of Tiananmen haunts us. We also know that this show of media dominance is a statement of intent: a government that is willing to suppress information is also willing to use violence to secure its goals. Thus, although we know the official story is a deliberate lie, we do not break it, becoming complicit in the lies and violence against the Hong Kong students, even though we are also being attacked. And thus talk of support protests is effectively stymied.

The logic of informational violence is clear: Shenzhen people know about the protests, but accept the news blackout as inevitable. This acceptance is a demonstration of government power. The blackout is a deployment of informational violence against the people because it indicates that the government is willing to deploy weapons to insure compliance.

Indeed, in Shenzhen as in Hong Kong, the government is acting to isolate people from each other, creating vulnerable individuals and ultimately creating targets. As Beijing lawyer activist Bao Tong (鲍彤) pointedly asks in an opinion piece circulating on We Chat, “who exactly is responsible for blocking peaceful resolution of the universal suffrage question?”

Meanwhile, on October 1, Anonymous, a group of hacker-activists declared virtual war on the Hong Kong government, including the very scary threat to post private information of functionaries.