We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Security against what?

“China proposes controversial Hong Kong security law”, reports the BBC:

China is proposing to introduce a new security law in Hong Kong that could ban sedition, secession and subversion.

And:

Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, which provides the territory certain freedoms not available on the mainland, does require its government to bring in a security law. It had tried to enact the so-called “sedition law” in 2003 but more than 500,000 people took to the streets and it was dropped.

I would have welcomed more information on this mysterious clause in the Basic Law that requires Hong Kong’s government “to bring in a security law”. On what timescale? Who is the judge as to whether a security law does or does not meet this mysterious requirement? Oh yes, and SECURITY FROM WHAT?

But that paragraph was a model of robust independent reporting compared to this one:

A mainland source told the South China Morning Post that Beijing had decided Hong Kong would not be able to pass its own security law and the NPC would have to take the responsibility.

That makes it sound as if Hong Kong’s parliamentarians were not clever enough to pass this law, or that they were dodging the “responsibility” of passing it the way a negligent father might dodge his maintenance payments. To be charitable, these are the words of a “mainland source”, that is, a man whose tongue is operated from a distance by a controller with a joystick, but why does the British Broadcasting Corporation let pass without challenge the Orwellian language of the Chinese Communist Party? We do not have to do that. We are not in the EU any more.

The lasting impact of Wuhan coronavirus will be geopolitical

The report findings come as a group of Conservative MPs in the UK have written to the Trade Secretary to say that they plan to amend the Trade Bill currently before Parliament to legally require the Government to reduce strategic dependency on China. The letter — which cites the HJS report — is signed by 21 MPs including David Davis, Iain Duncan Smith, and Owen Paterson.

Click the link, read the report, interesting stuff.

Wuhan coronavirus, in terms of foreign political fallout for the Chinese Communist Party globally, is like Chernobyl was for the Soviet Communist Party, but multiplied by twenty.

Samizdata quote of the day

Taiwan is not a Chinese province, you bat-eating, dog-beating, grave-robbing, ethnic cleansing, police state cockwomble of a stolen Nazi uniform.

Mike Fagan

Samizdata quote of the day

“China knows it is in a strategic battle with the West; it is time we realised this basic fact, too. Using their comparative advantage of getting through the virus first, Beijing is pursuing its geostrategic interests via ‘mask diplomacy’, soft power, trying to change the basic narrative by offering hard-hit countries medical supplies, both as a showy humanitarian gesture and as a sign of their system’s supposed superiority. Leaving aside that these supplies must be paid for and some are defective, the whole exercise feels like an arsonist expecting gratitude for providing their victim with a watering can.”

John C Hulsman

Nigel Farage says ‘Say No to House Arrest’ – and a perspective on Red China

A video blog from Nigel, asking questions in his usual style about the lockdown and what it is for, police behaviour, and posing some questions about the UK’s relations with China. Then a China Uncensored video giving a view on the Red China ‘cure’ for coronavirus. He also has a good word for Stephen Kinnock going to see his Dad on his Old Man’s birthday.

A British politician calling for liberty, there is one.

And from China Uncensored, (a Taiwanese-backed channel I believe), a contrast on the American media’s soft touch on China with what has been going on.

Samizdata quote of the day

Resistance to sending bad news up the chain is typical of any authoritarian regime.

Stephen Green

Who is Dr. Li Wenliang?

Seen on a wall in Prague earlier today. Powerful, because most of us do indeed know who Dr. Li Wenliang is, or rather… was.

Samizdata quote of the day

The Chinese regime has a deadly calculus put before it, weighing up between suppressing numbers to save face or stopping the epidemic and potentially more deaths. A public choice theory disaster played to the extremes.

It would be nice to say, “well let’s wait and see how they manage it” as many reporters say. But if we still do not know the whole story about how the government managed SARS there’s no guarantee we will know how they managed this epidemic. Worse still, if another epidemic arrives down the line then we will not be anywhere closer to learning from past mistakes.

It would be nice to counter the propaganda videos circulating with facts about how well the government is managing the crisis but sadly this is not possible. All this proves to demonstrate the risks of a state that plays by its own rules, and is unaccountable to the very people it is supposed to serve.

Charles Paice

Li’s anti-government behaviour

Austin Bay at Instapundit:

Li’s anti-government behavior was using a private internet chat group to tell a handful of doctors and medical students that he was seeing signs of a viral epidemic.

Rather than listening to the message and taking immediate action, the government of China instead spent crucial days suppressing that message and punishing the messenger. Dr Li Wenliang and seven other doctors were arrested for spreading rumours, rumours which turned out to be accurate observations. Li has since died of the very disease that he noticed starting to spread.

China: Don’t just get mad, get even.

What, if anything, should we be doing about Huawei?

There is a kerfuffle here in the UK over 5G. I can’t in all honesty say that I have the slightest idea what 5G is but I surmise that it is one better than 4G. The issue is around whether the Chinese company, Huawei, should be allowed to supply some of the equipment. Lots of people, including James Delingpole say, “no”. And very few people say, “yes”.

The first question that springs to (my) mind is, what has this got to do with the government? Which I suppose is bound up with the question of what is the threat? Assuming that there is a threat and that government should be “doing something about it”, what is that something?

About the only thing I know about China and telephony is that you should never take your phone to China.

Oh, and one other thing. Guido Fawkes observed that the real scandal is that Chinese technology should prove to be better than western technology. Is this true and is it a portent?

Samizdata quote of the day

Wearing face masks in public is presently illegal in Hong Kong and compulsory in Wuhan

Michael Jennings

The rewards of compliance

The headline you see when you click on this BBC new story is “Macau: China’s other ‘one country, two systems’ region”, but the headline on the BBC front page that takes you to the story is “HK’s model neighbour that stays loyal to China”.

The rest of the story follows that line.

We hear that Macau has the third highest per capita GDP in the world and that China “has expanded its economy phenomenally”. The government hands out cash to residents “as part of a wealth-sharing programme”. A lady called Mrs Lam – not that Mrs Lam – says of Macau’s relations with China, “We understand the boundaries quite well” and “there has been a big focus on improving the region’s economy as well as its education system”. Even the democracy activist found by the BBC says, when reference is made to the Hong Kong protests, “This dissent does not exist in Macau.”

President Xi Jinping of China is quoted as saying, “I wish to stress that the handling of [Hong Kong and Macau] affairs is strictly China’s internal matter, there is no need for any external force to dictate things to us.”

The article reads as if Mr Xi dictated it to the BBC.