I am the girl whose eye got shot in Hong Kong

Access Archive

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Our word of the day is: “the girl whose eye got shot” — 被爆眼的女生 bèi bào yǎn de nǚshēng, or 爆眼女 bào yǎn nǚ for short.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief


1. I am the girl whose eye got shot in Hong Kong

RTHK reports on one of the more powerful human symbols of the Hong Kong protest movement:

Police on Thursday said they are seeking a court warrant to get the medical records of a young woman who suffered a serious eye injury during protest clashes in Tsim Sha Tsui earlier this month. 

The police have been accused of shooting her with a bean bag round, but the force says it is still not clear what actually happened. Some have suggested that the injury may have been caused by a projectile thrown or fired by protesters…

Meanwhile, the woman has spoken for the first time since she was injured on August 11, [giving] a speech in a video clip which was played at a press conference held by a group of anti-government protesters. 

The woman’s right eye was covered with gauze, and she was wearing a pair of sunglasses and a mask. In the four-minutes of footage — said to have been recorded on August 26 — the woman called on the police “to stop all violent acts”. 

Context: ’An eye for an eye’: Hong Kong protests get figurehead in woman injured by police in the Guardian. Other news from and of Hong Kong:

“China’s military has rotated a new batch of troops into Hong Kong describing the move as routine, state media said on Thursday, as protests against Beijing continue to rock the Asian financial hub,” reports Reuters, adding that “Asian and Western diplomats in Hong Kong…will be looking closely for any sign of increased numbers or unusual activity.”

When asked directly if additional troops had deployed in Hong Kong at a press conference, a Ministry of Defense spokesperson ducked the question, saying only “This year’s rotation is a routine arrangement.” (Chinese transcript is here.) 

“A Hong Kong policeman filmed pointing a shotgun at protesters who attacked him a month ago is among officers invited to attend a grand celebration for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China,” reports the South China Morning Post

“Activist Max Chung was assaulted by four men after leaving Tai Po Police Station on Thursday, shortly after he was granted unconditional release by police,” per Hong Kong Free Press. “Chung [鍾健平 Zhōng Jiànpíng] was walking along Tai Wo Road when four men ‘attacked him with metal rods and umbrellas,’ according to Truth Media Hong Kong.”

The corporate squeeze on staff continues: “Cathay Pacific Airways has reminded its staff about its policy to speak up and act as ‘whistle-blowers’ as a climate of fear grows among the airline’s employees about possible reprisals for their activities on social media,” says the South China Morning Post.

“Hong Kong police have banned both a rally and a march organised by the Civil Human Rights Front planned for Saturday, according to the group’s convener Jimmy Sham [岑子杰 Cén Zijié],” reports the Hong Kong Free Press. “It marked the first time that an entire event organised by the pro-democracy coalition has been prohibited owing to concerns over public order.”

2. A grand military parade for October 1

Beijingers: Get ready for traffic disruptions, heightened security checks, temporary bans on outdoor dining, and all the other delightful inconveniences that come with a big event in the capital. Today state media announced (in English and Chinese):

Chinese President  Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 will attend a grand gathering to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, will deliver an important speech at the event…

A military parade and mass pageantry will be held following the gathering…At a grand evening gala in Tiananmen Square on National Day, Party and state leaders will join the public to watch performances and a fireworks show.

This event adds urgent pressure to the People’s Leader (人民领袖 rénmín lǐngxiù) — as Xi has recently begun more frequently calling himself (in Chinese), including in a front-page spread on the August 25 People’s Daily (in Chinese) — to resolve the situation in Hong Kong. 

See Nikkei Asian Review (porous paywall) for more on Xi’s use of “People’s Leader,” an honorific previously used only in China by Mao. See also SupChina roundup of news from September 2017, when in the lead-up to the 19th Party Congress Xi was frequently called “lingxiu” in state media (but not specifically in the People’s Daily).

3. The trade war toddler tantrum 

Parent with toddlers may recognize the moment: when there is nothing to be done about a temper tantrum or a fit of crying, except to wait it out while making the occasional reassuring noise. At this phase of a toddler’s emotional outburst, neither the threat of punishment, nor loud screaming, nor even being nice and offering hugs and ice cream will work. You just got to wait. Eventually the little beast will become human again. 

The Chinese government seems to have resigned itself to a similar situation with regards to Trump’s trade war, on day 420. Here’s the latest:

“China indicated that it wouldn’t immediately retaliate against the latest U.S. tariff increase announced by President Donald Trump last week, emphasizing the need to discuss ways to deescalate the trade war between the world’s two largest economies,” reports Bloomberg (porous paywall).

“China has ample means for retaliation, but thinks the question that should be discussed now is about removing the new tariffs to prevent escalation of the trade war,” Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gāo Fēng 高峰 told reporters in Beijing on Thursday. 

“The most important thing at the moment is to create necessary conditions for both sides to continue negotiations,” said Gao, “adding that China was lodging ‘solemn representation’ with the United States” about the latest round of tariffs, according to Reuters

Here’s another possible toddler move from Trump that the Chinese government is sure to ignore. A group of Americans own Hukuang Railway bonds, which were sold in 1911 to help fund construction of a rail line stretching from Hangzhou to Sichuan. The government of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) issued the bonds, just before it collapsed, rendering the bonds worthless. Bloomberg reports:

Now, with Trump ratcheting up the trade rhetoric with China, holders of the antiquarian bonds are hoping he’ll press their case, even as other parts of the U.S. government are accusing people of fraudulently selling the same paper.

“With President Trump, it’s a whole new ballgame,” says Jonna Bianco, a Tennessee cattle rancher who leads a group representing pre-revolutionary China bondholders and who has met with the president. “He’s an ‘America First’ person. God bless him.”

A voice of moderation in the Wall Street Journal: Has America’s China backlash gone too far? (paywall) asks economy columnist Greg Ip: 

Yet if the pendulum swung too far toward accommodating China in the past, it may be rebounding too far toward confrontation now. That’s what I gleaned from speaking with several establishment figures with decades of combined experience on China.

“We have a China attitude, not a China policy,” says Henry Paulson who, as Treasury secretary under Mr. Bush, dealt with China intensively and has recently become more critical. “You have Homeland Security, the FBI, CIA, the Defense Department, treating China as the enemy and members of Congress competing to see who can be the most belligerent China hawk. No one is leaning against the wind, providing balance, asking what can we realistically do that has some chance of getting results that won’t be harmful to our economic and national-security interests in the long term?”

American companies ♥️ Chinese consumers: Bloomberg reports (porous paywall):

With fewer Chinese tourists visiting the U.S., Tiffany & Co. moved some of its most expensive jewelry to its Beijing and Shanghai stores last quarter, selling limited quantities of special Tiffany Keys diamond pendants and Tiffany Love Bugs. The New York-based retailer is also upgrading all three greater China flagships, including Hong Kong.

Ford Motor Co., which expects China to become the biggest market for its Lincolns in the next few years, has said it eventually plans to build locally most of the vehicles it sells in the country under that brand, avoiding tariffs. Tesla Inc. is focused on getting its plant in Shanghai running by the end of the year. 

“China is studying technology companies’ reliance on American suppliers,” says the Wall Street Journal (paywall), and “plans to release ‘in the near future’ an ‘unreliable-entity list’ of foreign businesses and individuals that would face restrictions in their dealings with Chinese counterparts.”

—Jeremy Goldkorn


BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:

The new 5G-capable Mate 30 is Huawei’s first flagship handset launch since the U.S. government placed it on a trade blacklist in May. The new smartphone will not feature HarmonyOS, Huawei’s self-developed mobile operating system, signaling that the world’s second-largest smartphone maker is not yet ready to break with Google.

Tencent has shelved plans to invest about $150 million to lead a fresh fundraising round for a Chinese education firm VIPKid, two people familiar with the matter said, as Beijing moved to tighten oversight of online education platforms.

China’s tax revenue is expected to fall this year for the first time since 1968 — when 毛泽东 Máo Zédōng’s Cultural Revolution gripped the land.

A large-scale 2 trillion yuan ($280 billion) tax cut announced by Premier Li Keqiang at the National People’s Congress in March has significantly eroded the government’s income. Furthermore, the slowdown in the Chinese economy has led to slower growth in corporate tax and real estate tax revenues.

  • Smart bus trial in Shanghai
    DeepBlue Tech lands Shanghai’s first connected bus license, plans road tests / Yicai
    DeepBlue Technology plans to start road testing its Smart Panda Bus after landing Shanghai’s first official permit to do trial connected buses.”

  • Understanding Social Credit for companies
    Social Credit joint-enforcement MOU breakdown / China Law Translate
    Both individuals and companies alike will have to heed China’s new Social Credit System, and specifically its “blacklist.” China Law Translate provides this self-described “comprehensive, interactive, and understandable guide” to the system’s punishment mechanism.

  • Ideology and tech
    China’s long march to technological supremacy / Foreign Affairs (paywall)
    China’s rapid technological advance in recent years “reflects a drive that dates to the origins of the People’s Republic,” argues Julian Baird Gewirtz. “In the minds of China’s leaders, from Máo Zédōng 毛泽东 to Xí Jìnpíng 习近平, technological progress is not only a means to economic and military prowess but also an ideological end in itself — offering final proof of China’s restoration as a great power.”

SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT: 

China, which is not a polar country, has launched aggressive Arctic diplomacy and gained non-voting observer status for itself at the Arctic Council, the international forum that addresses policy in the Arctic. Last year, China issued its first arctic policy. 

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s much-touted meeting with Chinese leader Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 does not appear to have yielded an agreement on the South China Sea territorial dispute between the two nations or a plan to explore the area for oil and gas.

Instead, Xi said China and the Philippines should aim to conclude talks on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea by 2021 or earlier, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reports in a Weibo post.

The Trump administration has stepped up its efforts to track tankers linked to China’s biggest state-run oil company in response to signs that the vessels are helping to transport Iranian crude in defiance of US sanctions against Tehran.

“They are hiding their activity,” Samir Madani, the co-founder of TankerTrackers.com, told the New York Times in July. “They don’t want to broadcast the fact that they have been in Iran, evading sanctions. It’s that simple.”

  • Canada deports activist to China
    Canada deports Chinese activist Yang Wei over knife crimes / BBC
    Canada on Wednesday deported activist Yáng Wěi 楊偉 to China, after he committed a series of violent acts with a knife. Yang’s activism began as a teenager in 1989. After a spell behind bars, he fled to Canada in 1999. Supporters “said his behaviour was the result of mental health problems.” One former diplomat told the New York Times (porous paywall) that “Yang faced a certain return to prison then ‘brutality and solitary confinement.’”

  • Beijing condemns nomination of Uyghur economist for human rights award
    China says Uyghur award nomination is ‘supporting terrorism’ / AFP via Straits Times
    Economics professor Ilham Tohti — currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of “separatism” — “is one of three nominees for the 2019 Vaclav Havel prize, along with Tajik human rights lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov and a youth group promoting post-war reconciliation in the Balkans.” China has called his nomination tantamount to “supporting terrorism.”

  • Chinese media in Africa falling on deaf ears?
    China’s media presence in Africa is growing fast. Is its influence growing at the same pace? / Asia Dialogue
    Dr Dani Madrid-Morales writes:

Throughout the Cold War, the US and its allies as well as Beijing all contributed to creating a narrative that inflated the actual extent of China’s propaganda influence in those parts of Africa where it had an extensive presence. Today, however, declassified records from that period indicate that despite Beijing’s intense efforts to exert influence, its message often fell on deaf ears, which might well be the case now.

Japan is considering lowering the 10 percent ownership threshold at which foreigners are required to report a stake in domestic companies, two officials said, as Tokyo looks to better monitor potential Chinese investment in areas related to security.

SOCIETY AND CULTURE:

Eileen Gu — also known by her Chinese name, Gǔ Àilíng 谷爱凌 — has won two gold medals for China at the Australian New Zealand Cup, currently being held on New Zealand’s South Island. The 15-year-old phenom earned her first gold as a Chinese athlete on Aug. 15 in the women’s slopestyle event and clinched her latest win Wednesday in the women’s freeski halfpipe.

Gu’s success comes just two months after she became a Chinese citizen in early June. Previously, she had competed for the United States…

Gu is not the first professional athlete to become a naturalized Chinese citizen. Last September, 17-year-old U.S.-born figure skater Beverly Zhu enrolled in China’s national figure skating program, hoping to compete for the country at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. And in May, British-born soccer player Nico Yennaris became the first naturalized Chinese citizen to be given a roster spot on the country’s national squad.

As newcomers to the U.S., the women have struggled in navigating a whole new social and political system as well as many personal barriers to overcome: language, visas, finances, just to name a few.

Despite this, both women described themselves as committed to the cause for the long haul. What drives their work, they say, is an unparalleled sense of fulfillment when they feel their impact on their country. “It’s not about personal livelihood,” Lǚ Pín 吕频 says. “I am a nobody, but in a hard environment like China, the power I have might be greater than you’d imagine.”

“In America, we’re just getting started,” says Lü, “I have to be less impatient.”


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