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Top 10 Terms Used By Chinese Media In 2014

Posted: 12/22/2014 10:00 am

rule of law2014 was the year that gave us My Little Apple, death cults, yet another incarnation of the Monkey King, the World Cup, and an airline that vanished out of thin air. But which one ranks as the most popular among Chinese media and the Internet?

As reported by China Daily, here’s another year-end list ranking the most frequently used words by the Chinese media in 2014:

  1. rule of law
  2. loss of communication
  3. Beijing APEC
  4. Ebola
  5. One Belt, One Road (referring to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21 Century Maritime Silk Road)
  6. Brazil World Cup
  7. Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Exchange connection program
  8. Occupy Central
  9. National Memorial Day
  10. Chang’E 5

The report also included the most frequently searched terms by Chinese internet users. The top domestic search term was “anti-corruption”, while the most popular international search term was “Malaysian Airlines”.

Photos: China Daily, Baidu


“Western Banker” Writes Hilarious, Self-Important Letter to Occupy Students

Posted: 11/9/2014 1:09 pm

Welcome to the debut post from The China Curmudgeon.

Dear students,

After occupying large parts of central Hong Kong, you have made your voice heard and made your point. Now it is time to go home, so that the Central Government and wealthy people like myself can go back to ignoring you and the problems you are drawing attention to.

I walked through the Admiralty protest zone yesterday on the way to a lunch meeting. I did not do this to take a selfie, like many tourists do. I did it so that when I talk about Occupy at dinner parties with other members of the elite, I can say that I’ve visited the protests. I feel it adds weight to my argument. And it only took about 15 minutes to do because I didn’t stop to actually engage with any protesters or try to understand their motivations.

So students, I hope you will take my advice, as someone who has been to the protest area and lived in Hong Kong for years. It is really time to tear down the blockades in Admiralty and Mong Kok. There are other more effective ways you can work to influence the direction of Hong Kong. I don’t know what they are, but when I say “other more effective ways” I’m really just hoping to leave it at that.

Is blocking people from coming and going to work democracy? No, it is not. True democracy is the freedom for me to make money, and for you to not elect your leaders.

Many Hong Kong people oppose Occupy Central. The ongoing protests and blockades are affecting countless lives in Hong Kong. Never mind that even the government says that Hong Kong’s economy has not been negatively impacted, and tourism has increased over the same period last year. The whole thing has impacted my life and my rights, and the lives and rights of many others, for two basic reasons:

1. Sometimes it takes me longer to commute.

2. Sometimes it forces me to think about issues I don’t want to think about.

Let’s talk about the second reason. As a Western businessman living in Hong Kong, I do not care if the people of Hong Kong can elect their leaders or not. If the Mainland destroys Hong Kong’s unique identity, I don’t really care either. If the Central Government ends freedom of the press, censors the Internet, and makes Hong Kong start to resemble the polluted hellscape that is Mainland China, then I will just leave. I know that millions of Hong Kong citizens can’t just leave, but that’s life. (Your life, not mine.)

It’s time to recognize that democracies around the world all function differently. Hong Kong is no different. In selecting the Chief Executive, real elections will be held. Students are hoping for direct elections, but the Central Government has announced there will instead be bullshit elections. This might not be the kind of democracy the people of Hong Kong want, but it is still democracy if you consider democracy to be just a word with no meaning. For the record, Hong Kong is democratic. But as in every democratic society, this comes with unique characteristics. What’s special about Hong Kong’s democracy is that a violently repressive government holds veto power over it.

You might consider me insensitive, or even an asshole. But such name-calling misses the point. The point is that you should go home because it’s taking me longer to commute, and I don’t like to think about the issues your actions are making me think about.

Thank you.


Pro-Beijing HK Newspaper: “None of Hong Kong’s Business Groups Support Occupy Central”

Posted: 11/5/2014 10:00 am

A Chow Tai Fook jewellery shop on Nathan Road in Mongkok

Although Hong Kong tycoons are reluctant to voice their opinions about the ongoing Occupy Central that erupted in the city more than a month ago, according to an opinion poll conducted by the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Business Daily, and reported by Xinhua,  close to 600 business groups in the city oppose the protests. 

Among the 600 questionnaires distributed to the city’s major business groups, 57.81 percent of the 563 respondents said they “strongly oppose” the protests, while 40.53 percent said they “oppose” the protests.  The remaining 1.6 percent responded “neutral”, with not one respondent expressing support.

Not surprisingly, more than 95 percent of the business groups polled said the protests are disorderly, while almost 98 percent said the protests are disrupting Hong Kong’s economy.

The results are a stark contrast to the recent poll conducted by Hong Kong University’s Public Opinion Programme, which revealed the Hong Kong Federation of Students, a leading force behind Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, has become more popular than any of the city’s 12 major political parties, sporting a support rating of 47.1 percent, the SCMP reported.

The Liberal Party’s popularity also increased after its former leader, James Tien Pun-chun, was stripped of his seat on the nation’s top advisory body, the CPPCC, last month for criticising CY Leung.

In an interview with three international newspapers, Leung said universal suffrage would give the city’s poor more say in Hong Kong’s policies, a group comprising a significant percentage of the city’s population.

Photos: CHRIS STOWERS — McClatchy


Lots of Crying and Complaining: How Occupy Protests are Covered in China

Posted: 10/23/2014 9:00 am
hk occupy central talks

The student leaders are seen to the left. There should be five of them if you count.

The Occupy protests in Hong Kong have been well-covered by Mainland media, although the coverage is obviously been selective. That means people Mainland still aren’t clear about who is protesting, or why.

One way to know would have been be to watch the televised discussion two nights ago that featured the movement’s student leaders and the Hong Kong government. As it were, and as expected, mainland news media covered the talks but didn’t quote the students a single time, or even give their names.

hk occupy central talks

But the Occupy movement does have a face on the mainland news: an unhappy and disgruntled one. Stories regularly highlight how the “average Hong Kong resident” is upset with the protests and want them to end. Mainland TV coverage has focused upon the people impacted by the demonstrations — people who tend to speak in Putonghua, a language not normally used in Hong Kong (at least not well).

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralIn one video (below), Miss Zhang said the Occupy protesters had destabilized the city:

We need to work and live
Children need to go to school
You’ve made it so that children can’t even go to school
Working is not convenient
There are even some places where stores have closed
Having closed, many workers aren’t able to go to work
If they can’t work, they can’t make a salary
What do you say? (Does Occupy Central) have a big impact?

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralMrs Yu complains that her rights have been infringed upon:

The situation for my daughter have become like this
When my daughter goes to school, there aren’t any teachers there to teach her
She is the only one sitting in the classroom
When she returns (home), she is very, very sad
This has stripped us of our rights

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralAnd then we have Eric, a long-time resident of Hong Kong who represents the laowai:

Most of the people I know in Hong Kong do not like what is going on
They want a peaceful Hong Kong, with gradual progress like we have been having, stability, harmony… that’s what we want

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralEric then reads from a book:

Hold(ing) HK hostage is not peaceful
Block(ing the) streets is not democracy
obstruction is violence (in law, in fact)
Blame(ing) police for their violence is hypocracy, because they are the ones causing the problem.

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralThis woman is one of the few Hong Kong residents caught on camera speaking in Cantonese. Here she is arguing with a person who is not seen or heard:

Nothing you do has any use
Is this for the benefit of Hong Kong residents? No!
It’s just become more chaotic
making more problems
And made this society less harmonious

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy central

But if there is one face that represents the Occupy protests on mainland television, it would be this woman. Here, she’s seen crying when speaking of the chaos that has inflicted the city:

It’s a contradicting and tearing apart of the (Hong Kong people)
and it’s getting bigger
I think that it’s getting bigger
and has made our Hong Kong into a chaotic place
I am terribly saddened by this
Honestly, very saddened
I have lived in Hong Kong for ten years
I feel that the peace we had before was so much better
It’s that they’ve been infiltrated by foreign powers
and caused disorder
I’ve lived in Mongkok for a long time now
Reporter: You live in Mongkok?

It’s so loud there every night
How can I sleep?

The woman went on to clarify what she meant about “foreign powers”:

I think that it must be foreign powers
who are making moves in the background, turning Hong Kong into this (mess)
Reporter: Why?
I honestly think this
because I have a friend who took their money
so that he would participate in Occupy Central
I asked him (where the money came from)
He said he boss received their money
and then his boss told him to go to “Occupy Central”
He said that if he didn’t go
He would lose his job as a result
For standing two days, he was awarded 2,500 yuan

The videos are seen below:

Photo: Sohu, Xinhua, screencaps from Ku6, iFeng


Hong Kong Triads Envious of Student Protesters in Satirical Declaration

Posted: 10/9/2014 4:51 pm

triads mafia


Hong Kong’s criminal underworld, run by triads, has come to the fore over the past week after thugs appeared in the city’s popular shopping district of Mong Kok to complain about protesters blocking Nathan Road, a major artery in the area.

A handful of people were arrested after fights broke out between anti and pro-Occupy camps, and several of those arrested were found to have triad backgrounds. Many people suspect the triads were hired by the Hong Kong government or sent from Beijing. Some even suspect the police asked them to help clear the roads. Now, it looks as though somebody has written a satirical “declaration” notice from triads to Hong Kong’s student protesters to “set the record straight”.

In fairness, the original in Cantonese is apparently quite funny. The Putonghua translation, which is circulating widely on WeChat today, loses some of the original flavor. We’ve decided to put it into English so you can read it for yourself.

Here’s the letter:

Statement Issued by the Underworld Members of the Triads for All Hong Kong and Kowloon

Yesterday, some of our members showed restraint in the Mong kok area. We didn’t use face masks or anything major, just normal equipment. But starting from now, it will be embarrassing trying to use our normal methods to collect protection money from neighborhoods.

We love Hong Kong and its neighborhood of Mong Kok. However, you have blocked traffic, and not let us go to work. The entertainment industry in this spot is on the verge of bankruptcy. Wandering tourists are nowhere to be seen. All that’s left are you Occupy Central protestors that are taking up Nathan Road.

When we we go out on the street, there is no room for us to walk. We do not hold positions in office, nor are we intellectuals. But, we are all Hong Kongese.

Speak truthfully, we don’t want to take action against you because
we all share the same contacts. After all, we’re all just trying to get by.

You’ve got your recruitment process as do we; you’ve tricked children into doing your bidding just as we have.

The only difference between us is that we have salaries. If there’s a problem, we’ll come help them with life and limb. The word is that you Occupy people don’t get paid, not even bus fare to get around. That’s why there are some things that we can learn from you.

Everybody is doing something illegal. You are able to publicly call people to your cause, publicly attack the police, publicly lay siege to the government. The subway, taxis, the bus system, banks, finance houses…  we have never been able to extend our protection racket to these things. We will have to learn from your example. Through it all, you are still protected by the police! Wow, you guys have some mad ability.

Therefore, there’s something we have to do: we can’t let you get the upper hand. We have to protect our turf, preserve our dignity. This is what we do in the triads.

The TRIAD Society’s Last Stern Declaration

Harassing the police has perennially been the work of our forefathers. Our triad society will never cooperate with the police. A society member that gets into trouble will never seek the help of the police. This is a basic rule of the underworld.

Triad business should be taken care of by triads;
Government business should be taken care of by governments;
And that’s the way it is.

But now, nobody believes this! It’s gotten so bad [accusations triad and police are cooperating in Hong Kong], we’ve had to set the record straight! 

Photo: 1905m


Thousands Gather in Central After Beijing Denies Democracy for Hong Kong

Posted: 08/31/2014 8:37 pm

It has been the summer of unrest in Hong Kong. Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets on July 1 to demand full universal suffrage for the 2017 chief executive election or else they threatened to paralyze Central, the city’s central business district; weeks later, a counter-rally took place that opposes the protest and promoted harmony in Hong Kong.

After this back-and-forth all summer the other shoe has finally dropped.  At a news conference today in Beijing broadcast live in Hong Kong, Li Fei, a member of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, announced that Hong Kong people would be allowed to vote for their next chief executive in 2017, but only from a list of candidates pre-vetted by Beijing. The decision was widely expected, and now the leaders of Occupy Central intend on pushing forward with civil disobedience plans.

Several thousand people are gathered along Hong Kong’s waterfront tonight. Below are some photos and tweets from the event.









Pro-Beijing Newspaper Finds Nothing Wrong in HK Before Massive July 1 Protest

Posted: 07/1/2014 8:00 am

Hong kong residents march in last year’s July 1 protest. Photo: AP

On the day before the 17th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China by the UK, Hong Kong-based pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po published a story that quotes Guangdong residents who support a strong Hong Kong-mainland relationship despite conflicts in recent months over issues ranging from ill-behaved mainland tourists to the city’s chief executive election in 2017.

“Hong Kong residents’ passion to celebrate the handover of Hong Kong from the UK to China has never stopped. Many Hong Kong residents and their mainland counterparts can’t hold back their feelings of excitement for this historical moment,” the newspaper said, dismissive that public opinions in this capitalist enclave are running sour towards Beijing.

However, other sources tell a different story. The SCMP reports that Hong Kongers’ mistrust toward mainland China is at a record high according to a survey by the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at Chinese University. Furthermore, a telephone survey by the University of Hong Kong’s public opinion program found that the number of local residents dissatisfied with Beijing’s policies towards to the city is also at an all-time high.

Protesters burn a symbolic “white paper”. Photo: Nora Tam for SCMP

Despite the city’s seething discontent with the mainland, the interviewees who talked to Wen Wei Po all happened to be unanimous in their happiness with the current HK-mainland relationship.

As reported by Wen Wei Po, a tourist from Guangzhou said that Hong Kong and mainland China have gradually blended together. After 17 years, “it feels like the two sides have grown to know each other very well,” said the tourist.

A 15 year-old in Shenzhen said that he was disappointed that he couldn’t travel to Hong Kong to see the flag raising ceremony this year due to upcoming exams, but he promised he would come back in time for next year’s celebrations.

However, if this student was able to make it, he would probably be baffled by an unexpected sight. Five-hundred thousand people are expected to march from Victoria Park to Central today at 3pm; if the number is correct, it would be the most people to joint he march since 2003.

The July 1 March has become a traditional event held each year for Hong Kongers to protest Beijing’s control over the city and other grievances.

This year’s march could draw an even higher turnout as tensions have risen after Beijing asserted its ”comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong in a published “white paper”. Earlier last week, more than 800,000 local residents voted in an unofficial poll on electoral reform in defiance of Beijing’s stance.

Photos: SCMP, AP

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