The Big Ideas

by Malcolm Riddell

'Apple Daily closed, but press freedom stays in Hong Kong'

Global Times

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June 24, 2021
'Apple Daily closed, but press freedom stays in Hong Kong'
'Apple Daily closed, but press freedom stays in Hong Kong'
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‘The Global Times is a media organ of the Chinese Communist Party – and a little challenged on the meaning of ‘freedom of the press.’ This appeared in both its English and Chinese publications.

BIG IDEA | ‘Freedom of the press is a good thing. The West's freedom of speech must be consistent with national interests and public security.’

Hong Kong's Apple Daily stopped publication after printing its final edition on Thursday.’

  • ‘British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, the European Union spokesperson, and some US lawmakers on Wednesday accused China of cracking down on freedom of the press regarding Apple Daily's closure.’
  • ‘They also launched attacks on China's national security law for Hong Kong.’ [The attacks clearly weren’t forceful enough.]

‘Apple Daily started two years before Hong Kong's return to China in 1997.’

  • ‘Gradually, the newspaper became the base camp of public opinion that mobilized resistance in Hong Kong to function by the spirit of the Basic Law, and promoted Hong Kong to act in collusion with the China policies of countries like the US and the UK.’ [Oh, come on.]
  • ‘The outlet has greatly exceeded the information function of the media and turned into a political revolt-seeker.’ [Revolt?]
  • ‘It has been stirring up trouble and running in the frontline in Hong Kong's growing political turmoil.’ [Now, there’s the problem; Apple Daily is acting like a newspaper with an agenda; sorry, freedom of speech covers this too.]

‘No Western country would allow the existence of such a hub that manipulates public opinion to counter constitutional system of the country.’ [Wrong: That’s the whole point of freedom of the press.]

  • ‘Any media outlet that has gained inciting power to oppose the mainstream will not be spared.’ [You mean like Fox when a Dem is president and MSNBC when a Republican is president?]
  • ‘For example, after former US President Donald Trump's Twitter account was permanently shut down.’ [Nice try: Twitter is a private company; were it a government entity, it likely could not have shut Mr. Trump’s account.]

‘The role Apple Daily plays contradicts the freedom of the press the West advocates.’ [No, I’d say Apply Daily’s role was just about right in a free society.]

  • ‘It has not been "a media outlet with a political stance," but a newspaper which engages in extreme confrontational politics through media.’ [Same point: That’s just what freedom of the press allows.]

‘On January 6, a group of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol.’ [My single day worst day as a U.S. citizen in my whole life – that includes the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 – because on January 6 my fellow citizens – my own fellow citizens - desecrated a symbol of our nation to try to stop the Senate from carrying it orderly electoral duties, as it done every four years since the first election of President Washington; that is not how democracy works.]

  • ‘The blow dealt to US constitutionalism by such a confrontational and violent approach shocked the West.’ [Agreed.]
  • ‘Imagine, if a US media outlet applauded and hailed the violence, calling for foreign governments to sanction the US for its suppression of the riots, and played a leading role in stirring public opinion every time, what consequences will it have?’ [None: That’s freedom of the press in a nutshell.]

‘Freedom of the press is a good thing. The West's freedom of speech must be consistent with national interests and public security.’ [If that’s the case, it’s not freedom of the press.]

  • ‘However, the Western countries demand for Apple Daily to have the freedom to jeopardize Hong Kong's security and the national interests of China.’ [And just how was Apple Daily doing that again?]
  • ‘They implant two opposite value orientations into two kinds of freedom of the press.

‘When they are shouting for Apple Daily's "press freedom," they are tarnishing the world's media people's belief in this concept.’ [Naw, I’d say the shouters have it about right.]

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Malcolm Riddell
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'Are you tired of losing yet, America?'

As I write this, Taliban forces have entered Kabul and are reportedly occupying the Presidential Palace.
8/15/2021

Bloomberg

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'China Signals More Regulation for Businesses in Coming Years'

‘The State Council’s statement provides a guiding context to interpret current regulatory thrusts. The blueprint as an attempt by Chinese authorities to help investors understand the motives behind the regulatory push.’
8/15/2021

The Wall Street Journal

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George Soros
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'Xi’s Dictatorship Threatens the Chinese State'

‘Mr. Xi is determined to bring the creators of wealth under the control of the one-party state.’
8/15/2021

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Malcolm Riddell
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Don't Say Xi Jinping Didn't Warn You

‘Global investors are shocked to have discovered that China is run by Communists.’
8/5/2021

Bloomberg

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Matthew Brooker | Bloomberg
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‘Global investors shocked to have discovered that China is run by Communists.’

‘Global investors are shocked to have discovered that China is run by Communists.’
8/5/2021

Bloomberg

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'Shocked Investors Scour Xi’s Old Speeches to Find Next Target'

‘While China’s policy moves can feel ad hoc particularly to foreign investors, the changes are quite targeted on certain sectors.’
8/5/2021

The Wall Street Journal

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Greg Ip | The Wall Street Journal
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'China Wants Manufacturing—Not the Internet—to Lead the Economy'

‘Social media, e-commerce and other consumer internet companies are nice to have. But in his view national greatness doesn’t depend on having the world’s finest group chats or ride-sharing.’
8/5/2021

Bloomberg

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'China Plans to Exempt H.K. IPOs From Cybersecurity Reviews'

‘China plans to exempt companies going public in Hong Kong from first seeking the approval of the country’s cybersecurity regulator, removing one hurdle for businesses that list in the Asian financial hub instead of the U.S.’
7/18/2021

The Wall Street Journal

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The Editorial Board | The Wall Street Journal
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'Biden’s Warning on Hong Kong'

‘The pretense of Chinese and Hong Kong authorities is that their crackdown on the rule of law and dissent will have no effect on Hong Kong’s viability as an international center for trade and finance.’
7/18/2021

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Malcolm Riddell
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Why the U.S. Lacks Leverage over China

During the celebration of the Chinese Communist Party’s Centennial celebration, Mr. Xi stood in the same place on the balcony facing Tiananmen Square where Mao Zedong stood when he announced the founding of the PRC; Mr. Xi wore a gray Mao suit, among a sea of blue western suits; and he centered himself right above the portrait of Mao, who is similarly attired.
7/18/2021

Foreign Affairs

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Kurt Tong | Asia Group
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Hong Kong and the Limits of Decoupling

‘The United States’ inability to make China regret—much less reverse—its transgressions in Hong Kong suggests that financial separation, sanctions, and economic barriers are less reliable tools than many in Washington believe.’
7/18/2021

Nikkei Asia

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'I will aim for Mao's Status.'

‘There on the gate was Xi Jinping, Chinese president and party general secretary, in a gray Mao suit. Just below his feet was the portrait of Mao Zedong, also dressed in a gray Mao suit.’
7/18/2021

Financial Times

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'US warns companies of risk of doing business in Hong Kong'

“In the face of Beijing’s decisions over the past year that have stifled the democratic aspirations of people in Hong Kong, we are taking action,” said Antony Blinken, US secretary of state. “Today we send a clear message that the US resolutely stands with Hong Kongers.”
7/18/2021

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Malcolm Riddell
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The Chinese Point of View

Here are a few of my thoughts on the importance of Wang Jisi’s ‘The Plot Against China.’ Yuen Yuen Ang’s ‘The Evolution of Chinese Corruption’ speaks for itself - but note especially how Mr. Xi's anti-corruption campaign could hurt China's economy. I have now lived long enough that when a friend complains about his or her spouse, I say to myself, ‘There are no doubt two sides to this story.’
7/4/2021

Foreign Affairs

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Wang Jisi | President of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies at Peking University
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'How Beijing Sees U.S.-China Relations'

‘In Chinese eyes, the most significant threat to China’s sovereignty and national security has long been U.S. interference in its internal affairs aimed at changing the country’s political system and undermining the CCP.’
7/4/2021

Foreign Affairs

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Yuen Yuen Ang | University of Michigan
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'How Corruption Powers China's Economy'

‘China has managed to sustain four decades of economic growth despite levels of corruption that even Xi has described as “grave” and “shocking.” Why does it seem to have bucked the trend?’
7/4/2021

Harvard Magazine

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Ed Steinfeld | Brown University
Tony Saich
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Harvard Kennedy School of Government
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'From Rebel to Ruler': Tony Saich on Chinese Communism at 100

‘At so many points during its century-long existence, the CCP appeared to be in its death throes, whether as a result of external attack or self-inflicted internal strife.’
7/1/2021