Sunday, 31 August 2014

CCP to HK: Drop Dead

So, the new elections system for Hong Kong, a system that was probably decided many years ago, has now been made public. As suspected, it will basically be weighted so as to practically exclude anyone from the democratic camp from running.

There's people out there with more insight on this than I have (word up The Big Lychee blog), but I'm struck by a singular thought: this decision will literally leave the PRC government in the position of having to explain why it is that a pro-democrat like Albert Ho could run in the 2012 election, where he stood no chance of winning, but in an electoral system where he could win, the new system will almost certainly block him from running as "unpatriotic" (i.e., not  a supporter of the Chinese Communist Party). No doubt the PRC government will be no more phased by this contradiction than they are by the myriad other contradictions of modern-day China, not least of which is the anachronism of their rule, but people in Hong Kong will not so easily dismiss it.

Journalist Mark Mackinnon thinks this violates the spirit of the handover agreement, but personally I think that already happened when the CCP issued a white paper saying that they could end Hong Kong's autonomy if Hong Kong did not "fully respect" the mainland's political system. The promise of 50 years of unchanging autonomy is empty if the government says it can change it at any time it likes on such vaguely-defined grounds as a lack of "respect".

EDIT: This also seems pretty relevant -

[Picture: former Hong Kong chief executive candidate Albert Ho addresses supporters of Occupy Central, 19 June, 2014, via Wikicommons]

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A Wedding In Poland

Two weeks ago today I was resting on a river bank by a lazy river, nursing an epic hangover after the greatest, most enjoyable and touching bash I had ever attended, whilst my brother worked on composing the above song. There is something awfully self-serving about praising one's own wedding, but the reception we held at Palac Alexandrow, formerly the home of the von Richthofens (including supposedly the famous Red Baron - a fact too good to check), was, to quote my seven-year-old niece, "magical".

The wedding also was a leaving-party of sorts, since I am now returning to the UK to start a new job and a new life. Life's going to get a lot more staid, I'm afraid - after more than a decade of travelling between different countries, speaking different languages, I'm now back in the UK for the forseeable future, married to a wonderful woman, with a house and a car and a serious job.

As a result posting is bound to become less frequent, though I'm not going to abandon this blog, as the world has hardly become a place less worth writing about. I might even get around to finally carrying out the big re-vamp that I've been putting off for the last few years.