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Saturday, May 14, 2022

Links - 14th May 2022 (2 - China's 'peaceful' rise)

Hong Kong Free Press HKFP - Posts | Facebook - "Episode 12 of Season 16 of The Simpsons is missing from the newly-launched Disney+ streaming platform in Hong Kong. The episode references Chairman Mao and the Tiananmen Massacre. HKFP has reached out to Disney for comment."

China's debt-trap diplomacy - "A new international study has shed light on China’s muscular and exploitative lending practices by examining 100 of its loan contracts with 24 countries, many of which participate in its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an imperial project that seeks to make real the mythical Middle Kingdom. The study found that these agreements arm China with considerable leverage by incorporating provisions that go beyond standard international lending contracts.  In fact, such is the lopsided nature of the Chinese-dictated contracts that, while curtailing the options of the borrowing nations, they give China’s state-owned banks untrammeled discretion over any borrower, including the power to scrap loans or even demand full repayment ahead of schedule...  Many Chinese loans, in fact, have not been publicly disclosed, thus spawning a “hidden debt” problem.  Every contract since 2014 has incorporated a sweeping confidentiality clause that compels the borrowing country to keep confidential its terms or even the loan’s existence. Such China-enforced opacity, as the study points out, breaches the principle that public debt should be public and not hidden from taxpayers so that governments can be held accountable.  Forcing the other side to keep contractual provisions under wraps is also necessitated by the fact that China’s loan accords equip it with “broad latitude to cancel loans or accelerate repayment if it disagrees with a borrower’s policies,” whether domestic or foreign policy, according to the study.  No less significant is another unique clause: The contracts, the study found, obligate the borrower to exclude the Chinese debt from any multilateral restructuring process, such as the Paris Club of official bilateral creditors, and from any “comparable debt treatment.” This is aimed at ensuring that the borrowing country remains dependent on Beijing, including for any debt relief in the event of financial distress, like in the current pandemic.  The study confirms that little of what China provides is aid or low-interest lending. Rather, its infrastructure financing comes mainly in the form of market-rate loans like those from private capital markets. The more dire the borrower’s financial situation, the higher the interest rate China is likely to charge for lending money.  In stark contrast, interest rates for Japan’s infrastructure loans to developing countries, for example, mostly run below half a percent.  Worse still, many of China’s loan agreements incorporate collateral arrangements, such as lender-controlled revenue accounts. Its collateralization practices seek to secure debt repayments by revenues flowing from, for example, commodity exports. Through various contract clauses, a commercially aggressive China, according to the study, limits the borrowing state’s crisis management options while leveraging its own role.  The study did not examine how borrowing states, when unable to repay Chinese loans, are compelled, including by contract provisions allowing debt-for-equity swaps, to cede strategic assets to China...  BRI, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature initiative, has been plagued by allegations of corruption and malpractice, and many of its completed projects have proved not to be financially viable...  After all, BRI is central to its debt-trap diplomacy. China often begins as an economic partner of a small, financial weak country and then gradually enlarges its footprint in that state to become its economic master. "

Chinese loans in Africa: will risky business pay off or buyer’s remorse beat soft power? | South China Morning Post - ""China has rapidly scaled up the provision of foreign currency-denominated loans to resource-rich countries that suffer from high levels of corruption"...  “The pursuit of profit is a key difference between Chinese state-owned lenders and other bilateral and multilateral lenders, which explains why a typical overseas loan from China has a 4 per cent interest rate and a typical loan from Germany or France or Japan has a 1 per cent interest rate,” Parks said...  Beijing had a “buyer’s remorse” problem on its hands, where many foreign leaders initially eager to jump on the belt and road bandwagon were now suspending or cancelling Chinese infrastructure projects, because of concerns about artificially inflated project costs and debt sustainability, he said."

Beijing finds itself cornered by Africa as they cancel China-led projects - "China is increasingly finding itself being cornered by African countries on investment-related matters with several of them cancelling their contracts with Chinese companies... some of the countries had cancelled contracts as the "shoddy" work of the Chinese companies had become a source of tension for the ruling dispensations in several nations across the African continent...   The DRC President said he wants to get fairer deals for his country. Unhappy with China's exploitative tendency, he said, "Those with whom his country signed contracts are getting richer while DRC people remain poor.""

Areas in Africa with more Chinese-backed projects were more likely to experience protests - "There are a couple of potential explanations for this link between projects and protests. First, we know from previous research that, compared with World Bank aid, Chinese finance is prone to being used by local elites to pursue their own interests and obtain many of the benefits, perhaps because of a lack of transparency in loan conditions, or because of China’s principle of not interfering in domestic affairs when granting loans, which gives local political leaders more power to allocate resources to projects. All this can lower citizens’ trust in their government institutions. When people lose trust in institutions, they may prefer protesting to voting. Our analysis confirms that areas with a larger number of Chinese projects do see lowered trust in local government. Second, using data from the Afrobarometer, which surveys Africans on their view on democracy, governance and other issues, we observe a growing sense of China’s rising domestic economic influence among citizens who are more strongly exposed to Chinese projects. This perception can stir protests when citizens feel that the economic changes are serving Chinese rather than domestic interests."
Damn CIA!
Too bad the Africans are too ignorant to realise the great benefits that Chinese-aided development brings

Free Hong Kong Road: Budapest renames streets to frustrate Chinese campus plan - "Budapest has renamed streets around the planned site of a leading Chinese university campus to protest an “unwanted” project forced on it by the government of the prime minister, Viktor Orbán.  Four street signs at the site now bear the names Free Hong Kong Road, Uyghur Martyrs’ Road, Dalai Lama Road, and Bishop Xie Shiguang Road, the last referring to a persecuted Chinese Catholic priest."

Westminster School pulls out of China after Communist Party insists lessons are approved by Beijing - "Westminster School is to pull the plug on its China operation after a new Communist Party ruling stipulated that all lesson plans must be approved by Beijing... British-branded private schools in China will be forced to abandon their curricula and teach only lessons approved by Beijing as part of a broader push led by president Xi Jinping to ensure the “right” thinking. The new regulations mean that international schools must now teach the same lessons as China’s state-run public schools from kindergarten to grade nine.  All private schools must now “uphold the leadership of the Communist Party of China”, a move aimed at giving Beijing greater oversight on what children learn... Stephen Spriggs, the managing director at the consultancy firm William Clarence Education, said: “There was always a risk with schools viewing China as the land paved with gold. You are liable to a change in their government’s policy.”  He said he suspects more British schools will pull out of China and instead target more “politically stable” countries."

Beijing Wants More Citizen Vigilante Groups Across the Capital - "The Chaoyang Masses are a collective of eagle-eyed residents from Beijing’s Chaoyang District known for keeping tabs on petty crimes and also reporting the alleged misconduct of some of the country’s top celebrities. Now, city officials say they want more such citizen vigilante groups... The Chaoyang Masses most recently made national headlines in October after members anonymously reported prominent Chinese pianist Li Yundi for allegedly soliciting prostitution. Li was later detained by Chaoyang police.  The Chaoyang Masses have also been referred to as the “world’s fifth-largest intelligence agency” on social media for their detective work. There are currently over 230,000 volunteers with daily obligations varying from picking litter to tipping off police to potential crimes."

Beijing Keeps Trying to Rewrite History - "Under the relentless crush of Beijing, the courtrooms of Hong Kong have become some of the few venues safe for protest in the city. Defendants accused or convicted of political crimes have turned otherwise banal hearings and bail applications into opportunities to voice dissent and challenge the arduous legal process... Weaponizing pandemic protocols and vague threats of possible national-security violations, authorities have canceled the once-annual vigil for the past two years. Prominent activists, Lee included, who took part in prior gatherings have been arrested. A museum dedicated to Tiananmen was abruptly closed. Its contents were hauled away by police as evidence against members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organized the vigil and ran the museum. The group disbanded as a result. Unsatisfied with residents being only physically barred from viewing its displays, Hong Kong officials blocked access to the museum’s website as well. An investigation by Hong Kong Free Press found that dozens of books on the topic of Tiananmen have disappeared from the city’s libraries... The attempts at removing the horrors of Tiananmen from the popular consciousness follow a full-scale effort to rewrite more recent history in Hong Kong. Officials have consistently attempted to twist the narrative of the city’s protest movement, portraying the demonstrations as organized by a small, violent group, conspicuously omitting the occasions when more than 1 million people marched peacefully. The reasons behind the protests have been obfuscated as well. Blame, officials now say, lies with the United States and astronomical housing prices, not the continued erosion of freedoms and broken promises from Beijing. The police have taken part in some of the most blatant acts of historical revisionism, hoping that residents will forget violent actions they witnessed with their own eyes. “The authorities … are working overtime to teach us what is the official position,” John P. Burns, an emeritus professor at HKU and the former dean of its faculty of social sciences, who has written in support of keeping the statue, told me. “Making Hong Kong more like the rest of China, that is the name of the game.”... In 1989, residents of Hong Kong were horrified by Beijing crushing the protests at Tiananmen Square... Authorities in Beijing believed then that the city’s protests would be a one-off event, according to a former Hong Kong government official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, and that the territory would revert to being a purely “economic city,” whose inhabitants were uninterested in politics. This hypothesis—like many made by Beijing about Hong Kong—was totally incorrect. Instead, Hong Kong fostered a lively tradition of protests and demonstrations... HKU and other universities in the territory have quickly moved to submit to Hong Kong’s new, more authoritarian political order. Maintenance workers at the university removed colorful walls of protest art, and the administration cut ties with the students’ union and barred some of its members from campus because of a union motion expressing sympathy for the “sacrifice” of a man who had killed himself after stabbing a police officer in July. The students later apologized and retracted the statement, but four were arrested under the national-security law and charged with advocating terrorism.  Burns told me that by moving to remove the sculpture, the university is “acknowledging its dependence on the mainland and on authorities in the mainland for the things the university wants.” One professor, who asked not to be named for fear of repercussions, told me that the threat of removal was part of “a wholesale embrace of the wider crackdown that we have seen in the media, civil society, and the general public,” and that the university was in “free fall into a totalitarian-friendly tertiary institution.” Another professor, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, told me about recently going out of their way to walk by the statue with colleagues to confirm that it was still standing. “I find campus very depressing,” the academic said, “because of everything that is no longer there.”"

Beijing’s plan to punish skeptics of traditional Chinese medicine - "Article 54 stipulates that those who “defame and slander” TCM are subject to punishment by public security departments or even face criminal responsibility for “picking quarrels, causing trouble, and disrupting public order,” a vaguely defined crime often used by Chinese law enforcers to police online speech."

Why Is China So … Uncool? – Foreign Policy - " The quest for cool is key to a country’s so-called soft power. Unlike hard power, which is the ability to get what one wants through coercion or payment, soft power usually comes in the form of seduction — via culture, political values, or foreign policies that have moral authority. It’s this power that China, unlike the United States, lacks... pop culture contributed to America’s victory during the Cold War. According to Joseph Nye, a Harvard scholar and father of the “soft power” term, “Soviet state-run propaganda and culture programs could not keep pace with the influence of America’s commercial popular culture in flexibility or attraction. Long before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, it had been pierced by television and movies.” Today, if people in Eurasia were all fans of Chinese pop music or television dramas, or had a more positive image of China, it might be easier for their governments to partner with Beijing on “win-win” initiatives like One Belt One Road... China’s pop culture lacks emotional, artistic, or sex appeal. A 2013 Pew survey found that just 25 percent of Latin Americans and 34 percent of Africans have favorable opinions of Chinese music, movies, or television, while more than half view U.S. cultural products favorably... I’m usually not cool in China, where I live now — at least not until people find out that I grew up Stateside. Then people here look at me with new eyes. They start to admire the clothes I wear, the music I listen to, and the books I read. This fawning is doubled for my white American friends. In much of China today, telling people that you’re from the United States can transform you into a minor celebrity.  Despite high levels of nationalism and rising income in China, people there still turn to the United States, Europe, South Korea, and even erstwhile wartime enemy Japan for entertainment. (Pop culture from Taiwan and Hong Kong, with relatively tiny populations, is also considered much cooler than that from the mainland.) When my Chinese friends share WeChat posts, they like to show that they traveled to non-Chinese locations, and they like to write their status updates in non-Chinese languages. For as long as I can remember, the more a Chinese person travels abroad, the more socially attractive he or she becomes.  This wasn’t always the case. For millennia, Chinese culture was a thing of envy and imitation...  China’s golden age was so admirable that, even today, China’s propaganda department peddles its ancient cultural products abroad — in part because it has nothing else, really, to offer. The fact that a country invented gunpowder brings it only so much social capital. “That’s like if your girlfriend’s family asks if you are wealthy, and you tell them that your ancestors are wealthy,” noted popular Chinese blogger Han Han. “It is useless.”... It’s an old maxim that trying too hard to be cool backfires. Just look at the Chinese Communist Party, which has been flummoxed by the question of how to improve its cultural image...  The Party’s soft power failures are especially visible in the music industry. One of China’s most cringe-worthy efforts is a hip hop music video aimed at millennials abroad entitled “This is China,” produced by China’s Communist Youth League and the rap group Chengdu Revolution. The video promotes China with rambling lyrics like, “First things first, we all know that China is a developing country. It has large population and it is really hard to manage,” and the gem, “As for scientific achievement, we have [Nobel prize winner] Tu Youyou, who discovered Astemisinin.” The only way Chinese state media could out-do itself on this one is if it were to, say, promote a rap song praising Karl Marx...  It’s not that Chinese artists lack creativity, style, or taste; they also have to overcome both an overweening state and the expectations and stereotypes of older Chinese, and of Western audiences... The clashing expectations of older Chinese, younger Chinese, Beijing censors, and the West can make it hard to create widely resonant works. Hollywood and state-backed Chinese studios recently coproduced a $150 million movie, “The Great Wall.” The ambitious film somehow managed to receive criticism for both whitewashing (it starred Matt Damon) and pandering to China (Matt Damon becomes humbled by Chinese virtues). It flopped in its opening weekend in the United States.  In another instance, director Lu Chuan (known for “City of Life and Death”) agreed to produce an animated film in 2006 for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. But he quickly found that the government had inflexible demands on how the film should promote Chinese culture. “Under such pressure, my co-workers and I really felt stifled,” Lu wrote in China Daily. “The fun and joy from doing something interesting left us, together with our imagination and creativity.”  And when the China Film Directors Guild awarded the 2013 director of the year award to Feng Xiaogang, often called the Spielberg of China, Feng gave an acceptance speech lamenting the censorship that Chinese directors must overcome. “Are Hollywood directors tormented the same way?” Feng asked. “To get approval, I have to cut my films in a way that makes them bad.” His speech went viral on Chinese social media...  William C. Kirby, a professor of China Studies at Harvard who has also taught in China, cautions against assuming “that because of their educational experience the Americans are problem-solving innovators as a birth right and the Chinese are rote memorizers with no independence of thought.” Kirby told FP he is more worried about the government’s ideological purity campaign, which has recently made its way onto college campuses. Xi, for example, has tightened the Party’s grip over lesson plans, with visions to turn colleges into strongholds that obey Party leadership. “Great universities in China, one could fear, would end up with two types of graduates,” Kirby said. “The large majority being cynical of what they are being taught, which is never a good thing; and a small minority being opportunists, who say whatever they need to say to get ahead.”... Beijing still fails to grasp that soft power arises when individuals have room to create and grow — without fear of censorship or the need to conform to a government agenda. Popular culture becomes popular because, somewhere along the way, it pushes the boundaries of what is socially acceptable or recognized."

China state media promote rap song praising Karl Marx - "Entitled “Marx is a post-90” — China’s version of a millennial — the song extols the communist godfather’s supposed coolness with lyrics such as, “Life is full of little accidents, then one day I discovered how awesome he was.”  “I saw my faith, don’t even ask why,” it continues. “You are my Venus, my dear Marx.”  The website of the party newspaper People’s Daily said the song proves how Marx continues to appeal to young people and will “never completely go out of style.”"

Xi Jinping's crackdown on everything is remaking Chinese society - The Washington Post - "The orders have been sudden, dramatic and often baffling. In early September, “American Idol”-style competitions and shows featuring men deemed too effeminate were banned by Chinese authorities. Days earlier, one of China’s wealthiest actresses, Zhao Wei, had her movies, television series and news mentions scrubbed from the Internet as if she had never existed.  Over the summer, China’s multibillion-dollar private education industry was decimated overnight by a ban on for-profit tutoring, while new regulations wiped more than $1 trillion from Chinese tech stocks since a peak in February. As China’s tech moguls compete to donate more to President Xi Jinping’s campaign against inequality, “Xi Jinping Thought” is taught in elementary schools, and foreign games and apps like Animal Crossing and Duolingo have been pulled from stores.  A dizzying regulatory crackdown unleashed by China’s government has spared almost no sector. This sprawling “rectification” campaign — with such disparate targets as ride-hailing services, insurance, education and even the amount of time children can spend playing video games — is redrawing the boundaries of business and society in China as Xi prepares to take on a controversial third term in 2022.  “It’s striking and significant. This is clearly not a sector-by-sector rectification; this is an entire economic, industry and structural rectification,” said Jude Blanchette, who holds the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies... Yet other recent regulations targeting the country’s youth appear aimed at asserting control over popular culture, measures that critics say limit the public’s few outlets for debate and expression. Officials are cracking down on China’s fervent fan clubs whose members discuss and rank celebrities, going to extreme lengths to support their favored stars. (When Chinese Canadian pop star Kris Wu was detained on allegations of rape in August, his fans flooded social media in his defense and called for breaking him out of prison.)  Male Chinese celebrities known for their androgynous style have also become a threat in Beijing’s eyes. Regulators have ordered broadcasters to encourage “masculinity” and put a stop to “abnormal beauty standards” such as “niangpao,” a slur that translates to “sissy men.”  “The party does not feel comfortable with expressions of individualism that are in some ways transgressive to norms that it puts forward,” said Rana Mitter, a professor of modern Chinese history and politics at the University of Oxford. “The party-state makes it clear that it has the first and last word on what is permitted in mass culture.” Within China, the campaign has been met with a mix of approval and skepticism... Xi’s crusade has left the country’s previously all-powerful tech titans, such as Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Tencent’s Pony Ma, in no doubt about who controls China’s future. But it has also alarmed investors.  Regulators in September summoned Tencent and Netease over their online gaming platforms, ordering the companies to eliminate content promoting “incorrect values” such as “money worship” and “sissy” culture. Both firms promised to “carefully study” and implement the orders.  Officials have been working to restore investor confidence, with Vice Premier Liu He promising during a forum on Monday in Hebei province that China’s support for the private economy “has not changed and will not change in the future.” In early September, the People’s Daily ran a front-page article pledging the government’s “unswerving commitment” to the private sector and protecting foreign capital and competition. The scope and velocity of the society-wide rectification has some worried China may be at the beginning of the kind of cultural and ideological upheaval that has brought the country to a standstill before... The essay, picked up by China’s state media outlets, prompted comparisons with a 1965 article that launched China’s chaotic decade-long Cultural Revolution, and left even some in the party establishment worried... Differences over the article may be a sign of deeper dispute within the party, according to Yawei Liu, a senior adviser focusing on China at the Carter Center in Atlanta, who wrote that such disagreement indicates “raging debate inside the CCP on the merits of reform and opening up, on where China is today . . . and about what kind of nation China wants to become.”  Residents expect more measures to come, targeting regular life as well as other sectors. While the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is preparing a ban on karaoke songs deemed out of line with “the core values of socialism,” city officials are regulating dancing in China’s parks, a popular pastime for retirees. In an editorial in the People’s Daily in early September, the vice chairman of the Chinese Film Association called on filmmakers to make more patriotic films and “further promote” Xi Jinping Thought."

Shang-Chi Sparks Outrage in China Over 'Hidden' Tiananmen Square Reference - "On Chinese social media app Weibo, a screenshot taken from the bus fight sequence was shared, showcasing the bus driver's tag, reading "8964," which some have perceived to be a reference to the infamous and nationally suppressed Tiananmen Square Massacre, which took place on June 4, 1989. The image has been posted elsewhere on other social media sites and forums, sparking discussion about whether or not the reference was intentional."
Imagine being so fragile and reaching so hard

Canadian rights activist says he received death threat for support of Hong Kongers - The Globe and Mail - " Paul Cheng, who is in his 60s, is a retired computer programmer in Calgary and one of the founders of the New Hong Kong Cultural Club, a Canadian group dedicated to supporting pro-democracy efforts in the Asian territory. In late June the group received three messages via Telegram, a software application for smartphones that enables encrypted communication. The first message was a recent photo of Mr. Cheng from a Calgary protest against the Chinese government. The second message addressed him directly: “Having lots of fun, eh, Paul? Don’t blame me for reminding you that if you keep stirring up so much stuff, no one will be able to protect you.” The third message was an extremely graphic video of a beheading...  Mr. Cheng said he believes the threat is an effort to dissuade people from helping activists flee. The New Hong Kong Cultural Club has been identified in Chinese media as a supporter of asylum seekers, or what pro-Beijing journalists have derisively referred to as “asylum gangsters.” “They want to show the world that it doesn’t matter where you are, if you are helping Hong Kong you will be in danger”... the Canadian Security Intelligence Service told The Globe and Mail Beijing routinely uses undercover state security officials and “trusted agents,” or proxies, to target members of Canada’s Chinese community in an effort to silence critics of President Xi Jinping, including threats of retribution against their families back in China."

Facebook - "CHINA'S SIX 'INEVITABLE WARS' ARTICLE RESURFACED. THE ARTICLE TITLED 'China Is Not Afraid — New Threats to National Security and Our Strategic Responses’, (中国不怕——国防安全新威胁与我们的战略应对) republished
The book stated the following war timeline:
▪︎2020–2025: The war to retake Taiwan
▪︎2025–2030: The war to recover the various islands of the South China Sea (Recently Chinese media mouthpiece claimed Palawan and Benham Rise as part of Chinese territory)
▪︎2035–2040: The war to recover southern Tibet  (referring to India's Arunachal Pradesh)
▪︎2040–2045: The war to recover Diaoyutai and the Ryukyus of Japan
▪︎2045–2050: The war to unify Outer Mongolia (Half of Mongolia that China was unable to annex yet)
▪︎2055–2060: The war to recover the territory seized by Russia (Vladivostok region)
Republic of China's founding year is 1912 and in 1938 they published the below 'map of shame' aka the ‘lost’ Chinese territories. In this map include not only the Russian Far East, the Japanese Ryukyus, Taiwan and the South China Sea (PH Spratly islands included but notice that Scarborough is not inside this drawn line as well as Palawan and Benham Rise), but they also included Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, the Malay Peninsula and Singapore, Myanmar, Nepal, parts of Pakistan and most of Central Asia. The reappearance of this controversial article is to stoke their citizen's nationalism. Chinese people have been suffering from lack of electricity, job losses, economic crisis due to energy crisis, housing bubble and Evergrande's debt crisis which causes anger and instability to their people. Chinese' lives have been disrupted. They've been living in the dark unable to leave their high rise residences to buy their necessities. They barely have water & food supplies, no street lights, no elevators to go down or up to their homes. They lost their hard earned monies in property bubbles that are popping and their work at factories and offices have been halted for days to weeks now. Winter is on the horizon and the cold months could threaten their lives. Will Chinese' anger spill in the streets or they will leave their country and cause chinese mass exodus to escape the chaos or they will bow down to Xi Jinping's reintroduction of Purist Socialism? #ResistChina #FreeTibet #FreeHongKong #ProtectTaiwan #ProtectPH"

From Singapore to Sweden, China’s overbearing campaign for influence is forcing countries to resist and recalibrate relations with Beijing | South China Morning Post - " The elevation and rejuvenation of the United Front, and the formation of a Leading Small Group chaired by President Xi Jinping to oversee its work, has increased its bureaucratic capacity to extend China’s influence over ethnic and overseas Chinese populations. The United Front’s efforts are clearly being felt in countries with large Chinese diaspora populations, such as Australia and Canada . Pro-China “patriotic ” demonstrations and the destruction of Lennon Walls in Canada are worrying Canadians that a globally assertive and nationalistic China is impinging on Canadians’ rights. A recent poll found that less than a third of Canadians have a favourable view of China. Similar scuffles between pro-Hong Kong and pro-Beijing protesters in Australia have punctuated inappropriate displays of Chinese nationalism on foreign soil, including the raising of a Chinese flag over an Australian police station while the Chinese national anthem was sung. Public servants paying allegiance to a foreign country is not the manifestation of a healthy bilateral relationship but, literally, a red flag that China’s influence campaign has overreached and is damaging. In Sweden, the Chinese embassy’s sustained, antagonistic public messaging campaign has turned public opinion firmly against China, and prompted the government to re-evaluate the relationship... three Chinese tourists claimed they were abused by Swedish police following a dispute over their hostel reservation. Soon after arriving in Stockholm, Chinese ambassador Gui Congyou embarked on an extensive campaign , accusing Swedish police of brutality even when a video of the incident showed police standing to one side while the tourists prostrated themselves on the pavement. Gui conducted media interviews and released almost 60 statements criticising Sweden’s commitment to human rights and accusing it of tyranny, arrogance, racism and xenophobia. Faced with this barrage of government-sanctioned accusations, and with public opinion polls showing 70 per cent of Swedes viewing China unfavourably, Sweden announced in February that it was updating its China strategy... Singapore is particularly attuned to foreign-influence campaigns, ejecting a US embassy official in the 1980s and an academic presumed to be working for China in 2017, for interfering in domestic politics and policymaking. With ethnic Chinese making up two-thirds of Singapore’s population, it is acutely aware of its vulnerabilities to United Front tactics and influence campaigns, as well as the potential of Malaysia and India to influence Singapore’s other sizeable ethnic groups. It has therefore invested heavily in mechanisms and means to prevent any foreign country from influencing its population and destabilising Singapore’s polity... China’s influence campaigns are doing more harm than good . China’s pressure on global businesses, including airlines , hotels, consumer goods companies and the American National Basketball Association may succeed in getting companies to revise websites and censor employees’ personal opinions, but it is not improving the way governments and societies view China."
Clearly, it's racist to question the loyalty of someone who raises a Chinese flag and sings the Chinese national anthem

Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 on Twitter - "If you meet some Wumao (50 cent army) or Bamao (80 cent army, as they just got a pay rise), they may post from a prison in China. The #CCP recruits prisoners to participate in their info war, as prisoners are much cheaper. A reduction of jail time can make them work for free."

China’s internet police losing man-versus-machine duel on social media | South China Morning Post - " Automated social media accounts engaging in political discussions are stretching China’s internet police to the limit, a new study has found. These social media bots are difficult to identify because they use artificial intelligence technology to mimic human language and online behaviour. Often working in groups, they are able to generate and spread a huge amount of information within a short time. And these accounts are overpowering state censors, because “humans get tired easily, [and] cannot endure a sustained fight,” according to Shao Lei, associate professor of digital investigation with the Sichuan Police College...  Their suggested solutions? Raising a counter-army of bot accounts, or even AI-driven public opinion leaders. This comes as, starting early last year, China’s internet police began to detect an unusual increase in posts with negative views on the government on the country’s largest social media platforms, WeChat and Weibo... Interpreting the content of the rogue accounts has also became more challenging in recent months, according to the study. Some texts are written by humans, and some by robots using natural language algorithms. On the surface, there may seem to be nothing illegal. And many of these accounts are active in subcultural interest groups such as animation, games, online songs and radio. They target young Chinese users, and deploy symbols or jargon that only insiders can understand. The internet police force is therefore not only having to battle the generational divide but also culture gaps... But the bot-vs-bot proposal could further suppress human voices on social media platforms, a researcher studying artificial intelligence with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing warned. “This is a nuclear option,” said the researcher who requested not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue. “Many people in the computer science community opposed the idea.”"

China clamps down on vasectomies in bid to boost birth rate - The Washington Post - "they were turned down by two hospitals. One doctor told Zhao’s husband that the surgery was no longer allowed under the country’s new family planning rules... “It’s a rather simple surgery in theory, but public hospitals will almost always turn patients away because we are aware of the risks involved in doing something that’s not explicitly okayed by the government,” said Yang, the director of a hospital in Jingzhou city, Hubei province, who gave only part of his name for fear of punishment for speaking to foreign media. “The fundamental policy is that China needs more childbirths.”... Chinese family planning law says citizens’ reproductive rights, including choosing birth control, are protected. There is no official ban or specific restriction on the surgery, though hospitals and doctors conducting vasectomies, along with tubal ligations and abortions for women, must be approved by county-level health departments. The National Health Commission did not respond to faxed questions.  The worry for some couples is that authorities could turn to more forceful or restrictive measures akin to those used to enforce the one-child policy. Guidelines released by the State Council in September said local governments should try to reduce the number of abortions for “nonmedical reasons.” Twelve public hospitals contacted by The Washington Post, including facilities in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, said they no longer offered the procedure. Six hospitals said they still perform the surgery, but one said it was no longer available to unmarried men.  Couples and single men who sought the procedure said doctors and hospital staff refused, telling them they would regret the decision later. Some asked for documentary proof of marriage and evidence that couples had already had children before going ahead with the surgery... Jiang, 30, who works in customer service at an Internet company, visited six hospitals in his home province of Fujian before finding one over 1,200 miles away in Chengdu in Sichuan province that would perform a vasectomy. After his surgery in March, he posted the clinic’s details on an online forum — but heard from another user that the hospital had since stopped offering the surgery. “I felt like I had finally gotten rid of this huge burden,” said Jiang, who did not disclose his full name out of security concerns for criticizing government policy"
Damn CIA, propagating a culture of fear in China!

More "renewable" energy, more pricey energy

A climate change hystericist annoyed me enough that I dug up this OECD study on how the more you use "renewable" energy, the more expensive power gets:


The Costs of Decarbonisation: System Costs with High Shares of Nuclear and Renewables | en | OECD

"The study highlights the impacts the variability of wind and solar PV production have on electricity system costs, which appears as costly adjustments to the residual system...

Renewable energies have enjoyed in recent years both popular and political support. While average costs per MWh of wind and solar PV are still somewhat higher than those of nuclear energy, the cost gap at the level of plant-level generation costs (as calculated with the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) methodology as set out in the 2015 OECD study on the Projected Costs of Generating Electricity) no longer seems insurmountable. However, as spelled out in the first OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) study on system costs, Nuclear Energy and Renewables: System Costs in Decarbonising Electricity Systems (2012), VRE [variable renewable energy] technologies such as wind and solar PV cause a number of additional costs to the system, which are referred to as system costs.

The most important categories of the system costs of VREs are increased outlays for distribution and transmission due to their small unit size and distance from load centres, balancing costs to prepare for unpredictable changes in wind speed and solar radiation and, perhaps, most importantly, the costs for organising reliable supplies through the residual system during the hours when wind and sun are not fully available or not available at all. Variability also induces significant changes in the composition of the remainder of dispatchable technologies that ensure round-the-clock security of supply in the power system. When deploying VREs, one observes, in particular, a shift from technologies with high fixed cost, such as nuclear power to more flexible technologies with low fixed cost such as gas-fired power generation. While the latter will be able to better absorb the loss of operating hours due to VRE infeed, the overall costs of the residual system will increase, an effect known as “profile costs”. In addition, deploying VREs does not automatically translate into carbon emission reductions. For instance, when nuclear power is substituted by a mix of VREs and gas-fired generation that produces electricity when VREs are not available, overall carbon emissions will increase.

All technologies have system costs. Nuclear, for instance, requires particularly strong network connections and access to reliable cooling sources. However, these costs turn out to be an order of magnitude lower than those imposed by the variability of renewable energies. The key advantage of nuclear power in the economic competition with wind and solar PV is the fact that nuclear power plants are dispatchable, i.e. they can produce large amounts of carbon free baseload power in a reliable and predictable fashion...

Since the load factor and the capacity credit of VRE is significantly lower than that of conventional thermal power plants, a significantly higher capacity is needed to produce the same amount of electricity. While about 98 GW are installed in the base case scenario without VRE, the deployment of VRE up to penetration levels of 10% and 30% increases the total capacity of the system to 118 and 167 GW, respectively. The total installed capacity would more than double to 220 GW if a VRE penetration level of 50% must be reached. More than 325 GW, i.e. more than three times the peak demand, are needed if VRE generate 75% of the total electricity demand. In other words, as the VRE penetration increases vast excess capacity, thus investment, is needed to meet the same demand...

Profile costs result from the de-optimisation of the residual system due to the variability of VRE. Total system costs, expressed in USD per unit of net electricity delivered by VRE to the grid are shown in Figure ES6 for the four scenarios of 10%, 30%, 50% and 75% VRE as well as for the two sensitivity scenarios. These system costs must be understood as the increase of the total costs to provide the same service of electricity supply above the costs of the least-cost scenario without any VRE...

System costs vary between less than USD 10 per MWh of VRE for a share of 10% of wind and solar PV to more than USD 50 per MWh of VRE for a share of 75% of wind and solar PV...

These values need to be compared to the plant-level generation costs of VRE, which range, depending on the scenario, from USD 60 per MWh for onshore wind to up to USD 130 per MWh for solar PV. It should also be noted that the system costs are largely unaffected by any declines in plant-level costs as long as the share of VRE remains exogenously imposed. Indeed, all four components of system costs (balancing, profile, connection and grid costs) increase with the deployment of VRE resources, but at different rates. By adding system costs to the costs of plant-level generation as assessed in LCOE calculations, one can calculate the total system costs of electricity provision for the eight scenarios analysed in this study (see Figure ES7 above).

With 10% of VRE in the electricity mix, total costs increase only about 5% above the costs of a reference system with only conventional dispatchable generators, which in a mid-sized system such as the one modelled corresponds to additional costs of about USD 2 billion per year. At 30% VRE penetration, costs increase by about USD 8 billion per year, i.e. by 21% with respect to the base case. Reaching more ambitious VRE targets leads to considerably higher costs. Total costs increase by more than USD 15 billion per year if 50% of electric energy generation is provided by variable renewable resources, which corresponds to an additional 42% of costs compared to the base case. Reaching a 75% VRE target finally implies almost doubling the costs for electricity provision to almost USD 70 billion per year, representing more than USD 33 billion above the base case.

A striking effect of the deployment of low marginal cost variable resources on the electricity market is the appearance of hours with zero prices, a substantial increase in the volatility of electricity prices and the commensurate increase in capital cost (not modelled here). Such zero prices are not observed in the two scenarios with no or low VRE deployment but start appearing for 60 hours per year when VRE reach a penetration level of 30%. The number of occurrences increases dramatically with the VRE penetration level; at 50%, more than 1 200 hours in a year feature zero-price levels, i.e. about 14% of the time. When VREs produce 75% of the demand, zero prices occur during 3 750 hours, i.e. more than 43% of the time (see Figure ES8). Since the model works under a financing constraint, the higher frequency of hours with zero prices is compensated by an increase in the number of hours with high electricity prices, which increases volatility. At 75% VRE penetration, the number of hours with prices above USD 100 per MWh is more than double that at zero or low VRE penetration rate.

Last but not least, the generation by VRE as a function of the availability of natural resources such as wind speed or solar radiation, is not only more variable than that from dispatchable plants but also more concentrated during a limited number of hours. Periods with high generation are followed by periods with lower or zero output. Because they all respond to the same meteorological conditions, wind turbines and solar PV plants tend to auto-correlate, i.e. produce disproportionally more electricity when other plants of the same type are generating and to produce less when other wind and solar PV plants are also running at lower utilisation rates. In combination with the zero short-run marginal costs of VRE resources, this causes a decrease in the average price received by the electricity generated by VRE as their penetration level increases, a phenomenon often referred to as self-cannibalisation...
The average price received by solar PV and wind resources in the electricity market declines significantly and non-linearly as their penetration level increases, and this price decrease is much steeper for solar PV than for wind as its auto-correlation is higher. The value of the solar PV generation is almost halved even when a penetration rate of only 12.5% is reached. Further deployment of solar PV capacity to a penetration level of 17.5% would further halve its market value to below USD 20 per MWh. Thus, even if the generation costs of solar PV were divided by five, its optimal penetration level would not exceed 17.5%. A similar trend, although less pronounced, is observed for onshore wind, which has a higher load factor than solar PV and whose generation spans over a larger time period. At a penetration level of 22.5%, the value of a megawatt-hour of wind is reduced by 25%. For penetration levels above 30%, the market value of wind electricity is below USD 50 per MWh compared to an average price of all electricity of USD 80 per MWh."
Besides the headline result as summarised earlier, the true cost of "renewable" energy is higher than the cost of generating it (which is the sexy headline figure that environmentalists love to cite in claiming it is very cheap), once you take into account the cost of distributing it, how unreliable it is and above all covering base load (providing power when the sun isn't shining and/or the wind isn't blowing)

In addition, if you replace nuclear energy with "renewables", carbon emissions go up.
Also, you need to build a lot of redundant infrastructure to generate "renewable" energy due to how unreliable it is (so much for it being "green").

High costs aside, we know that markets hate uncertainty, so the unreliability of green energy has even higher costs than are apparent from just looking at these dollar values alone.
The tragedy is that most consumers who see higher energy prices won't make the connection to renewables, and will just blame "greedy" companies.

Links - 14th May 2022 (1 - Reading Attack)

The lessons of the Reading terror attack - "The tale of Reading jihadist, 26-year-old Libyan Khairi Saadallah, is one we have heard all too often in our recent history – so often, perhaps, that only a renewed sense of outrage prevents a lapse into boredom. Saadallah, like so many before him, was a fighter in a conflict overseas. He went on to claim asylum in Britain in 2012, and rewarded his host by robbing, stealing and beating its citizens, for which he was imprisoned on several occasions.  Saadallah eventually came to the attention of MI5 in 2019, who feared he might join the Islamist uprising in Syria. Not that MI5 did much about it. This meant that on 20 June last year Saadallah was free to venture into Forbury Gardens, Reading, and murder three men enjoying the summer sunshine. It was the first day after lockdown and just 16 days after Saadallah had been released from prison.   There is little surprise or nuance in the Saadallah scandal, although this is a car crash that involves two different vehicles. The first vehicle is that of the British political class, and the country’s legal system, which has once again proven incapable of keeping people out of the country who would do us harm. spiked columnist Rakib Ehsan has revealed in a new report that, over the past 20 years, 45 terrorist offenders from overseas have managed to remain in the UK after completing their sentences. Fifteen per cent of these had a criminal record prior to committing a terrorist offence, with a chilling proportion – 40 per cent – having ties with proscribed organisations, such as Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and Al-Muhajiroun.  Human-rights law protects individuals like Saadallah, who are not deported to their countries of origin because those nations are considered either too dangerous, or use torture. Sadly, human-rights law is less effective at protecting men like David Wails, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and James Furlong, murdered in what Saadallah called a ‘jihad that I done’. Our senior politicians, well-guarded by armed police officers, and our human-rights lawyers, secure in the intellectual sanctity of their North London bubbles, do not pay the price for this folly. It is the general public, unprotected by a legal system they pay for, who suffer.   The second dangerously driven vehicle in the Reading car crash is the shameful, amoral history of Anglo-Libyan relations. It is fashionable today to sneer at Tony Blair for his central role in the ill-advised invasion of Iraq in 2003. Yet former prime minister David Cameron and then home secretary Theresa May enjoy little or no public censure or opprobrium for the equally ill-advised British/French/US intervention in Libya in 2011 and its aftermath. The uprising against Colonel Gaddafi, by a ragtag and bobtail of Islamists, nationalists and tribal leaders, appeared doomed to defeat until French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Cameron and a slightly more reluctant President Obama directed NATO air power against the Libyan Air Force. This tipped the conflict decisively in favour of armed fighters on the ground, including eventual terrorists Saadallah, the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi and his brother Hashem.   A significant number of British-Libyans fought both in the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime and in the conflicts that have scarred Libya since. It is unclear if then home secretary Theresa May sought to prevent would-be fighters leaving these shores for Libya, and what risk assessment was taken in allowing them to return. Some Islamist fighters have claimed they were allowed to leave the UK after control orders restricting their movements were lifted. In 2014, eventual Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi was even rescued by the Royal Navy and taken to Malta. What investigation was conducted into Libyans, such as Saadallah, who sought asylum here after their country collapsed into chaos?  The Reading and Manchester terrorist attacks should also bring to an end two myths propagated by the identitarian left and fellow-travelling Islamists.   The first, which became fashionable after the 7/7 London bombings, insists that such attacks are a response to the invasion of Iraq. This ignores the fact that British Islamists had been threatening violence and murder to those they disagreed with since the Rushdie affair way back in 1989 – indeed, the first British jihadist terrorist case dates to 2000. Moreover, in Libya, the UK intervened on the same side as the Islamists. That did not stop the massacres in either Reading or at the Manchester Arena.  Determinedly viewing jihadist terrorism as merely ‘blowback’ for our own actions removes agency and responsibility from the terrorists themselves. And it also impedes our understanding of what motivates jihadi terrorists. After all, perhaps the problem is not our beliefs and our actions, but theirs? Secondly, it exploded the myth that the faith of jihadi terrorists is irrelevant... consider the centrality of religious terminology to the Reading attack"

Terror in Reading: look back in anger - "So who is to blame for the terror in Reading? What ‘climate of hate’ provoked this mass stabbing? Which ‘culture’ caused Khairi Saadallah, a refugee from Libya, to pick up a knife and wield it against innocent people sitting in the sunshine in a park? Which newspaper columnists or politicians or tweeters have blood on their hands for spreading prejudiced ideas that get into the heads of people like Saadallah and drive them to kill?   Whenever there is a far-right terrorist attack or act of racist violence, it is always followed by a hunt for ‘the cause’; for the book or the idea or the political climate that gave rise to these hateful monsters intent on slaughtering people for no other reason than the colour of their skin or their religious background. It was the Daily Mail’s fault. It was Boris Johnson’s. It was down to Brexit. It was critics of mass immigration who inspired this, who did this. Far-right violence is always viewed as a mere manifestation, a fleeting physical embodiment, of something larger and more evil – of a culture of hatred built or at least enabled by people in the political mainstream.  Will we witness a similar moral investigation post-Reading? Will we see the opinion-forming set and political class dig down to discover the intellectual and prejudicial origins of what seems to have been an act of Islamist violence in which three people were massacred for the sin, it appears, of being British citizens?...   Of course not. They never do this after an act of Islamist violence. They never apply their investigatory zeal to acts of barbarism carried out by radical Muslims. On the contrary, they urge us not to do that. Don’t ask awkward questions. Don’t wonder why a relatively significant number of young Muslims hate Britain so much that they will attack its people. Don’t even think about these attacks for very long. ‘Don’t look back in anger’, as they said about the slaughter of pop fans at the Manchester Arena in 2017, an attack that is seldom talked about anymore; an attack that has faded from the daily collective consciousness.  Whether it’s the Manchester bombing, the London Bridge mass stabbing, the Westminster Bridge vehicle-and-stabbing attack, or this weekend’s terror in a park in Reading, the response is always the same: ‘Lay a flower. Shed a tear. Move on. Don’t think about it. And absolutely don’t get angry about it. What’s wrong with you – are you Islamophobic?’ The double standards are staggering... Remember when thousands of football fans – men, women and children – peacefully marched with wreaths to signal their horror at recent terror attacks? They were denounced as fascists. This is the situation we find ourselves in now: we are told we must organise against far-right violence because these people are fascists, and we are told that if you organise against Islamist violence then you are the fascist. These are Kafkaesque levels of moral and political contortionism.   The double standard is best captured by the gaping disparity between what has been said in the UK about the brutal police killing of George Floyd and what is likely to be said about the killing of three people by a suspected Islamic terrorist in Reading. Despite happening 4,000 miles away, Floyd’s killing, and its aftermath, has dominated news coverage here. It has galvanised the activist middle classes. It has become the catalyst for change (smashing statues, ‘decolonising’ curricula, etc). The three victims of a suspected act of Islamist terror, in contrast, will swiftly be forgotten. It always happens. Their deaths will not come to signify anything. Islamist violence is always removed from the moral universe that other political and violent acts are said to inhabit. It apparently has no cause, no meaning, no impact beyond the sad deaths it causes. It is not to be dwelt on, far less made the subject of any kind of wide-ranging public discussion. A culture of amnesia is deployed almost instantly in the wake of Islamist terror attacks. People’s emotions are policed (don’t get angry), their speech is monitored (don’t be ‘Islamophobic’), and they are encouraged to move on and forget. ‘Don’t look back in anger.’ Which really means: ‘Don’t look back.’ Make no mistake: this invoking of amnesia, this memory-holing of Islamist violence, is designed to suppress difficult discussion about social and communal tensions in 21st-century Britain... It is significant, surely, that the Reading attack occurred at the end of a week in which the cultural elite and chattering classes continually told us that Britain is a disgusting racist country and all white people are complicit in racism. There is a relationship, surely, between the anti-Western self-loathing that is now so fashionable among the intellectual elites and the rise of Islamist extremists in the UK and other European countries who view the West with hateful, violent contempt. It is interesting, surely, that Islamist violence against ordinary Brits should have intensified just as the political elites promoted new cultures of grievance that depict ethnic-minority groups, and especially Muslims, as victims of an ignorance and prejudice that is rife among ordinary Brits. It is important, surely, that a country that has largely given up on the project of assimilating migrants and their offspring into British values and culture, in favour of promoting an ideology of multiculturalism that invites people to remain in their own values bubble, should have a problem with community separatism, community tension, and even anti-British violence."

What isn't being said about the Reading attack victims? | The Spectator - "Imagine if on Saturday evening a white neo-Nazi had stabbed three men to death. Imagine, furthermore, if in the wake of the killings it had turned out that all three of the victims were gay. Or ‘members of the LGBT community’, to use the lexicon of the time. And then imagine if two days later nobody in the UK or anywhere else was very interested in any of this. So what if the victims were all gay? Why bother sifting around for motives. What are you trying to say? Bigot. Well something that might well be analogous to that happened in Reading on Saturday evening and over the days since. On Saturday evening, Khairi Saadallah went on a stabbing spree in Forbury Gardens, Reading. His victims were three gay men, James Furlong, David Wails and Joe Ritchie-Bennett... So far there has been almost no interest expressed in the possible motives of the attacker. Quite possibly there is a mental health component. In which case I would expect that to be looked into. Quite possibly there will be some drugs-related component. In which case I would expect the usual voices to demand an investigation into that. But anything else to see here? Any other reason why a migrant from Libya who was given asylum in the UK might want to go around stabbing gay men? Well who would even ask such questions? What do you want to find? Bigot. So far the most analysis there has been has been to inform us all of the wonderfulness of the victims. We can learn that the victims were not just ‘proud gay men’ who attended Reading Pride, but that at least one of them – Furlong – was also ‘a strong advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement.’ Perhaps Saadallah didn’t get that memo. Perhaps if he had known how involved in social activism his victims were then he would have left them alone and stabbed some people who never much bothered with such things, or kept themselves to themselves... the BBC managed to talk about the three Reading victims without once saying that the police think they might have been targeted because they were gay... It’s a matter of hierarchies. And the gays aren’t as high up this one as people like to think."

Reading stabbings: Khairi Saadallah refused appeal against whole-life term - "The court heard Islamic extremist Saadallah "executed" the men as an "act of religious jihad"."

Reading park killer had long history of violence - "In 2019, police recovered a mobile phone from Saadallah that he had used to view social-media images of himself in Libya as a boy, holding firearms, wearing military fatigues, and showing off bullets arranged into a letter "K" for "Khairi". By then, he had spent years in and out of prison for a range of violent offences, including:
    multiple assaults on police officers and emergency workers
    racially aggravated harassment
    possessing knives
    causing suffering to animals
On one occasion, while being arrested, he called a female officer a "slave" and spat in her face, with the victim saying it was the "vilest thing" she had been subjected to in the police... The day before his release in June, two weeks before the attack, he was told in a letter that the home secretary had "decided that your deportation is conducive to the public good" but it was not legally possible given conditions in Libya. A fellow inmate, Anthony Bloomfield, says that, in the months before he was released, Saadallah:
openly threatened knife violence
discussed "jihad"
said he wanted to "rape Britain"
Speaking to BBC News, Bloomfield recalls Saadallah telling others: If he "could get away with it, he'd kill as many people as possible" "He'd be the front line for when it comes to drawing a sword and drawing blood and attacking people" "People used to laugh at it as a joke," Bloomfield says. But maybe it was a "bit more serious than we took him for"... The night before the attack, local officers visited Saadallah after his brother Aiman rang police to raise concerns about his mental state. His brother, Aiman, who raised the alarm, says his warning was "very serious".  "I said that my brother was at risk of harming himself or others," he tells BBC News.  "I asked for the police to detain him under the Mental Health Act because he was in no state to be left by himself.  "I do believe that a lot could have been done.  "And, if it had, lives would have been saved that day.  "And I'm saying this not to defend my brother.  "But I think victims and victims' families deserve to know the truth."... Examined by psychiatrists, he was found to have no mental illness.  Earlier symptoms suggesting otherwise had been short-lived and attributable to drug misuse at the relevant times...
He had an "antisocial personality disorder" and had "rather crudely attempted to feign madness in police custody"
His "offences were conducted in a pre-meditated, planned and carefully executed manner".
He "knew that what he was doing was wrong"...
The judge found Saadallah had committed a terrorist attack motivated by his Islamist extremist ideology."
Liberals claim that the way to stop Islamist terrorism is to welcome more "refugees", so the terrorists won't be upset at the country
We may never know why he did it

Britain’s Libyan Islamist problem - "British Islamism has undoubtedly established itself as a major problem in England’s two largest cities – London and Birmingham. In London, it is the capital’s eastern boroughs – Tower Hamlets and Newham – that are a particular cause for concern. Both incorporate largely segregated Muslim communities, with many having their origins in deprived agricultural parts of Sylhet in north-eastern Bangladesh. A number of Birmingham wards, such as Springfield and Sparkbrook in the city’s Hall Green parliamentary constituency, contain poorly integrated, predominantly Pakistani-origin, deprived neighbourhoods. Much of Birmingham’s Pakistani-heritage population originates from economically dislocated rural villages in the Azad Kashmir region.   But a notable trend from another one of England’s major cities, Manchester, is Libyan Islamist extremism. Indeed, the UK’s counter-terrorism police chief, assistant commissioner, Neil Basu, has previously suggested that the ‘British Libyan jihadi nexus’ had not been given sufficient attention by British public authorities.  Salman Abedi was born in Manchester after his family was granted asylum in the UK from Libya, where his father, Ramadan, supported Islamist forces seeking to overthrow Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi’s regime. With the help of his brother, Hashem, who is currently serving a minimum prison sentence of 55 years, Salman carried out the 2017 Manchester Arena Islamist suicide bombing, which killed 22 people.  British Libyan dual national Abdalraouf Abdallah was imprisoned in 2016 for helping others to join Islamic State militants in Syria, but is soon due to be released. Abdallah set up a ‘hub’ of communication for would-be jihadist fighters – including his imprisoned brother Mohammed – from his home in Manchester...   The May 2017 Manchester Arena bombing did not emerge from a vacuum. Clusters of British Libyan Islamists, associated with organisations such as Islamic State, al-Qaeda and the formerly proscribed anti-Gaddafi Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) have become embedded in parts of inner-city Manchester. The Abedi brothers, behind one of the most devastating terrorist attacks on British soil, were conditioned in this Islamist milieu. Having a background of close family links with extremist figures in their own community, they proceeded to develop bonds with local fundamentalists – with Salman even visiting Abdalraouf Abdallah at two separate prisons.  Britain’s Libyan Islamist problem is a fine example of how its exuberant altruism has been, in some ways, to its detriment. But it also exposes how the British political establishment has traditionally overestimated how willing people from vastly different religio-political contexts will be to integrate into mainstream democratic society, and underestimated the need for a robust social-cohesion policy as a pivotal element of counter-extremism strategy. This has even led to some describing Britain as the ‘weak link’ in Europe’s counter-extremism network.   This all tells a story of the misplaced idealism contained in the modern politics of diversity – one which fails to understand the potentially devastating social effects of poorer integration outcomes in Britain’s failed inner-city neighbourhoods.  Whether it is Bethnal Green in east London, Sparkhill in inner-city Birmingham or Cheetham Hill in Manchester, the UK has been sleeping at the wheel on this front. The government needs to take the existence of ‘parallel communities’ and ‘counter-societies’ more seriously – failed neighbourhoods characterised by social segregation, material deprivation and historically high levels of Islamist activity. Looking to the future, Britain must adopt a hardheaded approach to border security. Along with the prioritisation of English language skills, the nature of legal, social, political and cultural norms in foreign regions of origin should be given serious consideration in a revamped immigration system that has integration at the heart of it. An integral part of post-Brexit national security should be a significantly reformed asylum system that better prioritises social cohesion and public safety... The core essence of state-supported multiculturalism – promoting cultural difference over social cohesion and prioritising minority rights over collective responsibilities – has not served Britain well. To support its efforts to create a more socially trusting and democratically stable society, the UK government needs a security-oriented immigration and asylum framework which better prioritises collective British safety."

Friday, May 13, 2022

Links - 13th May 2022 (2)

House Democrats Flock to the Exits Leading into Election Year - "With the midterms less than a year away, 23 House Democrats have already announced they will not be running for reelection to retire from the public eye for wanting to be with family, focus on health, or say it is time to move on, while some Democrats are also looking to run for a different office, such as the U.S. Senate."

Meme - "They call me 007
0 Humility
7 mins and under for running 2.4km, you can run or not, if not just keep quiet and stop being a keyboard warrior, you all are shametul for critising me. If you want to challenge my 2.4 timing, i'm up for a challenge. Ashley why do you 'hide behind a lawsuit."
On Soh Rui Yong

Meme - "Soh Rui Yong promises social distancing at Standard Chartered Marathon by running faster than everyone else
"When you're the national 2.4km record holder, every race is socially distant by default""

What's behind the online spat between Commandos and runner Soh Rui Yong? - "the runner posted the times of his lap splits for his record-setting run, but added, “Somehow, some people still think their ‘army/commando bmt mate who smokes” ran faster,’” together with a clown-face emoji."... Mr Soh then went on to offer the following challenge:  “Any Singaporean who runs sub-7:00 for 2.4km at next month’s Pocari Sweat Singapore 2.4km Run (Ground Race, 9-10 Oct) will receive $700 and 700 bottles of Pocari Sweat, both paid for by me.”  Some Commandos responded saying they had nothing to prove, to which the runner wrote, “Looks like a lot of the most noisy Commandos won’t be taking up the challenge already. Classic.”"
Someone claimed this wasn't bad sportsmanship, because sportsmanship means you can't brag during a game - but you can before or after it. Ironically, he also views lying inside and outside Parliament as equivalent. And Joseph Schooling mocking Soh Rui Yong's arrogance by issuing a suspiciously similar challenge is somehow evidence that Schooling is cocky too

A tale of two runners—Soh Rui Yong will file defamation countersuit against Ashley Liew - "the marathoner was excluded from the line-up of athletes representing Singapore in this year’s SEA Games in the Philippines because he “displayed conduct that falls short of the standards of attitude and behaviour that the SNOC expects of and holds its athletes to,” according to the Singapore National Olympic Council.  This resulted in him filing a writ of defamation against both SA and Mr Malik Aljunied."

Facebook - "|28 Days of Humility| In light of the Pocari Sweat Singapore 2.4km Challenge I issued, a number of neitizens have accused me of being an arrogant person.  I hear you. Upon reflection, I believe that a lot of this perception comes from the intensity I bring to this sport, and the standards I expect of myself and those around me. I apologise for giving off that impression. And I would like to give the people what they want. I held a trial for myself (where I was judge, jury and executioner), and have found myself guilty of coming across as an arrogant person on social media. I have sentenced myself to 4 weeks of social media community service. For the month of October, I shall share one quote on humility a day. Though this community service, I will share more on humility and in doing so, become a more well rounded athlete and person. Today is Day 1: "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less." - C. S. Lewis"

Soh Rui Yong apologises to SNOC, says he 'could have been more respectful, sensitive' in raising issues - "Top national marathoner Soh Rui Yong on Tuesday (Feb 22) penned an apology to the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) in a bid to "resolve our differences and move forward in the best interests of Singapore sports".  The 30-year-old was denied a place at the May 12-23 Hanoi SEA Games by an SNOC selection committee last Wednesday, with a spokesman saying it had rejected his nomination as his conduct "fell short of the standards of attitude and behaviour the SNOC expects of and holds its athletes to".  This was also the reason the SNOC had stated in 2019, when it excluded Soh from the list of athletes that went to the SEA Games in the Philippines... the SNOC and Soh had clashed on a number of occasions over issues such as the athlete's breach of regulations regarding the promotion of personal sponsors at the 2017 SEA Games and later, his initial objection to its mandatory requirement to donate 20 per cent of his $10,000 cash payout as reward for his win back to SA for training and development."
Wonder what cope his supporters will engage in now

Meme - "hey guys! i'm new here"
"Nice Photoshop FBI, but the noise levels on the forehead are not consistent with the noise levels on the skin of the arm (both of which are of the same smoothness).  A warning to everyone else FBI agents on social media are real and they do try to entrap you to meet thelr quota."
"Account suspended"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, How and why we educate - "‘The Education Secretary says we are training people for jobs that don't exist, and a significant proportion of young people fail to gain much advantage from going to university at all. In fact, he said, those who did a paid two year technical apprenticeship ended up on average earning more than those who did a three year bachelor degree that can cost upwards of 30,000 pounds. Other say sending half our youngsters to university is a great social and moral achievement, as well as an educational landmark. And that education is about more than grades, acquiring technical skills and being useful to employers. In response, the critics say the country is losing out. We have half as many technically well qualified people as Germany, and so are our youngsters. We're pretty much the only developed country in the world where young people's literacy and numeracy is no better than the over 55s’...
‘The standard method of education at the University still is the lecture. Now a lecture started because books cost more than a year's income before Gutenberg. It was cheaper to actually hire somebody to read the one very expensive book to a roomful of people. These days, it's vastly cheaper to buy everybody a copy of the book and they go off and read it themselves. Yet we are still organized with lectures in a university, the technology of 1000 years ago’... ‘The fact that we have 106 universities in the United Kingdom at the moment, might mean we have too many. 13 going bust might not be enough going bankrupt. So that is making exactly that difference that you're saying, between the aim of higher education, that everybody gets to flourish, that they get to develop their intellects as far as they possibly can, and the specific institutions that we currently use to try and achieve that target, the current university system’
‘So you're not actually against higher education, you're just talking about the systems and the spaces of higher education can be reassessed’
‘Look. Being against higher education is like being against mom and apple pie. Of course, I'm not against it.’...
‘Who decides? First of all, who decides, oh these courses aren't worth studying anymore. They're useless to the economy, they should be done away with? Who decides then the individual aspiration of people who want to go to university to do those very courses? Because that's what they've dreamt of all their life. But somebody tells them then, oh, no, these aren't worthy courses because they don't contribute to the economy’
‘The definition of who should do what course is who wishes to do what course. That's the same as any other part of life. The only important question for society is whether society has to actually pay the cost of supporting that set of institutions that allows the people to do that. I argue, no, society shouldn't be carrying that cost. Just at exactly the same moment that I argue that if somebody wants to go and study, I don't know, colour recognition in tiddlywinks to PhD standards, then why shouldn't they? Glorious. Have fun. It's your life. Spend it how you wish.’...
‘I went through a comprehensive system at a time when there weren’t league tables. It was very hard really to to tell how similarly appointed schools in relatively similar areasm, if one was being very well run and getting good results. Another one wasn't, it was very hard to compare. So it's quite good to have them, isn't it for the sake of transparency?’...
‘SATs as a measure of children's progress is pointless, that they are just an accountability for schools and teachers. We do know from our league tables that actually it's more likely to reflect an income level and the house price of the catchment around the school than it is the children’... ‘I was talking to you about comparisons. This is often a charge that’s raised but I think it's, one can easily ask another question, which is, you certainly can compare schools with a similar socioeconomic intake, right. So that's a bias that you can take out of the system. If we don't have that information in some form that parents can understand, that teachers know that others are being able to do something better, and they might be curious as to how they raise their own performance. Wouldn’t you argue that transparency was better than the days when the only people that had that information with teachers if they chose to share it?’
It is blasphemy to consider that rich (smart) parents might have smart children

Episode 41: Lord Selkirk’s Tea Party - "For British Commissioner Lord Selkirk, Lee’s fatal flaw was his character. He was insecure, mentally fragile, obsessed with Lim Chin Siong to a dangerous degree. Selkirk, too, had attempted to convince Lee to moderate his tone and to adopt a more open consultative style, only to be brushed off. On 15 July 1961, David Marshall triumphed at the Anson by-election. In his victory speech at Anson, Marshall called on Lee Kuan Yew to resign, saying, “Resign, and may you in your retirement learn humility and humanity so that in the years to come your undoubted ability may unselfishly and honestly serve our people.”... Selkirk called this plan ‘unsavoury’ and ‘objectionable’, and stating the British ‘could not be party to a further lie’. He reported to his boss in London, Secretary of State for the Colonies Iain Macleod, that ‘Lee is not himself prepared ultimately to face the music’, but was ‘asking for the British and Federation to take the public odium.’ Selkirk was particularly upset because one of the paramount principles of the Internal Security Council was confidentiality... Similarly, the Tunku was highly offended by Lee’s deceit, and even more so by Lee’s eagerness for the Federation to take responsibility for Lee’s action. He derided Lee as ‘spineless’ and declared that if Lee would not stick to the rules, then Federation would withdraw from ISC. The Tunku declared that ‘I can never trust that man again’... When Lee Siew Choh reminded Lee of his pledge to free all political detainees, Toh Chin Chye responded by tabling the August 1959 ISC paper. Toh implied that it was the British and the Federation who had blocked further releases of detainees, and as such releasing the detainees would jeopardise merger. He did not mention that it was Lee who had asked the Council to veto his own paper. Lord Selkirk was furious, livid, but – with London’s concurrence – stayed silent. Lee’s actions also caused great anger among British officials in Malaya, with High Commissioner Geofrey Tory referring to the PAP leaders as ‘highly-educated but completely unscrupulous thugs.’ It also sent the normally genial Tunku into a massive fury. The Tunku angrily told the British that ‘Lee was making unscrupulous use of us in order to save his political skin.’ This had strengthened his conviction that Lee was not to be trusted. ‘Get rid of that fellow…and then we can get on with it,’ he declared."

Episode 42: Hobson’s Choice - "Singapore would be transferred from one colonial master to another, from London to KL, and locked into a form of quasi-colonialism, with fewer rights in Malaysia than we enjoyed under self-government. Under the terms, citizens of Singapore could only vote in Singapore. This would “quarantine” Singapore from Federation politics, effectively keeping the two territories separate. Singapore would also be under-represented in the Federal Parliament, having 15 instead of the 24 or 25 seats that it should have, based on population size. This meant that a federal government in which Singapore was only partially represented would control internal security. If the manifestation of colonialism in Singapore was a lack of democratic control of internal security, then the proposed terms would lock Singapore into a perpetual state of colonialism... Lee Kuan Yew said, don’t worry. He promised what he called a ‘Hobson’s choice’: he would ensure that all alternatives to the PAP option were inferior, leaving the public with no real choice. The British called this ‘a dishonest manoeuvre’ and the Tunku ‘a dirty game’, but they wanted merger, so they both stayed silent... as any Singaporean will tell you, when the PAP has to go to the public for a vote, it always accompanies this with a sudden surge in performance. 1961 was no different. Checked by a vigorous opposition in the Assembly, the PAP generally governed capably, responsibly, and successfully... The PAP, by contrast, not only hammered home a single message, that option A was the best possible outcome for merger, but it also strained its campaign to the legal limit. It freely used public money and government facilities to promote Alternative A. It deluged the state with radio broadcasts, advertising jingles, posters, and pamphlets, including 200,000 free copies of Lee’s The Battle for Merger. It mobilised the ostensibly non-political People’s Association and Works Brigade to canvass voters and distribute campaign material. On the ballot paper, the Singapore flag was placed next to Alternative A and foreign flags next to Alternatives B and C. On information posters, all hands were seen putting a cross next to Alternative A. On polling day itself, the Singapore flag was hoisted outside the centres. Election officers used Alternative A as an example when instructing voters how to mark their ballots. Rumours flew that, through the use of serial numbers on the ballots, voters who cast blank votes would be identified and lose their citizenships. Goh Keng Swee sent out 40 trucks fitted with loudspeakers to warn people that blank votes would be considered Alternative B, which would cause Singaporeans to lose their citizenship... to save himself, Lee made critical compromises. He gave away an important chunk of Singapore’s sovereignty in order to ensure that he could stay in power. It was a betrayal of the people of Singapore, but cleverly presented as their salvation. He agreed to a highly flawed form of Malaysia where Singapore would be quarantined, would be unequal, would be in a quasi-colonial status. He agreed to a form of Malaysia in which it was assumed that Singapore and Singaporeans could not be trusted and had to be held separate from the rest of Malaysia. All to keep himself in power in Singapore."

Episode 47: The 1964 Political Riots - "eyewitness accounts suggest that much of the initial violence was, if not premeditated, at least deliberate. Othman Wok, for example, noted a group of Malay youths on Victoria Street who shouted “Hidup Cina, mati Melayu” as the PAP contingent marched past them, which is a very strange thing for a group of Malay youths to shout... the initial violence was started by a group of Malays attacking the Chinese policeman, then proceeding onwards to further violence down Kallang Road. Despite all the eyewitness accounts, no one was able to identify any of the initial attackers, suggesting that they were not locals. Third, what all sides agreed was that the riots were not caused by racial antagonism, but by the political environment and the inflammatory racial rhetoric. UMNO leaders blamed Lee Kuan Yew; PAP leaders and the British blamed UMNO leaders, particularly Syed Ja’afar Albar... Was it deliberately instigated to discredit the PAP? Or was it just a group of youths who had been antagonised by the inflammatory rhetoric of the past few months? Under pressure from Singapore, an official commission of inquiry was convened in KL in March 1965, but it was held in secret and its findings remain classified... In Singapore’s official history, the riots have been depicted as racially, not politically motivated, because in the immediate aftermath of separation, the government needed to create a narrative which supported its actions throughout Malaysia. It needed to create this idea that the PAP was right to call for a Malaysian Malaysia. It needed to draw distance between us and Malaysia. It needed to rally people under the idea that we are alone, that the world is dangerous, that we need the PAP and we need its repression to keep us safe. Most of all it needed people to forget who was really to blame for the riots: our political leaders, who were supposed to keep us safe but irresponsibly risked our lives for their own political gain. Indeed, if the risk from racial antagonism was so great, why was it not till 1997 that the government introduced Racial Harmony Day on 21 July. If racial tensions were such a big issue, why did it take the PAP 33 years to start Racial Harmony Day? Because 1996 was the beginning of National Education, and the PAP wanted to support its core theme of its authoritarianism being necessitated by racial fragility. And the fact that the PAP is manipulating the events of 1964 to further its political agenda suggests that the subsequent generation of political leaders has not been taught the lesson of 1964. Without this manipulated narrative about the 1964 riots, we realise that Singapore has never had a riot caused by racial antagonism, by racial hatred [the Maria Hertogh riots were anti-colonial]. Never. Do we have race problems? Yes! But this myth prevents us from dealing with it properly. Until you understand the problem, until you are free to discuss the problem, you cannot deal with it properly."

Episode 48: The Chinese Ultra - "On 14 August, the Tunku returned to Malaysia, where he addressed a crowd on the riots, and broke down. A young Musa Hitam, who was in attendance, described how, ‘with total sincerity and in the Malay words a father would use to admonish quarrelling children, the Tunku struck chords of deep emotion here.’ Between sobs, the Tunku said, ‘I have always reminded leaders to be careful when they speak and to be cautious in wording their speech so that disturbances would not occur among the people of the country.’ It was a masterful display of political theatre, which the Tunku repeated a few days later in Singapore. In attendance was Lee Kuan Yew, who observed first hand the power of a leader weeping in front of his people. Lee was very impressed...
Tun Razak reportedly commented, “Lee Kuan Yew wanted to see bloodshed between the two friendly communities for his own political ends”...
the turning point, I think, is 4 May. On that day, he made a controversial speech to the PAP party cadres. In a pseudo-academic vein, Lee examined the pattern of Malay migration and concluded that none of the three races in Malaysia could claim to be more native than any other because all their ancestors came to Malaysia not more than 1,000 years ago. He argued, therefore, that Malaysian rights had to be based on shared citizenship, not birthright or indigeneity. But this is a clear and deliberate attack on the most sacred belief underpinning Malay identity, that they were the indigenous people of Malaya, that Malaya was their homeland. On these beliefs rested their claim to special privileges, Bahasa as the national language. Whether or not Lee was right is irrelevant, because to bring this up at a time of such great racial tension was a petrol bomb on a raging inferno. It’s an act of utter political stupidity, utter folly, utter irresponsibility. And even if we ignore all that, it was extremely poor political tactics. Indeed, because it is an attack on the constitution, it is arguably seditious. People had been detained under the Internal Security Act for less than what Lee was saying. And the only reason he wasn’t, I believe, is because doing so would have destroyed Malaysia’s international reputation, and especially Malaysia’s relationship with Britain and its Commonwealth allies, undermining Malaysian defence against Konfrontasi.
For the third time in his career, Lee was saved by the British...
Lee dropped yet another bombshell when he suggested that Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak would secede and seek to convince Penang, Malacca, and maybe even Johor to come with them. He did not use the word “partition” but that was what he implied. The British High Commissioner, Lord Head, privately called him “rash”. And rash it was. In Parliament they next day, the entire Alliance heaped scorn and anger on Lee. Shouts of “traitor!”, “sit down!”, “get out!”, and “shame!” rang out in the house when Lee tried to speak. Minister after Minister denounced him, including, for the first time, Dr Ismail. And the Tunku? With great difficulty, he forced himself to sit and say nothing... Lee has been so politically flexible over the years. He’s been on both sides of nearly every issue. He’s been for and against democracy; for and against eugenics; for and against socialism...
During the summer of 1965, Lee was frustrated, exhausted, and mentally at his wit’s end. His colleagues later revealed that in this period Lee was dangerously dependent on drugs, needing tranquilisers, sedatives, and pep pills to help him sleep, wake him up, and get him through the day... he found it increasingly difficult to exercise self-control in front of a microphone and because of this made increasingly outrageous and inflammatory speeches, which Toh Chin Chye later admitted were anti-Malay"

Episode 49: “Separation” - "Lee, a Peranakan Chinese, convinced the UMNO leaders that Chinese cannot be trusted, that they have to be controlled, that they will seek to undermine the peace and stability of Malaya. Then, once merger happened, he proved that Chinese cannot be trusted, by taking the PAP north in defiance of the agreement. And over the next two years, he and the Malay extremists engage in a battle of mutual destruction, which ends with Lee and Goh taking Singapore out of Malaysia and abandoning their allies. So Lee took what had been a stable multi-ethnic arrangement in the Federation, which was not perfect, but it was stable and worked on the basis of mutual trust between the races, and wrecked it with his actions, and more importantly wrecked the trust that existed before. Lee Kuan Yew enabled the rise of the Malay extremists. Lee’s rhetoric, and his actions, legitimised their existence. His reckless brinkmanship gave them the enemy they needed to rally their supporters to their divisive ideology. Without Lee, the Tunku and Razak and Ismail would have been able to control them. But Lee Kuan Yew was the enemy who legitimised the hard right extremist wing of Malaysian politics. That is the legacy of Lee Kuan Yew in Malaysia. And once he had wrecked it, he walked out and left behind Malaysians to deal with the consequences. Without Lee Kuan Yew, we would not have the same racial polarisation of Malaysia, we probably would not have the race riots of the 1960s, and we certainly would not have had 13 May 1969....
We still have the oppressive colonial laws today. We retain on our books oppressive colonial laws like the Internal Security Act despite the fact that they were meant to be temporary. Despite the fact that communism was defeated a long time ago, they are still retained, and have become part of the fabric of the Singaporean experience. Because of the victory of the right-wing, pro-colonial nationalist forces, today we still retain what is fundamentally a colonial system of governance. And the maintenance of the colonial system requires the same laws and oppression that the late colonial state introduced into Singapore. This includes, for example, the continued use of colonial laws designed for control and oppression, the fixing of elections, the policing of language and culture, the attempts to define illiberalism as normative to the Singapore identity. Indeed, since separation, the PAP has continued and exceeded the practices of the post-war British colonial state. They have sought to normalise colonialism in Singapore through a selective reading of history, via a national narrative that celebrates the evils of colonial rule as a positive force in Singapore, that emphasises the role of the PAP in Singapore’s development, and asserts the superiority of the PAP leadership. Colonial policies of control that were once condemned by the PAP in opposition have been implemented or reintroduced, including the suppression of Chinese-language education, the imposition of English as a unitary language, and the use of conservative and essentialist interpretations of race to control and divide us. But the PAP state has gone even further than the colonial state ever dared in taking away our civil rights and liberties. The 1966 Vandalism Act, for example, discarded the principle that a punishment should be appropriate to the crime in order to use the humiliation of caning to enhance control and oppression; the 1974 Newspaper and Printing Presses Act exceeded colonial policing of the media by curtailing freedom of expression, imposing a new two-tier structure of ownership and, later, gazetting the foreign press; the 1986 Legal Profession (Amendment) Act removed the independent ability of the Law Society to comment on legislation; the 1991 Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act removed freedom of organisation, expression, and movement."
Trying to force racial equality onto the racist cannot end well

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Does comfort food really comfort us? - "‘In one experiment, she asked people to think about a fight they'd had with someone. Those who then ate their comfort food, potato chips, in this case, felt more satisfied by it than those who didn't. But if we're not always aware of those connections to childhood memories, why do we feel better?’
‘The reason that these foods have an emotional impact for us is because when we ate them at that time and we had these positive experiences, we encoded all of that information together.’...
'Guilt could be more common in women than men. A 2005 Cornell University survey of a little under 300 people found that men tended to eat comfort food as a reward, whereas women saw it as a guilty indulgence'...
‘So some of us may have been reaching for more comfort food during the pandemic. I put the emphasis on some because other researchers repeated Jiro’s [sp?] work in the Netherlands and didn't find an association between comfort food and reduced feelings of loneliness. In fact, the researchers noted that the Dutch didn't have a comparable word for comfort food. And perhaps that suggests something about the role and meaning of comfort food in other cultures.’...
‘In Scandinavia, this, it's not really a term that's used in Scandinavia’...
‘My Italian friends, I asked about comfort, they were, they just simply look, you know, food is always comfort and always pleasure and it's a joyful thing’…
‘Regardless of where we're from, when we're sad or lonely, we seem to be drawn to foods that are rich in carbohydrates, fat or sugar’...
‘We found that these fatty infusions made them less sad when we induced sad moods in these people. And we know that fat is doing a lot of things. Even though we use the low dose, it is going to stimulate specialized cells in our stomach and our small intestine. And these cells are basically made to produce different types of hormones. And then we know that these hormones through various ways, through the blood, by connecting with different nerves that are connecting the brain and the gut, that these are going to regulate whether we're hungry or satiated. And this is happening primarily in small region of the brain called the hypothalamus.’
‘Presumably it's the feeling full hormone here that's at play and so these cells excrete it, it goes in our blood and then up to our brain. But why would that feeling full hormone make us feel happy? Is it something to do with our past and our evolution?’
‘Yes. In the past, of course, food and particularly fatty foods, sugary foods were sparse. And because of that, of course, evolution designed this in a way that, that people get strongly motivated to eat fatty foods. And these hormones that they release are part of that, that evolutionary mechanism and it also motivated to go all searching for them when they're not available.’...
‘Lucas tells me he's been looking into fibre found in whole grains like wheat and oats, and in pulses like chickpeas, lentils, and beans, as well as root vegetables.’
‘These fibers, we can actually not digest them ourselves. They end up in the large intestine and the large intestine is full of millions of bacteria. And these bacteria use the fibre as a source of energy. So they ferment fibre. And as a result of this fermentation, they produce a number of products or metabolites, as we call them, that can reduce inflammation. But also they produce a number of metabolites where we know that they can actually, in various ways interact with the brain.’
‘Lucas knows this because he published a study on it just last month. They fed men pills containing these metabolites and compared them to volunteers who took placebo pills. And guess what?’
‘And we actually saw that after a week of ingesting these capsules, people got less sensitive to stress’"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Food media's moment of reckoning? - "'Tammy's a freelance food and drinks writer based in New York City and known for being very vocal on Twitter. She's not afraid to write about the world as she sees it, riff with other food journalists. And as it turns out, make some pretty serious allegations. The first of those was against Adam Rapoport, editor in chief at Bon Appetit, a magazine which is read by millions and has a hit YouTube channel called The Test Kitchen. Two things happen in quick succession. A Puerto Rican food writer shares on social media that Rapoport was dismissive of her pitch about Afro-Puerto Rican food. Not long after, Tammy sees a photo from 2004, where he and his wife are dressed up as, well, Puerto Ricans… This is what's known as brownface, a variation on blackface, where someone imitates a person of color, be it through makeup, hair dye or clothing. It evokes racial or cultural stereotypes and is considered racist'…
'Adam Rapoport had released this statement on behalf of Bon Appetit in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests, you know, as a lot of brands were doing, but Bon Appetit’s statement hung a little bit hollow. And I think like employees at that time were starting to push back on that'...
‘She thinks that where Rapoport went wrong was his narrow editorial vision for the magazine’
‘It started to come out that a lot of their coverage was ultimately a white idea of cool and it was a urban Brooklyn gentrifier kind of idea of what a restaurant should be. And it didn't center workers. It didn't talk about issues facing agricultural laborers. It didn't make any statements around sustainability or anything like that.’...
'There is some power shift and there is more discussion about how racism can manifest in media and how representation only as a measure of diversity is a shallow metric'...
‘Lately, I think things have changed a bit in that people have been willing in mainstream food media in the United States to talk about identity politics. But that has been the only way in which people have opened up the, the world of food writing. It's still not about agricultural policy. It's very little about restaurant labor. You'll still see a restaurant critic even during the pandemic, write about going to a restaurant, and they will make no mention of the server or make any moves to interview the server about how safe they feel doing this work during a crisis such as COVID-19 has been’
‘This type of coverage is something former sommelier Stephen Satterfield is sick of reading about too’
‘Best new chefs. Best new restaurants. You know, quick and easy this overnight that or week night this or that, you know what I'm saying. But just like a very narrow scope of coverage.’
‘Like Alicia, Stephen believes that we need to change the conversation from best new chefs and the quick and easy recipes to cover the bigger questions around food.’
‘It has a really, really powerful untapped potential, maybe more than any other prism or vantage in that it is our only shared global experience. You know, it's it really becomes a potent way to think about agriculture, to think about climate change, the ways that our die are connected to the soil, who is actually doing the harvesting. What are the migration patterns of the people doing the harvesting. I mean, once you start to go down the rabbit hole, every single news item that is on a one of every single country's newspaper is a food story.’
‘But nobody was talking about it much and he felt the editors of these glossy magazines didn't have an appetite for it. So Stephen decided to set up his own magazine Whetstone in 2017. It's the only black owned food print publication in the US.’…
‘Stephen spoke to indigenous Americans who are preserving their ancestors way of eating.’
‘One of the things that we did was to you know, remove colonial ingredients and try to really focus on regional flavors. So cutting out things like dairy and wheat flour and cane sugar and beef, pork and chicken on because those ingredients didn't exist’...
‘I think it's really imperative for all of us to grapple with the reality that, you know, black people in the US have only served as labor in the white imagination and then the white reality. Since we arrived in this country, the sole purpose of our arrival was labor. And we don't have any history in this country in any moment in which exploitative labor has not been central to the black experience and central to the interpersonal relationships between black and white people. And I think it's really important that we have the intellectual honesty and the courage to talk about these realities in such plain terms’
The slippery slope has slipped again. I remember only a few years ago, when it was considered alright to dress up as another culture - as long as you didn't change your skin colour. But of course virtue signalling always needs a new target, so the list of sins becomes ever longer at an accelerating pace
So much for the 'myth' of the slippery slope
More evidence that virtue signallers are actually guilty of the sins they accuse others of (e.g. male feminists)
Apparently urban Brooklyn gentrifiers don't deserve to have a food magazine; if no one wants to consume your cultural products which peddle the messages you want, just hijack existing products, turn them into propaganda factories and ruin them in the process. SJWs are like viruses
We were told that it was about 'representation'. But that was a trojan horse for the slippery slope
God forbid that food writing be about food! At least the second guy set up his own magazine (hopefully not after trying to force others write about what he wanted)
Is focusing on 'indigenous' food xenophobic?
When liberal gaslighting is "intellectual honesty". Presumably black people being used for labour today means they're working for white people. So to prevent this "exploitation", all black people need to quit their jobs and just live off the dole

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, One election, two farmers - "‘The American root is thought to have different properties to its Chinese cousin.’
‘Asian ginseng is young, it's hot, fiery, stimulating. American ginseng is actually the exact opposite. And American ginseng is ying, it's cooling. It's tonifying. Chinese people use American jinxing to help boost their immunity, as a tonic, and as a daily restorative’"

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