HK Time Out Magazine – Column #11


I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

Mainland meddling.
Show up to any protest vaguely involving China and you’ll spot dark clothed men murmuring in Putonghua with earpieces and shaved heads – the mainland undercover police ‘goons’ stick out worse than Donald Tsang’s spottiest bowtie. They suspiciously eye you up as if you’d just killed their cat – though, I hardly blend in either, being a pale, ginger-haired beacon of gweilo tallness (somehow we both like to think we go undetected!)

Unfortunately, Beijing’s interference is not always as blatant but anyone keeping an eye on government reshuffles and weird immigration refusals will notice that the nosy motherland is taking more of an interest its prized SAR. At handover, China was never going to kill its cash cow and potential-showcase-for-troublesome-Taiwan, yet the past couple of years have seen unassuming Macau become a testing ground for a protracted erosion of the ‘two countries, one system’ promise. Amnesty International agrees, HK Human Rights Monitor suspects a more ‘secretive’ influence from the central government, whilst Freedom House recently downgraded our press freedom rating due to increasing self-censorship (hence I won’t mention the South China Morning Post or TVB by name).

October 1st marks the 60th anniversary of the Communist Party and few would deny that there has been progress over the decades. However, religious oppression, censorship, support of dodgy regimes and an aversion to human rights, freedom of speech and democracy continue (shortcomings the world is now happily overlooks in favour of trade deals). Therefore, anyone concerned about mainland meddling in HK or uneasy about where we might stand come the 2047 expiration of our autonomy, may wish to help sprinkle some rain on the patriotic parade.

From noon, October 1st, there is a 60hr hunger strike in Times Square and at 3pm, a march from Chater Road to the China Liaison Office in Western. At 8pm a candlelit vigil will be held back in Times Square. Details at

Time Out Column - 16.9.09

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