[PHOTOS] iPhone 6s Goes on Sale in Japan

Apple fans in Japan finally got a chance to get their hands on the iPhone 6s Friday…

Japan was among the 12 countries and territories where the iPhone 6s went on sale Friday. The new models were available by reservation only in China, Hong Kong, Japan and U.S. stores in tax-free states.

Despite the rainy weather in Tokyo, fans turned out to try the new 6s, including some wearing iPhone-shaped hats….(read more)

Source: Japan Real Time – WSJ

Hong Kong Musicians Urged to Join MTR Protest After Cello Player Stopped for Carrying ‘Oversized’ Instrument


[VIDEO] Occupy Hong Kong: Dreams Deferred 

For more than 10 weeks last fall, thousands of protesters occupied Hong Kong’s streets and demanded true democracy. A year later, the movement appears to have stalled.

Capital Flight from China

Lots of money is escaping China’s porous capital controls

The man who calls himself Jack is a caricature of a small-time gangster. Sporting a chunky Louis Vuitton belt, a gold necklace and gold-rimmed sunglasses, he chomps on a Cuban cigar. He says he has come to a pawnshop across the street from the Ponte 16 casino in Macau, a gambling Mecca and former Portuguese colony that is administered separately from the rest of China, only for its fine Cohibas. But when asked for advice about how to exchange yuan held within China for foreign currency—a transaction officially limited by China’s capital controls—he breaks into a laugh and flashes a Chinese bank card. “Just swipe it,” he says. “However much money you have in your China account, you can transfer it here.”

[Read the full text here, at The Economist]

Macau’s role as an illicit way station to move cash out of China, away from the government’s prying eyes, is nothing new. In recent months, though, things have been busier than normal. Capital outflows were already on the rise because of worries about the economy. During the summer, after the stockmarket crashed and the government let the yuan weaken, they soared. Official data indicate that more than $150 billion of capital left China in August—a record (see chart).


Faced with this exodus, the government launched a crackdown on underground banks, which run money across borders and arrange for matching onshore and offshore transactions. Police raided Macau’s pawnshops and arrested 17 people for laundering money. That appears to have slowed things down. When your correspondent visited pawnshops in Macau this week and asked whether they could help him shift 1m yuan ($157,000) out of China—three times what one can legally withdraw in a year—most demurred. Read the rest of this entry »

Market Misdirection in Hong Kong


Regulators crackdown on free speech to shield Chinese firms from criticism.

Regulators in Hong Kong have an odd way of soothing investor concerns. With global investors reeling over China’s stock-market roller coaster and weakening economic data, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is proceeding with unprecedented actions against the authors of two critical research reports. This crackdown threatens to chill free speech in China’s leading financial center.


In the first case, which went before an appeals tribunal last week, the SFC fined Moody’s Investors Service $3 million over a 2011 report raising “red flags” about dozens of mainland Chinese firms listed in Hong Kong. The regulator says Moody’s work was “shoddy and unprofessional,” with errors amounting to a failure of due diligence in preparing credit ratings.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

But Moody’s report didn’t offer credit ratings, merely analysis of corporate-governance and accounting concerns common among Chinese firms. It didn’t examine new information or change its debt ratings. So the SFC’s claim to jurisdiction here, relying on its authority over credit ratings, is questionable. Read the rest of this entry »

Mission Accomplished: U.S. Drops to 16th on ‘Economic Freedom’ List, Behind Canada, Chile

Obama Change Not

The top 10: Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, Jordan, Ireland, Canada, with the United Kingdom and Chile tied at 10.

“The United States, once considered a bastion of economic freedom, now ranks 16th in the world after being as high as second in 2000.”

Paul Bedard reports: The United States, ranked second in worldwide economic freedom as recently as 2000, has plummeted to 16th, according to a new report of world economies.

“A weakened rule of law, the so-called wars on terrorism and drugs, and a confused regulatory environment have helped erode economic freedom in the United States, which remains behind Canada and other more economically free countries such as Qatar, Jordan and the U.A.E.”

— Fred McMahon, Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute’s annual report, Economic Freedom of the World, showed that the country’s drop started in 2010, the second year of the Obama administration.

“Economic freedom breeds prosperity and economically free countries like Canada offer the highest quality of life while the lowest-ranked countries are usually burdened by oppressive regimes that limit the freedom and opportunity of their citizens.”

— Fred McMahon, Fraser Institute

The world-recognized report showed that the U.S. fell in several areas, including legal and property rights and regulation.

“The United States, once considered a bastion of economic freedom, now ranks 16th in the world after being as high as second in 2000,” said the report issued Monday morning. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Rewrite History of 1967 Red Guard Riots



The police have deleted (seen on top graphic) and modified part of the “police history” of the 1967 riots on their website.

The 1967 riots during May to December were started by leftists in Hong Kong following a labour dispute in a San Po Kong factory, after the Cultural Revolution in China started. During the year 8,074 suspected bombs were planted, of which 1,167 were real bombs; At least 51 people died during the riots, including ten police officers, and 802 were injured.

Commercial Radio host Lam Bun was burned to death in his car, and a pair of siblings aged 2 and 7 were killed by bombs during the riots. Read the rest of this entry »

China: Student Leaders Plead Not Guilty

Three prominent student leaders of last year’s Occupy campaign have pleaded not guilty in Eastern Court to charges arising out of a protest at the forecourt of government headquarters in Tamar.

The three are the convenor of the student activist group Scholarism, Joshua Wong, the Secretary-General of the Federation of Students, Nathan Law, and the former secretary-general of the federation, Alex Chow.

Wong is accused of taking part in an unlawful assembly and inciting others to do so as well. Law faces one charge of inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly, while Chow is accused of taking part in an unlawful assembly.

The offences are alleged to have been committed on September 26, 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

[PHOTO] New Weapon in Hong Kong


China Stock Markets: Sharpest Dive Since 2007


China’s stock markets suffered their sharpest daily fall since the global financial crisis on Monday, with the government withholding support at a time when investors world-wide have been rattled by volatile selling in China and a slowdown in its economy. As WSJ’s Chao Deng and Anjani Trivedi report:

The Shanghai Composite Index’s loss of 8.5% by Monday’s close was its largest daily percentage decline since February 2007. Today’s performance reminded investors of an 8.5% drop on July 27, when worries mounted that authorities were pulling back on measures to prop up the market.

Monday’s performance erased Shanghai’s gains for the year, reverberated across Asia and weighed on global markets at an inopportune time for China. Next week, it will host world leaders for a memorial parade meant to show off its military power and increasing clout on the global stage. In addition, Chinese President Xi Jinping is slated to visit the U.S. next month. But a global selloff was already gathering pace by late afternoon in Asia, with European stocks and U.S. stock futures falling sharply. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Hong Kong Woman’s Cuckoo Bananas Post-Breakup Meltdown Goes Viral 


 at RocketNews24 writes: There are a handful of accepted stages people go through when dealing with heartbreak. First, there is denial. Then, bargaining. Then, relapse. Anger. Acceptance. Then, finally, hope, as the subject of the breakup looks to the future and finally finds something worth looking forward to.

Or, if you’re this Chinese woman traveling in Hong Kong, you just lie down on the ground and shout at anyone and everyone who will listen until the police carry you away.


The scorned woman apparently received a text message from her boyfriend of several years with the news that it just wasn’t working out, and instead of confronting the reality of her ex kind of being a jerk and moving on with her life, she instead decided to just shut down completely, sprawling out on the ground in the middle of Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui disctrict, a major tourist hub famous for its shopping and nightlife.



She reportedly spent the next hour or more shouting nonsense at passersby, many of whom unfortunately possessed camera-equipped phones with which to record the poor woman’s meltdown, eventually landing the lady a spot on the Chinese news broadcasts, where her breakdown was treated as a sideshow not unlike a video of a pet doing something ridiculous… Read the rest of this entry »

CRACKDOWN: China’s Censors Scramble to Contain Online Fallout After Tianjin Blast


Censorship rates on Weibo up tenfold after the Tianjin blast 

Eva DouEva-Dou reports: The Tianjin warehouse explosion has horrified and gripped China’s netizens, with the topic racking up more views on social network Weibo than the country’s total population of nearly 1.4 billion.

It’s also sent the country’s Internet censors scrambling to make sure online discussion stays within approved confines.


Censorship rates on Weibo were up tenfold after the Tianjin blast compared to earlier in the month, said King-wa Fu, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong’s journalism school who built censorship tracker Weiboscope.

Censorship of traditional and social media is common in China after disasters and has actually been looser this time than in some other recent tragedies. Whereas China’s local newspapers turned into clones after the capsizing of a ship on the Yangtze River in June, Chinese media reports on the explosion in Tianjin’s Tanggu district have been more varied. Discussion of the topic has also been widespread on social media.

[Read more here, at China Real Time Report – WSJ]

But some online comments go too far, such as those that criticize the government’s response or discuss the chemicals inside the warehouse, which officials say they have not yet been able to identify. Those types of postings have been scrubbed, according to Weiboscope and another censorship-tracking site, Free Weibo. Read the rest of this entry »

After Arrests, Hong Kong Government Quietly Deletes Articles Gushing About Uber


Laurel Chor writes: While the city’s Type-A, over-privileged, impatient residents complained about yesterday’s arrests of Uber drivers and debated whether that sounded the death knell for the company’s services in Hong Kong, InvestHK quietly erased online evidence that it once gushed about the car-hailing app.

In May, InvestHK, a government department that aims to “attract and retain foreign direct investment”, published a piece proudly talking about the company’s decision to launch in Hong Kong.

Sam Gellman, Uber’s Asia expansion lead, happily provided pro-Hong Kong quotes for the article: “Hong Kong is an incredible city, combining global commerce and local culture, large industry and startup entrepreneurship and innovation. It makes a fantastic regional headquarters for us as expand into the Greater China area.”

InvestHK continued to boast that it had provided Uber with “significant support, including information on public transportation and advice on market entry strategy prior to its launch.

Uber is now probably pretty pissed, and InvestHK likely a widdle bit embarrassed, as the Hong Kong police arrested five Uber drivers and raided the company’s local office, taking away three people. The police said that the drivers were “illegally driving cars for rental purpose” and for operating “without third-party insurance”. Whoopsies! Read the rest of this entry »

The Day the Music Died: China Blacklists 120 Songs for ‘Morality’ Violations


How do you boost a song’s popularity? In China, now there’s a new option: put it on a government blacklist.

Hu Xin reports: China’s Ministry of Culture this week banned 120 songs for “containing content that promotes sex, violence or crime, or harms public morality.” According to a notice posted on the ministry’s website late Monday, streaming music sites and karaoke parlors must remove the offending songs within 15 days or else face an unspecified “severe punishment.” The songs are also banned from commercial performance.

Of the 120 blacklisted tunes, many contain explicit language or touch on amorous themes, with lyrics about “making love” and “one night stands.”

“You see why China will never have its own Eminem now. Hip-hop is popular in America because you can sing everything you want.”

— Music fan on Weibo

Some stars such as Taiwan’s Ayal Komod and MC Hotdog have songs that made the list. Yet about one-fifth of the banned songs were penned by two Chinese hip-hop groups, In 3 and Xinjiekou. While lauded by fans of the genre, the two bands – who sing about their daily lives and sometimes voice their anger towards society — are little-known outside mainland hip-hop circles.

“Have they really listened to those songs or did they just judge them based on their titles?”

MC Han, one of the founders of Xinjiekou, told China Real Time in a phone interview Tuesday that he is not frustrated by the sudden blacklisting of eight of his songs.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

“It actually serves as a reminder for composers like us and helps guide our music creation,” he said of the ban. “Those songs were written to express our true feelings when we were less mature.”

“We aim to spread ‘positive energy’ and an optimistic attitude through hip-hop,” he added, borrowing a signature phrase of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Read the rest of this entry »

Sweaty Balls in Hong Kong


HOTTEST DAY IN HISTORY: Hong Kong on Saturday recorded its hottest day since authorities began taking temperature readings 130 years ago, due to the influence of a nearby typhoon.

The daily maximum temperature hit 36.3 degrees Celsius, the Hong Kong Observatory said, with higher temperatures recorded in some parts of the city earlier in the day.

A layer of haze hung over the metropolis of seven million, as people wielding electric fans and umbrellas tried in vain to beat the boiling heat.


“This is a new record,” a Hong Kong Observatory spokesman told AFP.

“Today, the recorded daily maximum… was 36.3 degrees Celsius,” he said, adding that the previous hottest days on record occurred in 1900 and 1990, when a temperature of 36.1 degrees Celsius was recorded. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Who’s the Champion of the Panda Kingdom? 37-Year-Old Senior Citizen ‘Jai Jai’ Breaks World Record in Hong Kong

Jai Jai has become the world’s oldest captive panda at the grand old age of 37, entering the history books and breaking a 16-year-old record, from her home in Ocean Park, Hong Kong.

[VIDEO] End of the Umbrella Revolution: ‘Hong Kong Silenced’

In September 2014, VICE News documented the birth of the so-called Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong. When students organized a weeklong strike to protest China’s handling of the local election process, the government responded with tear gas.

Thousands of Hong Kong residents took to the city’s streets in solidarity with the students and the protesters occupied several major roads for weeks on end.

[Read more about the Umbrella Movement at punditfromanotherplanet.com]

Nearly two months into the occupation, the demands and resolve of the protesters remained unchanged. They started to become fatigued and divided against each other, however, and public support for their cause began to decline. The movement was under immense pressure to either escalate their action, or to retreat and give back the streets.

When VICE News returned to Hong Kong near the end of 2014 to check in on the protesters, we witnessed the final days of the Umbrella Movement’s pro-democracy demonstrations.

Watch “Hong Kong Rising

Read “Hong Kong Leader Warns Concessions Could Lead to ‘Anarchy,’ as Scuffles Break Out in ParliamentRead the rest of this entry »

Disillusionment Among Hong Kong’s Youth Fuels Uneasy Separatist Longings


The youngsters are members of a new front that is using increasingly aggressive tactics to demand an independent Hong Kong free from mainland China’s grip.  

Viola Zhou and Claire Baldwin report: On a recent Sunday night in the working-class Hong Kong district of Mong Kok, a group of radical young activists swore through loudspeakers and gestured rudely as they denounced mainland Chinese as “prostitutes” and “barbarians.”

The youngsters are members of a new front that is using increasingly aggressive tactics to demand an independent Hong Kong free from mainland China’s grip.

Their separatist yearnings have alarmed Beijing and the pro-Beijing Hong Kong government which are fighting back to win hearts and minds and forge a spirit of “love China, love Hong Kong” with multimillion-dollar information drives and exchanges.

The animosity on display in Mong Kok was virtually unheard of until recently, despite resentment toward mainlanders flooding into Hong Kong, and follows unsuccessful protests to demand full democracy in the city late last year.

The 'Umbrella Revolution' rallies together again after the October 21 talks

“I never call myself Chinese at school because it is a shame to be Chinese,” said 16-year-old “Gorilla” Chan, who, unbeknownst to his parents, founded a radical group with a 14-year-old friend.

He said violence is almost inevitable.

“That day will come sooner or later if Hong Kong remains like this,” Chan said.

Beijing sees national unity as sacrosanct and has ruled Hong Kong under a “one country, two systems” formula, allowing broad autonomy, since the city returned from British rule in 1997.

But Hong Kong’s prodemocracy movement, spearheaded by fresh-faced youngsters, has shaken the assumption of cozy accommodation between the mainland’s communists and the capitalist enclave.

The protesters demanded full democracy in a 2017 election for the city’s leader. But Beijing insists the leader will be chosen from a list of candidates it approves.

The anti-China radicals were galvanized by the democracy protests and gained traction later during protests against mainland shoppers swamping Hong Kong and buying up various items, including formula milk, and pushing up prices. Read the rest of this entry »


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