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Thread: Hong Kong protests

  1. #46
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    Continued from previous post

    In response, CCTV, the Chinese state television network, canceled its broadcasts of preseason games in China this week, and Chinese retailers like Alibaba removed NBA merchandise from websites.

    NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement Tuesday reaffirming his defense of Morey’s freedom of expression, saying that the NBA “could not operate” if it attempted to regulate what players, employees and owners said on political issues. Silver also stressed the league’s “great affinity” for China, and told reporters that he would attempt to repair relations during his visit to China this week.

    But China watchers said rapping the knuckles of a popular sports league ensures that a wide swath of Americans get the message. That’s important to Beijing as it sees broad support for the Hong Kong protesters in the Western press and on social media, experts said.

    China’s influence has grown alongside its market potential for Western companies.

    The NBA’s global aspirations rely heavily on China, with Silver in June referring to the country and its population of 1.4 billion as an “enormous opportunity.” The NBA began hosting exhibition games in China in 2004 and officially opened a China office in 2008. Although China will not broadcast the games, the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets will play this week in Shanghai and Shenzhen, continuing a longstanding tradition of sending high-profile teams to China during the preseason.

    Meanwhile, superstars such as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have regularly made pilgrimages to promote their sneakers. Numerous NBA players, including former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, have signed promotional deals with Chinese sneaker companies rather than American brands. And NBA teams including the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors have designed and worn jerseys aimed specifically at the Chinese audience.

    According to league figures, 640 million Chinese viewers consumed NBA content during the 2017-18 season, and the NBA’s most recent five-year extension with Chinese online entertainment giant Tencent was reportedly worth $1.5 billion. Tencent announced that 21 million people used its service to watch the decisive game of the 2019 NBA Finals — topping the television viewership number in the United States.

    Silver told reporters this week in Japan that the league had already felt “fairly dramatic consequences” from Morey’s tweet. A Chinese boycott of the NBA would do significant damage to the league.

    Some industries are increasingly anticipating Chinese sensitivities and working to avoid them.

    To win China’s coveted film distribution slots, Hollywood has tried to avoid content that authorities find morally or politically offensive. In some cases, this has extended to outright changes after a movie has been shot. The producers behind the reboot of “Red Dawn” earlier this decade altered the film in post-production so the villains were from North Korea instead of China.

    In other instances, Hollywood has included references to Chinese genius, as in the disaster movie “2012,” in which Chinese scientists rescued civilization.

    Marvel shot some of “Iron Man 3” in the country with the help of Chinese investment. New scenes were added specifically for the Chinese release. Hollywood studios often partly finance their films with Chinese investors, deepening the relationship.

    China is the world’s second-largest market by box office revenue, and Hollywood has often reaped the benefits. Studio movies took in more than $2 billion in the country last year. Officially, though, only some 38 Hollywood films are allowed to play in Chinese theaters, according to the rules of the government-run China Film Group. This causes a scramble among studios to please authorities.

    The U.S.-China trade war has lent these efforts a fraught quality; many big-budget films have been unable to secure slots since the conflict intensified. Disney remains the exception. The company — which has partnered with the Shanghai government on a theme park there — is still seeing many of its offerings available in the country.

    For now much of Hollywood seems content to keep its head down and steer clear of the controversy that has gripped the NBA — so much so that John Penotti, the Los Angeles-based producer of “Crazy Rich Asians,” who conducts business throughout Asia, said entertainment officials on both sides of the Pacific are avoiding the subject of the Morey backlash.

    “I haven’t heard a single person bring it up in conversation in the past few days,” he said. “It’s kind of amazing.”



    Jeanne Whalen
    Jeanne Whalen is a reporter covering business around the world. She previously reported for the Wall Street Journal from New York, London and Moscow.

    Ben Golliver
    Ben Golliver joined The Washington Post as the National NBA Writer in 2018. Previously, he was a senior writer at Sports Illustrated covering the NBA. An Oregon native, he lives and works in Los Angeles.
    k
    Steven Zeitchik
    Steven Zeitchik covers the business of entertainment for The Washington Post, examining the industry's trends, challenges, issues and ideas. Before joining The Post, he covered entertainment for the Los Angeles Times for eight years. He also did reporting tours for The Times in places including Ukraine, Egypt, Germany and the Bill Cosby trial.
    Righteous democracy versus all that money.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  2. #47
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    Hong Kong protesters attack riot police officer with flying kick

    Gene Ching
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  3. #48
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    LeBron

    Who would've imagined that Basketball would become such an issue with Hong Kong?


    LeBron James no longer King James for Hong Kong protesters

    Associated Press
    JOHN LEICESTER
    ,Associated Press•October 15, 2019

    HONG KONG (AP) — When the ball smashed into a photo of LeBron James' face stuck above the hoop and dropped into the basket, the Hong Kong protesters cheered.

    They also trampled on jerseys bearing his name and gathered in a semicircle to watch one burn.

    James' standing among basketball fans in Hong Kong took a hit because of comments the NBA star made about free speech. Fans gathered on courts amid Hong Kong's high-rise buildings Tuesday to vent their anger.

    The player for the Los Angeles Lakers touched a nerve among protesters for suggesting that free speech can have negative consequences. They have been protesting for months in defense of the same freedom that James said can carry "a lot of negative."

    The protesters chanted support for Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, something of a hero among demonstrators in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory for having tweeted on Oct. 4 in support of their struggle, infuriating authorities in China.

    What the crowd of approximately 200 people chanted about James wasn't printable.

    "People are angry," said James Lo, a web designer who runs a Hong Kong basketball fan page on Facebook. He said he's already received a video from a protester that showed him burning a No. 23 jersey bearing James' name.

    He expects more, given the backlash from protesters who've been regularly hitting the streets of Hong Kong and battling police because of concerns that the international business hub is slowly losing its freedoms, which are unique in China.

    "Students, they come out like every weekend. They've got tear gassed and then they got gun-shot, like every weekend. Police beating students and then innocent people, like every day. And then he (James) just comes up with something (like) that. We just can't accept that."

    James made his comments in response to a question about whether Morey should be punished for his tweet that reverberated in China and had consequences for the NBA.

    "Yes, we do have freedom of speech," James said. "But at times, there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you're not thinking about others, when you only think about yourself."

    He added: "So many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and what we say and what we do. Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, it can be a lot of negative that comes with it."

    NBA players weren't made available before or after games in China, which CCTV didn't broadcast, and several companies and state-run offices reportedly severed their ties with the NBA over Morey's tweet and the league's response to it.

    Protesters said James' comments smacked of a double-standard, because he's used his clout as a sports headliner to press for social causes in the United States.

    "Please remember, all NBA players, what you said before: 'Black lives matter.' Hong Kong lives also matter!" one of the protesters, 36-year-old office worker William Mok, said in addressing the applauding crowd.

    Others said LeBron's comments made it seem that he's more worried about money than people.

    "James was trying, you know, to take a side, on the China side, which is like ridiculous," said Aaron Lee, a 36-year-old marketing director. "He was being honest, financially. Financial is money. Simple as that. LeBron James stands for money. Period."



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  4. #49
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    Self-Censorship

    Hollywood's New Self-Censorship Mess in China
    8:37 AM PDT 10/16/2019 by Tatiana Siegel



    With pro-democracy marches gaining steam in Hong Kong and billions at stake in the country’s film market, studios may look to speak out just enough that it "doesn’t embarrass you so much that people say you’re a toady or kowtowing."
    Two days after South Park was banned in China, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone served up Hollywood’s most defiant rebuke of the communist government in decades with their Oct. 9 episode. When the Comedy Central series’ geologist turned pot dealer Randy Marsh — voiced by Parker — shouted, “**** the Chinese government!” it marked the most incendiary words from an actor since Richard Gere dubbed China’s occupation of Tibet “horrendous” at the 1993 Oscars.

    While South Park’s “Shots!!!” episode provided fodder for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, who are battling mainland backed police forces, don’t expect many other high-profile entertainment figures to follow suit. When it comes to China and its vast moneymaking potential, the prevailing wisdom is: Get woke, go broke. The practice of self-censorship is common now, say top producers. “With China, nothing is transparent,” a producer who has released films there tells The Hollywood Reporter. “No one knows what the ground rules are. And that’s by design. It leaves everyone on edge.”

    From Mulan actress Crystal Liu to the Lakers’ LeBron James, most top stars are taking no chances and are lining up to either side with the Chinese regime or denounce any criticism of its authoritarian tactics. Similarly, companies like ESPN (which used a controversial map on SportsCenter that indicated the self ruled island of Taiwan was part of China) and Apple (which removed from its online stores the so-called Hong Kong protest app and quietly dropped the Gere series *******s, despite picking it up straight to series late last year) appear to be toeing the party line.

    All the while, observers say an overt self-censorship has begun to creep into the entertainment industry. Inside Hollywood, the film industry faces the greatest risk in rocking the China boat.

    Consider that American movies earned $3.2 billion in China in 2018, with Disney accounting for nearly a quarter of that with $700 million. This year, the studio’s Avengers: Endgame pulled in $614 million from China alone. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Disney stayed silent in the wake of Liu posting on social media platform Weibo in August: “I support Hong Kong’s police, you can beat me up now,” adding the hashtag #IAlsoSupportTheHongKong Police.

    “Disney has certainly enjoyed major success in China, but I’d hesitate to say that any single studio has the luxury of provoking China because it’s a very important relationship for the industry at large,” says Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice Media. “Virtually all of the majors have appealed to Chinese audiences with blockbuster tentpole releases and occasionally in a bigger way than some films played with domestic moviegoers.”

    James’ courtship of Chinese consumers extends well beyond basketball and sneakers and into film thanks to his upcoming Warner Bros. tentpole Space Jam 2 (dated for July 16, 2021). But James drew outrage when he blasted Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey for tweeting his support for Hong Kong protesters, calling him “misinformed” (Morey had deleted the tweet). After all, James has been outspoken about police brutality in the U.S. as well as about President Trump’s so-called Muslim travel ban (in China, more than 1 million Uighur Muslims are said to be held in internment camps).

    Disney-owned ESPN drew further criticism when Deadspin on Oct. 8 reported on a leaked email written by news editor Chuck Salituro that discouraged any political discussion about China and Hong Kong with regard to the Morey story. (An ESPN source noted that the network had reporters and cameras in Shanghai and broadcast video of a Chinese worker ripping down an NBA logo as well as video of the Lakers arriving to little fanfare.)

    “In entertainment, these people have to look at the bottom line,” says Stan Rosen, a USC professor who specializes in China’s entertainment industry. “You want to address [the human rights abuses] in a way that keeps the China market but doesn’t embarrass you so much that people say you’re a toady or kowtowing to China. That’s why you’re seeing a pushback against the NBA and Disney to a certain extent.”

    Some of the official explanations offered by corporate giants for their Chinese-friendly moves have been criticized as murky. With *******s, sources say Apple bristled at the vigilante justice tone of the show. As for the app removal, the tech and soon-to-be content giant said that HKMap.Live, used by Hong Kong protesters, had endangered law enforcement and residents.

    The stakes continue to grow. This year, China’s Tencent signed a five-year, $1.5 billion deal to continue as the NBA’s exclusive digital partner in China. In the case of South Park, China’s move to scrub every clip, episode and online discussion of the series won’t hit Viacom’s bottom line. But the parent company, soon to merge with CBS, will have to contend with any Chinese retaliation for its other companies like Paramount, which fuels the country’s pipeline with such product as the Mission: Impossible and Transformers films.

    A company like Netflix has more freedom to antagonize China given that its platform isn’t available in the Middle Kingdom, thus it acquired such incendiary documentaries as 2017’s Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower. But it will face a major test of China’s patience with the upcoming Meryl Streep starrer The Laundromat, which depicts adherents of outlawed spiritual practice Falun Gong as victims of the government’s organ harvesting program. South Park and Laundromat notwithstanding, the industry likely will continue to tiptoe around China and any other lucrative hotspots that contribute to the bottom line of studios, networks and streamers.

    “That’s the world in which we live now. You’re pandering to the people that have the money and the power,” says Joker producer Jason Cloth of the industry’s increased self-censorship. “There are many films that fail in North America but do gangbuster business in major foreign markets. So if you have to be cognizant of offending somebody in a major foreign market, you’re going to stay away from that subject matter.

    This story first appeared in the Oct. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

    THREADS
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  5. #50
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    Global markets + world politics = lost livelihoods

    Hong Kong protests, cheap Chinese rivals: why Thai rice is in crisis
    The country was once the world’s top exporter but it has been hit by a triple whammy of unrest in Hong Kong, a strong baht and tough competition
    With rice front and centre in Thai politics, that’s bad news for Bangkok
    Jitsiree Thongnoi
    Published: 12:15pm, 17 Nov, 2019


    Rice at a market in Bangkok. Photo: AFP

    Thai rice, once dominant on the world market, is now facing a triple whammy of a strong baht, tough competition from Asian neighbours and social unrest in Hong Kong that is weighing on demand.
    The weaker sales overseas are part of a lacklustre performance by the country’s export sector amid an almost 10 per cent rise in the currency against the US dollar since the beginning of the year. Rice exports have been left exposed to stiff competition from large producers such as India, Vietnam and China.
    Traders have also blamed continuing anti-government protests in Hong Kong, where about half of rice classified as premium produce comes from Thailand. The number of tourists visiting the Chinese city has plunged in recent months, from 5.1 million in July to 3.1 million in September.


    Thai farmers harvest rice in a field in Thailand’s southern Narathiwat province. Photo: AFP

    Thailand exported 143,000 tonnes of rice to Hong Kong between January and September last year.
    In the same period this year, the country managed only 127,000 tonnes – an 11 per cent drop.
    “Thai premium white rice caters mainly to Hong Kong’s tourism sector,” said Charoen Laothamatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA). “But we have seen fewer shipments to Hong Kong in recent months as there is lower demand from restaurants and hotels.”
    Thailand’s share of the city’s rice market peaked in 2016 at 64 per cent, but Laothamatas said it had since fallen to about 52 per cent.
    However, a source at Chaitip, a major rice trading company that has been exporting to Hong Kong for more than a century, said the demonstrations had not been as damaging as recent price rises.
    “The lower demand is not due to the unrest, it is because jasmine rice has become too expensive,” said the source.
    “Droughts in many parts of Thailand this year have led to lower production of jasmine rice, which is why the price has shot up.”
    Thai hom mali, or premium jasmine rice, is the country’s most recognisable rice product. Its slim and aromatic grain now costs about 1,200 baht (US$39) per tonne, while Vietnam’s white rice is priced at about half that figure.
    The industry is crucial for Thailand because of the large number of Thais who depend on it. It supports as much as 30 per cent of the country’s 69-million population, according to Chookiat Ophaswongse, TREA’s special president.


    Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra relied heavily on government subsidies to rice producers to win political support. Photo: AP

    It has often been central to Thai politics, with the country’s farmers holding considerable political influence. Support from Thailand’s rural northeast was central to the electoral success of the Shinawatra family between 2001 and 2014. Former prime ministers Thaksin and his sister Yingluck relied heavily on government subsidies to rice producers, who in turn formed the backbone of their populist “red shirt” movement, which clashed repeatedly with anti-Thaksin, pro-monarchy “yellow shirts”. The conflict led to a military intervention in 2014 that only ended this year with elections in March.
    Until 2012 Thailand was the world’s top rice exporter in terms of volume, but India took the top spot after it lifted a ban on non-basmati rice exports in 2011.
    The loss of Thailand’s prized position came in the wake of a “rice-pledging scheme” embarked on by Yingluck’s administration. The government bought rice from farmers at inflated prices, which sent the price of the product upwards on the world market while forcing down demand. An 18-million-tonne stockpile was accumulated by the state, the last of which was shipped out to market only last year, when total exports for the year stood at 11 million tonnes.
    The disastrous programme cost the government US$8 billion, according to figures from the military, which cited it as a major justification for its coup that deposed Yingluck in 2014. The prime minister was subsequently sentenced in absentia to five years in prison, and the military junta then worked hard to court Thai rice farmers before it relinquished power this year.


    Bags of rice stacked at a factory in Bangkok. Photo: AFP

    Nipon Puapongsakorn, a researcher at the Thailand Development Research Institute Foundation, said the government subsidy programme was a short-sighted attempt to maintain Thailand’s agricultural productivity and competitiveness.
    The state last month also began paying farmers across Thailand who have joined a rice price guarantee scheme.
    The scheme ensures farmers are paid the difference when the price falls below a predetermined benchmark. It covers five types of rice, including those from the country’s hom mali paddy and glutinous rice paddy, which are badly affected by drought and floods.
    The programme will run until October next year, but several other subsidies and financial support schemes for rice farmers and growers of other crops, including oil palm, cassava, rubber and corn, will be available for longer.
    Sudarat Keyuraphan, a key member of Thailand’s Shinawatra-backed Pheu Thai political party, this week said the government subsidy would allow middlemen to reduce the price of rice further when they bought from farmers.
    But Puapongsakorn said these measures were only short term. “The budget for subsidy programmes is much higher than that for rice research, which helps Thailand stay competitive in the long run,” he said.
    The researcher added that India’s development of hybrid fragrant rice and Vietnam’s research into soft white rice for export had seen Thailand’s jasmine rice lose its charm among international buyers.
    “Vietnam has lower costs and the country’s currency is under control,” he said. “The government needs to develop new types of rice that meet more of the market demand.”
    Vietnam is now the third-biggest supplier in the world.
    Meanwhile, China, with its estimated rice stockpile of more than 100 million tonnes, has begun releasing supply to African countries, further edging out Thai producers, according to Puapongsakorn. He said China’s exports rose more than 70 per cent last year due to demand from Africa, with Ivory Coast the country’s biggest customer.
    Chinese white rice cost US$300 a tonne in July, while similar grains from Thailand were quoted at US$390, those from Vietnam at US$360, and India at US$370, according to Thai media.
    Market share for Thailand in Africa stood at 51 per cent last year, TREA figures show.
    Laothamatas said TREA had cut its export target for this year to less than 8.5 million tonnes, down from the usual figure of between 9 million and 9.5 million.
    “There was no competition 20 years ago, but there is competition everywhere now, from India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Cambodia,” he said. “We need to develop new rice varieties and reduce our costs so that we can compete.”
    Ophaswongse told Bloomberg that the competition was “killing us all”. “We don’t know what else we can do. We tried reducing costs, but the baht keeps making our rice more expensive,” he said.
    “We can only sit and wait, and some might have to quit the business.” ■
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  6. #51
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    Batman busted by the PRC

    ASIA NOVEMBER 28, 2019 6:14AM PT
    DC Comics Comes Under Fire for Deleting Batman Poster That Sparked Chinese Backlash
    By REBECCA DAVIS


    CREDIT: COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.

    DC Comics has yanked a poster for a new Batman title from its social media accounts after the image drew criticism from Chinese commenters who said it appeared to support the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

    The artwork depicts Batman throwing a Molotov cocktail against a backdrop of hot-pink words spelling out the new comic book’s tagline, “the future is young.” It was posted on DC Comics’ Twitter and Instagram accounts; both platforms are blocked in mainland China. The poster was meant to promote a forthcoming DC Black Label comic called “Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child,” due to hit shelves Dec. 11. DC Black Label is an imprint that seeks to appeal to an older-skewing readership through reprints and original limited series.

    But the poster came under fire from Chinese internet users who contended that it contained coded messages in support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. They said that the Molotov cocktail alluded to young Hong Kong protesters’ more violent tactics, that the “dark knight’s” choice of black attire referred to the black-clad Hong Kong protesters, and that the “golden child” of the book’s title was a veiled reference to the color yellow, which was taken up by previous pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong five years ago.

    “The black clothes represent Hong Kong, the mask represents Hong Kong, the Molotov cocktail represents Hong Kong, what else here doesn’t represent Hong Kong???” wrote one angry Weibo commenter. Another chimed in: “No matter what the reason, to put an image like this up at a sensitive time like this means you have a death wish.”

    DC Comics has since removed the poster from its social media. A Beijing-based representative of Warner Bros. declined to comment on the move.

    China is a critical market for Warner Bros., which owns DC Entertainment and DC Comics, its publishing subsidiary. “Aquaman” broke Chinese box office records last December to take in a cumulative $292 million, while “Shazam!” made $43.8 million in April.

    With the “Batman” image, the company joins the ranks of Western entities like the NBA and Disney that have been thrown onto the minefield of Chinese politics, with Chinese nationalists threatening to boycott on the one hand and others lobbing criticism for seeming to sacrifice freedom of speech for profit on the other.

    On Weibo Thursday, angry comments and discussion of the poster mixed with promotion for the new trailer of Warner Bros. “Birds of Prey,” which will debut stateside next February and is helmed by Chinese-American Cathy Yan.

    In the meantime, DC Comics’ Instagram has been flooded with criticism from people who support the Hong Kong protests or are angry that the company appears to have given in to Chinese political pressure.

    “So now Batman loves money more than justice?” asked one commenter.

    Another wrote: “Apparently China rules the world now. The future is young? No, the future is censorship.”
    THREADS
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  7. #52
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    IP4 boycotted

    Hong Kong Protestors Boycott 'Ip Man 4' for Donnie Yen and Producer's Pro-Beijing Stance
    7:30 PM PST 12/23/2019 by Karen Chu


    Courtesy of Mandarin Motion Pictures
    'Ip Man 4: The Finale'

    Pro-democracy activists in the country are snubbing the martial arts film and discouraging others from seeing it in a variety of ways, including posting spoilers on social media.
    Hong Kong protestors are boycotting Ip Man 4: The Finale to oppose the pro-Beijing stance of producer Raymond Wong and stars Donnie Yen and Danny Chan.

    The fourth installment of the wildly successful Ip Man franchise, The Finale has broken box office records for an Asian film in China, Taiwan and Singapore. But in Hong Kong, the pic has grossed $660,000 since bowing Friday, finishing in second place behind Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

    The boycott was organized by users of the Reddit-like LIHKG forum, one of the strategizing hubs of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement that began in June and has seen the city-state roiled by protests, running street battles and heavy-handed police action. Not only are protestors snubbing the movie, they are also actively discouraging others to see it by spoiling the storyline of the film on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the “Ip Man Challenge.” Handy placards with major plot points in English or Chinese are being distributed alongside the hashtag "#boycottIpMan4."

    Those boycotting the pic have cited the political leanings of Ip Man 4’s producer and actors as basis for their action. Wong has made his pro-China stance known especially in recent years, having organized a fund for an anti-Occupy Central organization in 2014 and vocally criticized the democratically voted best film win of the politically controversial Ten Years at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2015, calling the movie’s triumph at the ceremony “a huge mistake” and “a joke” despite it being the consensus of film industry members.

    Yen, who played the eponymous character in the film series, shared the stage and sang with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at a gala commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong handover in 2017 and issued a statement early this year reasserting “the determination of the motherland” after his fans in China was outraged by his attendance of an event hosted by German clothing brand Philipp Plein, which was allegedly involved in an incident deemed “insulting” to China a dozen years ago. Meanwhile, Chan, who plays Bruce Lee in the latest movie, has been outspokenly supportive of the Hong Kong police, posting on social media that police should not “go easy on any [protesters]” nor “let anyone of them go.”

    The boycott was launched as a part of the grassroots “yellow economic circle” initiative that has started to gain traction in recent months, meant to endorse restaurants, shops and brands that support the movement and discourage spending at “blue” or pro-China establishments. Maps and guides of “yellow restaurants/shops” have been put together to encourage patronage of protest-minded Hong Kong citizens.

    As one of the high-profile Hong Kong film releases this year, the China co-production Ip Man 4 was seen as a “blue” product and as epitomizing the China-leaning nature of Hong Kong-Chinese collaborations that cater to Chinese audience’s taste at the expense of the Hong Kong audience.

    Veteran producer Wong inaugurated the Ip Man film franchise in 2008, making Yen a star and paving the way for his involvement in Hollywood productions, including Star Wars spinoff Rogue One and the upcoming Disney live-action remake of Mulan, which is itself the subject of a boycott after lead Crystal Liu voiced support for the Hong Kong police. The first Ip Man pic won best film and action choreography honors at the 2009 Hong Kong Film Awards. Known for its action sequences and Chinese nationalistic themes, where Ip Man always triumphs over foreign aggressors, the first three installments in the franchise have grossed over $228 million in total worldwide.
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  8. #53
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    HK fireworks cancelled

    Hong Kong / Politics
    Hong Kong tourist arrivals drop 14 per cent year on year in 2019 amid anti-government protests

    Arrivals drop to 55.9 million in 2019 from 65.15 million the previous year, caused by 14.2 per cent decline in mainland Chinese tourists and fewer overnight visitors
    Lunar New Year fireworks show also cancelled amid safety fears, though light show at Victoria Harbour and performances in West Kowloon Cultural District stay on schedule
    SCMP
    Denise Tsang and Alvin Lum
    Published: 11:11am, 15 Jan, 2020


    The traditional fireworks for Lunar New Year will not be repeated in 2020, in another blow to the city’s events programme. Photo: Martin Chan

    The number of visitors to Hong Kong dropped by 14 per cent last year amid the ongoing protests roiling the city, tourism authorities revealed on Wednesday, as the government announced that the signature Lunar New Year fireworks show would be cancelled.
    In 2019, arrival figures dropped to 55.9 million from 65.15 million the year before, dragged down by a 14.2 per cent decline in mainland Chinese, who accounted for the bulk of visitors to the city, the Tourism Board said.
    Overnight visitors, who spend more, tumbled 18.8 per cent to 23.76 million.
    The news came as Hong Kong continues to be gripped by civil unrest, sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill. The campaign has since morphed into a wider movement against the government and police, often ending in violent clashes between demonstrators and officers.


    The months-long anti-government protests have affected Hong Kong’s tourism sector badly. Photo: AFP

    “Hong Kong’s tourism industry has faced exceptional challenges over the past year, but I have every confidence in our resilience and appeal as a world-class travel destination,” board chairman Pang Yiu-kai said. “We are working tirelessly on a major global promotion that will rebuild the city’s image as a destination and help our tourism industry recover.”


    Secrets of Hong Kong’s pyrotechnic power

    He referred to the online platform called “Hong Kong is On”, which was launched early last month and provides more than 500 offers on flights, hotels, dining, retail and attractions.
    Despite its efforts to promote the city, the government chose to axe the signature fireworks at Victoria Harbour, which were scheduled for the second day of Lunar New Year celebrations on January 26, blaming the “current situation”.
    Tourism lawmaker Yiu Si-wing earlier said the government had safety concerns, as the protests engulfing the city showed little sign of abating.
    “When it comes to safety issues, the decisions are understandable.”
    The 20-minute-long fireworks have been at the heart of the Lunar New Year festival for years.
    The last time they were cancelled was in 2018 in the wake of a bus accident in Tai Po that claimed 19 lives and injured at least 60.
    Yiu said it was disappointing the fireworks had joined a growing list of axed events.


    Yiu Si-wing has confirmed the usual fireworks for Lunar New Year will not happen in 2020. Photo: SCMP
    The months-long protests prompted the city’s tourist arrivals to contract 39.1 per cent in the second half of the last year, offsetting the 13.9 per cent growth in the first half. More than 40 jurisdictions have issued travel warnings or advisories against heading to Hong Kong.
    Home affairs minister Lau Kong-wah attributed the government’s decision to drop the Lunar New Year fireworks to “the current situation”.
    “After careful assessment, we decided to cancel the fireworks based on public safety concerns,” the minister said on Wednesday.
    He added the light show at Victoria Harbour and performances in West Kowloon Cultural District would not be affected.
    Convenor of the pro-democracy camp Tanya Chan Suk-chong said she could not understand the logic behind the cancellation, saying it had dealt another blow to Hong Kong’s reputation.
    Referring to the strength of police firepower and proposals for more weaponry, she said: “I don’t understand why police have no confidence in ensuring public safety.”
    Chan said the administration lacked the will to properly govern the city, and urged Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to respond to the anti-government protesters’ five key demands.
    Pro-establishment lawmaker Lau Kwok-fun said the cancellation of the fireworks was disappointing but understandable.
    “Over the past seven months, some large-scale events have been cancelled amid protests,” Lau Kwok-fun said.
    “We hope the protests come to a complete stop. The government should also have more dialogue with the public.”
    Aside from the fireworks blow, it was previously announced the Lunar New Year celebration would be watered down, with a three-day carnival replacing the parade through southern Kowloon.
    The traditional New Year’s Eve fireworks, organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, were also cancelled due to safety concerns.
    This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: fireworks axed in new blow to tourism
    THREADS
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  9. #54
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    Remember that HK Protest?

    Boycott Mulan, anyone? Brie Larson, The Rock face backlash after tweeting support for Disney film starring Crystal Liu Yifei
    Hollywood stars’ social media posts looking forward to release of Disney’s Mulan, starring Crystal Liu Yifei, prompt acid response from Hong Kong internet users
    That’s because in August, the Chinese-American actress voiced support for Hong Kong police – accused of acts of brutality – amid anti-government protests
    SCMP Reporter
    Published: 4:11pm, 9 Mar, 2020


    Workers man a promotional stand for the Disney move Mulan in an almost empty shopping mall in Beijing. The film’s release in China and Hong Kong has been postponed amid the coronavirus outbreak. Some Hong Kong film fans are unlikely to welcome its eventual release. Photo: AFP

    Hollywood stars Brie Larson and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson became the latest focus of Hong Kong’s anti-government protesters after showing their enthusiastic support for the upcoming movie Mulan on social media.
    Disney’s live-action remake of the popular 1998 animated film has been a lightning rod for many Hong Kong cinema-goers – and the target of a boycott campaign – since August 2019, when the film’s Chinese-American star Crystal Liu Yifei voiced support for the Hong Kong police, frequently accused of using excessive force and perpetrating brutality on citizens during the increasingly violent protests.
    So when Larson, best known for her portrayal of the superhero Captain Marvel and her Oscar-winning role in Room , showed her passionate anticipation for Mulan on Friday, many Hong Kong internet users were swift to respond.
    Under Larson’s tweet, “I cannot wait to see this movie. Every trailer has made me burst into tears.”, one of the most liked replies reads, “You know what makes Hong Kongers burst into tears every night? #HKPoliceBrutality, a #HumanRightsViolations that #Mulan lead actress #LiuYifei openly supports.”

    Brie Larson

    @brielarson
    · Mar 5, 2020
    I cannot wait to see this movie. Every trailer has made me burst into tears. https://twitter.com/thr/status/1235601603027259392

    The Hollywood Reporter

    @THR
    Disney's #Mulan is targeting a heroic U.S. debut of $85 million or more, according to early tracking http://thr.cm/eIKycg0

    #SOSHK Fight for Hong Kong
    @Fight4HongKong
    You know what makes Hong Kongers burst into tears every night?#HKPoliceBrutality, a #HumanRightsViolations that #Mulan lead actress #LiuYifei openly supports.#BoycottMulan

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    Another reply reads: “Disney is bursting into tears tooCrying face #LiuYifei has single handedly ruined the box office. Her decision to disrespect #HumanRights and openly supporting #China backed #PoliceBrutality in HK … well … led to big time #BoycottMulan.”
    Dwayne Johnson has been attracting similar feedback after he tweeted on Friday, “Been waiting for this one! Pumped to see it! Great job team @asadayaz”. Asad Ayaz is the president of marketing of the Walt Disney Studios.

    Dwayne Johnson

    @TheRock
    · Mar 5, 2020
    Been waiting for this one! Pumped to see it! Great job team @asadayaz
    https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/ne...us-bow-1282674

    'Mulan' Tracking for Heroic $85M-Plus U.S. Opening
    Disney's latest live-action remake of a classic animated movie opens in late March.

    hollywoodreporter.com
    Lai King
    @laiking7394
    Mulan actress Liu Yifei supports police brutality in Hong Konghttps://time.com/5653973/mulan-boycott-liu-yifei/ …


    Here's What to Know About the Mulan Boycott
    The actor playing Mulan in Disney's live-action reboot was met with a backlash after voicing support for the Hong Kong police

    time.com
    55
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    Meanwhile, the Hong Kong branch of Walt Disney Studios has announced that the film’s release in the city, slated for March 26, had been postponed until further notice. “We will announce a new release date soon, depending on the situation surrounding Covid-19. Please stay tuned,” read a statement from the studio, referring to the global coronavirus epidemic.
    finance
    Unlike those in mainland China, Hong Kong cinemas have remained open throughout the epidemic; in the coming two weeks, at least 10 new films are scheduled to open in the city. Asked for comment on the postponement of Mulan’s release in Hong Kong, Disney’s Hong Kong office declined to add to its earlier statement.
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  10. #55
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    Hong Kong: What is in Beijing's proposed law? - BBC News

    Gene Ching
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  11. #56
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    Hong Kong security bill backed by China's parliament - BBC News

    Gene Ching
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  12. #57
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    The end of HK autonomy?

    Why China's national security law could change Hong Kong forever
    CNN Digital Expansion 2017. James Griffiths
    Analysis by James Griffiths, CNN

    Updated 4:18 AM ET, Wed July 1, 2020

    Hong Kong (CNN)Forty days after the Chinese government said it would pass a national security law for Hong Kong, that legislation is now in force, with potentially massive ramifications for the city's political freedoms.

    It was drafted almost entirely in secret, via closed-door meetings in Beijing that even Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, was not a part of. Even hours after its reported passage by China's National People's Congress Tuesday, all but a tiny handful of Hong Kongers still had no idea what the law contained.
    Promulgated in Hong Kong late Tuesday night, bypassing the local legislature, the law criminalizes "acts of secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities, and collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security."
    While officials had earlier suggested penalties under the law would be softer than they are in China, the maximum sentence given for each of those four main crimes -- secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces -- is life imprisonment.
    Right to a trial by jury can be suspended in certain circumstances, cases can be heard in secret, and foreign residents in Hong Kong can be expelled if suspected of violating the law, regardless of conviction. The national security law trumps any existing Hong Kong laws, should there be a conflict.
    The law also extends Beijing's direct control over the city, establishing a new committee for national security that will include a Beijing-appointed adviser, and an "Office for Safeguarding National Security," directly under the Beijing government, which has broad powers to prosecute Hong Kongers deemed to have committed particularly egregious offenses.
    Hong Kong and Beijing officials have argued the law is necessary and overdue, and promised it will only affect a tiny minority of Hong Kongers, while returning "stability and prosperity" to the city.
    "The national security law is a crucial step to ending chaos and violence that has occurred over the past few months," Lam, the city's chief executive, said Wednesday. "It's a law that has been introduced to keep Hong Kong safe. The legislation is lawful, constitutional and reasonable."


    Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam (C) speaks to guests following a flag-raising ceremony to mark China's National Day celebrations early morning in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020.

    Chilling effect

    Before it was even in force, the law had begun to have a chilling effect, with multiple political parties disbanding, shops removing anti-government paraphenalia, and people deleting social media accounts and old posts.
    That will likely accelerate, as the offenses under the law are broad and far-reaching, with no certainty of just what actions will be deemed illegal until prosecutions are brought.
    For instance, the offense of inciting, assisting or abetting secession could cover most statements related to Hong Kong independence. At recent rallies, protesters could regularly be heard chanting this was "the only way out," and waving flags promoting separatism. The minimum punishment for such crimes is five-years in prison.
    In a meeting Tuesday of senior police commanders, they were told that anyone seen waving a pro-independence flag or chanting in support of independence must be arrested, a police source told CNN. In addition, the source said anybody searched and found to have independence flags in their possession will be arrested.
    Subversion and terrorism are also defined particularly widely, with the latter including "dangerous activities which seriously jeopardize public health, safety or security" for the purpose of "intimidating the public in order to pursue political agenda."
    If applied broadly, this could reclassify anti-government protests like the city saw last year -- which often turned violent, with clashes between protesters and police, and vandalism of public property -- as terrorism, exactly how the protests were often described in Chinese state media.
    In particular, the law criminalizes the "sabotage of means of transport (and) transport facilities," or the "serious interruption or sabotage of electronic control systems" relating to transport, which could be interpreted to include vandalizing subway stations or blocking roads and buses.
    The maximum punishment for serious terrorist offenses is life in prison, with a minimum sentence of 10 years. Those found guilty of related, less serious offenses can face a minimum of five years in prison.
    continued next post
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  13. #58
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    continued from previous post

    Foreigners threatened

    While the greatest impact of the law will be on Hong Kongers, it also includes multiple provisions that could affect how foreign entities, in particular media and NGOs, operate in the city.
    The law states that anyone who "directly or indirectly receives instructions, control, funding or other kinds of support from a foreign country or an institution, organization or individual" could be guilty of an offense if they are pursuing certain actions deemed hostile to national security.
    Those include lobbying for sanctions against Hong Kong or Chinese officials -- such as those recently imposed by Washington over this very legislation -- "undermining" elections in Hong Kong, "seriously disrupting the formulation and implementation of laws or policies" in the city, or "provoking by unlawful means hatred among Hong Kong residents towards the Central People's Government."
    In China, people have been prosecuted for leaking "state secrets" to overseas media, governments and organizations, something the new Hong Kong law also criminalizes, potentially making it far harder for foreign journalists and NGOs to operate in the city.
    One of the duties of the Office for Safeguarding National Security, which reports directly to Beijing, will also be the "management of (the) organs of foreign countries and international organizations in (Hong Kong), as well as non-governmental organisations and news agencies of foreign countries."
    At present, Hong Kong has a generous visa policy for journalists, who are classed as regular foreign workers and not subject to the more strict regulation seen in China. It is also easy for NGOs to operate in Hong Kong, with human rights organizations, labor groups, and press freedom groups that struggle to operate in China using the city as a base.
    Non-permanent residents in Hong Kong can be expelled from the city, regardless of whether they are convicted, if suspected of contravening the law.


    The Chinese (front) and Hong Kong flags are released during a flag-raising ceremony to mark China's National Day celebrations early morning in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020.

    Judicial changes

    One of the biggest controversies leading up to the passage of the law was the creation of a new panel of judges dedicated to national security cases, who will be appointed by the Chief Executive directly.
    Legal analysts have warned that this could undermine judicial independence, as it enables the government to pick judges that are potentially sympathetic to particular issues.
    "A person shall not be designated as a judge to adjudicate a case concerning offense endangering national security if he or she has made any statement or behaved in any manner endangering national security," the law states.
    It adds that jury trials can be suspended when deemed necessary, with cases instead heard by a panel of judges.
    Beyond this, certain cases can also be handed directly over to the Chinese authorities for prosecution, with the Office for Safeguarding National Security taking the lead, applying Chinese law and legal standards.
    The office "shall initiate investigation into the case, the Supreme People's Procuratorate shall designate a prosecuting body to prosecute it, and the Supreme People's Court shall designate a court to adjudicate it," the law states.
    When exercising this power, members of the Office "shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region," and police in the city are obliged to assist in their duties and prevent anyone obstructing them.
    It is unclear whether such cases will be transferred to the mainland, or if they will be processed in Hong Kong by Chinese prosecutors. The suggestion of extradition to China is what kicked off last year's massive anti-government protests.
    China has a notoriously high conviction rate, especially in national security cases, and is regularly criticized for politicized prosecutions in which defendants are denied access to lawyers.

    What comes next?

    For weeks now, Hong Kong officials and the central government in Beijing have been reassuring members of the public that the law will be applied selectively, and only affect a tiny number of people.
    Following its passage Tuesday, a Hong Kong government spokesman reiterated that the law "targets an extremely small minority of offenders while the life and property as well as various legitimate basic rights and freedoms enjoyed by the overwhelming majority of citizens will be protected."
    "There is nothing for Hong Kong citizens to worry about in exercising these legitimate rights," he added.
    Whether this is true remains to be seen, and may not be known for months, until the first prosecutions under the law are brought. But the chilling effect already seen this week suggests the repercussions of the law will ripple out well beyond individual cases.
    Hong Kong has long been known as a "city of protest," with a vibrant opposition movement, unshackled media and dynamic public discourse. The national security law would appear to take aim at all of this, and could reshape the city forever.
    Anyone here in HK right now?
    Gene Ching
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  14. #59
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    Donnie's take on HK

    News
    Martial Arts / Kung Fu
    Donnie Yen celebrates Hong Kong’s ‘return’ to the motherland – ‘I am fighting for the Chinese people
    The Hong Kong actor and Ip Man star posts Facebook video playing the piano with Lang Lang for Xi Jinping
    The 56-year-old Guangzhou-born film producer posted the comment in response to a user calling his post ‘tragic’
    Patrick Blennerhassett
    Published: 1:49pm, 3 Jul, 2020


    Donnie Yen in a still from Ip Man 4: The Finale. Photo: Handout
    Hong Kong martial arts actor Donnie Yen Ji-dan made a congratulatory post on his official Facebook page on July 1 in relation to Hong Kong’s Establishment Day.
    The 56-year-old Ip Man star posted a video montage of himself playing piano, with an accompanying caption.
    “Today is the celebration day for Hong Kong returned to motherland China 23 years,” he wrote.
    “Recalling such memorable night in 2017 where I had the privilege to performed with piano Maestro Lang Lang for Chairman Xi [Jinping] and wife along with several hundred guests who came to watch the show and celebrated the night!”

    Yen replied to a Facebook user’s comment that said: “He probably has a 100 million reasons. But indeed tragic seeing a such talented person like Donnie fighting for the people on set but unable to do the same in real life.”

    He wrote: “I am fighting for the Chinese people which indeed for the longest time, been undermined and disrespected, but worst abused.”

    In February, Yen donated HK$1 million to frontline medical workers in Wuhan during the initial Covid-19 outbreak which ravaged the mainland Chinese city.
    Yen, who last starred in Enter the Fat Dragon (2020), said at the end of last year that Ip Man 4 would be his final kung fu film.


    Patrick Blennerhassett
    Patrick Blennerhassett is an award-winning Canadian journalist and four-time published author. He is a Jack Webster Fellowship winner and a British Columbia bestselling novelist. He has covered sport for the South China Morning Post since 2018
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  15. #60
    I will definitely never watch another movie with Donny Yen in it.


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