Category: Hong Kong

‘Terribly Sad’

Will China Make Cameras Compulsory in Hong Kong Classrooms?

By Patrick McShane

In these occasional reports, Digital Privacy News examines the fallout from China’s “national security law” on Hong Kong.

The first push to place surveillance cameras inside Hong Kong classrooms came last summer.

The issue originated during a government discussion on education, when one of the city’s pro-Beijing legislators, Tommy Cheung, suggested that closed-circuit TV cameras be installed inside classrooms to check whether teachers were making “non-patriotic” or “subversive” remarks during lessons.

Another lawmaker, Martin Liao, also a deputy to China’s National People’s Congress, said: “If some teachers have ulterior political motives and hope to bring (anti-China) politics into schools, their untrue claims made in classrooms could deeply impact students negatively.

“We should take the initiative to identify the horses that spoil the whole herd,” Liao said.

However, the controversial topic seemed to fade away over the autumn and winter months, as Hong Kong battled COVID-19 and the ensuing global economic downturn.

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‘It’s Too Much’

Chinese Firm Hits New Low, Literally Placing Bugs Under Workers’ Bottoms

By Patrick McShane

A high-tech firm in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou recently gave free seat cushions to its office staff to help make them more comfortable.

Initially, the staff of Hebo Technology felt it was a thoughtful gesture from company management. But soon enough, employees discovered that the comfortable new seat pads were in fact “smart cushions.”

They were being used by managers at the biotech medical company to tell them exactly when their workers were sitting at their desks — and when they were not.

Earlier this month, Hebo staff began complaining about their bosses’ trickery on Chinese social media.

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Anxious Hong Kong Residents Balk at New Police ‘Hotline’

By Patrick McShane

In these occasional reports, Digital Privacy News examines the fallout from China’s new “national security law” on Hong Kong.

Early last month, Hong Kong Police announced a new dedicated “hotline” for the public to report anyone — neighbors, classmates, colleagues, parents, even adult children — who may have broken the National Security Law, enacted by Beijing on June 30.

But even before the hotline’s sudden Nov. 5 launch, Hongkongers pushed back on what they considered an egregious assault on personal privacy.

“This will be a serious blow to freedom in Hong Kong,” former Democratic Party legislator James To told local radio in late October, warning that the effect of the new tip line would be “disastrous” for Hong Kong.

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‘No Absolute Freedom of the Press’

How China Is Disabling Hong Kong’s Free Press

By Patrick McShane

In these occasional reports, Digital Privacy News examines the fallout from China’s new “national security law” on Hong Kong.

Whenever a totalitarian regime endeavours to destroy a free press, various methods can be applied.

In the case of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its drive to disable and eliminate Hong Kong’s free press, the party has used a range of tried-and-true techniques.

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‘Heart-Breaking and Terrorizing’

Beijing Moves to Control Hong Kong Education by Intimidation, Censorship

Hong Kong police chase a 12-year-old girl this month before she was tackled and charged with violating COVID social-distancing rules.

By Patrick McShane

China imposed a sweeping new “national security law” on Hong Kong in June — threatening the personal privacy of nearly 7.6 million citizens and sending shivers throughout the global business community, including over 1,500 U.S. companies.

In these occasional reports, Digital Privacy News examines the ramifications of Beijing’s decision. Today’s report detail’s China’s efforts to revamp Hong Kong’s education system.

Much of the international media’s focus on Hong Kong has been on how China has taken over the political structure in the city.

But the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) also is working to take control of the city’s education system as well — from kindergarten and primary-school stage, through to the university level.

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Distrust From Beijing Law Extends to Free COVID Testing Program

Protesters mark up advertising signs in Hong Kong.

By Patrick McShane

Last of a series.

China imposed a sweeping “national security law” on Hong Kong in June — threatening the personal privacy of nearly 7.6 million citizens and sending shivers throughout the global business community, including over 1,500 U.S. companies.

Digital Privacy News has been examining the ramifications of Beijing’s decision. Today’s report discusses how Hong Kong residents remain wary of Beijing’s plan for free mass COVID-19 testing.

Free COVID-19 test?  No, thanks.

Mistrust in the Hong Kong government among citizens now is so strong that even the offer of a free COVID-19 test is getting precious few takers.

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National ID Cards Pose Inherent Privacy Dangers in Hong Kong

By Patrick McShane

Fourth of a series.

In June, China imposed a sweeping new “national security law” on Hong Kong — threatening the personal privacy of nearly 7.6 million citizens and sending shivers throughout the global business community, including over 1,500 U.S. companies.

In these weekly reports, Digital Privacy News examines the ramifications of Beijing’s decision. Today’s report details how mandatory national ID cards can be abused to spy on Hong Kong citizens.

Not many Americans even think about being legally required to carry a national ID card at all times — but they’d probably be surprised at how many other nations have this requirement.

All the standard authoritarian regimes long have mandated national ID cards: Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait. But, so do several more “liberal” societies — Spain, Portugal, Greece and Luxembourg.

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China Law Makes ‘White Terror’ a New Reality in Hong Kong

By Patrick McShane

Third of a series.

In June, China imposed a sweeping new “national security law” on Hong Kong — threatening the personal privacy of nearly 7.6 million citizens and sending shivers throughout the global business community, including over 1,500 U.S. companies.

In these weekly reports, Digital Privacy News examines the ramifications of Beijing’s action. Today’s report discusses how the new law affects the daily lives of Hong Kong residents.

Life has drastically changed for Hong Kong’s nearly 7.6 million people, including its 90,000 American citizens, in the six weeks since Beijing imposed its sweeping “national security law.”

The law has snatched away the privacy in virtually every aspect of citizens’ lives, from education and entertainment to career advancement — even physical safety.

As a result, a growing “white terror” of political persecution has descended on the city.

Until recently, Hong Kong possessed what The Economist magazine in London called “a flawed democracy.”

But now, with the implementation of the security law, many feel that the city has become a police state.

“Overnight”, Lee Cheuk-yan, a Shanghai-born, former Hong Kong city legislator told reporters last month, “Hong Kong has gone from rule of law to rule by fear.”

In societies that are not fully free, political pressures can be implanted into a population with such subtility that early on, it’s almost impossible to perceive.

But it soon becomes as fearsome as sighting a shark fin during an ocean swim.

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Can US Tech Firms Hold Out on Handing Over Data to Hong Kong?

Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang testifying before Congress in 2007 on giving data to China.

By Patrick McShane

Second of a series.

In June, China imposed a sweeping new “security law” on Hong Kong — threatening the personal privacy of more than 7.5 million citizens and sending shivers throughout the global business community, which includes more than 1,500 U.S. companies.

In this series of weekly reports, Digital Privacy News examines the ramifications of Beijing’s actions. Today’s report asks whether U.S. tech giants can resist any demands to turn over data to Hong Kong officials.

In late 1997, a young Taiwan-born, California-raised entrepreneur named Jerry Yang made his second visit to Hong Kong as the founder of the then-fledgling Yahoo search engine.

Three years earlier, Yang had launched his company on the New York Stock Exchange. The listing grossed $480 million and was over-subscribed many times over.

Having conquered the United States, Yang and Yahoo arrived in Hong Kong, determined to set up Yahoo Asia.

The fluent Mandarin-speaker, however, just 29, was resolved not to simply translate material from his U.S. website to Asia. He insisted on creating original sites offering specific topics that matched the interests and tastes of the people in China.

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Why China’s New ‘Security Law’ Is a Dangerous Threat to Privacy in Hong Kong

By Patrick McShane

First of a series.

Last month, China imposed a sweeping new “security law” on Hong Kong — threatening the personal privacy of more than 7.5 million citizens and sending shivers throughout the global business community, which includes more than 1,500 U.S. companies. 

In this series of weekly reports, Digital Privacy News examines the ramifications of Beijing’s actions — beginning with today’s discussion of the historical events leading to China’s decision.

Twenty-three years ago this summer, the former British colony of Hong Kong was returned to Chinese sovereignty.

However, this extraordinary international event — popularly described as “The Hong Kong Handover” — only came about after more than a dozen years of often acrimonious negotiations between London and Beijing. 

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