Mid-week links for the gentry…

by biglychee / Today, 10:33

Hong Kong Free Press puts Chief Executive Carrie Lam on the spot by asking her whether it could be illegal for the media to cover people who make pro-independence remarks. (That’s gratitude, after all she’s done for them.)

Any answer short of ‘no, why should they be?’ implicitly confirms that criminalization of ideas is on the way, so the lady was doomed from the start. She could have dismissed the question as hypothetical, but that word has already been claimed by Benny Tai’s independence-related comments at the infamous Taiwan conference, so she couldn’t. Instead, she basically said it depends on how the law evolves, which isn’t too bad considering she had no warning of the question – unless you thought freedom of speech might be secure in Hong Kong, in which case it is shocking.

More about Benny Tai and the conference here. It will not escape the notice of dissenters and trouble-makers in Hong Kong that the pushing of certain buttons provokes predictable degrees of Deranged Ballistic Mouth-froth Freak-out among Communist Party officials. Thus, talk of ‘independence’ sets off a Mega-Tantrum that’s 6 on the Richter scale, and if you combine it with mention of the CCP losing power it hits a 7, and if you utter these words in Taipei, it’s an 8 (as Taiwanese all know, it’s a logarithmic scale).

Deep Throat IPO’s latest opus is so big the executive summaries have executive summaries. He considers global shadow banking and the US$100 trillion it manages mostly in itsy-bitsy places like the Caymans and Luxembourg and, shall we say, certain Asian cities, and how fast these assets plus leverage have been growing compared with world GDP. And the question is: where the hell is all this offshore wealth actually coming from? The answer seems to be connected with discrepancies/anomalies/lies in international trade data. But that leads to the obvious real question: yes, but where, as in – name the place – does the money come from?

You probably know or can guess the answer, but still – yikes!

Among his references are several discussions touching on China’s unbelievable GDP stability. As with the detailed bulk of Deep Throat IPO’s piece, this is verging on economics-geek territory but worth it if you like that sort of thing: Michael Pettis on how China uses GDP as an input. Much of China’s apparent growth, he says, will be reversed when debt capacity is reached.

On a lighter (reading) note, an update on United Front infiltration in New Zealand.