Manchester Chinese consulate + more stuff

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Manchester Chinese consulate

Mid afternoon Sunday saw an incident outside and inside the Manchester Chinese consulate. The Manchester Chinese consulate caters for the second largest Chinese community in the UK. Manchester airport before COVID had direct flights to China and Hong Kong. Given the large British Chinese population in the area, it also has a community of Hong Kongers who desire democracy.

My understanding of what happened:

  • Chinese diplomats didn’t want a protest right outside the Manchester Chinese consulate
  • On the first day of the party congress at home in Beijing, some staff emerged from the consulate wearing anti-stab vests and riot police helmets to smash protestor banners and drive them away. Police were slow to intervene
  • Protesters defended themselves
  • The Manchester Chinese consulate staff retreated to their grounds including the Consul General who has been out walking.
  • A protestor was dragged through their gates and given a beating, he was eventually extracted by police belatedly reacting to the fight
  • The Consul General was seen pulling the hair of the protestor as well and later admitted it

The Manchester Chinese consulate incident evoked memories of the London Chinese embassy conduct in 1967 during the cultural revolution. This is particularly resonant given the direction that China has taken under the leadership of Xi Jinping and his unprecedented third term makes comparison to Mao Zedong apropos. UK police open probe into assault of protester inside Chinese consulate | Financial Times 

Extradition law Protest at Admiralty, Hong Kong
Extradition law Protest at Admiralty, Hong Kong


Pfizer Executive: in-Person Work Is ‘Critical’ to Workplace CultureNearly 2 years after the company helped to develop the Covid vaccine, Pfizer’s Angela Hwang said it’s time to get back to the office. Though many worked from home during the vaccine’s development, Pfizer’s culture was “banked” from years of in-person work, she said.  Some companies have recently faced backlash for requiring in-person work. – Not so sure how well this will go for them.

BMW to end electric Mini production in the UK next year | Financial Times – not terribly surprising. I expect for production to completely close in Oxford soon. Mini is no longer a brand reliant on being British so the writing was on the wall since Brexit


China’s internet scrubbed of rare protest against ‘dictator’ Xi Jinping | Financial Times – this is a ballsy move in China under previous administrations, let alone under the Xi administration during the run up to the 20th party congress where they will appoint Xi for a third term and raise him to Mao-like status.

We want food, not PCR tests. We want freedom, not lockdowns. We want respect, not lies. We want reform, not a Cultural Revolution. We want a vote, not a leader. We want to be citizens, not slaves

The protest poster containing ‘The Six We’s’

Elderly suicide rates mar Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s ‘victory’ over rural poverty — Radio Free Asia and Xi Jinping, forever – by Noah Smith – Noahpinion 

How a Tycoon Linked to Chinese Intelligence Became a Darling of Trump Republicans | The New Yorker – Miles Guo profiled

Consumer behaviour

I know that the Elvis memorabilia dropped massively in price as his fans went into care homes or died off. Antiques and art go through cycles of ‘what’s in’ and out for that matter. Doug DeMuro asks a similar question about car collecting baby boomers. A lot of this is down to cultural relevance for collectors. DeMuro notes that ‘brass era’ cars from the 1910s onwards have already seen declines in price and demands.

The Covid-19 Baby Bump: The Unexpected Increase in U.S. Fertility Rates in Response to the Pandemic | NBERChildbearing in the U.S. among foreign-born mothers declined immediately after lockdowns began—nine months too soon to reflect the pandemic’s effects on conceptions. We also find that the COVID pandemic resulted in a small “baby bump” among U.S.-born mothers. The 2021 baby bump is the first major reversal in declining U.S. fertility rates since 2007 and was most pronounced for first births and women under age 25, which suggests the pandemic led some women to start their families earlier. Above age 25, the baby bump was also pronounced for women ages 30-34 and women with a college education, who were more likely to benefit from working from home. The data for California track the U.S. data closely and suggest that U.S. births remained elevated through the third quarter of 2022


Translation: Xi Jinping on Literature, Art, and Politics after Tiananmen | U.S.-China Perception Monitor


Verdagy Gets Closer to Green Hydrogen Target – EE Times 


Letter from Hong Kong Advocacy Groups: U.S. Financial Institutions’ Planned Hong Kong Summit Will Undermine U.S. Foreign Policyexecutives will meet with sanctioned government officials including Chief Executive John Lee as they help Hong Kong convince the world that it’s business as usual in the city—that despite the authoritarian crackdown of the past three years, investors should return. This financial summit is more than just a conference: it represents a watershed moment in our fight to hold Hong Kong officials accountable and deter others across the world who might seek to snuff out democratic rights and commit human rights abuses. If the U.S. Government takes no action to prevent even its own banks from undermining U.S. policy with respect to Hong Kong, then it will send a message to the world that the U.S. does not intend to defend the principles it espouses. Investment will return to the city, and the Hong Kong government, the CCP, and other authoritarian regimes will learn that human rights abuses are easily forgotten by the West—especially when lots of money is involved


Telemedicine is Dying – Marginal REVOLUTION 

Hong Kong

Global cities are fragile by nature. Here are some on their way down | Financial TimesChina’s Communist party distrusts global cities. It’s crushing Hong Kong, and people are fleeing. When a marquee 800-flat project opened last month, zero apartments sold. Hong Kong, fifth on Kearney’s global-city ranking in 2019, is regressing into what some call “just another Chinese city”. Beijing and Shanghai, among Kearney’s top 10 last year, have also lost access to the world, supposedly because of quarantine restrictions. Last month, China averaged about 100 international flights a day, down 96 per cent since 2020, says Variflight. After this week’s party congress, these cities may become global again, or perhaps those days are over


The EOS System 30th Anniversary – Developers Look Back on the History of the EOS System – Part 1 – Canon Camera Museum – on the history of modern autofocus camera design. The power consumption changes between film and digital cameras is especially interesting


Luxury’s grand illusion needs the wealthy to keep faith | Financial Times – interesting observations on LVMH brand and product architecture

Uncovering the Fiorucci Art Car: A Blueprint for Today’s Collabs – I wonder how this compares with BMW’s Art Car project?


The Masks We’ll Wear in the Next Pandemic – The Atlantic 


Scoop: Meta ending support for Instant Articles | Axios

South Korea’s KakaoTalk outage shows need for regulation amid ‘entanglement’ of public, private sectors | South China Morning Post 


Wi-Fi spy drones used to snoop on financial firm • The Register 

Security Experts Warn Most Apple Apps On iOS 16 Bypass VPN Connections / Digital Information World 

Iran planning to send missiles, drones to Russia for Ukraine war, officials say – The Washington Post – what is Russia giving in exchange for the missiles?

Clarifying Responsible Cyber Power: Developing Views in the U.K. Regarding Non-intervention and Peacetime Cyber Operations – Lawfarethe U.K. government’s strategic communication about cyber has included prominent speeches by successive foreign secretaries and attorneys general, as well as by senior securocrats such as the GCHQ director. This division of effort in the public communication about U.K. strategy makes sense, incorporating senior political leaders with responsibility for foreign policy and the law as well as leading securocrats who, as career officials rather than politicians, speak with a different kind of authority and independence from partisan politics. Cumulatively, this helps to advance the U.K.’s emerging narrative about the responsible, democratic use of cyber power by nation-states. Fleming’s remarks also emphasized that the U.K.’s cyber operations were “ethical, proportionate and legal.” As a proponent of responsible state behavior in cyberspace, it is not surprising that the U.K. twice (in 2018 and 2022) has used a major speech by its attorney general to develop the legal aspects of the case for responsible cyber power

Former WSJ reporter says law firm used Indian hackers to sabotage his careerSolomon’s suit is the latest in a series of legal actions that follows Reuters’ reporting about hired hackers operating out of India. In June, Reuters reported on the activities of several hack-for-hire shops, including Delhi area-companies BellTroX and CyberRoot, that were involved in a decade-long series of espionage campaigns targeting thousands of people, including more than 1,000 lawyers at 108 different law firms. At the time, Reuters reported that people who had become hacking targets while involved in at least seven different lawsuits had each launched their own inquiries into the cyberespionage campaign. That number has since grown. Azima, Solomon’s former source, is among those who have gone to court over the alleged hacking. His lawyers, like Solomon’s, allege that Dechert worked with BellTroX, CyberRoot and a slew of private investigators to steal his emails and publish them to the web. BellTroX and CyberRoot are not parties to the suit and could not immediately be reached. Executives at both firms have previously denied wrongdoing. Solomon and Azima allege that Dechert undertook the hack-and-leak operation in the interest of its client, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qasimi, ruler of the Middle Eastern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. Reuters has reported that lawyers for Ras Al Khaimah’s investment agency – RAKIA – used the emails to help win a fraud lawsuit filed against Azima in London in 2016

American technology boosts China’s hypersonic missile program – The Washington Post“In this case the American technology is superior — we can’t do certain things without foreign technology,” said one Chinese scientist who works in a university lab that conducts testing for hypersonic vehicles. “There isn’t the same technical foundation.” Some of the U.S. firms whose products are reaching Chinese military research groups have been the beneficiaries of Defense Department grants to spur cutting-edge innovation, according to a federal program database, creating the specter of the Pentagon subsidizing Chinese military advances. “It’s very disturbing, because the bottom line is that technology that can be used for military hypersonics was funded by U.S. taxpayers, through the U.S. government, and ended up in China,” – war by other means….

Boris Bondarev: The Sources of Russian Misconduct | Foreign Affairs – interesting insight, Russia’s diplomats were blind sided by the Ukraine invasion when it happened, finding out from news wire stories in foreign media


Interesting take on how Singapore will evolve with a transition of power happening in Singapore away from the Lee family who have dominated the city state since independence.


Really good presentation on the international importance of Taiwan. Its not just about TSMC but also about the global supply lines that run through Taiwanese waters

TSMC Cuts Expansion Plan to $36B as Outlook Sours – EE Times 

Web of no web

Lufthansa to allow AirTags in luggage after all | Boing Boing – this has proved to be absolute carnage for Lufthansa’s reputation

Microsoft’s headset for the military reportedly results in ‘physical impairments’ during tests – GeekWire – issues include headaches and nausea amongst soldiers trialing the headsets


South Korean Internet Giant Offers Glimpse of a 5G Private Network Future – WSJ – Naver rolls out corporate 5G wireless network