Ged Carroll

Illegal foreign police stations + more things

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Illegal foreign police stations

The amount of stories about the Chinese illegal foreign police stations that have broke over the past couple of days is really interesting. The clampdown on illegal foreign police stations seems as if it was either coordinated, or there was an inciting incident that persuaded other governments that they had to act. Secondly, what becomes apparent from the coverage is that governments were aware about them for a while, but chose to do nothing. The mainstream media lack of coverage made China critics look like paranoid cranks when they discussed Chinese illegal foreign police stations in their countries. There is a contrast between the British military Operation Motorman to stop what they perceived as the illegal provisional IRA policing of ‘Free Derry’ and the current handling of illegal foreign police stations set up by the Chinese.

Police car

Chinese police operatives operating in Canada, U.S. says in new court filing – The Globe and Mail 

Chinese overseas police station in Dublin ordered to shut – The Irish Times 

Netherlands accuses China of operating ‘illegal’ police stations | Financial Times – talk of illegal foreign police stations has been going around the Chinese critics circles for years. It just goes to show, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

I think that one of the reasons why illegal foreign police stations hasn’t been covered well by mainstream media is that they didn’t want to give credence to coverage by media that are right of centre like Fox News.

China

US think tank CSIS shares expert thought on the 20th Party Congress.

China’s limitless presidency means limited diplomacy | Financial Times… Chinese diplomats find it disconcertingly easy to revert to behaviour that could be seen as bullying. This confirms the suspicion that European governments have of the Communist party: that it is becoming more brazen. A certain school of Chinese nationalism says that the west is set on containing China’s rise at all costs — and that, as a result, Beijing may as well conduct external relations for internal consumption. Yet European alliances are still in China’s grasp, and many of its own objectives, from technological upgrading to climate action, can only be achieved with a wide range of allies and Video before Hu Jintao’s exit from congress puts files in focus – Nikkei Asia 

The FT on Evergrande Group bankruptcy.

Economics

The end of the system of the world – by Noah Smith and Are the UK, Japan, and Italy “undeveloping countries”? 

Energy

The foundations of Russia’s oil and gas industry

Finance

‘We never lost interest’: Asian family offices buy into crypto | Financial Times – Digital asset investments fuelled by weak returns from equity and property

FMCG

Krispy Kreme, Crocs, and Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing 

Households forgo air fresheners and vitamins in cost of living squeeze | Financial Times 

Germany

German exporters rethink €100bn ‘love affair’ with China | Financial TimesCompetition — fair and otherwise — remains a problem. “Our members know that every technology they bring into China, in a relatively short time, will be part of the Chinese market,” said Ulrich Ackermann, head of foreign trade at the VDMA. “We say, be aware you can be kicked out in a short time.” Ackermann spoke of a German manufacturer of construction machinery, whose state-owned Chinese rival sent machines to customers, free for use for the first year. “How can we compete with that?” – This has been the standard playbook for decades. Huawei won telecoms because of state bank vendor financing at negative interest rates, not superior technology and certainly not superior reliability. What took the Germans so long to catch on? I suspect it was the outsized political impact that a few large companies have on German policies versus the middle sized companies that actually drive exports, German employment and prosperity. 

Health

BBC: World Health Organization Says Further Research Needed on Pandemic’s Effect on Mental Health, Particularly for Younger People and Women

Hong Kong

Pro-democracy Publisher Jimmy Lai Found Guilty on Fraud Charges – The Diplomat – surprising lack of coverage in the UK, particularly as Lai is a British citizen

Hong Kong Policy Address: How much of John Lee’s maiden speech was old wine in new bottles? – Hong Kong Free Press HKFPHong Kong has experienced a mass outflow of residents since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of the national security law. The previous administration disputed the scale of the exodus, with Lam attributing it to the suspension of quarantine-free travel with mainland China, saying that the number of One-Way Permit holders coming into Hong Kong had significantly decreased. Lee, who has been pressured to stop the exodus of talent from the city, acknowledged the trend for the first time on Wednesday, admitting that the local workforce had shrunk by 140,000 people over the last two years. Lee had previously rejected the use of the term “emigration wave” to describe the city’s recent and dramatic population decline.   While Lam said that she did not want the government to be asking citizens to stay, Lee presented a series of proposals on Wednesday, ranging from new visa schemes to stamp duty cuts, designed explicitly to attract talent. – even the talent attraction proposals won’t make much difference, looking for people only from the world’s top 100 universities and earning at least $318,000 per year. That isn’t going to plug education, healthcare and social care staff gaps. It won’t fill much of the many financial services opportunities either, nor multinational regional hubs

Ideas

Adam Curtis on the collapse of the Soviet Union and modern Russia. His commentary on Brexit is spot on.

Smiles in Profiles: Improving Fairness and Efficiency Using Estimates of User Preferences in Online Marketplaces

Forbidden Questions – Marginal REVOLUTION – asks some interesting questions around science, innovation and politics. On the Flipside you have communism’s examples of bad science as an exemplar of what can go wrong when politics frames scientific exploration and ideas

Innovation

Chip start-up pushes into Taiwan in quest for ever-smaller chips | Financial Times – NanoWired spun out of Germany but is pinning its hopes on TSMC rather than Dresden based semiconductor plants

I was fired from NYU after students complained that the class was too hard. Who’s next? – The Boston GlobeWhat is overwhelmingly important is the chilling effect of such intervention by administrators on teaching overall and especially on untenured professors. Can a young assistant professor, almost all of whom are not protected by tenure, teach demanding material? Dare they give real grades? Their entire careers are at the peril of complaining students and deans who seem willing to turn students into nothing more than tuition-paying clients.

Korea

Kakao, Data Center Fire, the Data Residency Dilemma | Interconnect – Why not data centres further south in Deagu or just outside Busan? The author presupposes that the backup has to be outside the country

Luxury

China’s wealthy activate escape plans as Xi Jinping extends rule | Financial Times and as an interesting counterpoint: Asian art and luxury buying boom | Financial TimesAt one level, it is a worldwide trend. From fine art to fine wine, luxury-sector companies have bounced back from the depths of the pandemic as their super-rich customers have, so far, been largely immune to global inflation and economic turmoil. After its worst decline on record in 2020, the global personal luxury goods market grew last year to reach €288bn in value, up 7 per cent on 2019, according to consultancy Bain. It says 2022 began with a further healthy rise. In Hong Kong, though, the picture has been quite distinctive, with some of the super-rich spending locally while others have moved abroad, joining an exodus of more than 153,000 residents since the beginning of 2021. The territory has recorded a 14 per cent drop in the number of millionaires in 2022 compared with last year (that is, people with at least $1mn in liquid assets, according to residency advisory firm Henley & Partners). With about 125,100 millionaires out of a population of 7.3mn, the city fell by four places to 12th globally for the number of high-net-worth individuals – building imperial palaces while China becomes redder…

Chinese President Xi’s pledge at Congress means getting rich quick is out. Should luxury worry? – yes they should. It isn’t only about wealth but also about the defence against western values

Second-hand Rolexes: watch out for stupid prices and superfakes | Financial Times – the FT blames millennials who started collecting watches when they couldn’t go on holiday during COVID. I think that the causes are multi-variant. Luxury brands have looked at and learned from streetwear ‘drop’ business models exemplified by the likes of Supreme and Nike’s SNKR app. Secondly, the market might moderate a bit when Rolex realises that there isn’t so much of a demand in China post the 20th party congress. I haven’t paid crazy money like what you’ve described for a pre-owned Rolex, but everyone of my watches original warrant cards have a (mainland) Chinese family name on them. Buying via the verified service on eBay at least reduces the risk of buying an overpriced real, rather than super fake Rolex. I think we should be thankful for small mercies that it didn’t go into meme stocks or OneCoin analogues.

Marketing

GroupM Drops New Evidence Of Disconnect Between Economy And Ad Spending 10/24/2022 – it makes sense that some marketers will be bumping spending up to increase relative share of voice during a recession as this will pay dividends from now through the next five years or so as an effect

Materials

Balenciaga releases coat made with Ephea, a leather alternative | Vogue Business – fungus based ‘leather’

🌎 F* Weekly: The end of lithium batteries? – new battery technologies come out of university labs all the time but commercialising them is entirely another thing

Media

Chinese censors alter ending of Minions: The Rise of Gru film | China | The GuardianDuSir, a film review publisher with 14.4 million followers on Weibo, noted that the Chinese version ran one minute longer than the international one, and questioned why the extra time was needed. “It’s only us who need special guidance and care for fear that a cartoon will ‘corrupt’ us,” DuSir wrote. Huaxia Film Distribution and China Film Co, the film’s distributors in China, did not respond to a request for comment

Hit film Return to Dust has vanished from China’s cinemas. Why? | Financial Times“In the beginning,” she says, “Return to Dust attracted almost no attention. An art-house film about poverty among rural peasants? Honestly, neither the government nor mainstream Chinese audiences would normally care.” But then came several fateful quirks of timing. Over the summer, an online short, Second Uncle, became a Chinese viral hit, telling the story of a kindly rural carpenter. On social media, the little-known Return to Dust was mooted as a companion piece. From such small acorns sprang word-of-mouth success. Week by week, the movie built an audience – it might be the government, it could also be forces in the domestic media scene as big budget Chinese films don’t need competition stealing their ability to pay back investments

Bloomberg Media Is Removing Its Open-Market Programmatic Ads – makes a lot of sense, they can’t sell subscriptions on that poor a customer experience provided by the likes of Outbrain at the bottom of the page

Information commissioner warns firms over ‘emotional analysis’ technologies | Biometrics | The Guardian 

Security

MEPs to call for greater powers for Brussels to curb EU spyware use | Financial Times 

From East Berlin to Beijing, surveillance goes in circles | Financial TimesLast month, the Stasi HQ hosted a Berlin Biennale seminar on the “Digital Divide”, where panellists discussed the ways in which old, disproved theories are recycled in modern surveillance. Shazeda Ahmed, a post-doctorate at Princeton University, described the rise of emotion recognition technology in China. Parents have pressured schools there to give up emotion recognition in classrooms, but some police forces are investing in the technology, hoping that a person’s movements and gestures can signal their propensity to commit a crime. Such methods fall under the umbrella of “predictive policing”, but they are dangerously unproven. Academics doubt whether gestures can be analysed as discrete events that carry the same meaning from person to person. Speaking at the Biennale, digital rights lawyer Ramak Molavi gave a historical perspective, comparing emotion-recognition trends today to phrenology and physiognomy, the ideas that a person’s skull shape and facial features indicate their character. Molavi described how the ideas had been discredited, but enjoyed a renaissance during the Nazi regime – this isn’t the first time that science and ideology have led each other up the garden path

Axios China: Spy chief joins Politburo 

US charges alleged Chinese spies in telecoms probe case – BBC News 

UK PM set to take on China with ‘NATO of technology’ | EETimes Europe 

China Goes Full ‘Black Mirror’ With Robot Dog With Mounted Machine Gun 

Taiwan

Taipei urbanism – by Noah Smith – NoahpinionI had a disorienting sense of being back in Japan — so much so that I kept expecting people to drive on the left side of the street. So much of the infrastructure in Taiwan looks and feels Japanese — the pavement, the building materials, the signs at the airport. People cite this as a residue of the colonial period, but given that the colonial period ended 77 years ago, it’s probably more due to Taiwanese architects, urban planners, and engineers continuing to look to Japan for inspiration. After a few minutes, however, the sense of Japan-ness faded, crowded out by two key features of the Taipei landscape: lush greenery and shabby building facades

Technology

SK Hynix announces capex cuts by 50%, and selling China fabs could be option in contingency plan 

Web of no web

We are dangerously reliant on GPS to tell the time | Financial Times

Ford, Volkswagen pull the plug on joint robocar project | EETimes Europe