Following demands by Beijing, and without any intervention from the Hong Kong SAR government, HSBC and Standard Chartered joins Swire and Jardines Matheson in publicly supporting the national security legislation. (Or, in a carefully worded statement, to give the impression that they do.)
This is in direct contradiction to the line taken by the UK government, the legal community and the overwhelming majority of China watchers. It is also, curiously, inconsistent with the professional opinions of most analysts working at the bank itself.
And we meant to believe Hong Kong continues to enjoy a high degree of autonomy when the separation between politics and business is not respected.
If it is reasonable and acceptable to make such demands on businesses, imagine what might happen if such demands were placed on Chinese business abroad. What would be the reactions should a Chinese company in the UK, perhaps one called Huawei, were not only pressure to take a position in opposition to the Chinese government?（註 1）
Indeed, how might Beijing react should Chinese companies with business in the UK also actively lobby on behalf of the UK government in Zhongnanhai?
Last year in its response to a protest movement the Hong Kong SAR government and Hong Kong Police Force provided all the evidence people needed to feel their fears for the future of their home were justified.
That this was done not only unwittingly, but also unconsciously, suggests a staggering disconnect and level of incompetence. So much for institutions that were once justifiably known to be Asia’s finest.
Political interference has corrupted two of Hong Kong’s core institutions. Will it also poison Hong Kong’s business environment?
Totalitarian regimes demand more than obedience — they force us to accept their truths, and to adopt their mindset.（註 2）
To borrow (and translate) a line from Hong Kong playwright Candace Chong Mui Ngam excellent play, 35th May (5 月 35 日): Only a shameless regime would dare spread such lies, only the dumbest people would believe them.（註 3）
- 作者因此質問：在英國市場賺錢的華為，是否應該表態支持英國政府的政策，例如華為表態支持英國外交部給予香港 BNO 居民英國居留權？如果華為收到此一壓力，中國又會如何反應？
- Only the dumbest people would believe them：愚蠢，在英文中有很多級數不同的形容詞：dumb、stupid、idiotic，甚至 imbecilic，皆可。由於涉及非常嚴重的判斷，所以容易引起冒犯，尤其指某個群體。因此，作者在這裡用了最輕微、也是最口語化的一個，可謂宅心仁厚、筆下留情。