Wall Street’s Hong Kong Kowtow

Wall Street Journal (US Gov’t Mouthpiece Media) Wall Street’s Hong Kong Kowtow. U.S. financial execs lend their credibility to Beijing’s chief enforcer. 華爾街日報(美國政府喉舌媒體)華爾街香港磕頭。美國金融高管向北京的主要執法者提供可信度。 By The Editorial Board Nov. 3, 2022

Wall Street’s best and brightest visited Hong Kong this week to attend the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit, and we hope the abasement was worth it. The Americans were used as props in the effort by Hong Kong officials to revive the city’s reputation as a commercial center amid their continuing purge of all dissent, and the destruction of a free press and independent judiciary.

“Hong Kong always bounces back, better than ever,” the city’s Chief Executive John Lee told the assembled lords of global finance. Mr. Lee wants everyone to imagine that nothing has changed in the formerly free city where British contract law used to prevail.

“Under ‘one country two systems,’ the rule of law is sacrosanct in Hong Kong,” Mr. Lee insisted Wednesday, referring to the promise Beijing made to the world in 1997 to let Hong Kong govern its own domestic affairs for 50 years. “The judiciary exercises its power independently. Fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, are enshrined in and protected by the Basic Law.”

Those are now enshrined and protected in name only. James Gorman from Morgan Stanley, David Solomon from Goldman Sachs, Rob Kapito from BlackRock and Daniel Pinto from JPMorgan Chase surely know this.

The online magazine ChinaFile says Hong Kong has arrested at least 213 people under a national-security law that China imposed on the city. The maximum penalty is life in prison, and the law limits which judges can hear national-security cases.

The U.S. Treasury sanctioned Mr. Lee in 2020 for his role in Hong Kong’s crackdown. Did the execs mention the U.S. sanctions to their hosts? Even once? Or were they afraid that their business licenses in the territory might be in jeopardy?

Even as the execs clinked glasses, the editors of the publication Stand News stood trial in the city for their coverage of Hong Kong’s democracy movement. Chung Pui-kuen and Patrick Lam pleaded not guilty to sedition charges under the national-security law.

Last December police froze some $7.8 million in Stand News assets without due process and forced the publication to shut down. Hong Kong authorities did the same to the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, and its founder Jimmy Lai faces up to life in prison under the national security law. Did someone mention the rule of law and inviolability of contracts?

Maybe someone in the next Congress should ask the execs to appear and explain why they kowtowed to Mr. Lee.

Appeared in the November 4, 2022, print edition as ‘Wall Street’s Hong Kong Kowtow’.

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